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Old 05-21-2008, 05:42 PM   #1
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Rock protection on Alcan Hwy

We are heading "North to Alaska" this year and need some advice on protecting the front of our Airstream. I would love to hear from someone that has made the trip and managed to get back to the lower 48 unscathed.

We are part of AS Rally "Alyeska - The Great Land." We received some ideas from the rally leader, but are still unsure of what material to use as a protection.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:51 PM   #2
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Haven't done it yet -- I understand the biggest rock hazard is those thrown up by trucks barreling in your direction.

See:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...tml#post413581

I remember the Hamnqvist's mud covered Airstream once they got to Seward -- http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...ite-24589.html. Anybody know the best way to find the link to the Hamnqvist's blog?

Post 10 here is interesting to say the least! http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...0-a-17167.html

We'd sure appreciate any and all reports you can document back here at AIR.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:54 PM   #3
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I sure love Google.... Hamnqvist's 2006 summer vacation: main
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildwoodrver
We are heading "North to Alaska" this year and need some advice on protecting the front of our Airstream. I would love to hear from someone that has made the trip and managed to get back to the lower 48 unscathed.

We are part of AS Rally "Alyeska - The Great Land." We received some ideas from the rally leader, but are still unsure of what material to use as a protection.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Thanks.
We just did'nt wash the dirt off, it was so thick it protected everything. No damage at all untill we crossed back into the states, a rock was thrown by a truck and broke the windshield. It was a wonderful trip, hope you have a good time. Rancher Jim
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:14 PM   #5
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I have not done the Alcan with an Airstream, but have in a pickup camper and in an 18 wheeler. Nowadays the Alcan itself is mostly paved so you really will not have a huge rock problem on the main road. But, if you go off onto the lesser known side roads for some interesting side trips - like up to Inuvik in the Yukon, or Circle City above Fairbanks etc you will probably be running lots of miles on gravel. We did over 10,000 miles from Minn to Alaska and back which included about 4,000 miles on gravel (McKenzie Hwy up to Yellowknife, Canol Hwy, Dempster Hwy etc in addition to the Alcan itself).

The problem then is meeting trucks or other camper rigs on the gravel portion of roadway. Again, the Alcan itself is about 99% paved so there is no problem there. But on the gravel, if it is dry and dusty, which is the norm, you sort of hang to the right, halfway close your eyes and disappear into a cloud of dust for 3 or 4 seconds as you meet. Hopefully you both come out the otherside unscathed. But there really is no way to avoid the sand and rocks being tossed up. Even if you slow down to 20 or 30, chances are the oncoming truck will still be running 60 when they go by so the rocks are going to hurt.

We got 10 rocks into the windshield on the 4,000 miles of gravel so if you are going to run lots of gravel I would figure on a new windshield when you get back. Plus we got a fair amount of rock chips into the hood and front end, but nothing major. Again, I would not worry about the main Alcan hwy. If the caravan stays to the main Alcan I would just go and have a good time and I would not do anything special at all the the Airstream.

But, if I was planning on running one of the long gravel hwys other than the Alcan, since my 2006 Airstream is still pretty nice and shiny, I think I would get a nice think grey colored quilt and tarp strap it right over the front panorama windows and the front rock guards. Otherwise if you run gravel hwys you are going to get a lot of rock dings.

Enjoy your trip... If you have a chance, there is a nice alternate route from Fairbanks over to Dawson in the Yukon that is really nice. I would assume you will go up via the Alcan hwy into Alaska, but if the oportunity presents itself to come back via Fairbanks over to Dawson, Yukon I would recommend it.... The road less travelled...

best regards, Dave
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:39 PM   #6
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Speed is a factor!

We made the trip in 2004 from Lufkin, Tx to Alaska. Our group of 11 Airstreams looked pretty vulnerable to the rocks. Some of the precautions included: a sheet of plywood mounted behind the gas bottles, fine mesh wire over the grill of the tow vehicle, extra long mud flaps on the tow, and several ingenious devices that drew attention.
My experience did not include one broken window, or serious dent.
I only added an extra long (within an inch of the ground) mud flap to my GMC truck. No grill guards, or plexiglass or plywood.

I believe my fortunate lack of damage was due to monitoring road speed, moving to the right when vehicles passed on the left, and precautions when vehicles passed in a reckless manner.

When a fast moving RV, truck, or car passed me, I immediately moved to the right and reduced speed to allow the vehicle to pass quickly.
When approaching an oncoming vehicle, I did the same thing. I am only talking about 10-15mph reduction.
On our trip, we went to Dawson City, crossed the Yukon and traveled to Tok via the Top Of the World highway. I highly recommend it. No problem.
I would advise you to check with the tourist centers along the way, especially, at Watson Lake and Whitehorse. They will have construction times and schedules on the route.
Be very careful when you wash your trailer that you DO NOT use rags or spong or brush on the first wash. Fine granite crystals off the road will stick to the trailer and you will scatch it badly. It is worth the cost of the high pressure wash stations if you do it yourself or just wait until you get home.
P.S. Take plenty of mosquito spray, sun screen,
Watch for animals crossing the road although the right of ways are very wide.
Frost heaves can present a problem. Spot them will ahead by the red flag stake at the side of the road. Slow down and stay off the brakes when crossing them. Make sure you have seat belts on and everything in the trailer secured. You are bound to miss one or two until it is too late.
Oh well, I do go on so, I wish we were going again.
Have fun and be safe.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:09 PM   #7
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I have installed mud flaps on the truck and placed extenders onto them.

I also have an enkay hitch mounted mud flap. I have taken my Safari through some serious gravel road, not bumpy, but lots of gravel. I came through each time without a nick, dent, or any contact from any projectiles off the tires. This has IMHO about a 99.9% protection blanket. I think the only way to be 100% is to keep it in a garage on blocks.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:10 PM   #8
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alcan trip

I did it with my BRAND new Safari five years ago, used the liberally applied mud as rock protection. Only damages I had were: the BC Highway guys were painting the yellow stripes between Ft St John and Ft Nelson, they like to use a LOT of paint so of course it got all over the truck and trailer. PITA to remove. Then, a lone rock jumped up and cleaned the plastic fresh water tank drain off, allowing me to apply about 30 gallons of dust control material to that part of the road. I was some sort of upset, really looking forward to a shower that night.
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