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? condition of highways from Montana thru Canada to Alaska?

Treefrog
Explorer
Explorer
I don't fancy driving on the highways that have joints every 20 to 30 feet resulting in a constant "thumpda-thumpda-thumpda" butt jarring trip for hour after hour.

Is that what we'll find on an RV FAntasy tour to Alaska departing from Montana?
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11 REPLIES 11

Veebyes
Explorer II
Explorer II
You will find sections of thumpa thumpa everywhere. Generally we found the Canadian roads better than the US roads. Then there are the potholes. Big nasty tire killing spring breaking potholes. You are not driving drunk. You are trying to avoid the potholes and frost heaves.

It is the nature of northern roads and northern roads. Slow down. Enjoy the smooth sections. Some are as smooth as a baby's bottom.
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Treefrog
Explorer
Explorer
Thanx to all posters. Great information and loved the photographs.
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SideHillSoup
Explorer
Explorer
The one thing I will add the the great posts above.
My cousin who lives south of Whitehorse, her husband drives up and down the roads of the Yukon every day for work.
All he asks is that travellers check/ look in the mirrors and when they see someone behind them, “ and if it is safe to do so” pull over enough so the person behind you can see on coming traffic.’
He also asks that travellers do NOT bunch up and leave at least 500 ft between vehicles.
His words not mine and he lives up there.’
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PA12DRVR
Explorer
Explorer
Silver Eagle nailed it. No expansion joints, but one has to go appropriately slow for the road to Alaska. I always counted on 50 mph average if driving a single vehicle (passenger vehicle or light truck); 40 mph if driving a single big rig (2-1/2 ton, etc); and no better than 35 mph average if towing on a personal mission (whether small rig towing a trailer or bigger rig / bigger trailer). Work travel (the infrequent 18-wheeler and load) could be pushed a little bit harder because the equipment was stouter.

In any case, make time on the I-XX and US-XX roads in the L48; take time to enjoy the scenery on the AlCan / Alaska Highway.
CRL
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Back in the GWN

AKsilvereagle
Explorer II
Explorer II
As noted,

For the most part by answering the thumping 20 to 30 ft interstate type of highway or roadway question leading to the far north : NO

However as noted again - there will be occasional frost heaves, lots of road construction zones, lots of small patches of uneven road surfaces that you can drive fast or (safely)-slow over, pilot car escort delays, temporary road bypasses, bridge repair or bridge replacements in which there is just no getting around any of those factors....

If one feels the need to be in a substantial hurry to haul a heavy trailer, cabover, or what have you driving these far north roads upon the factors mentioned above - then this kind of trip is NOT for YOU !!!

Go ahead and risk suffering the consequences in remote places where one's trip will be severely delayed and very costly in both money and time....

There was one traveler in a 30 foot travel trailer with Maine plates that was Alaska bound and got impatient to pass me at least 65mph near Glacier Creek - north of Destruction Bay, as it was a nasty stretch of frost heaves while I was driving 40mph and getting ready to slow down even more - the driver still crossed over that stretch at 65mph while I crossed over the same stretch safely for my rig at 15mph and was ready to take evasive action as that travel trailer had violently launched while veering side to side practically out of control....You swear this driver was driving that rig like the state of Alaska was ready to detach from the North American continent or something within the next hour - I know for sure that person will never make it back to Maine driving like that !

Also, one can face potential road closures due to wildfires or flooding which are generally unexpected but do happen - so expect the unexpected in that regard.

If one like myself does not ever hurry enroute to a destination in my 1970 or 1975 Ford Truck hauling a heavy cabover camper around on these far north roadway conditions over the years since 1996 in an RV - I have yet to encounter any suspension or other vehicle related damage to either of my two rigs used for a RV....

(-now 15 times out of the last 27 years permitted entry into Canada in my RV)
(*and my 30th permitted entry driving into Canada in the last 38 years total since 1985 upon my first Alaska Highway trip)

Due to the covid restrictions in 2020 thru 2022, this was the only reason of not visiting Canada on a yearly basis and it was nice to see most everyone there again in 2023.

