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Old 04-03-2011, 12:27 PM   #121
motosolowasabi
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Hi that look great, I'm from Argentina and my bike at this time is watting the summer to return riding back home from May 2011.
Good lock !!!!

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Originally Posted by jglow View Post
June – July last summer, my wife and I rode 2up on our V-strom 650 from Texas to the Arctic Circle and back home via the West Coast of the U.S. The trip lasted ~34 days. We kept a live blog while doing the trip, but I have decided to post it in a Ride Report now to add a bit more reflection. It is also trip planning time for this upcoming season, so this report may prove somewhat useful for those planning their own Alaskan Jaunt.

On with the Ramble...

So why Alaska? No reason really. It wasn’t so much a destination, as it was just a turn-around point on the trip. There were tons of areas of the country that I wanted to see and we were able to fit a lot of that into this trip. I remember reading reports about going to Alaska, and I would think how crazy these people were and how FAR it was. When I look at the map from our spot tracker, I get the same feeling all over again. What were we thinking? That is really far.





Preparation and Day 1 to follow...






jordan
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Old 04-03-2011, 07:21 PM   #122
jglow OP
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Location: Lowry Crossing, TX
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Dawson City, YT to Fairbanks, AK


Day 13 – June 12, 2010
Mileage Today: 401
Total Trip Mileage: 4,699



We woke up to a gray morning with the promise of rain. We hurried to pack up and make some miles (kilometers) while it was still dry. Stopped briefly at a coffee shop on the way out of town and snagged some coffee and breakfast. Then we got in line for the ferry to cross the Yukon River and get to the Top of the World Highway.



Since we were on a motorcycle, we were waived ahead and got to jump all the vehicles in front of us



We exited the ferry. The road climbs up in elevation out of the river valley. Once at the top you are essentially riding the ridge line. This would be the Top of the World Highway. When we crossed it, I would say it was about 80% gravel, and a couple of random paved sections.





Did I mention that it had started raining??
And being that we are traveling on such an exposed route, we were subject to a bit of chilly wind to aid the rain's descent.



You know she had her heated vest cranked to 11 .




I really wish the weather was clearer today. I heard that you can see forever when it is.

About 1.5 hours later, we arrived at the border crossing.



The line looks worse than it is. You know with the size of RV trailers these days, and the fact that they also tow an additional car behind those as well, we probably only had to wait for 2 groups to pass .

Inching closer.



Our re-entry into the US was quick. I think the guard was able to tell that I was a bit nipped by my poor dexterity and studdering.



And of course the sign.



We made it!!!!

There was a bit of a consensus from some folks back home prior to the trip that Nikki would not make the Canadian border, let alone, Alaska! Well, she did it, and I think she was having fun.



We took a minute to relish our laurels, then loaded back on the bike and continued on, right as a tour bus pulled into the area and unloaded a ton of folks - geez, talk about taking the easy way .

The road changes over from gravel on the Canadian side to a bit of a silty pig snot on the US side.



Traction was a bit sketchy in some areas - especially because the rear tire was getting worn pretty smooth.

But we made to Chicken without fault.

I think we looked like some real bad-asses at this point.



We figured this place must of gotten it's name because by the time you get there you look like you are covered in chicken poo.




It was too early for lunch, so we bought some stickers and a t-shirt and headed for Tok. The pavement starts here on the Taylor Highway, so at least we had that to look forward to.





We took a quick break when the sun came out, right before we rejoined the Alcan.



Then pushed on to Tok and had lunch.



This place was great! We were sitting at our table inside, slightly knackered, when a guy approached us and asked if we were riding the motorcycle. We told him yes, and he said that there was a Drivers License on the ground next to the bike so he picked it up and put it on the seat. I guess with all the customs and what not, the DL had gotten loose . Anyhow, we thanked him for putting it on the bike, and we continued to sit. We both sorta figured that no one would have any use for one of our DL's so why rush out there to get it off the bike, we'd just grab it when we leave. About 2 minutes later, the guy comes and slaps it down on our table . I don't think he was angry, but he probably thought we were being reckless in this age of identity theft . Either way we thanked him again, and apologized for being so lazy ( i think).

So lunch was excellent, but now we needed to decide what was gonna be the next step. I was pretty worn out from driving through all that cold - it really takes it out of you. But, the weather was looking better. I wasn't planning on pushing to Fairbanks today, but maybe we can make it. We were planning on staying in the Dorms at the University, so I made some calls, and secured us a dorm room there for the next 3 days. This would give us an extra day to rest, get a new rear tire on the bike, and change the oil before we attack the Dalton Hwy to the Arctic Circle.

Heading out of Tok, AK - Back on the Alaska Highway.



Again, no traffic.



June may be a bit colder, but at least you don't get stuck in as many RV parades.



We reached Delta Junction (the official end of the Alcan)...



and took the obligatory photos.





Nikki missed the point of this picture. She didn't realize that the gigantic mosquitoes were supposed to be killing us. She is just smiling at the camera .

We made it to Fairbanks - our base for the next 3 days. The University of Alaska Dorms - highly ADV-ised!



It is amazing that all that gear in the picture can pack so relatively small and fit on our bike.



