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Thread: Everything I learned riding the Dalton (Haul Road) up to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay

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  1. #1
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Everything I learned riding the Dalton (Haul Road) up to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay

    I stand on the shoulder of giant here (yet again). Thank you everyone who has posted info over the last many years. I spent 6 years waiting to complete this trip (previous ride report attached) and I'll eventually get around to writing up a ride report about my Iron Butt Association Ultimate Coast to Coast.

    If you haven't read the “Haul Road Primer part 1 and 2” by Alcan Rider on ADVRider, you should - he does a better job than I ever will. I'd also find a copy of “The Milepost” - it's a great resource too.

    I chose to do this trip solo, but met quite a few individuals who were riding up or back to Alaska and the Haul Road. I urge you to take the time and chat with other riders, I was able to glean a good amount of info from everyone I talked to.

    Route:
    I rode up to Alaska via the Alaska Highway and down the Cassiar Highway. Other than seeing the glaciers outside of Hyder/Stewart, I thought the Alaska highway was more scenic with more animal encounters.


    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Bike decisions:

    I've seen plenty of pictures of full-dresser Harley's and Goldwings that have made the trip. I don't think I'm that good of a rider, so I chose a BMW F800GS with a 7.5L aux Camel Tank and a separate 1.25 gallon gas can strapped on the back. I had done quite a bit to this bike to prepare it for what I thought may lay ahead (see build here). I wanted to maximize my chances of making it without problems or injury, so IMHO, a smaller (500-900cc's) adventure bike is probably the best bike for this trip. You ride your own ride.

    I chose to change tires in Minnesota and keep them on for the whole trip. I went with a Dunlop Trailmax Mission for the front tire and a Motoz Tractionator GPS tire for the rear. Both had plenty of life left upon returning home. I think both were appropriate for the gravel and tar that I experienced on this ride. I'm not sure there's anything (outside of a true off-road knobby) that can deal with the greasy road when the Dalton is wet.




    Even with a front fender extender, you'll still take some road with you (this was at the half way point in Prudhoe Bay)
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Weather window:
    I decided to leave in mid-June and was lucky to have a perfect weather window. I had rain for two 8-hour portions of a riding day during my my whole trip. I doubt it's ever this perfect. The mosquitoes were out in full-force, but it was still cold in many areas (down to 40 degrees in Prudhoe) and I briefly saw the upper 30's on the Icefield parkway. I had 90+ degrees on the way back home for a day.




    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Packing decisions:
    As noted above, prepare for both extremes. I wore an Aerostich R3 1-piece Roadcrafter. I had several pairs of pants and shorts, short sleeve and long sleeve shirts, unders, baseball and stocking hats, one merino wool neck tube/buff, and one no-insect neck tube/buff (that would come in handy when stopped for construction, as any gap in your riding gear will be easily found by 100,000 mosquitoes quickly), sweatshirt, my heated Aerostich vest (don't leave home without one, seriously), 2 different gloves (elkskin ropers and mesh) with the Aerostich waterproof overmitts, a light running jacket, pair of walking shoes, and merino wool socks. The only thing I wish I would have also packed was a set of long underwear, but I was able to easily find a set Canadian Tire in Whitehorse. I tried to keep most of this to 2-3 sets of each, to keep down on weight, but I did have to do laundry twice over the 15 days I was gone. I belive the lower weight and packing space saved was worth it for this minor inconvenience.

    I also carried a Garmin inReach device that would allow for my family to track me throughout the trip while also being able to use 2-way messaging and SOS capabilities in an emergency.

    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Bike tools:
    I carried an F800-specific bike repair kit from Cruz Tools.
    In addition I also brought along: Motionpro chain slack tool, Motionpro PBR chain breaker, 4ft section of small, clear hose (in case I needed to siphon gas), BestRest tire changing kit and two spoon-style tire levers, one spare tube for the front 21” wheel, one spare tube for the rear 17” wheel (I was told that neither tube would work in the opposite wheel, both tubes were in their original box, then vacuum sealed in a plastic bag to prevent wear and tear), small multimeter, spare fuses for my fuseblock (the bike has a CANbus system), rubber gloves, BestRest tire inflator, stick tire gauge, first aid kit with extra bandaids plus a Israeli field bandage, emergency space blanket, Leatherman multitool, 20ft of paracord, tube of loctite, tube of JB weld 2-part metal epoxy, tube of super glue, and a bike cover.

    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Roof over my head:

    I found that hotels booked the same day via Priceline were very reasonable ($60-75 Canadian) throughout Canada, so I did sometimes opt to do that over tenting (which was generally $20-35 Can). I stayed at the Watson Lake campground which is west of town, the Sourdough Campground in Tok (their cafe wasn't open due to the building collapsing because of the excessive snow they received in the winter), Dease Lake provincial park, and the Yukon Motorcycle Campground in Whitehorse. All were wonderful.

    Rooms on the Dalton are expensive, as it's supply/demand. I camped in Coldfoot on the way up/down, which was free, but the showers were $14 (totally worth it). I did get a hotel in Fairbanks too, but that was not ideal (expensive and the place should be closed/condemned, PM me and I'll tell you where not to stay).







    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
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    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    There are sections of the Dalton that were paved in the early 2000’s. The last time I was on the haul road in 2011 the were in very bad shape and worse to ride on than the gravel. I suspect they were covered with dirt/gravel at some point.

    I knew the man who worked for AKDOT and was responsible for the maintenance of the Dalton. He told me the purposely kept the first 20 miles of the southern end of the Dalton in a rough and bumpy state. The hope was that it would deter tourists.
    Kevin Huddy
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  8. #8
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post

    I knew the man who worked for AKDOT and was responsible for the maintenance of the Dalton. He told me the purposely kept the first 20 miles of the southern end of the Dalton in a rough and bumpy state. The hope was that it would deter tourists.
    I could see that!
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT, 2013 F800GS
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
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