This year for me in 2023 was a short 7 day RV trip consisting of the Klondike Loop...Now my 9th time visiting Dawson in the Yukon Territory and a first time consisting on a odd numbered ending year*
(1992 1998 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 *2023)

For the most part, all the routes were the typical norm as far as road conditions were concerned with the exception noted :

The North Klondike Highway route was a bit rougher than in years past north of Stewart Crossing, as this route was upon the 7th time I driven it (all 7x southbound) - and I am not including the stretch of major construction between Dempster Hwy. Jct, and Mc Questen area.

The Alaska Highway 83 mile stretch from Destruction Bay to White River was still better than in years past with some of the upgrades still intact, as my log showed making it in 2hr-30min at 33 mph (2023) than the old normal time of 3hr-45min at 22mph (2010)...

Only twice I ever made this stretch in my RV in less than 2 hours (1:46 and 1:50) when they made substantial upgrading, as these far north roads don't stay upgraded for long.

The Alaska Highway stretch on the Alaska side from the border thru Northway Junction (mile 1222 thru mile 1264) had another major reconstruction job (the 6th time that I know of since 1989) as they are constructing majorly at mile 1240 thru 1250.

Here are my total travel figures and expenditures for my 2023 Canada trip :

FUEL EXPENSES - 9 Purchases

Start Point : Milepost 328.3 Richardson Hwy - Both Tanks Full @ $0.00
Ending Point : Milepost 328.3 Richardson Hwy - Both Tanks Full

$768.97 USD Total Cost
1268.4 Fuel Odometer Miles
146.0 US Gal
$5.267 USD per US Gal
.60625c USD per mile
8.68 Miles Per US Gallon


US Purchases x4 -
$336.41 USD - 69.3 US Gal @ $4.854 USD


Canada Purchases x5 -
$567.75 CAD - 290.5 Litre @ $1.954 CAD
$7.402 CAD (per US Gal)

-to US Dollar and US Gallon conversion :
$432.56 USD - 76.7 US Gal @ $5.643 USD

Rate of Exchange : $1.3125 CAD
1x @ $1.3496 CAD
1x @ $1.3237 CAD
3x @ $1.2770 CAD (from 2019 cash envelope)



----TRAVEL FIGURES----

Total Odometer : - 1293.6 miles
Non Route Miles : - (+23.9)
Direct Route : - 1269.7 odometer miles
Direct Route Travel : - 34-hrs 17-mins
Average Total : - 37.035 MPH


-OUTBOUND ALASKA-
Richardson Hwy MP 341.0 to MP 266.0 (Alaska Hwy MP 1422) :
74.5 odometer miles - 1:31 travel = 49.121 MPH

Alaska Hwy MP 1422.0 to MP 1301.7 (Taylor Hwy MP 0) :
120.7 odometer miles - 2:23 travel = 50.643 MPH

Taylor Hwy MP 0 to MP 95.7 (Boundary Spur Road MP 0) :
93.9 odometer miles - 3:52 travel = 24.284 MPH

Boundary Spur Road MP 0 to MP 13.2 :
13.7 odometer miles - 0:30 travel = 27.400 MPH


-YUKON TERRITORY CANADA-
Top of the World Hwy MP 65.8 to MP 0 :
65.4 odometer miles - 2:58 travel = 22.045 MPH

North Klondike Hwy MP 323.4 to MP 0 (Alaska Hwy MP 894.8) :
324.5 odometer miles - 8:21 travel = 38.862 MPH

Alaska Hwy MP 894.8 (via to MP 887.4) thru Alaska Hwy MP 1188.0 (Alaska Hwy Historical MP 1221.3) :
304.3 odometer miles - 8:02 travel = 37.879 MPH


-INBOUND ALASKA-
Alaska Hwy MP 1221.3 thru MP 1301.7 (Taylor Hwy MP 0) :
77.9 odometer miles - 2:22 travel = 32.915 MPH

Alaska Hwy MP 1301.7 thru MP 1422.0 (Richardson Hwy MP 266.0) :
120.5 odometer miles - 2:39 travel = 45.471 MPH

Richardson Hwy MP 266.0 to MP 341.0 :
74.3 odometer miles - 1:39 travel = 45.030 MPH


Here are a few current September 2023 pictures of road surfaces taken to show upon why I barely averaged 37 MPH over 1269 direct route miles upon taking my time and not tearing my rig up....

