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Old 01-08-2012, 08:00 PM   #1
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class c prep for Alaska

Into the heavy planning for an August trip from Ohio to Alaska (and back!). 2001 Ford E450, 31,000 miles, always Mobil1 engine oil. I've upgaded the C a little every year so right now: 4 yr old Michelin XPS ribs, Pressure Pro TPS, Tireman valve stems, Bilstein HD shocks, Helwig HD rear swaybar, top notch "alignment at travel weight" performed, Coachnet member. Plan on the 30,000 mile trans fluid service b4 trip. Just completed Yellowstone/Glacier trip last August without glitch. Now I'm asking the the seasoned AlCan travelers to speak up. What did you do to prep? What concerned you that didn't happen. More importantly, what didn't you plan for that "bit" you? Spare parts on board, preventative maintenace?
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:10 AM   #2
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A big request! I haven't been up there yet in a's on my bucket list.
I have researched it and done some planning and I've been to various parts of Alaska. The number one problem I've heard about up there is window and other damage from bouncing gravel. Flat tires would be number two. Mosquitos would be number three, depending on when you were going and where. Bears should be considered too on how you store and carry food. I don't know if you need to carry extra fuel.
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:11 PM   #3
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We've been to Alaska twice and did very little prep on our vehicles. We did get some heavy clear vinyl "stick-on" covers for the headlights, and on our fifth wheel, we wrapped the exposed drain pull with a few layers of the rubberized stuff used for shelf lining and duct-taped it in place.

We never had a flat tire on either trip, but did get a rock ding in the windshield when driving a portion of the haul road north of Dawson City (but, heck, we've gotten rock dings in windshields driving on roads in the Lower 48).

If you tow a car, you might want to use some protection for it...perhaps something like a Protect-A-Tow, Protect-a-Tow .

Carrying extra fuel shouldn't be necessary unless you plan on traveling one of the haul roads...either the one north of Dawson City or the one north of Fairbanks. Otherwise, the distance between fuel stops is rarely more than 100 miles, although there is always the possiblity that a particular station might be closed. You should certainly travel on the top half of your tank, though (something we do, anyway, even in the Lower 48). We also didn't carry extra spare parts.

My only concern would be your 4 year old tires. However, as long as you stick to the paved roads and don't travel on the haul roads, you'll most likely be OK...just keep a close eye on them during the trip.

My final caution is to GO SLOW! The Alaska Highway is not an Interstate where you can travel 75 MPH. If you go expecting to do those kinds of speeds, you'll be sorely disappointed in your trip. There are lots of frost heaves and there will always be construction areas where it's mandatory that you slow down...often to 25 MPH, or slower...or risk damage to your rig. Take it easy, stop and smell the roses (or the fireweed), don't make reservations (with some few exceptions) so that if you run into something you want to stop and explore, you'll be free to do so.
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:20 PM   #4
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I hope that you post, along the way. I would love to make that trip and enjoy reading the posts (and see the photo's) of those who have.


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Old 01-09-2012, 03:24 PM   #5
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Make that run twice a year. Keep the MH in AK in the summer bring it home to Ohio in the winter.

Last trip was 4370 miles. Went through Banff and stopped at MT Rushmore. Without tourist detours MIddletown, OH to Anchorage, AK is roughly 4100 miles. Have made in as little as 4 days with 2 drivers (not good), normally it's 11 to 12 days.

On the ALCAN I average somewhere between 40 to 45 mph. THE road goes from good to bad and back again on a whim. You will hit stretches where you can travel 50 to 55 mph and stretches that are 15 to 25 mph.

The ALCAN has it all, asphalt, gravel, chipseal and even dirt. Dirt typically limited to construction zones.

Frost heaves are an issue. THe Canadians do a better job of flagging them than we do in AK. Watch for them and slooooowwww down.

Dust is another big issue on the ALCAN. I keep the windows and roof vents closed and it still takes me 2 days of cleaning to get rid of the dust. I travel with spare filters for this reason, never had to change one but like being prepared.

I suggest one spare tire just because there are some lonely stretches on the ALCAN.

Fuel will not be an issue for you. Plenty of gas stations along the way.

If your trip extends into late September fresh water will be an issue. Most CGs along the ALCAN turn off their water in mid to late September.

In the higher elevations you experience snow in September. Nothing really bad though.

There will be a few long stretches without cell phone coverage. Some cell phone carriers require you to activate your global plan prior to entering Canada. I have Verizon and once in Canada I can not activate global coverage. I have to do it prior to my phone picking up Canadian carriers or I am without cell phone coverage for the Canadian leg (half the trip from Ohio).

Several nice CGs along the way. Let me know if you need recommendations. If you are a Passport America member, Bridgeview CG in Lethbridge is a nice stop. One of our regulars.

