12 weeks in Alaska, BC and Yukon - which style works best?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

tschonhoff

New member
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Posts
1
We've done this before as a couple, in a '91 Winnebago 22-foot "C" with a Toyota 6 Cyl.  We can probably list all the reasons nobody builds these any more, all from personal experience...

Now we have a young son who WILL be in a forward-facing seat with a shoulder belt, and a labrador who can fend for himself.  While we will stay put for a few days in a few places, there'll be a fair amount of driving time.  Here's the breakdown so far:

NEW CLASS C
Shortest bumper-to-bumper is a major plus, especially in restrictive areas, grocery store parking lots and so forth.  However, "short" means 26-30 feet minimum if we're getting enough floor space with slideouts to make our son and our dog comfortable on bad weather days.  Adding a third passenger seat (custom) takes a major bite out of the still-limited seating space.

NEW CLASS A
Plenty of room for all, maybe room for that third seat too.  But would YOU drive a 37-foot bus over the Top of the World Highway?  (my favorite recollection of this road was the description in the Milepost: "Warning: road bed has been mined."  It took a minute to realize that this was gold mining, not warfare.)

FIFTH WHEEL
Now we've solved the seating problem, with all of us sitting in some monstrous pickup truck together.  And we've got the option to cut loose the barge and head off on narrow twisty roads for day-trip adventures in the pickup.  But would YOU drive something with a combined length of 40-45 feet with a hinge in the middle over washboard gravel?  I have visions of metal fatigue on the hitch.

AIRSTREAM TRAILER
Same advantages as fifth wheel, but built like a small tank and (in my view) very pretty.  Also 3 feet less tall, an advantage in some areas.  Still 40 feet long all told, less interior room than the fifth wheel and (a guess here) a less stable towing arrangement even more prone to stress.

So... this is how I see the dilemma.  We have to choose where to accept compromise.  The question for you is which one will get me home after 10,000 miles feeling the best about my decision?

Good luck.  It makes my head hurt.
 

Ned

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Posts
25,107
Location
USA
We can't tell you what will make you feel best, but a number of us have made the trip to Alaska in various RVs.  Our trip reports are in the forum library if you would like to read them.  Most of us traveled in class A motorhomes with a car in tow, but some have also gone in 5th wheel and travel trailers.  I wouldn't recommend going in a motorhome without a toad, however.

We did take our 38' motorhome and toad over the TOW highway last summer and it was not fun.  The road was a continuous series of potholes and it was raining as well.  We were in the clouds for most of the trip so didn't even get to enjoy the views.  Next year might be completely different.  There is no way to predict the road conditions in Alaska.

Whatever you decide, it will be a fun trip.
 
O

oldcurios

Guest
Now we have a young son who WILL be in a forward-facing seat with a shoulder belt, and a labrador who can fend for himself.

We use doggie seat belts for our dogs.  It keeps them from becoming flying projectiles during an accident (who wants a 45 or 60 pound dog flying through the air at 60 miles an hour and slamming into the human occupants).  They have a short leash on one side and a seat-belt connector on the other.  You put your dog in a harness and clip the leash to it (between the dogs shoulderblades).  Our dogs adapted to them right away with no fuss.  You might consider using one.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
73,979
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
But would YOU drive a 37-foot bus over the Top of the World Highway?

Been there, done that. No sweat (though it was pretty dusty). As have a number of RVForum members, some in even larger coaches. Also drove ours into some gravel beds, a river bottom, and several Alaskan state parks that had been abandoned and overgrown.  Class A's aren't nearly as wimpy as some would believe. And if you get a modest size one (they come as small as 26 feet) it is certainly no worse than a typical Class C.
 

Wendy

Site Team
Joined
May 14, 2005
Posts
12,535
Location
Colorado
Don't know about Alaska, but our 28-foot Class A has a dinette with seatbelts (the kid could be belted in and have a table to play on) and plenty of room with the slide out. We also have a labradork (95-pounds) and have a collapsible kennel that fits in the aisle when the slide is in.

Me, I plan on stashing the VW Vanagon at Mom & Dad's place in Oregon and some day talking Mike into taking IT to Alaska....it'll go anywhere.

Wendy
cold in Pahrump, Nevada
 

BernieD

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2005
Posts
5,875
Location
Goodyear, AZ
We drove our 40' coach plus toad across the TOW a couple of years ago. We were lucky to have excellent weather which led to a lot of dust, but we had great views and, except for the dirt, no issues regarding the size of the coach and the highway.
 

Carl L

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
7,239
Location
west Los Angeles
AIRSTREAM TRAILER
Same advantages as fifth wheel, but built like a small tank and (in my view) very pretty.  Also 3 feet less tall, an advantage in some areas.  Still 40 feet long all told, less interior room than the fifth wheel and (a guess here) a less stable towing arrangement even more prone to stress.

Gotta story: 

Wife and I were in the Bronco four wheeling along the Cathedral Valley Loop Road -- a rough 4-wheel road in the backcountry of Capitol Reef NP in Utah.  We had reached the Valley itself, and were getting ready to cross an arroyo, when we encountered a group of Mormon ranchers conducting their annual spring roundup -- they have grazing riights in the NP.  We paused to let the buckaroos and cattle to clear the arroyo crossing.  As we sat there, a pickup driven by two ranch women pulling a small Terrry travel trailer showed up behind the roundup -- evidently the modern version of the chuck wagon. 

The ladies waved us on so we went down into the arroyo and up the other side and halted past them.  They then drove down into the arroyo and up the other side towing the trailer behind them and went away up the canyon, following the round up.

Now I don't know how big the chuck holes are on the TOW, I left AK a long time ago, but I doubt they are bigger than that Utah dry gulch.
 
Top Bottom