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Dempster Highway, Yukon, late season, mud, Casita. What a mess.


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We may or may not get into Canada August 9, the border employees there are talking about a strike, but for sure we are not taking the Ollie on the Dempster, this is pretty amazing, the guy has more nerve than me to tow a Casita with a poorly prepped Jeep Liberty, in inclement weather. Here is the Dempster:

3D802A34-20D2-44FE-BD5B-F05F8294D84F.thumb.jpeg.5b1a4990368c31da2841d33718f3aa74.jpeg

Here he is tossing buckets of water from a stream so he can get in…..

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Rough Road Ahead: My Yukon Challenge

The condition of the two lane highway under construction, at the beginning of the video, is mind boggling. I would have u-turned and gone back, unless the Ollie was not in tow, in which case I would have proceeded, with fingers crossed and butt clenched.

Enjoy,

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

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Well, mud is one thing. If he suffered a serious break down up there, or a medical emergency, it would be a whole ‘nuther situation. He appears to be alone. Hopefully he has a satellite communicator as well as Search and Rescue insurance. …. GEOS SAR50

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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I wouldn't take an Ollie there, but we've driven some pretty poor highways up there. 

Ps, I  think that is a Trillium, not a Casita. My mom's neighbor had a cute one.

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I did a boy’s trip to Alaska in June 2017 and we tent camped for nearly two weeks.  One of the campgrounds we stayed at was Tok RV Village Campground.  It maybe the only campground I have seen with a RV wash station at and there was usually a line of RV's waiting to wash.  Tok is the first stop in Alaska with any services after leaving Canada if we don't count Chicken🤔.  It’s at the end of the Top of the World / Taylor Hwy, so all of the RV's coming from Dawson City looked a lot like the trailer in the video.  It’s the only place I have ever seen a dirty Marathon Class A.

Mossey

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Posted (edited)

There's often a line for the free car wash at Tok's Northern Energy gas station, also. Free cold water wash with fill up. They supply the wands (2), water, and some well worn brushes. Byo bucket, soap, and microfiber cloths, etc.

We've seen some super dirty vehicles there, including our own. 

Btw, the free carwash is behind the station, not really visible from the front. Back by their big solar array.

The nearby grocery store (Three Bears) has a pretty decent selection, and decent prices, by small town Alaska standards. I can usually buy wild caught Alaskan fish, frozen, at a decent price there.

And the visitor center is a pleasant place to stop by, view the exhibits, and check road and weather conditions.

Edited by SeaDawg
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7 hours ago, mossemi said:

 Tok is the first stop in Alaska with any services after leaving Canada if we don't count Chicken🤔.  It’s at the end of the Top of the World / Taylor Hwy, so all of the RV's coming from Dawson City looked a lot like the trailer in the video

No, I wouldn't count Chicken. 🙂

Tok is the crossroads, no matter which way you drive in from Canada, and we always stop there for a night at one of the nearby campsites.

Speaking of Chicken, and Top of the World highway, do choose your weather carefully if you drive it. The US side isn't nearly as nice as  the short, paved, Canadian side, and has very steep dropoffs, and soft shoulders. At the gas station near Walmart in Whitehorse one year, we met a couple in a class a that got two or three tires sunk in the mud at the shoulder, so deep they had to climb out driver's side. Waited hours for a tow truck from Tok. Thousands just for the tow, and they had no idea what the body repairs would cost.

We've driven it, but wait for at least two days of clear weather (no rain) preceding your trip. 

We were told the ritual is to meet oncoming traffic slowly, or pull as close to the inside as you think safe, and stop. Apparently,  this is common advice. One time, at one particularly narrow part (and we were on the outside ledge) , a big truck and fifth wheel stopped, planted himself in pretty much the middle of the road, and made us pass. Paul got so close our mirror touched his. Me, sitting on the outside passenger seat, looking down the cliff,, wouldn't honestly have cared if he'd taken the guys mirror off. He had at least 4 feet to the shoulder. I was looking at treetops far below me.

That said, on a good day, you might meet only 10 or 20 others on the whole stretch. We left early from the Yukon River campground.

 

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21 hours ago, John E Davies said:

We may or may not get into Canada August 9, the border employees there are talking about a strike, but for sure we are not taking the Ollie on the Dempster, this is pretty amazing, the guy has more nerve than me to tow a Casita with a poorly prepped Jeep Liberty, in inclement weather. Here is the Dempster:

3D802A34-20D2-44FE-BD5B-F05F8294D84F.thumb.jpeg.5b1a4990368c31da2841d33718f3aa74.jpeg

Here he is tossing buckets of water from a stream so he can get in…..

