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Thread: Alaska Highway

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Alaska Highway

    Hi Folks:

    I and couple of others are planning a three week trip doing the Alaska Highway along with a couple of side trips. Needless to say, three weeks on the road becomes a bit expensive what with accommodations and meals etc so I'm looking at alternatives. I am 72 years old so camping in a pup tent on the ground is not what it used to be.

    I towed trailers thousands of miles behind my Gold Wing but that was a 300 pound plus heavier motorcycle. I am thinking of buying a very small tow-behind camping trailer that is light enough to haul with my 2017 R1200GS. Can anyone offer me any suggestions, regarding brands and models of trailers, towing with the GS, etc.

    Thanks

    Ron

  2. #2
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Are you planning on sticking to strictly paved roads? I spent all of June in AK, the Yukon, NWT, and BC. Even on paved roads the roughness and frost heaves can make a trailer a handful. Two riders I met on the trip were mounted on GS bikes and towing trailers. They were obviously experienced riders and had no real issues on pavement, but the combination of unpaved surfaces and wet weather meant slow going and a fair degree of instability when the road got rough and wet.

    I stayed in several campgrounds along the way that had camping cabins available. Cost was somewhere between a campsite and a motel room, and those were a nice break from tent camping. It also makes a difference *when* you go, as rates go up once tourist season is in full swing. In June, campsites and rooms had good availability and since some of the motels were just in the process of re-opening wings that had been shut down for winter their rates had not yet jumped.
    Best,
    DG
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST — 1984 R80 G/S PD — 1993 R100GS — 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C — 2010 K1300GT
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  3. #3
    SiR SiReese's Avatar
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    Smile trip to Alaska and back from Upper Michigan

    Last year from June 16 to July 7, my son and I took out 2015 R1200RT and 2004 R1100S to Alaska and back. I left from Upper Michigan and my son from Minneapolis. We had paved roads the whole way. Up to Moose Jaw then to the West to Banff Provincial Park. Then, up to the Alaskan Highway to Tok and down to Anchorage. We spent a few days around Anchorage and Whittier. Took the ferry across to Valdez. Took the Alcan back to North Dakota and home. All in three weeks and camped the whole way. I'm 68 and my son is 39. Had rain but we both have Aerostich Roadcrafters so no trouble. Great sights, especially recommend Banff and Jasper Provincial parks. Almost every camp area we ran across had power in a large generator, a small eatery, and a few rooms to rent. Gas was not an issue. My son needed to furl up about 170 to 200 miles and did not haven problems that weren't self inflicted. Recommend you bring a gallon of gas along, just incase...
    '15 R1200RTw, '10 K1300S, '74 R90S
    Amateur Radio - KE8KF
    BMWMOA #5245

  4. #4
    Sounds like possibly the wrong camping gear.

    Instead of a pup tent you have to belly crawl in and out of, try something with a higher roof.

    https://plus2clothing.com/10-best-tents-tall-people/

    Instead of sleeping on the ground, invest in a low tent cot similar to this...

    https://www.amazon.com/DESERT-WALKER...ert+walker+cot

    Add an inflatable sleeping pad and pillow for extra comfort...

    https://www.amazon.com/KYQ-Ultraligh...20241055&psc=1

    I had given up camping for hoteling, I thought for good, but I am recently rediscovering it both for financial reasons (as an old retiree on fixed means) and because it brings some joy and travel freedom. I had to first begin a regimen of physical and dietary conditioning to allow it. I now weigh less, eat less, and move / fold up easier than before. These benefits extend to all areas of my life. I'm trying now to get old more slowly rather than plunging, as I was, headfirst down the tube of decline.

    When I mentally compare the rigors of camping to the rigors of dragging a trailer through Alaska behind a 600 lb. bike, I'm thinking that camping comes out way ahead.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1976 R75/6 - 1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  5. #5

    Right On

    Quote Originally Posted by beemerphile View Post
    Sounds like possibly the wrong camping gear.

    Instead of a pup tent you have to belly crawl in and out of, try something with a higher roof.

    https://plus2clothing.com/10-best-tents-tall-people/

    Instead of sleeping on the ground, invest in a low tent cot similar to this...

    https://www.amazon.com/DESERT-WALKER...ert+walker+cot

    Add an inflatable sleeping pad and pillow for extra comfort...

    https://www.amazon.com/KYQ-Ultraligh...20241055&psc=1

    I had given up camping for hoteling, I thought for good, but I am recently rediscovering it both for financial reasons (as an old retiree on fixed means) and because it brings some joy and travel freedom. I had to first begin a regimen of physical and dietary conditioning to allow it. I now weigh less, eat less, and move / fold up easier than before. These benefits extend to all areas of my life. I'm trying now to get old more slowly rather than plunging, as I was, headfirst down the tube of decline.

