Miss the part about how we got here? Read about how the Alcan ate our trailer, and watch the first video!
Back on the Alaskan Highway, Giving Thanks
The more people I talk to, the more warranted I believe the dramatic tone is in my first post and video about our exciting events over the past week. I still need to create another video detailing how those couple days go down, so please stay tuned…
“Oh you guys are lucky.”
Jason from Capital Towing, was the friendliest, most helpful tow truck driver I have ever dealt with. Canadians are just that way eh. CoachNet deserves another shout-out for sending them to the rescue out in the middle of nowhere–literally. It was a 5+ hour drive back to Whitehorse from the spot where our leaf spring broke in the middle of nowhere.
We were told the truck would be there by 1:00 p.m. the next day. So after spending the night in a quaint and clean Yukon motel, we got back to our rig on the side of the road around 9:00 a.m. What a beautiful site it was to see Jason waiting for us. “No worries. I’ve been here since about six,” he said. Do the math, his clock had started ticking at midnight. I quickly put our spare on the trailer, and immediately noticed how close the tires were together. There are just too many close calls to get into here…
After profusely apologizing for keeping him waiting, we discovered none of our worst fears had become reality. Nobody had broken in. The rig had not burned down. It was still intact, and upright. Next came the challenge of getting our trailer onto his.
“Usually these things are on their side.” Grinning at his comment, I looked at the steep gravel shoulder, and gave thanks for our Tire Pressure Monitoring System which quickly alerted us to the issue. Had I not immediately pulled over after hearing the TPMS beep, we could have broken another spring and left our axle behind, causing much more serious damage to our trailer, our truck, or even ourselves.
Backing our home up onto that low-boy hauler on the side of the highway–with a broken leaf spring–was some of the most exciting maneuvering I’d done since logging the Upper Ranch while workamping at Vickers. Then came the long drive back.
It was heartbreaking to see our home sitting on a trailer in the highway in front front of us.
Rene will have to tell you more about the Grizzly Bear momma and her cubs who we saw right out her window on our way back to Whitehorse, after passing our home on the highway.
One of the good things that came of this whole ordeal…the Yukon spirits were certainly working in our favor.
Getting off that trailer was almost as much fun as backing up onto it.
All went about as good as could be expected, or better. Until we realized our rear trailer tire wouldn’t roll. Well, it did, just in the wrong directions since it was rubbing on the front one.
Wyatt was so good during this whole situation, until he saw his doghouse show up. When Jason arrived with our home, he flipped out! And then we were home, again. Home sweet home…
Did we mention this was Canada Day? At least we got free camping for the long weekend–with electric–over the three days we waited for the shop to open. Dreading the expense and long wait we were expecting the whole time.
“This isn’t as bad as we thought.” Those rank up there with the best words I’ve ever heard. After our ordeal, I needed to hear that. All the folks at Tamarack Welding & The Spring Shop were friendly and helpful, they even dropped by to check on us over the holiday weekend before they opened on Tuesday. Many thanks again to CoachNet for finding the right people for the right job!
Tamarack Welding and Spring Repair gets the job done right. They got it done quick, and at an affordable price–much less expensive that we expected.
What did we have done? We basically had Tamarack rebuild our entire trailer suspension. One spring set was broken, and two shock absorber mounts had sheared off. We replaced all the (4-leaf) springs we had with new 6-leaf spring sets. The guys at Tamarack even reinforced the shock absorber mounts, since the welding job done during manufacturing was clearly not up to par.
What We Learned on the Way to Alaska
Recreational Vehicle trailer suspensions are built to the absolute minimum specification–and that is to the vehicle dry weight! We had prepared the best we could for this trip. We serviced our truck. We had all new tires. But in all the research we did, we read nothing about the lacking stock suspension in the vast majority of travel trailers.
If you’re planning a similar journey, and do one thing to prepare for a trip along the Alaska Highway, reconsider your suspension! If you travel in a trailer, and it is more than five years old, stop at Tamarack in Whitehorse and upgrade the springs before you head north of Destruction Bay! You may prevent some serious destruction.
Did I mention that we also have the CoachNet tire coverage? Getting a free replacement tire, with no questions asked was another thing that made this whole ordeal, just that much easier! Another important lesson for other full-time travelers: Roadside assistance is a must!
And, we discovered the importance of being grateful for those who help you along the way…including those Yukon spirits that helped save the day.