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Thread: Alaska Bound 2011

  1. #1
    pdodgson
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    Alaska Bound 2011

    Thinking of this for summer 2011 ( July and/or Aug)

    Will start Journey near Toronto/ Detroit area

    Feedback welcome on what to expect and suggested routing

  2. #2
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
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    I rode from Wisconsin to Anchorage and Homer the end of June thru July this past summer. After riding north from Minot, ND, I crossed Canada via TC-1 to Calgary, then up thru Banff, Jasper, Prince George and finaly the Alcan from Dawson Creek to Tok, AK and beyond. It's an amazing trip and I dream of doing it again, now that I know what to expect. The fear factor of riding alone took away some of the enjoyment, but I've never had such an experience before in my life.
    PM me if you want to read my journal of it.And good luck. The wildereness is amazing.
    Karen Jacobs
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    MOA-133005, RA32109, IBA #37923

  3. #3
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Welcome

    Welcome to the forum.

    It will be helpful if you fill out your profile and give folks a little info about yourself; it may assist in formulating a response.

    When you come to Alaska are you planning on riding some of the many dirt roads or are you planning to stick to the pavement? Are you a camper? How much time do you have to make the trip?

    Buy a Milepost. It is an annotated map book of the Alaskan and the western Canadian road network; it provides very detailed descriptions of what is available along the roads. A new version is published yearly.

    Plan to ride for long periods in 40 degree temperatures and rain; plan to ride for long periods of sunny weather in the 70-80s. Plan for bugs; deet is good. Have a plan for maintenance services and tires. Shop time can be difficult to come by in summer time Alaska; pre-arranging an appointment will save you time; probably not the time to get a major service done if it can be avoided. There is a BMW shop in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks. Don't carry tires; there are places up here that will hold tires for you if you call ahead.

    Western Canada is not just a long driveway to Alaska. Plan to take the time to enjoy the ride through BC and the YT. Vary your route up and down; ALCAN up, Cassiar down and maybe throw in a ferry ride so you can see Southeast Alaska (Ketchikan, Wrangle, Juneau).

    The Alaska sub-forum over on Adventure Rider is a great place to ask questions and get info. There are inmates over there that have many decades of riding experience in Alaska and the Canadian northwest: go here.
    Last edited by AKBeemer; 12-12-2010 at 05:14 AM.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  4. #4
    pdodgson
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    More info

    My apologies for being new to these forums and not having my info more fully formed before my 1st post. I have updated

    Regarding this trip

    Will be meeting a fellow that is coming north from Reno
    He has GS and I have Adventure
    We are both not working and time is flexible for both of us. He would like to go to Deadhorse

    Not interested in Camping

  5. #5
    Bruce_H
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    even if you are not interested in camping I'd consider haveing a sleeping bag and tent just in case you get stuck. I have been stuck and rode half the night. now don't leave home with out it unless there is a for sure situation. Alaska is not light the rest of the lower 48 where you can get something on another street corner.

  6. #6
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Good idea to carry some just-in-case camping gear. A sleeping bag and small tent or bivibag for example. That being said, try not to overload your bike. I'm amazed at the stuff I see people carrying up here.

    While on the ALCAN you'll find plenty of places to stay. Generally a good idea to stop earlier rather than later as the motels can fill-up in the early evening. I find that it is best to start early and quit early on the ALCAN at any rate to avoid the RV convoys. Whitehorse is one place that finding a room can often be difficult. I'd recommend calling ahead; you can find a listing of motels on the web. In Fairbanks you can stay in the dorms on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks; details are here. You'll definately need reservations in Deadhorse and I'll guess you will be staying in Wiseman or Coldfoot on the way up and down. Best choice is to eat in Coldfoot and sleep in Wiseman; again the web can provide phone numbers. Plan to eat at least once at the Hot Spot Cafe at 5 Mile Camp (5 Miles North of the Yukon).

    The Cassier presents far fewer places to stay other than camping. The Milepost will tell you where you can get lodging and you'll need to structure your ride around their locales.


    Good side trips are Hyder Alaska (should be bears there during your time frame); Skagway (touristy but fun); Valdez (do you fish? They ship and you might get several hundred pounds of halibut and Silver salmon); Manley Hotsprings (like going back to Mayberry RFD); and Dawson City YT (if your timing is right you might get to Dust 2 Dawson, info here.)
    Last edited by AKBeemer; 12-13-2010 at 06:54 PM.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  7. #7
    pdodgson
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    Alaska info

    Current discussion is when best to go

    We were thinking of leaving Detroit area May 15th and return back in 6 weeks for the end of June

    This would put us in Alaska around 1st of June I am presuming in black fly season ( or the local variety of these nasty bugs)

    14-15,000 KMS or 9000 miles round trip it seems

  8. #8
    Registered User Beemer01's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Timing -

    I won't presume to trump AKBeemer's knowledge, but a couple of additional thoughts.

    Late May and early June is clearly before bug season up there, and that's a good thing. I was in Deadhorse in early June in 2009 and temps were about 34F with melting snow everywhere. You can expect the Brooks Range to still have deep snow and avalanches occasionally closing the Haul Road. I had heated gear and grips and it was used 80% of the trip. Bugs no..... snow and ice yes.

    You will almost certainly do some camping.

    That time of year you have no night, your internal clocks adjust and it was common for us to log 16 hour days in the saddle.

    You're allowing a lot of time so be sure to ride the Dempster, Campbell, Denali Highway and other legendary North Country dirt roads.

    Knobbies are not optional - I carried a set up there and changed in Watson Lake. You may wish to carry one extra fuel can - your Adventure will be fine, but the GS will run dry on a few of these roads.

    Trip report - http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread.php?t=38263

  9. #9
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    May June is drier than July August. In our two trips - both in June we had 3 rainy days total for both trips. 2011 could be different of course, but earlier is drier almost all years.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  10. #10
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    We started in SE AK, in early June and it is likely to rain many days. Thats the way it is there and still a place to enjoy! When back on a fly-in wilderness lake the weather alternated : cold/rain/sun with rain predominate & the "sun" days something to dream about! When we hiked up in the mountains(low mtns) away from the lake it was snow , slush & bare ground as winter went away. As we later went further north in June, for the rest of the month, winter was long gone and the weather was great. Few skeeters & black flies, but not as many as I've seen in Canada in summer.

  11. #11
    BACKROAD.ADV
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    My suggestions would be take Hwy 16 to the Cassiar Hwy then north.

    A side trip to Prince Rupert for some R&R at Eagle Bluff B&B and some good seafood and then backtrack to the Cassiar, with a visit to Stewart BC/ Hyder, Alaska.

    A little eye candy below____________

    Eagle Bluff B&B (right on the water and in walking distance to everything-was reasonably priced when I was there -excellent breakfast as well)



    Bear Glacier in 2004 (much smaller now):



    Prince Rupert Harbour:



    Stewart, BC: (Bitter Creek Cafe had excellent fresh salmon on cedar plank-cooked to perfection)



    Which ever way you go--it will be a great trip.

    Enjoy

    Backroad ADV

    Question: can you put your motorcycle on the train in Ontario and then get off in Jasper?


  12. #12
    pdodgson
    Guest

    Lots of Rain

    A very wet trip indeed

    The Prairies had rain, the mountains had rain, the Dalton had rain ( and snow June 30th)

    When the ceiling was high enough it was beautiful.

    A very nice trip in any event and the GSA was perfect for this type of adventure in the mud.

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