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Old 10-31-2012, 11:52 AM   #1
babarnette OP
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Trip from Anchorage, AK - Jackson, MS November 2012

Hello ADVriders,

I will be riding from Anchorage, AK to Jackson, MS next week and I'm looking for cheap places to stay along the way. I'm talking $40/night or cheaper places to stay. Obviously I'm going to want to be in a motel or something while I'm in Canada, after I get into the lower 48 camping will be an option. I'm currently looking for places to stay in Whitehorse Canada (Sunday Nov 4th), Smithers or Houston Canada (Monday Nov 5th), Vancouver Canada (Nov 6th and 7th), Las Vegas, NV (Nov 10th), Albuquerque, NM (Nov 11), Dallas/Ft Worth (Nov 12th). If anyone knows of any cheap motels or even has a couch I crash on in any of those cities please let me know. I already have places lined up in Tok, AK and San Francisco, CA. I'm a professional photographer and I have gigs lined up in Vancouver which is why I'm staying 2 nights there. Also, I would be willing to do some photography work to trade out for a room if anyone knows anybody that might be interested in that.

Now about the ride. My plan is to leave on Saturday Nov 3rd and ride to Tok, AK. From Tok its off to Whitehorse, Canada along the Alaska Hwy. From Whitehorse I'm going to stay on the ALCAN until I get to Watson Lake. I'm going to get off the ALCAN at Junction 37 and go south to either Smithers or Houston. From there it's down to Vancouver where I have some work lined up. When I leave Vancouver I'm going to ride down to San Francisco, CA to visit a friend for 2 nights. From there its off to Vegas, Albuquerque, Dallas, and Home! I have plenty of gear and I'm carrying extra fuel with for the ride through Canada. My bike is a 2009 Honda XR650L with Kenda Trak Master II's. I had a local tire shop shoot regular car studs into the knobs so I can get traction on ice and snow. If anyone has any advice or suggestions please let me know. I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who has ridden the ALCAN during this time of year also.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
AKtracks
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Originally Posted by babarnette View Post
Hello ADVriders,
If anyone has any advice or suggestions please let me know.

Pack a spare ass...that way you have something to sit on when yours freezes and falls off.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
nuttynu
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What the BUK !!!
Damn your crazy. At this time too? Well it's ok I guess since u have all the gear. That's just crazy. But it'll be one fun ride.

Careful some resort are seasonal only and may be closed by now. Keep us updated on your trip mate..
And what's the purpose of going ? Just for the heck ? Or u moving ?
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
babarnette OP
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Careful some resort are seasonal only and may be closed by now.
That's why I'm looking for cheap/free places to stay, especially in Whitehorse and Smithers/Houston Canada. Finding a place in Vancouver should be easy, in fact I think the ad agency I'm shooting for is going to get me a room. I could camp, I have a four season tent and a good sleeping bag, but I would prefer a cheap motel or someones couch.

Quote:
And what's the purpose of going ? Just for the heck ? Or u moving ?
I'm a photographer and I came to Alaska to work for the summer/fall season. I'm going back home to Mississippi now. My wife called me the other day and told me it was time for this adventure to be over. I can't resist the opportunity to ride back though. My main concern leaving Alaska is the wind. I'm in Palmer right now and the wind is blowing so hard its hard to walk outside. Hopefully Saturday will be a clam day and we won't get anymore snow before then.

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Keep us updated on your trip mate.
I will. If nothing else I will update this thread. I'm also thinking about making a Facebook page and doing nightly updates there. If I make one I'll post a link here.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:12 PM   #5
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The wind will be a short term issue, once you get out of the valley it should get better. That's when things are going to get interesting for you as you head into the interior and temperatures drop 20-30 degrees from what they are in S. Central. Top that with the 50mph wind chill from riding, and you're down in the -30F range...while stationary on a bike, all day for 3-5 days...yeah, fuck that.