    When I mentally compare the rigors of camping to the rigors of dragging a trailer through Alaska behind a 600 lb. bike, I'm thinking that camping comes out way ahead.
    I'm with you brother. I've ridden a motorcycle in all the lower 48 states and 4 provinces in Canada. I'll be 75 in February and I would like to take a memorable ride during that year. Thinking about selling the RV and tenting with good camping equipment. A ride to Alaska is something I'v always had on my bucket list. We are never to old to think big.

  6. #6
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1hpyrider View Post
    I'm with you brother. I've ridden a motorcycle in all the lower 48 states and 4 provinces in Canada. I'll be 75 in February and I would like to take a memorable ride during that year. Thinking about selling the RV and tenting with good camping equipment. A ride to Alaska is something I'v always had on my bucket list. We are never to old to think big.
    If you're going to invest in good camping equipment for the moto, take a look at the backpacking gear available nowadays. It's amazingly lightweight, tents are extremely waterproof, cots fold up into small carrying pouches and sleeping bags are quite warm, while also packing very small. Camp chairs have also become very easy to pack and much more lightweight than, say, the venerable Kermit chair (I've had a Kermit for years and still love it, but if I'm packing small, I have other chair options that are just as comfortable and much more lightweight). A stop at REI or other camping stores will provide a lot of information on what is best for your use. I do a fair amount of winter ski mountaineering and I'm personally partial to Big Agnes and Nemo branded gear, but there are a lot of brands out there that make equally as good stuff (including the REI brand). Cooking stoves have also come a long way with how much heat they produce for their lightweight and small size.

    Good luck with your search. As mentioned in a previous post, there isn't any reason to quit camping if you enjoy it and the right gear can make all the difference. We've come a long way from the canvas pup tents we had as kids!
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  7. #7
    Jerry Emhoff
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    southwest Michigan
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    I just did that trip this summer, traveling from Michigan I logged over 10,000 miles. I'm 65 and sleeping on the ground isn't near as much fun as it used to be but I did a mix of camping and hotels. Before I went I bought a Moon Lence chair and cot on amazon similar to Beemerphile's and they worked great. The cot could have had a little taller legs but it slept great. If I did it again I'd get a taller tent as my Eureka 3 man is a little to low even though I'm only 5'8".
    Before I left I decided I would not to do any cooking, I didn't want to mess with that or carry all the extra stuff. Most days I ate a light breakfast and just a power bar or something for lunch and decent supper and that worked for me. I found most Ma and Pa places had reasonable prices.
    If your careful you can find some reasonable hotels. I didn't make any reservations but never had any trouble finding a place to stay. It sounds like there will be three of you so if you get one room and split it it's not to bad. The first week of my trip there were three of us before we split up and we'd get one room with two beds and I used my cot on the floor or sometimes we had a couch. GtRider mentioned camping cabins and that's a good option also. We stayed in one that had 4 beds and full bedding that came to 30 bucks a piece. If you did some research beforehand you might be able to stay in those most of your trip if you booked them in advance. If your going to Fairbanks you might want to look at U of Alaska's dorm rooms. We booked a 4 bed dorm room that cost 40 bucks a night a person and it even had free laundry.
    I don't think for the most part pulling a trailer would be a problem as most of the roads were in good shape, but I can think of a couple of construction zones I went through a trailer might not get through. On the Glen highway there was a spot that the road had been washed down the mountain and was being rebuilt and there was about 100 yards of deep soft dirt where my footpegs and center stand were dragging, I was lucky to get through it with my RT with street tires. Later that day I talked to a guy who said when he went through there was a couple two up on a Harley suck in it.
    Winter is coming

  8. #8
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Do not completely dismiss the idea of pulling a trailer. I have never done so but have seen examples of people of pulling trailers as far north as Deadhorse. A fellow on a Goldwing pulled a trailer up there and probably has the farthest north speeding ticket for doing 70 in a 30 MPH zone just south of Deadhorse. Three couples all on FJRs pulled trailers riding two-up and camping most of the time. They rode as far as the Arctic Circle, but left the trailers in Fairbanks. A friend from Anchorage who is around 6’6” and 320 pulls a Unigo one wheel trailer behind a 2004 K1200RS around the lower 48 for three months each year. He needs the trailer just to hold the giant sleeping bag and tent he needs. Annie and I camp a fair amount but with two bikes we can spread the gear and do not need a trailer. If I were traveling solo I just might give it a try.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

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