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Old 01-13-2013, 05:12 AM   #1
jprism OP
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Question Alaska 2013

Hey guys and girls...I am new to this forum but here goes.

I am going to Alaska this year come H$%^ or High Water. Plans are for mid June thru mid July but trying to stay somewhat flexible with dates. Total trip will consume 30-31 days and approx. 10,000 miles. Will spend 8 days getting to the AK boarder from Nashville, 13 days in AK and 9-10 days on the return trip home. I will enter Canada on highway 52 thru North Portal in N Dakota and exit Canada on highway 93 into Montana. Plans are to ride and camp when possible with an occasional stay in motel or cabin.

So with that said, if any of you have similar plans and would like to ride together I am open your plans. On the other hand, if any of you have already accomplished this trip I would also like to hear any suggestions.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:53 AM   #2
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go to the Alaska forum and there is more info than you can absorb in a week. if you are bored you can read my report fom 2009 (see my sig block)
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:29 PM   #3
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I just did a 2 month trip from CO to AK by way of Canada. I will suggest one sight to see: Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper (or reverse).

I spent the end of June and beginning of August above the border. My advice: pack a rain suit. I was passing through BC while it was flooding. According to the locals, I was a day or two behind the sunshine. I literally wore the rain suit for almost 4 weeks straight. It wasn't a torrential downpour each day but more intermittent. I really tried to camp as often as possible but the rain made it more difficult to keep everything dry. I'd have to get a hotel dry out the gear.

Mosquitoes are a b*tch in the remote parts.

Hitch a ferry ride along the SW coast. I did Prince Rupert to Haines. Great way to relax, see some great scenery, and possibly see some marine wildlife.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:29 PM   #4
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+1 in the Icefields Pky, although if its raining, it can be a long cold ride. I've done it twice and it was beautiful the 1st time. 2nd time we got caught in a snow storm in the middle of July!

At the very least "Going to the Sun Road" in Glacier Nantional Park in Montanna is definitely one of my favorites. It has some epic beauty and I've been there twice. However, be aware that on bad snow years, it might not open "fully" until late June, sometimes even a couple days into July.

30+ days is a nice time table for AK. I rode to AK in 06 with a buddy. We actually decided to trailer to Kallispell MT to share that driving going across the US, save our tires, and give us more time in Canada & AK, but even then 11000 miles (6500 on the bikes) over 3 weeks still felt rushed. We still ended up with some crazy long days in there.

Are you doing the run to Prudhoe Bay or doing other parts of AK? How far south you going. I regret not making it any further south than Denali and would have liked to have seen more. We did the Alcan on the way up and the Cassier on the way home. I really enjoyed the Cassier a lot more although it was nice to have done the entire Alcan.

If you have an electric liner or vest and gloves bring them. It might be 90-100 in the South East US during the summer, but all it takes is a cold front up there to drastically change the weather. I actually had some of my best weather in AK with 70+ most of the time, but parts of Canada were another story. One entire day was 45 and raining and was miserable. I've had many other trips out West were temps were very close to freezing at higher altitudes in the early morning.

Not sure of your budget, but if you can afford some very good gear that is truly all day waterproof like Klim, its worth it. You are bound to have some long days in the rain when you do a trip like that. It sucks, but its part of it so make sure you can stay comfortable and dry in your gear. Other wise, you'll spend a lot of time getting in and out of a rain suit. Its better to know if your gear is truly waterproof back home before you go so find a day its going to rain all day and go ride around in it before you leave to really see. Some gear can leave you soaked to the bone after just a couple hours in a down poor and that's miserable.

In the end, just remember less is more when it comes to bike packing. Only bring what you really need and leave the fluff at home. Being over packed just becomes a pain and frustrating every time you have to unpack at a hotel.
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:12 AM   #5
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Thanks all for the advice.

I will be riding a 2010 Gold Wing and pulling a 20 cu ft aluminum trailer. New tires of coarse and tools/tire repair kit/jumper cables/etc.

I currently own a First Gear 4-Seasons jacket/pants/gloves with waterproof?? boots. In addition, I have the Gerbing jacket liner and gloves. I ride year around in middle Tennessee and have put all this gear through it's paces from hot/sunny to cold/rainy and believe it to be up to par?

My ride plans are to enter Canada in SK and then ride north west thru Regina, Edmonton, Charles Lake, Johnsons Crossing, Beaver Creek and then cross into Alaska.