I'd start seriously considering a ride down to Whittier and loading the bike on the ferry.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:25 PM   #6
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The wind will be a short term issue, once you get out of the valley it should get better. That's when things are going to get interesting for you as you head into the interior and temperatures drop 20-30 degrees from what they are in S. Central. Top that with the 50mph wind chill from riding, and you're down in the -30F range...while stationary on a bike, all day for 3-5 days...yeah, fuck that.

I'd start seriously considering a ride down to Whittier and loading the bike on the ferry.
I'm not as concerned about the cold as I am getting stuck in the Yukon. I rode from Anchorage to Trapper Creek and back to Palmer yesterday and never got cold. Taking the Ferry from Whittier to Vancouver seems like cheating. I know it's going to be a hard ride but if it was easy everybody would do it.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by babarnette View Post
Hello ADVriders,

I hope to be riding from Anchorage, AK to Jackson, MS next week and I'm looking for cheap places to stay along the way. I'm talking $40/night or cheaper places to stay.
A little minor editing to give this post some chance at believability.

As it stands, I'd put your chances of making it to Whitehorse at 50/50 IF you are well prepared and sufficiently determined. Beyond that, as far as Watson Lake, at 30/70.

The weather in Palmer (which I came through around 10:30 PM last night) is not at all indicative of what you can experience the rest of the way. That's the banana belt, and aside from occasional strong winds (that were tossing my van around pretty soundly) the weather is comparatively mild. Up toward Tok we've been having temperatures well below zero, and this time of year when it's not clear and cold, it's snowing. Driving through the Nelchina area yesterday morning I was in about 3" of fresh snow that plows had not yet touched.

From my experience (somewhat extensive regarding travel in less-than-optimal conditions) you are being incredibly naive. If you know what you are about to attempt, you would realize that you don't make plans to ride to Tok and stop for the night. If conditions allow travel, you don't stop, you keep traveling regardless of the hour. And when you do stop at night, you have to have made provisions for getting your bike started the next morning. Motorcycle manufacturer's R&D does not include seeing to it that their products are good to -15°F or colder. My Gold Wing has a pair of oil pan heaters under the engine for that reason.

You don't mention heated gear, without which you will be hard pressed to keep warm enough to ride safely. And that Honda, typical of most dualsports, will hardly have the amperage available to run much electric gear. And speaking of amperage - have you added any supplementary lighting? With the short hours of daylight, you will have to expect to ride in the dark far more than you are accustomed to up here. Auxiliary lighting is almost a necessity this time of year. Caribou are migrating through the Slana to Mentasta Pass area, and moose are frequently seen crossing highways.

Road conditions will slow you down from what you could normally travel on these highways, so it will take more days of travel, and therefore expose you to more days of difficult conditions.

Despite it being over 100 miles shorter, taking the Cassiar Hwy south is not something I would recommend this time of year. Having been over it winter and summer, my advice would be to stick to the Alcan for this trip. HOWEVER... if you make it that far, and the road reports for the Cassiar are good, and the weather forecasts are favorable, it might be a good choice in that you don't have the high elevations that abound on the Alcan. BUT... the only way to do the Cassiar if those criteria are met is to do it in one fell swoop, no overnight stops along the way until you reach Kitwanga.

Not trying to talk you out of this attempt. On the contrary, I like to see riders break new ground and accomplish things that few would even attempt. But it's best to be realistic. People who get themselves into dire circumstances due to not being prepared; doing insufficient research; being unbelievably optimistic... end up all too often being the subject of newspaper articles that reinforce the fact that nature does not suffer fools kindly.

If you continue this plan, contact me when you are ready to leave Anchorage or the valley. I'll watch for you to get to Glennallen or Slana (depending on which one I am inhabiting at the time) and do what I can to ensure, as much as possible, your successful completion of the trip. PM will be sent with phone numbers.