Some frost heaves are clearly marked with signage -
Mile 1176 Alaska Highway -Mirror Creek- Central Yukon Territory Canada :


Other frost heaves are marked without signage -
Mile 1092 Alaska Highway - Central Yukon Territory Canada :


Other frost heaves are not marked at all -
Mile 255 North Klondike Highway - Central Yukon Territory Canada :


If one sees multiple tire marks on the road surface, that's an indication of a pretty bad unmarked bump for a heavy rig so it would be wise to really slow down like these others didn't -
Mile 1284 Alaska Highway - Interior Alaska :


Mile 1248 Alaska Highway -construction bypass- Interior Alaska :



Living in the far north has it's challenges, especially on maintaining roads which is a never ending battle due to the harsh terrain and the extreme climate temperatures it endures.

Hope this gives a better perspective for some that never traveled the far north region of what type of road conditions they are going to experience, so slow it down when needed if hauling a heavy rig of sorts.

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pianotuna
Traveler II
Traveler II
Nice post SideHillSoup
Regards, Don
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SideHillSoup
Explorer
Explorer
Hwy 2 between Grande Prairie Alberta and Dawson Creek BC has lots of frost heave “bumps” across both lanes of traffic.
Hwy 29 from Chetwynd BC / Hudson Hope BC to just north of Fort St. John mostly on the northern part hwy has patch work from pipeline work.
BC hwy 5 north of Kamloops BC to Valemount BC, pipeline work and paving.
Hwy 16 west to Prince George BC to Terrace BC bridge replacement / repair work in a few areas plus hwy work just west of Smithers BC.

If you have a few days and want a great place to back up to a lake with 30 amp power. Make a reservation for a few nights at Meziadin lake Provincial park. Try and get sites between numbers, 46 to 50 or 53, 54 or 55. Also make sure you stock up on anything you need before you get there including water in your rv tank and the sani dump is at Meziadin Jct PetroCan gas station ( they have diesel) which couple thousand feet past the turn off to the campground if coming from the south on Hwy 37. You can also purchase wifi in the campground for a small fee.
There are FCFS sites however when stayed there in June, the “lake front” FCFS sites were full by 11:am and every other camper that came in without reservations were up on the two benches above the lake side sites. That log roofed structure that is shown on the website below is on the 1st bench, the picture was probably taken from the top or second bench.
I reserved our site because my wife is from Stewart BC and we have stayed here before as well we stayed at her childhood friend who has a cabin down the lake from the campground.
The trailer in the picture is site #48, with #47 on the right.


Meziadin Lake PP.
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2017 Sierra SLE, 3500 HD / 4x4 / Duramax with a 6 speed Allison Trans
Torklift Super Hitch 20K, 48" Super Truss, front and rear frame mounted tie downs
Fast Gun Long Range SS Turnbuckles, Fast Gun locks

valhalla360
Traveler
Traveler
Just got back and for the most part, the roads were no different from the lower 48.

Only bad section was Destruction Bay to Tok but that was frost heaves not expansion joints.

Expansion joints are typical with Portland Cement Concrete (PCC...aka:the gray stuff). Asphalt Concrete (the black stuff) doesn't typically have them unless they used it to cap PCC which is generally considered a poor maintenance option in the last 20-25yrs, so it's becoming more and more rare. We didn't see much PCC along the route so not really an issue

Frost heaves tend to vary from year to year. Learn to watch for the cones/flags/skid marks and it's pretty easy to pick them up. Slow down ahead of time and they are typically a non-event.
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Johnny_G1
Explorer
Explorer
Even our gravel rds are better than most US pavement.
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enblethen
Traveler
Traveler
Canadian Highways have less of the expansion joints then in US.
Area around Burwash, Yukon has seemingly always been rough. Last time through it was being worked on.

Bud
USAF Retired
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StirCrazy
Traveler III
Traveler III
sounded like you were describing driving in California .. once you're on asphalt instead of concrete roads that usually goes away unless you are going through an area that is behind on their maintenance
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