259487DF-6603-4BDD-90E7-B0F660A2B6A4.thumb.jpeg.33569243e3d63272a5c9c90c60a51a45.jpeg

Rough Road Ahead: My Yukon Challenge

The condition of the two lane highway under construction, at the beginning of the video, is mind boggling. I would have u-turned and gone back, unless the Ollie was not in tow, in which case I would have proceeded, with fingers crossed and butt clenched.

Enjoy,

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

That’s slim Potato head  he has a decent YouTube channel. He lives in Canada travels everywhere May or may not get some good pointers from his channel.

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We've never driven the Dempster, but met people who've driven it in good, dry weather, in little sedans. It's really about timing, and road conditions. 

The day we drove the Dalton, to the arctic circle,  from Fairbanks,  was awful. Weather (unprrdicted) changed to rain. Lots of mud and construction. Extremely slippery, and had to keep forward momentum or lose it. Paul did a great job. 

On the way back (we drove it in one day, eschewing the idea of camping for free above the circle, because of the incredible mosquito swarms), we stopped to talk to the guard at the top of the valley run, probably 2 miles. He said it was worse than when we came in. A huge flatbed behind us, with a big drill in the bed, came up. We moved over and let him go first. Followed a quarter to a half mile behind. It was perfect. He squished the trail, with his heavy truck and load, we followed, at twice our speed going up. No rock spray. Our return was relatively delightful,  compared to the mess going up. No fwd.

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Btw, many of the highways in Canada and Alaska are actually quite good, and most are scenic. Don't let the tales of the poor roads keep you from the adventures.  Just plan ahead to travel in your comfort zone.

For those of you, like us, who are missing our Canadian adventures this year and last, here's a new little video from JRNY media, and gorving Canada that shares just some if the beauty that makes the drive worthwhile. It's short, encapsulating a 7 day trip by friends through the Canadian Rockies.

Places visited:

JRNY media's RV adventure: -Abraham Lake A.B. (Preachers Point Campground) - Salmon Arm B.C. (Salmon Arm Camping Resort) -Squamish B.C. (Squamish Valley Campground) - Fairmont Hot Springs B.C.( Fairmont Hot Springs RV Resort) - Canmore A.B. (Wapiti Campground)

 

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My parents, an aunt and uncle, and I traveled the Alaskan Highway back in 1966.  I was 11 at the time. In 1966 more than 1,000 miles of the AH was gravel. We traveled in a 1965 Ford Esquire station wagon pulling a Cox pop-up camper. We traveled the road in July and it had a few really bad sections but mostly we were covered in dust. That was probably a good thing! This guys video brought back so many memories. 

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Thanks for the video and reminding me how much we love the Canadian Rockies.  We have toured them by car and motorcycle but never by RV.  We really like Jasper, Banff not so much.  I have never gotten used to commercial areas in the middle of Canadian National Parks.  And now to completely contradict myself, we really enjoy the hiking around Waterton Park in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Mossey

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23 minutes ago, mossemi said:

toured them by car and motorcycle but never by RV.  We really like Jasper, Banff not so much.  I have never gotten used to commercial areas in the middle of Canadian National Parks

I agree. We drove into Banff,  drove back out. Great for townie shopping tourists, not for us. 

Jasper is a great park, and Jasper town is a lovely spot to walk around, do laundry, get groceries,  eat, catch a movie, or catch the train.(we've done all the above.) Jasper town is very walkable, clean, and pretty. Not the massive crowds of Banff. We caught a first nation festival one time. Very interesting. We've found the people of Jasper town to be very warm, inviting, and helpful. It's small, but has just about every service you may need.

We've not been to Waterton yet. We'll try to do that, another trip. Thanks.

 

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2 hours ago, Ray Kimsey said:

My parents, an aunt and uncle, and I traveled the Alaskan Highway back in 1966.  I was 11 at the time. In 1966 more than 1,000 miles of the AH was gravel. We traveled in a 1965 Ford Esquire station wagon pulling a Cox pop-up camper. We traveled the road in July and it had a few really bad sections but mostly we were covered in dust. That was probably a good thing! This guys video brought back so many memories. 

My aunt, uncle, and my cousin drove that many summers in the 60s, in their car, loaded with supplies, and several spare tires. My uncle's brother lived in AK for many years. I loved listening to their stories.

I'm glad the roads are better, but, they had the true adventure spirit. Lucky you, to be included in the journey as a little guy. 

What great memories you must cherish. 

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2 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

My aunt, uncle, and my cousin drove that many summers in the 60s, in their car, loaded with supplies, and several spare tires. My uncle's brother lived in AK for many years. I loved listening to their stories.

I'm glad the roads are better, but, they had the true adventure spirit. Lucky you, to be included in the journey as a little guy. 

What great memories you must cherish. 

