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Author Topic: Top Of The World to Alaska?  (Read 480 times)

Dougie Brown

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Top Of The World to Alaska?
« on: May 27, 2018, 02:10:33 PM »
We're hearing differing opinions going Dawson City to Chicken. What's the jury's verdict - pros and cons - please?

Dougie.
2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G (F53 chassis, Ford 6.8 V10 gas)
1999 Ford Escort SE (2.0L 4cyl gas)
Brits spending half each year in the US and/or Canada
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ArdraF

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2018, 02:26:06 PM »
We've done the Dawson City to Chicken to Tok route twice and I'm not sure it's worth the effort.  The scenery is said to be beautiful, but we wouldn't know because visibility was very poor both times, which were years apart.  The road up from the Yukon River to Chicken can be hair-raising for the passenger because of steep drop-offs - the driver really has to pay attention!  The first time we went there was an interesting stretch between Chicken and Tok where the roadbed had been undermined by gold miners.  That was rough going.  Driving in Alaska can be quite an adventure - or not!  By the way, Tok is where you wash the mud off your rig which was necessary both times.

ArdraF
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Dougie Brown

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2018, 04:13:25 PM »
So how much of any of these stretches are unpaved?

Dougie.
2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G (F53 chassis, Ford 6.8 V10 gas)
1999 Ford Escort SE (2.0L 4cyl gas)
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ArdraF

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2018, 04:40:29 PM »
Dougie, paved is a relative term in Alaska.  There's a term they use up there that means it's what I call semi-paved - but the word escapes me just now (anyone know it???).  What I'm referring to is a very hard packed surface that stands up pretty well on the permafrost but it's not asphalt.  The road to Chicken may be paved now, but it wasn't on our trips; it was that hard-packed stuff.  Someone else may be able to provide more recent information on it.

All the road repairs have to be done during the few short summer months so there can be very long stretches of gravel (actually shale in many cases) during construction.  It varies every year according to where there's the most need for repairs.  The place I mentioned where the road had been undermined was really bad and we just had to pick and choose our way through the mess.  Hopefully they no longer allow that to happen - it was about 1985.

Alaska is not a place where you want to hurry because the roads are built on permafrost and get what are called frost heaves - real whoop-de-dos that can cause you to go airborne if you hit one too fast.  Obviously not good for a vehicle's suspension!  In any case, Alaska is a beautiful place and I hope you can take a good chunk of time to really enjoy it.  And don't forget to get a copy of the latest Milepost before going.  Have fun up there!

ArdraF
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BigLarry

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2018, 05:52:24 PM »
We pulled our TT from Dawson City to Chicken in 2010.  Very little of it was paved when we did it.  If there has not been a rain in several days, its not a problem.  Some portions can be really muddy.  When we went through there were some rutted areas but no mud.

Unless it has changed, I would watching the weather and not attempt it during or just after a rain.

Larry and Betty
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Chet18013

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2018, 07:29:22 AM »
We travel it a year ago. There is an 11 mile stretch on the US side just west of the boarder that was paved and great. All the rest of the way from Chicken to Dawson City was not paved. We were unfortunate and it started to rain about 5 miles east of chicken and rained the rest of the day. When we got to Dawson City the coach and the toad was totally covered with mud. Took me almost a hour with the pressure washer to get the worst of it off. If you go this route, I suggest waiting at least two days for the road to dry after a rain  before trying it.

The road was well graded and not a bad drive except for the mud. We've done it twice, once in the rain and once on a beautiful sunny day. If you're lucky and get a sunny day, go for it, make sure the front of your toad is protected from the gravel that the coach will throw up.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 07:31:09 AM by Chet18013 »
Chet18013
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2018, 08:24:19 AM »
Agree with the others.  It is best done when it has been dry for 2-3 days. When rainy, it's a mudhole. When really dry, its a dust bowl. We hit it just right back in 2002, but many others have had poor conditions.

We really enjoyed our visits to Chicken and Dawson City, but were unimpressed with the scenery on Top of the World Hwy. You can see a long way, but there isn't much to see except forested mountains in the distance. Many other Alaska highways are more interesting, in our opinion. Crossing Top of the World was more about bragging rights than scenic views or wildlife.  However, if you want to go to Dawson City (a really cool town!), TOW is the only realistic route to Chicken.  Once you get to Chicken, the Taylor Hwy down to Tok is excellent and a pleasant drive.
Gary
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SargeW

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2018, 10:40:07 AM »
We went to Alaska in 2012, one of the rainiest on record. We debated doing the TOW highway too. Then we got news at one of our stops that a MH had rolled off of the road bed on one of the narrow portions of the climb, probably due to all the rain. No one was hurt, but it ended their trip. 

So we passed on taking the MH up that route and instead drove the Jeep up.  Easy stuff.
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Dougie Brown

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2018, 11:12:47 AM »
Thanks a lot for those helpful replies. They make the decision easy! We're giving it a miss as neither party is prepared to potentially subject our RVs to that amount of abuse for relatively no good reason.

Much appreciated.

Dougie.
2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G (F53 chassis, Ford 6.8 V10 gas)
1999 Ford Escort SE (2.0L 4cyl gas)
Brits spending half each year in the US and/or Canada
www.rv-and.us

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2018, 11:42:53 AM »
Spend a couple days in Tok and take the toad on a day trip up to Chicken, AK.  It's not all that far and one of the iconic places on an Alaska tour. It's been modernized somewhat since we were there, but still ought to be a fun stop.
https://www.chickenalaska.com/

Dawson City is really unique and I encourage a visit there, but it's a lengthy side trip from Whitehorse. You would probably need to devote 4-5 days to get there and back with a couple days in town. We were there in September for the annual Outhouse Race, which is a real hoot!

https://dawsoncity.ca/discover-dawson/
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 11:44:29 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
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ArdraF

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2018, 03:49:55 PM »
We also really enjoyed Dawson City, on both trips.  There's actually a lot to see and do there.  We took a walking tour of town and our guide was excellent so we learned a lot.

ArdraF
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BigLarry

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2018, 06:00:31 PM »
We took a day trip up to Eagle while staying at Chicken.  We thought that was the highlight of our stay at Chicken.  The cannon going off at 9:00 in the evening was also a surprise the first time it went off!
Larry and Betty
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AStravelers

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Re: Top Of The World to Alaska?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2018, 07:12:39 PM »
We're hearing differing opinions going Dawson City to Chicken. What's the jury's verdict - pros and cons - please?

Dougie.
I guess, what is your interest and the amount if time you are going to devote to your Alaska trip.  If you are wanting a bit of an adventure, going to unusual places, taking your time and just moving as conditions warrant, then going to Dawson City, YT then TOW Hwy to Tok, AK  is well worth the time.

For some detailed info to help you make an informed decision here is a link to our 6 day travel from Tok, AK to Dawson City, YT:  http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/2017/01/tok-to-dawson-yt-via-top-of-world-totw.html

Also there is the possibility of a side trip 40 miles up the Dempster Hwy to Tombstone Territorial Park.  More info about this side trip:  http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/2016/09/tombstone-territorial-park-yt-august-11.html

Al & Sharon
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