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Thread: Haul road conditions and drive time

  1. #1
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Default Haul road conditions and drive time

    Can we start this thread and maybe keep it updated as the season gets into full swing? I am headed up for the first time on Aug 24 and have heard the gamut of stories about road conditions. I've had people in the shop this summer tell me everything from,"road's great, drove 50mph all the way up", to " awful stretch of so called road, took me forever and the speedo never broke 30 the whole trip". So I'm a little nervous and not quite sure what to expect. I grew up driving gravel country roads and think that my idea of a "good" road and someone else's may differ somewhat. If we cannot break 25-30mph I'm thinking it'll take more than a day to get from FBKS to Happy Valley.

    I know now we have some truckers on here, and maybe the archery guys who usually go up earlier will check in and give us a report. Just curious and think it might be a useful tool for first timers, like myself, and repeat veterans alike to have an up to date road report so we all know what to expect.

    Thanks guys.

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I leaving the 3rd or so and should be back before you leave to post a report. That road is like a river and changes from day to day depending on rain and traffic. With the rain we have been having I'm expecting the worst.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

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    Good thread! I'm heading up at the beginning of September for my first trip and look forward to seeing the updates on the road/conditions. I will add my report when I return.

    Question: Should I bring tire chains? If so, should I have a set for both front and back? I have a typical 1/2 ton truck with four wheel drive and good all season/all terrain 10 ply tires. I won't be pulling a trailer, so that's not a factor. We are planning on bringing two spares, but hopefully won't need them.

  4. #4
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I am heading up after work on Aug 6 - returning sometime before Aug 25. I have only driven up 2 times and it has taken me 14 hours from ANC both times to HV. I will be short of HV.

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Our line haulers rt fairbanks to the slope 3 times a week. Dont believe all the horror stories you hear. Do however expectto need a new wwindshield when you get home lol. Good road is all in the eyes of the driver. Some people think the new road through Cooper Landing is Awesome! Others. Its still a skinny little backboard and not a Highway. Everyone has an opinion.

  7. #7
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    Kenaiphisher....... like yourself, headed up Sept 5 and will keep an eye on this thread too. Never been North of Fairbanks before and couple I'm bringing have never been to Alaska so hope all goes well.

    Snowcamoman...... thanks for the link

  8. #8
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Basic Kit for the Haul Road

    -E rated tires (Anything less and you're gambling)
    -2 mounted spares
    -Tire plug kit with Slime or a small electric compressor
    -Handyman jack w/ a few pieces of 2x10 for a base
    -Oil filter and enough oil for a complete change (I have assisted 5 people stranded because a bouncing rock punctured their filter or oil pan)
    -Antifreeze & radiator leak stop (See oil above)
    -A 12v/110v inverter
    -A drill/driver with drill & driver bits
    -Assortment of 1" flanged hex-head self-tapping screws--various diameters 1/8 to 1/2 **EDIT** A piece of 14ga sheet steel and some snips and a tube of silicone
    -Thick walled O-rings to match the above self-tappers (for plugging punctured oil/tranny pans)
    -Spare wiper blades
    -2 gallons of wiper fluid
    -Spare air filter (especially for diesels) if it's dry the dust will be horrible
    -A 5 gal bucket and a window squeegee (DO NOT ROLL DOWN YOUR WINDOWS) If the road is wet, the spray from other vehicles will be thick with this super fine, muddy mist that sticks to everything. If you roll down your windows, some of this mud will lodge in your door seals and you will have dirt streaked windows forever (ask me how I know...)
    -Spare headlight/lamp
    -Tools appropriate to your vehicle
    -Tow straps/chains
    -Flares

    You will probably never get a punctured oil filter or pan but you could, and help up there is far away and stupid expensive. Most guys already have the stuff to cover the self-help option, they just need to take it with them.

    For items transported in the bed of the truck, carry a roll of HD trash bags and double bag anything exposed to the weather. Even "Dry" bags. I mean, who wants a dry bag you have to wash off before you dare open it?
    Last edited by Erik in AK; 07-25-2014 at 15:02. Reason: forgot some stuff
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  9. #9
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Follow-up on expedient oil pan repair:

    If you take a rock hit hard enough to puncture your oil pan most likely the crease in the metal will be small. To repair this get out your drill driver and plug the hole with the smallest diameter self-tapper/O-ring combo you think will do the job. Drive it right into the center of the hole, but don't over torque the screw!!! Just enough to compress the O-ring. Wipe away the oil and check for leaks. If needed, keep increasing the size of the screw until it seals, or at least slows to a slow drip (enough to limp home on). Be prepared to have some container to catch the oil--you may need to pour it back into the engine.

