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Old 05-07-2012, 09:32 PM   #16
Dirt2Oil
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Alaska bound - thanks

Alcan Rider,
Thanks for all the information on Alaska. I have been through Haul Road Chronicles, The Lure of the Dalton, and My Evening Rides. Your information is a gold mine for anyone planning a trip up there. A buddy and I are planning a trip up there in July 2013. I never want to wish my days away but after looking at all the amazing pictures you have posted I can't wait for 2013.
Thanks for all the material you contribute to ADVRider.
Cheers
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:10 PM   #17
PistonPants
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An excellent write up on preparing to ride a motorcycle not just to Alaska but anywhere, really. If this information sinks in we may never see another 11 page thread on tire selections for Alaska. Basically what you're saying is that if your bike doesn't say the word 'Adventure' somewhere on the gas tank or body work, don't even attempt the trip.

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Old 05-08-2012, 07:57 AM   #18
mpenner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcan Rider View Post
Learn to read – you won't need a GPS.
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?

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?
2. How long is my tourist visa good for if I enter Alaska with a US passport? Where is the US embassy in Alaska?
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?
4. On what side of the road is it customary to drive in Alaska?
5. Is is safe to drink the water?
6. What is the exchange rate between US dollars and Alaskan money? Are there places to exchange money at the border crossing?
7. What vaccines should I get before traveling to Alaska?
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?
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?

These questions were inspired by a conversation that I had with a co-worker (who also rides) that went something like this:

Me: Did you hear that I am going to Alaska this summer?
Co-Worker: How are you going to get your bike there?
Me: I am going to ride it.
Co-Worker: You mean you can ride all the way there?
Me: Yes
Co-Worker: I did not think that there was any land connecting us to Alaska.
Me: Well, there is. It is a little place called Canada. Maybe you have not heard of it.

Seriously, I can't wait for this trip. I have had maps of Alaska plastered on my office walls for a couple of years. My original plan was to take a leave of absence for a couple of months next summer, but a couple of friends were coming up for D2D this summer for 30 days, so I am coming along with them. The difficult part of planning for this trip is deciding what parts of AK to leave out in the short time that we have.

I really appreciate how helpful and welcoming the Alaska residents are on this forum to us noob's and this primer and the other information on this site has been really helpful. I can't wait to meet those of you that are coming to D2D.

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.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:12 AM   #19
friar mike
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One thing you have to understand about some of the electronic maps (like google earth ) is alot of the roads they show are not real there at all so don't be surprised if you decide to take a road thats on a map to find it's not really there. so much for technology.
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:55 AM   #20
mpenner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friar mike View Post
One thing you have to understand about some of the electronic maps (like google earth ) is alot of the roads they show are not real there at all so don't be surprised if you decide to take a road thats on a map to find it's not really there. so much for technology.
Yeah, I agree. I trust those maps about as far as I can throw them, but I am looking at an official Alaska DNR map entitled "State of Alaska RS2477 Trails", that was pulled off the GIS section of their website. The trails are all numbered, named and official looking, but may still just be lines on the map that do not really exist.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:50 AM   #21
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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”.

Quote:
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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Old 05-08-2012, 12:47 PM   #22
mpenner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcan Rider View Post

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



It is really hard to convince my boss that I am working extra hard to get caught up before I leave for AK when I am in my office laughing like an idiot.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:56 PM   #23
friar mike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpenner View Post
Yeah, I agree. I trust those maps about as far as I can throw them, but I am looking at an official Alaska DNR map entitled "State of Alaska RS2477 Trails", that was pulled off the GIS section of their website. The trails are all numbered, named and official looking, but may still just be lines on the map that do not really exist.
They show Talkeetna with a whole mess of roads on the other side of the river and a bridge that isn't there.
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:47 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirt2Oil View Post
Alcan Rider,
Thanks for all the information on Alaska. I have been through Haul Road Chronicles, The Lure of the Dalton, and My Evening Rides. Your information is a gold mine for anyone planning a trip up there.

Thanks for all the material you contribute to ADVRider.
Cheers
Thank you. But in all honesty, the truth is that my posts are but a compendium of posts from inmates who actually know something. Through taking the information offered by the likes of (in no particular order) Friar Mike, KHuddy, Fighter, Legion, That Guy, Marbee 40, et al, rephrasing it and posting under my own nom de plume so as to give the false impression that I am knowledgeable in my own right, my own dubious reputation (aided and abetted by HayDuchessLives) is favorably enhanced.

As for photos – by simply aiming my cameras toward every point of the compass, shooting thousands upon thousands of photos, throwing away 99.99% of those scenes captured – even I have been able to luck into a good one or two.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:09 PM   #25
mpenner
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OMG, I love mpenner's response and list of questions. IMHO, he also oozes a lot of wit
I am learning so much from this thread! Apparently, there in Alaska you pronounce the letter "w" a bit differently than we do in Ohio. In Alaska, how will I be able to distinguish between when someone is saying the word "wine" from when they are saying "shine", since from your comment it seems that they would be pronounced exactly the same there?

I have really enjoyed the ride reports that you and Alcan Rider have done; particularly the one to the Kennicott Mine and McCarthy. That one has me really wanting to visit there, but I am struggling to squeeze it into a 30 day trip. I really hope to meet you and Alcan Rider at D2D this year, as well as some of the other characters that I have "met" from their ride reports.
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:10 AM   #26
dbarnes180
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Alaska land of dreams

I love this country !

Riders on this forum are fantastic to help you planning your dream ride. Pay attention and enjoy their advice. I have been so blessed to ride in the Great State of Alaska (2009 and 2010) and will be going again. My next trip will be in just a few weeks. This time in a vintage 1985 E350 Class C (that I have been working on for over 14 months...lol.) carrying a little Nighthawk 250 on the back end for fun ! Both my wife and I are retired now and this trip will be an extended journey of fun and exploring.

take care , David Barnes
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:48 AM   #27
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Now that is FUNNY

Yous guys (and gals) are really entertaining. Jack you really need to publish this stuff. It's all too good to languish here on ADVRIDER only.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:59 PM   #28
Tom S
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I can’t take it. There was only one word, not two.
This is a test:
If wine = shine, then wit = ?


Hint: This is not the answer.

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Old 05-10-2012, 05:49 PM   #29
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Thanks for the write up. I have been reading about all the preparations people are doing for thier North trip, and I seem to be lagging behind somewhat. I dunno,shouldn't I be doing...SOMETHING? Well, I do have to buy some OFF and a folding saw. I have my 2 piece GPS charged and ready to go actually, its a wad of paper aand a Sharpie.,I always bring extra paper.....I mean memory......LOL.

Not really doing anything special, it started to get to complicated,so I have some maps and extra paper and 2 Sharpies!! and put on fresh meat and I;m of fon or about 7/8/9 of June or thereabouts and I will be there for D2D and whatever happens on the way....happens.

I am riding a " pretend" adventure bike.....LOL
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:56 PM   #30
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Quote:
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Basically what you're saying is that if your bike doesn't say the word 'Adventure' somewhere on the gas tank or body work, don't even attempt the trip.
Au contraire, my friend. The name on the bike is immaterial. It is the rider who makes a bike an "Adventure" bike. The bike does not make the rider an "Adventure" rider. A prime example of that: DaBinChe
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