Everything costs more in Canada, try to stock up with supplies, except fruits and veggies before you cross the border. Canada for the most part is even more expensive than AK.

Credit card companies charge a service fee for foreign transactions, add that to your budget.

Plan a slow easy trip there will be many stops along the way for pictures. The last trip down we stopped for , stone sheep, black and brown bears, elk, bison, etc...

Once your past Destruction Bay the rest of the road will seem like a dream.

WIth the gravel and chipseal sections of the ALCAN windshield, headlights, radiators and toads can take some hits. Not as bad as some make it sound. I cover the radiators with screen. Never pulled a toad so can't offer any advice there. I end up with a crack in the windshield every trip it seems like.

By August the temps in AK will be cooling off, 40s at night 60s during the day. Fairbanks area will be a bit warmer until winter then it tends to be colder than the rest.

Bugs will not be bad in August unless you stay in areas surrounded by muskeg.

For me the worst part of the ALCAN (not counting the winter trips I've made) is just the shakedown the coach gets. Make sure everything is tight now or it might vibrate off some where along the ALCAN. Somewhere along the side of the road is one of my hubcaps and couple step bolts.

Overall it's a safe and enjoyable run. A little common sense goes a long ways. If the maintenance on your rig is up to date you will be fine.

If I can help in any way just let me know.

Final thought, make sure to get a copy of the Mile Post. Any version say from 2009 forward will work.
US Navy Vet, Liberty Tree Member of Oath Keepers, NRA & VFW Life Member, Alaska EMT.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:52 AM   #6
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good advise.we made the trip last year.milepost a must learn how to read it.we didn't go the way they suggested but used it as a guide.for money we used credit card & atm in canada you get fair they said drive slow top of the world hwy 15-30 mph.we had oil changed in tok at tok rv bill is a good guy. toad takes a beating .
safe travles bob,linda & missy
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:54 AM   #7
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Get a Milepost !
Don't know why the Canadian roads get such a bad review. You can drive the speed limit on the roads all the way to Destruction Bay. That is where the tundra starts along with the frost heaves. They are usually marked and you can see them. Just slow down.
Most of the state and forest service campgrounds have no power so if you are going to use them be prepared for that.
You are not going into a third world country. Have Fun !!!
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:27 PM   #8
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Total AK newb here - what is Milepost?
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:49 PM   #9
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AK Prep

Thanks all for the great information! Headed that way myself in June. Traveling from Fort Worth, TX to Denali NP and points between. I was wondering if anyone has can tell me if there are any steep grades other than the rockies in the lower 48?
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:28 PM   #10
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I added long vertical truck bumper pipes (with unused light on top) and stretched 1/4 in mesh chicken wire held with hose clamps between them. This saved the radiator and headlights. Oncoming truckers are the real hazard. They go like h... and rocks pop out sideways from their tires into your path of travel. Had to replace a windshield when I got back home. The windshield was left unprotected so my wife could take pictures. Saw a half million dollar RV pulled over with a hole in the windshield you could almost put you fist through. This happens when both go like h....Slow down and ride the right side when a trucker approaches you!!
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:45 PM   #11
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The Milepost is published annually. It is a guide for every major road in Alaska and for Canadian roads leading to Alaska. The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner
Matt - no steep grades except in the rockies and very few there. I am about 50 miles SW of you. The first grade that got my attention was in New Mexico on I-25 around Raton. Going it is a descent, coming back it is an ascent. Either way, downshift, downshift.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by baraff
Total AK newb here - what is Milepost?
A mile by Nike guide book and more. It points out everything worth knowing along the ALCAN and most Alaskan highways. Covers attractions, CGs, etc...

Google it for a detailed description. It's an indispensable resource for Alaska travel
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Old 01-19-2012, 01:34 AM   #13
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Another road tip I learned (the hard way), for a Class C keep the dump tanks as empty as possible while traveling. My gray tank is in the rear of the RV and is held with only 3 simple steel band straps and a bolt tru it. On the bumpy (Dalton to Deadhorse) road the straps broke (at the 90 degree corner at the bolt).
The carrying rack under the tank I gor into place with the pot jack (10 ton).
Then using span bands (2 inch wide) between the chassis and the tow bar I got everything in place again. The "normal" roads in AK are no problem, just watch for pot holes and frost heaves. And road construction of course.

June is the nicest month for AK (IMHO), August will be more rainy (drizzle).

Sdennislee gave good advices. And yes, get the famous travelbook, The Milepost.
Mine is full with yellow stikky markers for the interrsting spots and direct find of the maps. Reading it before the trip is half the funn.

No overnight stay at WM in Anchorage or Eagle River, Faibanks is OK.

Have a safe trip, I bee there end may and june. Tioga is already there. I just have to swim the Atlantic and a short hike....

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USA: Fleedwood Tioga 24D (2005)
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