    If you sustain a big crack or hole you may need to fabricate a sealing plate from the piece of sheet metal. To do this first get the oil pan as clean as you can then trim the sheet steel to fit over the leak but make sure it's large enough so its edges lay flat against the oil pan. Clean the plate as needed and smear a thick coat of silicone on one side of the plate you just trimmed and wait for an hour (placing it on the dash of another vehicle with the defrost on will set it up faster). Once the first coat is dry enough to touch, smear on another thick coat and install by placing screws around the perimeter of the plate every 3/4" or so and 1/2" from the edge.

    After this step wait at least two hours. Add two quarts of oil and check for leaks--if you trimmed correctly there shouldn't be anything beyond a slow drip. If your patch passes this step top off your oil and start the truck. Let everything come to temp and monitor your oil pressure. Have someone rev the engine steady at moderate RPM and check for leaks as the monitor the oil pressure. If you don't have a major leak you're safe to limp back to Fairbanks and buy a new oil pan.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Basic Kit for the Haul Road

    -E rated tires (Anything less and you're gambling)
    -2 mounted spares
    -Tire plug kit with Slime or a small electric compressor
    -Handyman jack w/ a few pieces of 2x10 for a base
    -Oil filter and enough oil for a complete change (I have assisted 5 people stranded because a bouncing rock punctured their filter or oil pan)
    -Antifreeze & radiator leak stop (See oil above)
    -A 12v/110v inverter
    -A drill/driver with drill & driver bits
    -Assortment of 1" flanged hex-head self-tapping screws--various diameters 1/8 to 1/2 **EDIT** A piece of 14ga sheet steel and some snips and a tube of silicone
    -Thick walled O-rings to match the above self-tappers (for plugging punctured oil/tranny pans)
    -Spare wiper blades
    -2 gallons of wiper fluid
    -Spare air filter (especially for diesels) if it's dry the dust will be horrible
    -A 5 gal bucket and a window squeegee (DO NOT ROLL DOWN YOUR WINDOWS) If the road is wet, the spray from other vehicles will be thick with this super fine, muddy mist that sticks to everything. If you roll down your windows, some of this mud will lodge in your door seals and you will have dirt streaked windows forever (ask me how I know...)
    -Spare headlight/lamp
    -Tools appropriate to your vehicle
    -Tow straps/chains
    -Flares

    You will probably never get a punctured oil filter or pan but you could, and help up there is far away and stupid expensive. Most guys already have the stuff to cover the self-help option, they just need to take it with them.

    For items transported in the bed of the truck, carry a roll of HD trash bags and double bag anything exposed to the weather. Even "Dry" bags. I mean, who wants a dry bag you have to wash off before you dare open it?
    Where do the hunting gear and successful animals harvested go? Lol

  11. #11
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    Default haul road

    From Anch to Fairbanks- 6 hours
    Frairbanks to yukon river 3 hours
    Yukon river to coldfoot 3 hours
    coldfoot to happy valley 2 hours depends on snow going across the pass.
    most of the haul road is hard packed dirt or paved and u can go 60
    How do I know have gone every year for the last 6
    JUST BE CAREFUL WHEN TRUCKS PASS BECAUSE THEY DONT SLOW DOWN (ROCKS ON WINDSHIELD) ouch!!
    CAUTION!! DO NOT FALL ALSLEEP YOU WILL ROLL YOUR TRUCK ON MOST OF THE HAUL ROAD. GOOD LUCK








    QUOTE=The Kid;1411603]Can we start this thread and maybe keep it updated as the season gets into full swing? I am headed up for the first time on Aug 24 and have heard the gamut of stories about road conditions. I've had people in the shop this summer tell me everything from,"road's great, drove 50mph all the way up", to " awful stretch of so called road, took me forever and the speedo never broke 30 the whole trip". So I'm a little nervous and not quite sure what to expect. I grew up driving gravel country roads and think that my idea of a "good" road and someone else's may differ somewhat. If we cannot break 25-30mph I'm thinking it'll take more than a day to get from FBKS to Happy Valley.

