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Old 05-09-2012, 07:56 AM   #1
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Basecamp Road Rash

We just got a BC and my wife is heading to Alaska in it with the kids next month. We are going to be towing it with a Suburban and I was wondering what everyone is doing to prevent road rash? We live in Florida so it's 10k round trip. I can't bear the thought of how bad it might look when it comes back.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:00 AM   #2
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My Sovereign made one trip up and back. It was beat up BAD. I had to replace the stone guards...but they saved the skin on the front. I only had truck mud flaps...not enough protection there. Get some real mud flap/stone guard protection.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:16 AM   #3
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There are bumper-wide hitch mounted flaps & brooms that are especially popular for areas where county roads are gravel...
Mud flap ground clearance?
Rock Protector Choices


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Old 05-09-2012, 08:31 AM   #4
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I understand some people use bubble wrap and cardboard taped on the front of their trailers, and on the windows.

I was up there during August and September, and the roads in pretty good repair by then. We only had to drive on gravel a couple of times, and we were led slowly by guide trucks both times. You're probably going to have a different experience this time of year.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:01 AM   #5
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Unless you permanently park a trailer in a garage it is going to get dings. You can prevent some of it with expanded mudguards on the Suburban. Some people do attach various things to the front of trailers. We did not.

The segment protectors (the rock guards below the windows) on our trailer took abuse, but that's what they are there for. The plastic guards over the windows faired pretty well. We got a big splat on the truck windshield and got used to it after a while—splat may be the wrong word, a ding about 1 1/4" across. It never ran, so we waited a year to replace the windshield when it got more dings in Colorado. You'll also get paint chips on the Suburban. A bug shield may help the hood and windshield.

The roads are pretty good going to and in Alaska. When you get far north, gravel breaks in the paved road are common from frost. Most major roads are paved. Some roads are all gravel. When someone is approaching on gravel, slow way down and get as far to the right as possible. Most drivers do the same thing. This greatly reduces the speed the gravel hits the vehicles and the result is less damage (2 vehicles approaching at 50 mph each mean a 100 mph gravel impact). But pieces of gravel get stuck in tires on any road and get thrown at you sometimes. An unlucky hit can do damage—the big windshield ding was on a paved road and neither of us were going that fast. It is part of the trip.

When you say 10,000 miles, that would be a round trip to Fairbanks or Anchorage? Alaska is really big and if you go anywhere else you will put on a lot more miles. There's also plenty to see in Canada and that will take more miles. Our 1st trip to Alaska resulted in 11,000+ miles, our last trip was 10,000+. We are quite a bit closer, so you may be clocking 14,000 and up. My basic rule of calculating how many miles we will drive is to add 50% to the round trip to the furthest point—not always accurate, but fairly so. Even when we don't take many sidetrips, the miles pile up. From Colorado, it is 3,500 to Fairbanks. It should be 5,000-5,500 from Fla.

How long do you have for the trip? A lot of people underestimate how much time you need to see a lot—and you still won't see it all. We've done two 6 week trips and one 8 week. Still some things to do and plenty I'd want to see again.

This is a wonderful experience—Alaska and northern Canada are unique places to visit and memorable. Your kids will be talking about it for years (unless, maybe, they are teenagers and are only interested in cell coverage so they can text all the way).

Gene
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:58 AM   #6
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Yes, all the direct-route State Highways are now well paved & maintained - but if you venture off onto side feeder roads just expect to discover gravel within one or two miles off the main highway.

Often times gravel close to paved roads is 'angry' with washboard surfaces or plow & melt damage from the spring thaws - or has 'fresh' gravel that hasn't been beat down and compacted - those are the areas where fliers will rake your vehicle when a train of oncoming traffic rockets by, or locals familiar with the roads will push hard to get through and pass you since the paved roads are close and they are numb to expecting anything different.

If you know you're going to gravel avoiding rush hour late-for-work & lets-get-home driving hours is good planning; in those commuter cars all they do is roll up the windows and turn the vent fans on high to minimize the dust invasion into the interior - and expect everyone else to 'deal' with it just like they have to.

