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Thread: Help Me Plan My Ride To Alaska This Summer

  1. #1
    Registered User stkmkt1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Tremont, IL

    Help Me Plan My Ride To Alaska This Summer

    Hello Everyone. In late June this year I'm heading off on a 30 day ride from Central Illinois to Deadhorse in Northern Alaska. The only thing I have planned is that I must be in Salem, Oregon on July 17th, to meetup with my wife for the BMW Rally.

    I would like ride up to Alaska, then hit the Rally, then ride down Highway 1 and then back home to Illinois. It's a lot of riding I know, but I'm used to that.

    The purpose of this trip is to try something out. I want my Youtube viewers to plan out the trip by giving me ideas on what roads they would like me to take, what sights to see along the way, and maybe interesting people they would like me to meet. I will incorporate their suggestions into a trip, record the trip, and share it back. So here is a little video, I have put up on Youtube. Please take a look and share any ideas you have. Then be sure to follow me as I prepare for the trip and head out on a ride that you the viewers have designed.

    I know many of you have already taken just such a ride. So I'm counting on your expertise. And even if you have not ridden to Alaska, maybe you know some fun roads or places to see along the way that you would like to share with others.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    '09 BMW 1200 GSA, 2013 BMW 700GS, 2000 Goldwing SE, '09' V Star 950, '09 Honda Rebel,
    '77 Honda 750A. Holding at six til I get new garage built - need more room for more bikes!

  2. #2
    sounds like a great trip. 30 days doesn't seem like enough time. How far down Hwy 1 will you come? The Oregon coast is spectacular... as is NorCal.
    Tom - MOA #156706, Hayward, CA
    2006 BMW R1200GS Adventure, aka "Gretel"
    1983 Honda V65 Magna - SOLD

  3. #3
    Registered User Beemer01's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Chicago, Ill

    Time -

    I did this trip from Chicago in 2009 and my total time was 17 or 18 days. 30 days is doable, but you'll have a few Iron Butt days. General Note - this time of year is peak tourist season, which will significantly slow down your riding.

    My trip report -

    A few must ride roads -

    Icefields Parkway - amazing views, but you'll face some traffic this time of the year.

    As you go North the number of roads drops and drops until you have only one road - the Dalton.

    It looks like you are riding a GS, so in my report you'll see that we sought out the endless gravel roads of the Campbell, The Dempster, the Denali Highway and of course the Dalton. Knobbies are a really, really good idea, as you'll be facing cold rainy muddy days - probably quite a few. Heated jacket liner is mandatory yada yada yada. Mosquitoes and other flying bugs are brutally savage that time of year, so bring a lot of quality bug dope and a head net...the plus side is that you'll see amazing flowers every where to somewhat offset the bug hassle.

    The Alaska Highway is mandatory.... and under constant reconstruction...this equals delays, and more dust then you can imagine. Gas stations are occasionally 350 miles apart so even with a GSA, I'd bring an extra gallon or so on the bike.

    Interesting people - yeah, just like the old TV show Northern Exposure - there are a lot of 'end of the roaders' up there. Gold miners, arms dealers, Chinese that speak only Chinese, hookers - you name it. Take pictures of the people - you'll cherish these the most years down the road.

    I'm far from an expert - others will chime in with their ideas and thoughts.

  4. #4
    Prefers to play martinph's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Armstrong, BC
    Have you considered taking the Stewart - Cassiar (Hwy 37) one way?

    You could then see 'Ksan: First Nations Museum and Historic Totem Poles. Also drive out Kispiox Valley Road to Kispiox Village where you can see some beautiful Totem Poles. There are fifteen Totem Poles along the river where the Kispiox and Skeena River combine into just the Skeena.
    Martin. BMW MOA Ambassador.17748
    BMW MOA Charter, Life member.
    Valley BMW Riders. British Columbia.

  5. #5
    On the Road
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Tucson/Haines, AK
    Having made the trip many times, I also suggest the Cassiar at least one way. You will miss the Liard Hot Springs but it is much nicer and you save a lot of time. Be sure to take the Haines Highway down to Haines from haines Junction. It is a beautiful ride and Haines is a cool town. You can also catch the ferry back to Bellingham Washington from Haines if you elect to ferry back.

  6. #6
    Registered User DOUGLASRLAIRD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Reno, Nevada, UAA

    Dalton Highway

    Bring your electrics and make sure you have good rain gear. We rode from Reno to Deadhorse and back in 2011 and it rained 19 of 21 days. I'd planned two days from Fairbanks to Deadhorse and two days back. The only two Sunny days on the trip were the day I rode from Fairbanks to Deadhorse and the day I rode back to Fairbanks. What luck. Pretty much 60 to 70mph the entire trip up and back. If it had been raining I don't think I'd have attempted it, even on my GS.

    Make sure you have MedJetAssist or something similar.
    Doug Laird

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