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Old 01-29-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
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Questor and Motoadventuregal goto Alaska

Hello All.

In June 2010, Motoadventuregal and myself were able to take a 31 day trip up to Alaska - and back.

A self supported motorcycle trip to Alaska had been on our mutual "things to do before you die" list for many years, and things just worked out in such a way that we both were able to be at the right place at the right time, and were able to take the time to do such a big trip properly.

I had just recently moved to Idaho for a job, and Motoadventuregal (MAG) was able to complete her trip of Central and South America in time so we could do the trip together.

In total, the trip lasted 31 days, and was 6135 miles from our start in Idaho Falls, ID to Dawson (Yukon Territories) for the "Dust to Dawson" motorcycle gathering, and then back down to Redmond Oregon in time for the BMW National rally.

The route looks like this on a map.

I rode "Tiger" my 04 KTM 950 Adventure S, and MAG rode her "Twisted DR-650" a 03 Suzuki DR-650.
Both of these bikes have many thousands of hard miles on them, but they are well looked after, and we trusted the bikes. We would have to. The Yukon territory and Alaska are really BIG. (At the time I had no idea how big...) I've done many long distance trips before, but somehow, distances are bigger and more remote up there...

To save money, and be more flexible in terms of dining and lodging options, we would camp every night and cook our own food.

Over the course of the trip we soaked in natural Hot Springs (one of my favorite things to do), and saw huge gold dredges. We rode the Icefield Parkway, the Alaskan Highway, the Klondike highway, the Hanes Highway the Stewart Cassiar Highway, and a section of the Yellow Head Highway. We would be attacked by huge mosquitoes, see bison, even larger mosquitoes, grizzly bears, moose, and bald eagles. We would come to understand the vastness of British Columbia, the Yukon, and Alaska, and experience the endless daylight of the high northern latitudes in Summer. I would have a high speed motorcycle crash that MAG managed to get on video, and she would have mechanical failures resulting in lots of smoke and oil everywhere.

All total I took over 2400 pictures. That's about 80 pictures a day, or approximately one pictures every eight minutes. But don't worry, I'll only bore you with the good ones.

So get ready for another Questor and MotoAdventureGal Adventure.


Questor screwed with this post 02-06-2011 at 11:16 AM
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Old 01-29-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
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Old 01-29-2011, 04:18 PM   #3
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Day 1: Saturday, June 16th, 2010

We had been getting the bikes ready for this trip for weeks.
Oil changes, new chains and sprockets, fresh air filters, new tires, fresh brake pads, and had collected all the spare parts and tools we thought we might need for a big trip like this. The route had been researched and all the possible important waypoints had been uploaded into the GPS's.

On the morning of June 16th, the bikes were all packed, and we rolled them out of the aircraft hanger where we had been living for the past month or so.
Here's a picture of the nice clean bikes...

In the cool morning air, we headed west towards Arco, and then north towards Missoula MT where we would spend the night with some friends of mine.

The wide open emptiness of the Idaho high desert.

And behind me, one of my favorite sights, Motoadventuregal on her DR.

On the way to Arco, a good sign.

The almost obligatory picture of the Submarine in Arco.
What, you've never seen a Nuclear Powered submaine at 5,500 feet before?

In the foreground is "Tiger" my happy KTM.
Even with over 46K miles on it at the time, I knew "Tiger" my KTM had always wanted to go to Alaska. I had been promising Tiger this trip for over a year. In fact getting the time off from my new job for this Alaska trip was a 'signing bonus' that I worked into my contract.

And here's a picture of MAG and her DR in front of the Submarine.

Leaving Arco we head north.
Again, more beautiful emptiness and majestic mountains.

MAG with some nice scenery behind her.

Not bad for an over-the-shoulder shot at 65 MPH.

Some signs explaining the geography of the area.

As we stopped and had a roadside lunch we were passed by two other Dual Sport riders. They waved as they went by.

We would meet then again at the top of the pass.

Turns out they are also Adventure Riders, and they too were headed up to Alaska. (We would leap frog them for the next several days. And in fact Sydney called me about five months later - so we did stay in touch.)