Jack
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:22 PM   #8
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I'll watch for you to get to Glennallen or Slana (depending on which one I am inhabiting at the time) and do what I can to ensure, as much as possible, your personal belongings are returned to your family.
More editing to enhance accuracy......
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:51 PM   #9
babarnette OP
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Alcan Rider, these are the kind of messages I'm looking for. I'm not running heated gear due to the low power output of the stator. I am bundling up in lots of warm layers and I have chemical body heaters should the layers not be enough. I am an Army veteran and have extensive survival training on top of being a life long hunter/outdoorsman. I would not embark on this trip lightly. I am carrying good survival gear and more importantly, know how to use it. If I can not make Whitehorse I will abort the trip. I have an emergency GPS locator and a 5 day emergency food supply. Short of catastrophic injury I should be fine in the survival department. Now as far as my plan to stop in Tok. I know the temps are going to be much colder there and I want to have a warm place to sleep and be well rested when I make my push to Whitehorse. Also, if Whitehorse proves to be unreachable and I have to turn around I don't won't to come to that realization at midnight when I'm dog tired and can't see. If I make it to White horse as planned I want to be well rested again for the push to Junction 37 so I can make my turn south towards Smithers. At that point I plan to really put some miles on the bike. I'm very determined to make this ride and I am checking road and weather conditions daily. I am also realistic though, if at any point it gets too dangerous to continue I will abort and head back to the nearest town to reassess the situation and plan from there. I really don't want to take the ferry to Washington but I am keeping that option in reserve.
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:47 PM   #10
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Jack, aka Alcan Rider, knows of which he speaks.

Having 4 winters of riding studs on my KLR WITH heated grips, socks, and visor, I'm really looking forward to hearing about how this trip goes.

Wishing you the best. Good luck and (hopefully) have fun, Mark H.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:12 PM   #11
babarnette OP
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Jack, aka Alcan Rider, knows of which he speaks.

Having 4 winters of riding studs on my KLR WITH heated grips, socks, and visor, I'm really looking forward to hearing about how this trip goes.

Wishing you the best. Good luck and (hopefully) have fun, Mark H.
Mark,

I actually decided to go with the studded Kenda tires after reading a post of yours in another forum. I would like to hear any advice you have and your opinion on the feasibility of my plan. We have similar bikes so any insights you wish to share could be invaluable.

Brett
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:35 PM   #12
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You can make it !!

Barbarnette

I have a real close friend that I visited with this last summer. That rode from Whitehorse to Tuktoyaktuk via the ice road this last March. He drove a 1200 GS with studed tires totaly solo. The folks in Tuk said he was the first person to make it up there without a support group.

He didn't have any heated gear because if he broke down he didn't want to depend on anything.

He's planning a ride to north slope this Febuary.

I'll try to call him and see if he can do you any good in Whitehorse

Bob
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:06 PM   #13
AKDuc
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Mark,

I actually decided to go with the studded Kenda tires after reading a post of yours in another forum. I would like to hear any advice you have and your opinion on the feasibility of my plan. We have similar bikes so any insights you wish to share could be invaluable.
Cool. Yeah, that tire set-up works good on pavement and ice and I've never thrown a stud. Hacky Moto built the one's I'm running. It's still good to comfortable with a loose bike underneath you altho mine was always unloaded.

I never heated my core during any of the winter riding but have a hard time keeping extremeties warm just sitting in a 50+mph wind. I've done a fair amount of winter mountaineering and IMO it's a LOT easier to keep warm when one is moving around as opposed to sitting on a bike.

And as far as a visor goes, while they may be advertised as fog-free, the condensation has to go somewhere. A Foggy Respro mask may help as I use that in the interem between Fall and a heated visor for the winter.

And remember those disposable heat packs stop working when deprived of air like in a shoe or boot.

Later, Mark H.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:16 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=babarnette;19940611]Hello ADVriders,



Now about the ride. My plan is to leave on Saturday Nov 3rd and ride to Tok, AK. From Tok its off to Whitehorse, Canada along the Alaska Hwy. From Whitehorse I'm going to stay on the ALCAN until I get to Watson Lake. I'm going to get off the ALCAN at Junction 37 and go south to either Smithers or Houston. ......


"Into the Wild" part two????
Just Sayin'
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:18 PM   #15
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This is going to be one hecka of a trip . I'm surprise you are leaving so late.
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