Jump to content

Suitable for 7 months in Alaska?


Recommended Posts

I have spent 14 Summers flying Beavers and Turbine Otters on floats in Alaska. Now I would like to see the rest of the state. Has anyone one the forum taken an Elite II to AlasKa for the entire Summer and gone as far as Prudhoe Bay? If so, how did the trailer survive, did you add a lift kit, and did you change the tires that came on the trailer?

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you going to be by yourself? and what tow vehicle?  If solo, I suggest the smaller Elite since it is easier and cheaper to lift, much MUCH easier and cheaper  to add disk brakes to (there are no bolt on, plug and play kits for the LE2, you have to install heavier axles), has stouter axle and bearings, and is significantly more maneuverable. The 4.5 feet shorter length will fit into lots more primitive campsites. The wheels are strong. The tires that come are adequate high mileage LT Load E Cooper somethings.  Earlier trailers had Michelin LTX. Neither will be a problem with typical groomed gravel roads, but a more robust tread has better sidewall cut resistance for sharp ballast roads like the drive to Kennecott. I would install a set of slightly larger 30” outside diameter robust off road tires, including the spare, and then not worry about it again. A bigger tire will not fit under that spare cover, but you can remove that entirely if you like. You would have to relocate the license plate bracket and light.

The suspension is OK on either, but both definitely could be improved. The LE2 suspension flexes nicely but has around an inch of up travel before the axle ubolts hit the frame. BANG. 😳

I haven’t made it to AK yet, but have been through western BC and YT as far as White Horse, and driven the Stewart/ Cassiar in the rain. These trailers need significant rock protection unless you just don’t care about gelcoat damage and blasted frame and axles. There are a lot of threads on this subject. If I were flying solo, I definitely would prefer the LE over the LE2! It would be a great match for my Land Cruiser 200, which is a little overwhelmed by the bigger trailer, and I could eliminate that pesky PITA Andersen hitch.

BTW, I used to occasionally do engine work on Turbo Beavers and Twin Otters in Seattle. I really hated working on float planes! Especially outside. Cool aircraft tho. I used to live near Lake Union and enjoyed watching them take off through the horde of sailboats and paddlers. Balls of steel! 😬

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Like 6

"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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgot… the smaller trailer will save you approximately 250 pounds for payload, the TW is “about” 200 less, and the Andersen is a little over 50. Plus you could install an off-road coupler, a ball hitch is very limited for uneven terrain.

John Davies

Spokane WA

  • Like 2

"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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Beaver Pilot said:

I have spent 14 Summers flying Beavers and Turbine Otters on floats in Alaska. Now I would like to see the rest of the state. Has anyone one the forum taken an Elite II to AlasKa for the entire Summer and gone as far as Prudhoe Bay? If so, how did the trailer survive, did you add a lift kit, and did you change the tires that came on the trailer?

Thanks

Can’t really help answer your question, but we will be pulling our Elite II to Alaska this summer (with a 2011 supercharged Tundra). We may go as far north as Coldfoot, but will likely leave the Ollie in Fairbanks and just take the truck. Don’t want to chance it with the Ollie on the Dalton Highway. 

Thread drift - did you by chance fly the Otters and Beavers out of the Gastineau Channel in Juneau? If so, we might have ridden with you over to the Taku Glacier Lodge. Our son flew C-207’s and 208’s out of JNU for Wings of Alaska one summer. I rode with him for a day and VFR in Alaska was eye opening to me. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

The Dalton highway to Prudhoe is one highway I would avoid with any trailer. Even my sturdy elite. Unless it were an exceptionally dry year.

We've driven it as far as the arctic circle entry campground.  And, the road really, really stunk. Seriously bad.

Much of it "used to be" paved, but  now crews go out, chew up the damaged asphalt, and throw it back down. In rainy weather (as we encountered, even though we had a good forecast) it was absolutely miserable. Some people got stuck, though we didn't,  thank goodness.

We could barely see for many  miles, as mud threw up against the windshield, and no wiper fluid left. Motorcyclists got dumped in the wet mud, and looked like creatures of the black lagoon.  The carwash to get our camper clean, in fairbanks, was lengthy, and expensive.

I'd drive it again, in a 4wd vehicle, all the way to Prudhoe. But nix a trailer. Leave the trailer in Fairbanks, book accommodations (sparse and spartan) and see something most people have never seen. Its incredibly beautiful in the Tundra. And, weirdly beautiful.  We saw a number of moose along and on the road, and other critters to dodge. 

We were in a 2wd smaller motorhome. 

We thought about camping at the arctic circle cg, but the mosquitoes were very, very thick, even early season. We talked, and turned around there, and went back to Fox. 

I'd do it again, but in a 4wd truck, no trailer. Definitely not another motorhome. And not towing,  either.

Return trip, we were talking to the construction guys manning the signs at the treacherous hill up and down. Still raining.  A big rig carrying heavy equipment came up behind us. I suggested to my husband that he move over and let him pass. We did. The big rig dug in deep, squished the trail, and we followed him back (1/2 mile behind) to the highway toward fairbanks.  It was great, not being the trailblazer.  Trip back to Fox, behind the heavy rig, was a little more than half the time of the trip out, following his or her tracks. It was great.

  • Like 1
  • Wow 1

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I realize that sounds harsh, but it was, for us. 

Over our many trips, we've driven most of the Alaska named highways,,and we'd do most of them with our 4x4 truck, and our elite. 

Unless you're really tall, the elite is lighter, narrower, and easier to maneuver. 

We've not taken our elite to Alaska,  as we routinely deliver motorhomes. We fly home. 

That begs another question.  

Its often still snowing or snowbound, along the route in early may. Snow can start in September.  Getting 5 months would require patience, and alternate travel plans. 7 would be tough to do. 

My cousin lives summers in Cantwell, in a  dry cabin she built when she was in her twenties. She grew up there 

It's spectacular.  But, I'd plan on getting out by mid September,  latest. Unless you ferry to the "tropics " of Juneau, an ferry out, as we have done. Still, the Yukon and bc can be uncooperative on the way home. And, you'll have a hard time finding open campgrounds in bc or the Yukon.

We've camped in closed  campgrounds in the Yukon many times. Not a huge deal, if you're self contained, and self sufficient.  The only services in most are free firewood and pit toilets, anyway.  Keep toilet paper in your pocket.

  • Like 4

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...