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Old 05-18-2017, 07:01 PM   #1
Spartan Chassis
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 30
Red face Dolly, Flat Tow or Trailer tow to Alaska

Planning a 2 month trip to Alaska in our Fleetwood Revolution. I assume I would want a vehicle to get around to all the sites. We were planning on towing our 2014 Buick Enclave. Some have cautioned that we will damage the appearance or mechanicals quite a bit due to the gravel roads and very rough roads. I would like to buy a Jeep but will have to put it off a couple more years. We could dolly tow it or use an 18' flat car hauler. Looking for experienced travelers opinions on the best option. Thanks to all.

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Old 05-20-2017, 09:21 AM   #2
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Newmar Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: White Rock, BC
Posts: 761
We have travelled to Alaska and along the Alaskan Highway a number of times by motorcycle, car and in our 43 ft DP, flat towing a Honda CR-V.

First off, I have watched many fellow RVers strapping down cars in trailers and onto tow dollies resulting in my strong preference being to flat tow, if your tow vehicle is compatible. In addition, a tow dolly will not offer any significant improvement in vehicle protection over flat towing.

The second considerations are your routes up to and back down from Alaska and if tow vehicle protection is really required. Unless you are planning to travel the Top of the World Hwy (Dawson City to TOK, via Chicken, AK) or tow north beyond Fairbanks, your travels will be entirely on paved roads other than through construction zones. On our 2015 trip through northern BC, the Yukon, and Alaska, we encountered only three stretches on road construction. One was near Denali where traffic was so slow that flying rocks were not an issue, another section east of Palmer that only about a mile of repaving and a 13 mile section of washboard gravel. Only the 13 mile section was of any concern and we simply took it slow (about 20 MPH) which resolved most of the rock issues and some of the washboard shake that would have been the same regardless of any towing method choice.

As for the rough roads, you may be referring to the frost heave that many traveller talk about. The frost heave issues are mainly restricted to an area on the Alaskan Hwy between Destruction Bay and the Alaska border and on the highway from Whitehorse and Dawson City, if you are going that way. Your tow car will be far better at handling these dips and bumps than will your motorhome so if you slow down appropriately for your coach, your tow will be fine.

If you do go up to Dawson City and across the Top of the World Hwy, you will have about 100 miles of gravel and some form of vehicle protection may be warranted.

We choose to mount a rock guard onto our tow bar and that worked fine, in fact, when we go north again in another year or two, I'll won't bother using it again.

Road and weather conditions can change dramatically from one year to the next but they are often not nearly as bad as many traveller try to make them out to be.

The bottom line is, I would flat tow and not bother with additional rock protection system. If you want greater piece of mind, add on a rock protector that mount onto your tow bar assembly of a fabric protection system that stretches between your coach's rear bumper and your tow car's front bumper.

We've flat towed for over 45,000 miles, including extensive gravel road travel, and have never experienced any rock or road damage to our tow car. We have had four rocks in our motorhome windshield however but those all occurred on paved roads.

Enjoy the trip and worry. You'll have a great time.

Retired and livin' the RV dream!
2005 Newmar 43 ft. MADP, Cummins ISL 400HP, 2008 Honda CR-V toad
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:49 AM   #3
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Winnebago Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: West Georgia
Posts: 452
GA to AK and back

We have a bit of a different take. Over the past 35 years we have towed both flat and on a dolly. I had a bad experience with flat towing once years ago when the tow car almost broke away. Plus of late the cost for tow bar , braking systems and limited type of vehicle (along with the DW insisting on a front wheel drive automatic) pushed us to now use a dolly. We like it.

We've found little difference in the hook up and running between flat and dolly towing. I find it easier to back very short distances with the dolly which I could not do at all when I was 4 down. It takes us all of ten minutes to load and strap-- and we poke at it.

Last year we towed our Focus on a dolly from Georgia to Alaska and back- about 12,000 miles with the route we took. Ironically we lost the windshield on the motorhome to 3 rocks- in Wyoming- and no damage to the towed Focus on the Alaska highway. We did experience massive amounts of concrete like dust that took numerous washes to get off. I did connect a Protect- a- Tow screen from the motorhome to the front of the car on the dolly, but I am not sure I needed it and we probably overkilled the set up.

Since the front of the car is lifted slightly at an angle on the dolly, we had no heavy road debris come up and hit the grill or body of the toad and no damage to the car at all. All debris thrown from the rear of the motorhome hit under the car's front and there never was any damage. For peace of mind we did cover the windshield on the toad with reflectix which may have helped.
Joe a/k/a "Americanrascal"
2016 Winnebago Adventurer 38Q +tow dolly
8th RV to sit in our driveway in 35 years
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dolly, tow, trailer

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