whatsnext

Alaska 2017

60 posts in this topic

Pulled into Carmacks today and then on to Dawson City tomorrow for a several days stay. We are surprised at the lack of Alaska bound Escapee's posting on this group. We are aware of a few from the Boomer group headed North but we haven't joined that group.

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Thank you Bill. We arrived in Dawson City today after a rough ride frost heave wise from Carmacks to here. Sticking around for 4 days of siteseeing before hitting the Top of the World Highway.

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Arrived in Chicken Alaska today. The TOW highway is in very good condition. Only the last couple of miles into Chicken got fairly rough. Strongly recommend keeping your speed around 35 MPH or less. On to Tok tomorrow to do some cleaning up for a few days.

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I respect your opinion on the condition of the TOW Larry. I got a differing opinion from the guy parked next to me in North Pole.

He's driving a motor coach pulling a Jeep. He said, when he arrived 2 days ago, that if he knew what the TOW was like he would not have driven his coach up there. Instead he would have unhooked and taken the Jeep. In fact he was going to convey that message back to some people that he knew were coming up behind him in a few days.

Todd

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You need to take into account driving style and experience.

I have some friends who drove up from TX. I recommended the Blue Ridge Pky. They bailed out on it as too curvy, took I81 and I64, didn'the like those Roads either, too hilly. Wanted flat, straight Roads. Had never been out of TX before.

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3 hours ago, redcrzr said:

I respect your opinion on the condition of the TOW Larry. I got a differing opinion from the guy parked next to me in North Pole.

He's driving a motor coach pulling a Jeep. He said, when he arrived 2 days ago, that if he knew what the TOW was like he would not have driven his coach up there. Instead he would have unhooked and taken the Jeep. In fact he was going to convey that message back to some people that he knew were coming up behind him in a few days.

Todd

Different folks have different expectations and have very widely varying opinions on what they will and won't drive on.

The TOW is not a road for everyone.  Let me review some of the things which may concern some people:

--  You MUST know where your tires are as you drive on the road.  I don't mean get out and look.  I mean if you see pot holes or a rock you know where your tires are so you can miss them.  But most importantly, when you pull to the side to let oncoming vehicles pass you don't slip off the edge of the road into the ditch.  See the picture, in our blog entry noted below, of a large RV in the ditch. I got the pic from the internet, we didn't actually see the rig.

--  Leaving Dawson you get on a small ferry.  You enter/exit the ferry on a gravel ramp.  When the ramp gets to eroded they have a front loader or bulldozer push some gravel in place. Personally I didn't find anything wrong with the on/off ramps.  As I remember they only put one large RV on at a time.  Ferry is to small for more than 1.  There is room for cars on both sides of the RV though.  All the above could really cause some folks a concern.

--  Once you get off of the ferry you have 103 miles of gravel road to just west of Chicken.  If it is raining your RV and toad, or your tow vehicle and trailer will be muddy mess.  Plan on 4-5 hours of steady driving minimum.  The TOW, all of which is in Canada is a very good gravel road.  Lots of room for oncoming vehicles to pass.  There is about 6-8 miles of brand new paved road once you cross into AK, but then the road road turns back to gravel is a little narrower. In places it is best for one large vehicle to pull to the side (no shoulder) and stop.  Then the other large vehicle "should" pass at 5-10mph (or slower).  You will most likely only have 2-3 feet (or less) between your mirrors as you pass.  Note I put quotes around "should" earlier.  I pull to the side and stop and have had the oncoming vehicle wiz by at 15-20mph.  Check out the pics and description in the link below to my blog entry of our trip across the TOW in Aug 2016.

-- We found the worst part of the gravel road was the 2-3 miles of very washboardy road going west of Chicken to the paved highway.

--  Once you get past Chicken you have another 60 miles of good fairly smooth full width paved road.  However the road has no shoulders, it winds and twists goes up and down hills, but nothing very steep.  Your speed will most likely vary from 35mph to 45mph. 

All in all it makes for a long day to go from Dawson City to Tok. 

Now if you don't have fixed commitments to be at your next stop, you can spend a day or four in Dawson City to make sure you have good weather.  If you do the scenery is really great. 

It took us 6 days to go from Tok (actually we started about 120 miles west of Tok) to Dawson City.  We love to boondock so we enjoyed boondocking along the route.  We stopped for 2 nights so we would have a full day to drive the toad to Eagle, leaving our RV at the boondock site.  A couple of days we boondocked along TOW to wait out the cloudy weather so we could enjoy the views as we finished the TOW to Dawson City.  BTW the boondock spots we stayed at are in Days End , our primary source for free or low cost places to stay.

Here is the link to our blog entry. If all you are interested in is the gravel road pics just scroll down to the pictures.

Edited by Al F

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We arrived in TOK today for a several day rest. The TOW highway was very good compared to 2009 when it was full of pot holes. The only rough part was as we got close to Chicken. Today was much rougher from Chicken to TOK. The normal 1 1/2 hour drive took us closer to 2 1/2 hours. Construction out of Chicken and frost heaves the rest of the way.

Went into the bar tonight at the campground in TOK and heard from a couple that came up on the Alaska highway. They said the frost heaves were trying to throw them off of the road and they regret taking that route. At least we got the awesome view on the TOW highway.

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The Tok Cutoff (Hwy 1 from Tok to Glennallen) is the worse road we drove on in Alaska.  It is second, only to the section of the Alaska Hwy from Haines Junction, YT to the AK border.  Lots of construction to repair frost heaves.  This section is notorious for frost heaves.

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