Thread: Alaska Primer
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:50 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
I was planning on bringing my GPS because it has a traffic receiver that helps me avoid rush hour traffic jams. Are you suggesting that I won't need that either?
You've heard of "Happy Hour"? One is expected to be happy due to being seated near libations rather than stuck in a traffic jam. One does not need a GPS to find such a friendly atmosphere in Alaska. Every other business entity is in the business of selling adult beverages.

Following is an attempt to rectify the earlier lack of useful knowledge:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
Your primer was helpful, but I think that you left out some information, for instance:

1. How do Alaskans feel about Americans? Is it safe for Americans to travel to Alaska?
We tolerate them so long as they spend lots of money and stay just a short time. We are happy to assist in both goals. You will be safe as long as you still have funds. When those are gone, we will assist in your “escape”.

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Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
2. How long is my tourist visa good for if I enter Alaska with a US passport? Where is the US embassy in Alaska?
Until your money runs out. At the corner of Spenard Rd and Minnesota in Anchorage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
3. What language is spoken in Alaska? Where can I purchase a phrase book so that I can get help in an emergency, phrases like "Where can I get a latte?" In what languages are the road signs?
Green. We follow the principle that “money talks and b.s. walks.” PM me and I will provide an address to which you can mail a money order or cashier's check for the phrase book (which will be published upon receipt of sufficient funds). We have had to convert all the signs to English. When they were in Cyrillic our target shooters couldn't decide whether to dot the “i” on the top or the bottom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
4. On what side of the road is it customary to drive in Alaska?
Before or after the bars close? In larger cities, keep to the right on divided highways or you'll cause gridlock and miss the turn-off to the latte shop. In rural areas, in keeping with local custom, stay to the left on blind corners, preferably while passing another vehicle. As a general rule, one should use the lane with the smallest oncoming traffic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
5. Is is safe to drink the water?
Water? People drink water? Is there a lack of beer where you come from?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
6. What is the exchange rate between US dollars and Alaskan money? Are there places to exchange money at the border crossing?
The exchange rate is favorable, i.e. from your hand to ours. (Revisit the answer to question #1.) If you let me know in advance what time you will be arriving at the border, I can make certain there is a table near Customs at which you can exchange your cash for Alaskan bills of various denominations. So you can recognize them, the ones will have a picture of Bill Eagan, the fifties will have Tony Knowles' likeness, and the hundred fifty dollar bills, the photoshopped picture of Sarah Palin in a bikini.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
7. What vaccines should I get before traveling to Alaska?
One would be advised to ride up the Cassiar Highway and take the side trip to Hyder. At that lonely Alaskan outpost one can get “Hyderized” thereby being well prepared for the remainder of the trip. The other acceptable Port of Entry is Dawson City in the Yukon. Our neighbors in that fine city can perform the same procedure with the "Sour Toe Cocktail".

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
8. When should I travel the Dalton in order to avoid rush hour traffic? Will the Starbucks along the highway be open during those hours?
Between the hours of 0100 on November 4th and 2300 on March 10th. You will likely not see another rider during that time. You can stop in at the Hot Spot to see if they are open when you come through. Chances are, however, that they will not live up to their name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
9. Why doesn't Alaska stay on daylight savings time during the winter so that the days will be longer like they are in the summer?
After robbing entertaining tourists all summer, we need to get our rest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
I do have one serious question. I have a map of the RS2477 trails in AK and have done a little research about them. Are any of these trails ridable or are they just a line on a map that does not really exist? Even if some of them are ridable, I assume that it would be on a much smaller bike than a V-Strom.
An attempt at a serious reply: Most of those trails are going to be pretty swampy and virtually impassable to a two-wheeled vehicle, especially a larger, heavier one such as a dualsport.

RS2477, as applied to Alaska, “...broadly defines “highway” to include a “road, street, trail, walk, bridge, tunnel, drainage structure and other similar or related structure or facility, and right-of-way thereof.” A.S. 19.45.001(9) (1988)

What this means is that you have no guarantee that the trail showing on the map is passable by any other than a mountain goat. Alaska, even in the arid Arctic Coastal region, is swampy across much of its landscape. Trails are very limited, and trails that are suitable for travel on a motorcycle – even a dirtbike – are rare. Best to wait until you arrive here, then enlist the aid of locals to show you around or point you to trails that you might find enjoyable. As always, you'll be expected to pick up the tab for after ride refreshments.
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The Lure of the Dalton, The Lure of the Dempster, Haul Road Chronicles, My Evening Rides, Alaska Primer
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