It was great. The actual trip started and ended in Greensboro, NC and covered over 10,000 miles in 30 days. We had covered most of the continental US a few years before. So we only stopped only briefly for sleep when crossing the US. Not many people made the trip to Alaska in those days so we saw very few cars on the Alaskan Highway and the Milepost was invaluable tool back then. The sign forest at Watson Lake was only a single row of signs. There was still a lot of devastation in Anchorage from the 9.2 earthquake in 1964. So, so many memories.  We traveled to Mexico City in a Winnebago motor home 4 years later.

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12 minutes ago, Ray Kimsey said:

It was great. The actual trip started and ended in Greensboro, NC and covered over 10,000 miles in 30 days. We had covered most of the continental US a few years before. So we only stopped only briefly for sleep when crossing the US. Not many people made the trip to Alaska in those days so we saw very few cars on the Alaskan Highway and the Milepost was invaluable tool back then. The sign forest at Watson Lake was only a single row of signs. There was still a lot of devastation in Anchorage from the 9.2 earthquake in 1964. So, so many memories.  We traveled to Mexico City in a Winnebago motor home 4 years later.

I hope you'll get to do that trip again, someday, and share your story, along with the differences from your memories, with us .

The sign forest has certainly grown. And, the roads and services are significantly better.

Again, lucky you, to have experienced the road, not long after Alaska's statehood. Such a great experience !

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My Alaska trip was in 2018.  I was very intrigued, and tempted, to take the Dempster Highway, but when I arrived at the turnoff to Inuvik, there were barriers across the road stating it was closed due to inclement weather and road conditions. Sooooo, the decision was made for me.  Ha!

As Sherry said, the Top of the World Highway has soft shoulders and wicked drop-offs, so be careful.  I only saw one old set of skid marks going over the side. Definitely time your crossing to avoid wet, muddy conditions.  There is a campground on the western side of the Yukon River where you can hang out a few days if the weather is bad.  The views are spectacular. Don't hesitate to stop along the way and take your trailer's "hero" picture for your scrapbook.

Enjoy a chicken-pot-pie in Chicken, AK! 

The wash station at TOK was very useful. 

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I watched his whole series on Alaska/Canada and he definitely took some roads I’d never consider but also saw a lot of other highways with amazing scenery that looked decent and something I’d tackle.  

My Alaska trip is 5+ years out as I can’t take that much time off work now.  I do wonder when it is time if a truck camper is a better option.  I’ll admit I did heavily think about a Northern Lite before getting my Ollie.  There is a trade with every RV but wonder if easier not having to tow on those roads.  

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I've never owned a truck camper, but my uncle had one for a number of years. He eventually bought a Scamp to replace it.

I love the concept of a truck camper, but dislike the climbing in and out part. (Today's trucks are so high.) We see a lot of truck campers on 4 x 4 trucks up in Canada and Alaska, both rentals and privately owned. But we see campers of all types, as well. 

Northern Lite makes beautiful products.

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Our thought over the years have been, get a big motor 4 x 4 van, and tow the Ollie. Leave the Ollie, and explore in the 4 x 4. (Paul really,  really wants a big van, with a snorkel. 😄)

As you can see by our signature,  that hasn't happened.  

Maybe Santa will bring him one. I doubt it, though.

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40 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

Our thought over the years have been, get a big motor 4 x 4 van, and tow the Ollie. Leave the Ollie, and explore in the 4 x 4. (Paul really,  really wants a big van, with a snorkel. 😄)

As you can see by our signature,  that hasn't happened.  

Maybe Santa will bring him one. I doubt it, though.

514898522_IMG_4976copy.thumb.JPG.c5bff81c14764faa80e7c118cde09f68.JPG

I love snorkels, I put one on my 200 last year, not so much to go fording 5 foot deep rivers, but to disguise the big crease my wife put in that fender at the grocery store .... But it gets the air intake completely up and out of the dust, and lowers the inlet air temp by a few degrees. The one on my Series 80 dropped it by up to 60 degrees, an amount you could actually feel. In the 200, it is more like 20 degrees.... Mainly it helps us find the Big White SUV in a sea of other big white SUVs in the box store parking lot... It does generate a whole lot of What The Hell Is That Thing questions.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

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Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel.

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Honestly,  JED, I'm not showing that photo to Paul. He wanted an even bigger, taller garage than we have, and, add to that, you have a snorkel!

Our Ollie will (barely) fit in the garage, through the sidelane and side overhead door,  and it's a real pita to maneuver it in. And, Paul has to move two work benches... yes, they're on wheels, but...

You, indeed , have a beautiful setup. Enviable, in every way. 

He got his way with the new barn. Big door (12 ft. high.)  I can live with that. Still working on the snorkel concept. 😋

Ps, the snorkel looks great on your 200. Really great .

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