Tomorrow will be a maintenance day with a side trip to North Pole, AK .


jordan



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Old 04-03-2011, 08:36 PM   #123
Hannda
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Thank you, thank you and thank you. Great RR.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:53 PM   #124
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still glued to the RR and the plot is getting good... did not know that you could stay at the dorms there at UofA... great tip.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:46 PM   #125
Davis53
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Nice report, and a great time.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:12 AM   #126
Spaggy
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Lovin your ride. Looks like a great adventure, but I'm wondering a couple of things. Early on, you had a couple of tank slappers in the gravel. Had any more problems with that and do you know what the cause was?
Love the v-strom! Did you ever wish you had more power like the 1000cc version?
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:00 AM   #127
jglow OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockmuncher1 View Post
Lovin your ride. Looks like a great adventure, but I'm wondering a couple of things. Early on, you had a couple of tank slappers in the gravel. Had any more problems with that and do you know what the cause was?
Love the v-strom! Did you ever wish you had more power like the 1000cc version?
Rockmuncher1,

We never experienced anything quite as extreme as we did when we were in South Dakota. That stuff was like kitty litter . I think that I had also gotten a bit more used to the way the bike felt and handled while being so loaded. We tore up the gravel through most of Canada and AK, and felt stable at 45mph. Otherwise, most of the issues we had in AK were calcium chloride induced .

As far as 650 v. 1000 strom debate... No, I never wanted anymore power. The bike hauled us and all gear without any hesitation or oil consumption. I put gas in, checked oil regularly, and neglected the chain. The bike performed flawlessly. The chain however ...


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Old 04-04-2011, 06:54 AM   #128
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Greetings from Fairbanks…


Day 14 – June 13, 2010
Mileage today: 42
Total Trip Mileage: 4,741

Today is a rest/maintenance day for us. It was a rainy morning, perfect for catching up on some sleep. First item on the agenda for today is to eat a proper breakfast. Sam's Sourdough Cafe:



Then I was off to Wal-Mart to procure some oil for the bike. I was also getting a new tire mounted today care of the ADV friendly Adventure Cycleworks. I made my way over to Adventure Cycleworks and Dan took real good care of me.

Washing the TOW Hwy scum off the bike.



Mounting the new rear tire and changing the oil.



Then headed back to the Dorms to grab Nikki. It was on the way back that I noticed the chain felt sorta notch-ey(?) - Like it had a spot every revolution where it made a weird noise. When I had the new tire put on, Dan put the chain at the proper slack, but I suppose I had been running it super loose, and didn't notice the tight spot that had developed in the chain. Naturally, I fixed this by re-over-slacking the chain .





I know this isn't the "proper" way to solve this problem, but hey, "out of sight (hearing), out of mind."

On the way out of the Dorms, I spotted this scene, and felt compelled to take these pics and share a story:





I have a friend who was a professional student for the better part of a decade. During this time he used a bike to commute around town. After a night of particularly heavy drinking, he opted not to ride his bike home, and instead left it chained to the bike rack. The next day I happened to be talking to him on the phone while he was walking back to retrieve his bike. He's talking to me, ya de ya de yada, then stops and says, "oh shit man, no. ah man. i think someone stole my wheels. ahh, they took my seat too." Turns out that vandals took pretty much everything they could off his bike. The story ends with him regaling a story to me of how after he got off the phone with me, he proceeded to unchain his bike and bring it home. It was too far to carry, so he figured he would take the bus. Bus stops, Driver says, "You can't bring that on the bus, bikes go on the rack on the front!" He tries to explain that he no longer has a bike, and that it is merely parts remaining. Bus driver won't budge. He tries again to rationalize the situation, "But it won't sit in the rack, it's got no wheels -- it's just parts." He ended up having to call someone to pick him up.

--Digression over--


Then it was off the North Pole, AK.



Where we were thoroughly unimpressed. I think our age had to do with it. We weren't quite old enough to think that it was "cute", nor were we young enough to sit on Santa's Lap. But it makes for a nice Christmas Card.

It was a relaxing day, however, which we needed. Tomorrow we head off bright and early up the Dalton Hwy to the Arctic Circle.


jordan
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:04 AM   #129
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Great pictures and post. I know ya'll are having a blast.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:23 PM   #130
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wow what a nice trip!!!!
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:37 PM   #131
RUOK
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We figured this place must of gotten it's name because by the time you get there you look like you are covered in chicken poo.



Great report guy's. What possesses people to drag those big RV's over something like the TOW highway? hope you weren't stuck behind them all the way down.
I got the chicken poo treatment when I went through there July 4th Rained all they way and then the sun came out in chicken.
Keep it coming, looks like your having fun.

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Old 04-04-2011, 02:16 PM   #132
jglow OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUOK View Post

Great report guy's. What possesses people to drag those big RV's over something like the TOW highway? hope you weren't stuck behind them all the way down.
I got the chicken poo treatment when I went through there July 4th Rained all they way and then the sun came out in chicken.
Keep it coming, looks like your having fun.


That's what we were sayin about those RV's too. We actually passed one that had slid off the road into the ditch. Must of missed the signs about the "soft shoulders"


July 4th, eh? It wasn't too long after that when the road got washed out, right?


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Old 04-04-2011, 02:36 PM   #133
RUOK
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Yeah, it washed out a week later, it really dumped the rain when I went through, some locals said it was some of the heaviest rain they had seen and then a week later it hit even harder. Wasn't the TOW on the U.S. side a piece of work, slimy, rutted, full of soft spots and washouts, made the Dalton seem like a cakewalk.
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:51 PM   #134
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Great pictures ! What kind of camera gear are you using ?
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:13 PM   #135
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great writeup be safe and keep the wheels on the road
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