The worst gravel beating I got (in a car only) was from what looked like a day-care center on wheels, an oncoming 1970's gas hog full of kids with one adult in it - the new birds-eye chip on the windshield had me turning around and retreating back to pavement rapidly - auto glass is triple the price or better from here in the Lower 48
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Wabbiteer View Post
There are bumper-wide hitch mounted flaps & brooms that are especially popular for areas where county roads are gravel...
Mud flap ground clearance?
Rock Protector Choices

Haven't been to Alaska yet, but this "broom" along with oversize wheelhouse flaps has done a very good job so far on the back roads we've traveled.
Not too hard to fabricate your own though if you want to save some $$$.

Bob
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:05 AM   #8
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For the most part the main roads are just fine - but there is construction and sometimes lengthy sections of resurfacing which will throw up stones - anything other than the main highways can also be unkind to your trailer. Top of the World highway has lots of gravel.

To protect our trailer we used this idea from someone else on this forum - we are glad we did it - and would do it again (I wish I could remember who it was because we owe him a "thanks").

This is inexpensive and an easy chore to put on - just two 1/2 inch closed cell sleeping pads and a roll of duct tape.


There are two things I would do differently next time:
  • one is to extend the protected area to include another 8 inches or so beneath the window and behind the propane bottle cover.
  • the other would be to leave the whole works on a little longer than I did - immediately after I took it off on the way home we ran into a lengthy section of gravel - which ended up giving us most of the "road rash" that you talk about.
I did touch up the duct tape from time to time - usually after a day of travelling in the rain. After removing all the duct tape I used varsol to remove any leftover adhesive.



Jay
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:23 AM   #9
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For the most part the main roads are just fine - but there is construction and sometimes lengthy sections of resurfacing which will throw up stones - anything other than the main highways can also be kind to your trailer. Top of the World highway has lots of gravel.

To protect our trailer we used this idea from someone else on this forum - we are glad we did it - and would do it again (I wish I could remember who it was because we owe him a "thanks").

Jay
That would be "Bob, Lee and Boo Boo"


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Old 05-09-2012, 12:23 PM   #10
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I have not been to Alaska for many years, but most likely you will get some road rash on your trailer. I put riv nuts in my trailer and used them along with fender washers to hold on foam backed carpet to the front segments of my Airstream (s) that I took up. (One year a tree fell on our AS in a campground in Dawson Yukon, so the next time we went up, was with a different trailer). The clear coat suffered a bit from the dirt that got between the carpet foam and the metal, but mostly there was very little damage. When I got home I put SS screws in the Riv nut holes and you hardly thought about them being there.

Later, on another AS, I had the SS metal protectors put on. I found they too got road rash on them and in the long run, were no better a solution, just more metal and more cost and more weight.

As a last comment, yesterday, here in Idaho, I had a rock flung at me in my new Toyota with 2000 miles. The windshield crack is now about 12 inches long, and into my vision field on the drivers side. So, stuff happens anywhere, at any time. Full comprehensive insurance will cover the total cost of glass replacement, and I would recommend it for your trip. This is my second windshield in 5 months. The other one happened on I10 going through Phoenix in Feb.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:39 PM   #11
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You want this thing. Bow Buddy. Flaps don't work well, as too many rocks still make it by. This thing works 100%.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:54 PM   #12
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You want this thing. Bow Buddy. Flaps don't work well, as too many rocks still make it by. This thing works 100%.
That's cool, but do they make one that works with an A frame tongue or just a boat style straight tongue?
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:57 PM   #13
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That's cool, but do they make one that works with an A frame tongue or just a boat style straight tongue?
The way it mounts I think it could be adapted to bolt directly to an a-frame... but the mounting kit is meant for a straight tongue like the Basecamp. I'd have to check their web site again, perhaps they've expanded their offerings in the last couple of years.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:46 PM   #14
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You want this thing. Bow Buddy. Flaps don't work well, as too many rocks still make it by. This thing works 100%.
I do want that thing! Where can I get it? Have you gotten any dings using it?
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