    I know now we have some truckers on here, and maybe the archery guys who usually go up earlier will check in and give us a report. Just curious and think it might be a useful tool for first timers, like myself, and repeat veterans alike to have an up to date road report so we all know what to expect.



    Thanks guys.[/QUOTE]

  12. #12

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    I drive the road at least 6 times a year, usually more often. I've never used chains, haven't gotten a rock chip in my last 7 or 8 drives, have gotten one flat in the last 3 years. It takes me about 4&1/2 hours to get from Fairbanks to Coldfoot (260 miles) unless I'm stopping and calling or glassing somewhere along the way. The majority of that section is paved, and the next 40 miles north of Coldfoot is some of the best road in the state now. Real nice blacktop surface. The worst spots seem to be between MP1 of the Dalton to the Yukon River, then MP300'ish to Happy Valley, which is about 70 miles south of Deadhorse. In the summer I drive at night and in the winter I drive during the day. Slow down and pull over for the truckers, and only pass them going up hills or when they have slowed way down. Trying to pass a truck on gravel will litter your car with rocks, so it's always a good time for a stretch when you start coming up behind some.

  13. #13
    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Here is what pump 4 area looks like yesterday (Photo from Alaska Life)

    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

  14. #14
    Member Grayling Slayer's Avatar
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    If you want a little extra piece of mind you can add a sat phone to your gear list for $10/day.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

  15. #15

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    Better yet, armor the oil pan with sheet metal before you get going. Old road signs make good skid-plates. Ask me how I know. Oh I'll just show ya.


    Sent from headquarters.

  16. #16
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    Just talked to a guy who drove up here from Wasilla. My neighbor actually. I recognized his truck in Deadhorse. Anyways I stopped to chat with him and he said that he took a rock under his pickup. It hit hard!! He said that he stopped to look underneath and saw gear oil leaking. It hit the differential breather tower and snapped it off. So he whittled a stick he found to temporarily plug it and made it to Deadhorse for gear oil (in which he didn't bring) and a new tower. So if you drive and take a rock, and ya think it hits the undercarriage or wherever pretty hard, STOP. Check it out.
    If it's been raining, expect washboard. LOTS OF IT....
    Be courteous to the truckers. ALL of them... You'll most likely regret it if you don't... Just sayin"....

  17. #17
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigskyguy View Post
    Better yet, armor the oil pan with sheet metal before you get going. Old road signs make good skid-plates.
    Solid advice, actually. Skid plates are worth every penny if you're going to drive the Dalton, Steese, Elliot or Denali with any regularity.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  18. #18
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    In good driving conditions you can get up there to Slope Mountain or Happy Valley area in about 14-15 hours. Lots of variables are going to play into this, such as getting behind slow vehicles, road constructions, bad driving conditions etc. I've made 5 trips up and only had one flat.

    The first trip I had up there was a rough one, at least the drive home. I came around a corner going up hill and had an oncoming big rig that was flying down the hill. I didn't have much time as I couldn't see him coming around the corner. So we met each other going pretty fast. I swung as wide as I could and he threw rocks all over me, cracking my windshield. A short ways down the road, I noticed my temperature getting hot. I pulled over and got out to check under the hood and there was antifreeze pouring out. One of those rocks snuck it's way right through my grill and just caught my radiator.

    Thanks to some hwy workers with a sat phone, they called me a tow truck the next morning. It was a mess and very costly. Simply putting a mesh cover over your grill will solve this problem. I got one and put it on and don't worry about that happening again. Other things could happen but that's an easy preventative measure.

  19. #19
    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    I have made the trip (successfully) three times. 50 may be the speed limit but the road can be great for hundreds of miles and higher speeds are doable, as long as you can outrun the south bound truckers. Spare tires are cheap in Fairbanks, worth gold on the road. Chains are a must have. Atigun pass can be impassable in August. A CB radio is a great way to know what the truckers are doing or better yet what they want you to do. This one is cheap and easy to install and use, its the one I have.

    http://www.amazon.com/Midland-75-822...rds=midland+cb

    Fuel management is another factor to consider. Coldfoot can seem a long way away if fuel is running low, I don't carry more than I need so sharing is a bit iffy.

  20. #20

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    Call your insurance company and get towing insurance. I think it costs around a buck a month, but it is well worth it. I had an older truck that broke down 30 miles south of the Yukon, and the tow bill back to Fairbanks was almost $800, but insurance covered it.

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