Then we rode down the other side off the pass towards Salmon.
Can't complain about the weather.

A few twisties along the way.

Nope, this doesn't suck. Good weather, a wonderful motorcycle, good roads, an awesome travel partner to share the adventure with, and a month of riding to Alaska and back... This is my idea of Heaven.

We cross the 45th parallel, the half way point between the equator and the top of the North Pole. (MAG had been at the equator less than three month previous, so it was a cool thing to cross.)

Yeup, totally horrible out here. Stay away.

Tiger's point of view. Purrr....

More historic facts.

and soon we cross into Montana.

Down into the valley below.

The roads were fun and twisty, and the views were spectacular. We were really enjoying ourselves until we came to this line of stopped cars.

The news was that some other motorcyclist had had a bad crash and they had to call in a helicopter to evacuate them. (I really hope they recover and heal up quickly.)

After about an hour they opened the road back up and we were allowed to continue.

After 9 hours of riding we arrived at my friends house in Missoula.
I stayed with them two years ago on my National Parks tour, and it was really great to see them again.
Here's a picture of our accommodations or the evening.

MAG and I both think Airstreams' are the coolest, and we were delighted.

A few beers, the company of good friends, and yummy food completed the day.

So far so good. And it get's so much better!

Stat's for the day:
349 miles, Moving average 51 MPH, Moving Time 6:50. Stopped 2:23 Total 9:17.


Questor screwed with this post 01-29-2011 at 05:10 PM
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Old 01-29-2011, 04:39 PM   #4
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Alaska had been on my "list" for several years. In fact, in 2007 I bought a 1150 GSA hoping to ride to Alaska, but somehow it never happened.

I'll be honest, I was dead-tired on this trip. I'd come back from 7 months solo riding in Central and South America a scant three weeks before we headed out, and I was pretty road weary. I know that sometimes Edward's trips can be a death march, so we entered some serious negotiations before departing. 1. I told him no more than 250 miles per day. 2. I had zero money, so we'd have to boondock as much as possible. 3. He'd have to navigate. 4. As few Subway sandwiches as possible (we ate them ad nauseam on the TAT and CDT the previous summer).

I'd gotten sick a bunch south of the border, and I was on some heavy duty drugs to eliminate a parasite I'd picked up. Edward kept telling me I looked like sheet. Some travel partner, eh?

I'll never say no to a good adventure to somewhere I've never been, and I hadn't been very far north of the USA. Besides, he lured me with visions of hot springs, happy bears, and the most fantastic natural wonders ever seen.

Have Bike, Will Travel

My Year of Motorcycle Vagabonding Part B (Solo to South America)

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Old 01-29-2011, 04:41 PM   #5
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You two sure know how to pick great riding destinations

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Old 01-29-2011, 04:55 PM   #6
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Old 01-29-2011, 06:45 PM   #7
Is this thing on???
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Off to a great start!

2010 BMW F800GS
2008 BMW R12GSA
Pulling on that bike with all I have, I fear that I will pop a vein in my anus any second. - metaljockey
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:00 PM   #8
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I've been waiting for this.
I love Alaska RR's
Thanks for sharing.
"It's all fun and games until the flying monkeys attack"
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:24 PM   #9
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Looks like another great ride!!! I always look forward to your ride reports Questor! Love the pictures!!
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:26 PM   #10
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:38 PM   #11
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Right on.


Actually, wait, no. I will buck the trend. This is more appropriate
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:43 PM   #12
Get on it!
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Keep it coming! Sounds like a good start to what could be a great RR!
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:10 AM   #13
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Looking forward to seeing more! Looks great!
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:12 AM   #14
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Great, I've rode to a few of the same places. Did you have anything to eat at Pickle's Place across from the USS Hawkbills conning tower?

Thanks for bringing us along.

Just a guy riding a motorcycle.

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Old 01-30-2011, 04:16 AM   #15
Enjoy the Ride
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This is going to be good. I'm in.
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