Experienced old-timers know that Alaska Highway RV driving is better ever. But as we discovered last year when we headed north, the journey is still one of the most challenging RV trips in North America. If you’ve dreamed about doing the drive, here are the top three Alaska Highway RV driving tips to know before going.
The Top Three Alaska Highway RV Driving Tips for Newbies
From the endless parade of wildlife to the day we broke a leaf spring near the appropriately named Destruction Bay, a year’s worth of planning still didn’t prepare us for the unforgettable highs and lows we experienced on the Alaska Highway. Everyone’s experience RVing to Alaska is slightly different, but here are the three things I think everyone who tackles Alaska Highway RV driving needs to know.
One: The Milepost will be your bible.
Many great RVing to Alaska books have been written through the years. But none come close to providing the indispensable information contained in The Milepost. In a place where cellular service is a surprising luxury and only a fool relies on the internet to chart a course, The Milepost is the complete guide to the Alaska Highway. You’ll know about everything from RV parks to historic locations to what to expect every mile of the way.
The sheer size of the Milepost is daunting. But once you get to know how the information is laid out, you’ll understand how it can help make your journey less stressful and more interesting. We carried multiple electronic and print books for the journey. The Milepost was the only one we used on a daily, sometimes hourly basis.
Don’t skimp, get the newest edition before you go, since Alaska Highway RV driving information changes more than you think.
A roadside emergency assistance plan is critical.
Much of the Alaska Highway is now paved, but vast frost-heaved stretches of gravel remain. It is within those sections that your RV is most at risk of flat tires, a blown leaf spring, bent trailer hitch or other RV disaster.
We were five hours from any kind of real town when the weld broke on our trailer leaf spring. It severed our hydraulic brake lines and slashed a tire too. Without a roadside emergency assistance plan, our five hour RV tow to Whitehorse, the closest town with a decent RV welding shop, would have cost about $3,000 Canadian dollars.
We needed our plan three times on the journey. Since some roadside assistance plan companies will cancel a policy holder who files too many claims in one year, I would go as far as recommending buying two different roadside assistance plans for the trip in case you have multiple calamities while you’re up there.
Three: Your RV will get beat up.
Talk to people who have done Alaska Highway RV driving. You’ll quickly realize that everyone has a damage story. The road certainly isn’t as bad as it used to be. But the risk to your rig remains. Your home on wheels may get banged up at least one of several ways. Kicked up gravel that breaks windshields, to tow bars that break on frost heaves are just two common occurrences.
Our Arctic Fox fifth wheel body endured the journey. But our windows are permanently pockmarked from flying rocks on the gravel roads. Carry appropriate comprehensive insurance coverage in the event of extensive damage.
Whatever you take away from this, I hope it doesn’t scare you from an epic trip to the North Country. We experienced a few good mishaps on our trip. But still think it’s well-worth all the time, money and effort anyone puts into getting there.
Just be prepared by hoping for the best and planning for the worst. And remember that when it comes to Alaska Highway RV driving, it’s all about the journey, not necessarily the destination.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.