While in Alaska I will visit Glennallen, Anchorage, Homer, Seward, Wasilla, Denali, Fairbanks, Artic Circle (if not mud/rain), Delta Junction, Valdez, Haines, Skagway staying several days in Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks.

On the way home I plan on riding down hiway 37 south to connecting to hiway 16 east to Jasper AL to see the ice fields in Jasper/Banff Parks. Then on to Glacier NP to begin the 2,200 mile trip home on the interstates.

So far, I am going it alone but looking for someone to share the ride with. If that happens great if not solo it is!
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:28 AM   #6
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Sounds like you got it planned out pretty well and yeah if you've ridden year round in TN, you have probably vetted your gear pretty well. It definitely should be an enjoyable trip.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:08 PM   #7
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You'll be fine on the GW. I passed a group of GW's on the way up on the Dalton. But, beware. It rained on the way up but cleared on the return. The calcium chloride they spray on the roads ate away my brake pads so I was brake-less when I returned to Fairbanks. It may get into the 50's near the Circle during the day and drop in the 20's at night (still daylight, lol). It was 25 while I rode back to Fairbanks but immediately jumped into the 60's when I hit the city limits.

Stay at the Exit Glacier CG in Seward and if you have time, hike up to the Harding Icefields. You'll want to head up early to beat the crowd and weather. The CG is free-99 and is nicer than the ones in town.

If you want a cheap place to stay in Fairbanks but don't care for hostels, University of Alaska-Fairbanks rents for something like $39/night for a single. Has free laundry facilities.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:44 PM   #8
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Hi Jprism,

I'm planning trip in same area, arround same time. I shoot for 6 weeks trip. I did post a first shot for road planning.

Let stay in contact because it would be great to share the journey somewhere.....
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducati7444 View Post
Hi Jprism,

I'm planning trip in same area, arround same time. I shoot for 6 weeks trip. I did post a first shot for road planning.

Let stay in contact because it would be great to share the journey somewhere.....
Great my dates are:
  • June 11-18 to Alaska
  • June 19-30 in Alaska
  • July 1-11 back from Alaska
I now have to adhere to these dates as I made reservations for Denali, Banff, Denail, etc. as these are hard places to get into! Hope to hear more about you intended route.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jprism View Post
Great my dates are:
  • June 11-18 to Alaska
  • June 19-30 in Alaska
  • July 1-11 back from Alaska
I now have to adhere to these dates as I made reservations for Denali, Banff, Denail, etc. as these are hard places to get into! Hope to hear more about you intended route.
Sounds close to my plans. A friend is riding my bike to Jackson WY. I am going to start my trip there on June 15. Plan is to head to Dawson , Dempster, Dalton . Only hardcore date is to be back in Maryland on July 15th.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:49 PM   #11
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Two of my friends from Memphis did the Key West to Prudhoe Bay to Key West trip. And several local members of the BMW RAMS club did it about 2 years ago. You can't really predict anything. At the IBA meeting last year the 'king' of the haul road spoke and I believe he has a web site.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:30 PM   #12
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You who want to cometh North..

Really need to read everything by AlcanRider. Start with the Alaska Primer, and just keep reading. He has more time up and down the Alcan, Haul Road (Dead Horse), Demster (Inuvik), and probably more miles on a bike than Gen, Sherman had in all his life long travels. Last year he wanted to see if he could do what he did when he was a young man (60), 2 - 1 K days in a row.. He did..

If you can get the timing right, there is a little get together in Dawson City, YT, called D2D. It usually falls on the summer solstice or there abouts, ots all on the Alaska page.

The AK Airheads like helping fellow travelers, so drop a PM. If I'm not out doing my AK stuff, Killin Reds in Chitna, Moose or Bears. Last summer I rode down to the BMWMOA National, then all over down South to Key West, Agusta, all over again up North and back home to Fairbanks. I had a Ball.

This year after D2D its up the Demster, Back to Fairbanks, and up the Haul road and back. Least that the plan.

Now can someone explain this grits thing?
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:38 PM   #13
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I'm no fan of grits myself, but I'm leaving central Illinois in late June and headed to Alaska. Will be riding alone. Planning on passing thru Going to the Sun on my way up. Hit the Icefield Parkway and then on to AK. Plan on doing the Dalton and want to get to the Ocean itself. It seems that is a bit more difficult than it used to be. Several conflicting stories.

Back down to the BMW Rally in Salem OR. Then down highway 1 towards San Diego. Then across 10 and back up to Illinois. Should be a fun little ride.
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