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Old 02-18-2012, 11:03 AM   #1
skierd OP
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Fairbanks, AK
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Maryland to Seattle... and points north... in mid March.

Whats hopefully a first of many in a lifetime, I've pretty much have a lock on a job opportunity for myself in Alaska. The only real wiggle is that we're looking at needing to be in Fairbanks by the first week of April. That means getting cross country and on to the ferry in Bellingham by the end of March.

Tips and suggestions on getting across without freezing to death in the process that do not include putting the bike into a truck and driving it across? I'm figuring I'm going to have to take a southwesterly track and cross the Rockies further south than would be ideal, but how far south? Once on the other side, would it be better to hug the coast or track further inland until I get to the Seattle area?

I'm having a heck of a time deciphering the ferry schedules too. I know that Ketchican and Juneau do not have road access to the mainland, but I'm unsure where to get off the boat in order to minimize the time I'll need to get to Fairbanks once I'm up there since I'm assuming its a tad nippy up there still.

The bike is ready to ride (gas range is 150-180 miles before I get into my spare fuel bottles), I have electrics and waterproof gear, and have two longer trips under my belt though nothing in extreme winter conditions. Any common for up there items that a right coaster might be forgetting or needs to know about bringing ahead of time? My local bookstore has a copy of the 2011 Milepost on the shelf, I should probably grab that...

I'm downright giddy with anticipation...
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:55 AM   #2
JDowns
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From MD to WA in mid March, your safest bet would be dropping down through Texas, NM, AZ, CA and up through OR to WA. The weather is pleasant 60s-70s during the day in TX and the desert southwest in March.

It is nighttime 20s daytime 40s mid March in the northern plains where I live, but you can get caught out at that time of year if a clipper drops down from Canada, and even south pass in WY rockies would be butt freezing. And the 40s are damn cold to be riding through for long distances across the northern and central routes.

As far as inland or coastal up to WA, east of the Sierra 395 up through CA and OR to the Columbia River gorge could be butt freezing. Central route I-5 or 99 north just shoot me. 101 coast through the Redwoods and the southern Oregon coast would be scenic and likely wet past the Oregon border. I always take the coastal route unless I'm in a hurry. Or head up 1/101 through CA to 199 angle up to I-5 to miss the Siskiyou pass if its snowy and jet up I-5 through Oregon and WA. Just some ideas.

Have fun!

Best,
John Downs
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:38 PM   #3
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AWESOME Dave!!! Congratulations.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skierd View Post
Whats hopefully a first of many in a lifetime, I've pretty much have a lock on a job opportunity for myself in Alaska. The only real wiggle is that we're looking at needing to be in Fairbanks by the first week of April. That means getting cross country and on to the ferry in Bellingham by the end of March.

Tips and suggestions on getting across without freezing to death in the process that do not include putting the bike into a truck and driving it across? I'm figuring I'm going to have to take a southwesterly track and cross the Rockies further south than would be ideal, but how far south? Once on the other side, would it be better to hug the coast or track further inland until I get to the Seattle area?

I'm having a heck of a time deciphering the ferry schedules too. I know that Ketchican and Juneau do not have road access to the mainland, but I'm unsure where to get off the boat in order to minimize the time I'll need to get to Fairbanks once I'm up there since I'm assuming its a tad nippy up there still.

The bike is ready to ride (gas range is 150-180 miles before I get into my spare fuel bottles), I have electrics and waterproof gear, and have two longer trips under my belt though nothing in extreme winter conditions. Any common for up there items that a right coaster might be forgetting or needs to know about bringing ahead of time? My local bookstore has a copy of the 2011 Milepost on the shelf, I should probably grab that...

I'm downright giddy with anticipation...
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:46 PM   #4
skierd OP
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Thanks Jack! If this falls through, I'm scheduled to start at Pete's on March 1 anyways, feels good to be moving up the economic ladder a little regardless. Its been a good week.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:28 PM   #5
lakota
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I would also post this question on the Alaska regional forum. I think you could have a real road/snow/ice problem heading north out of Haines to Haines Junction and then north to Fairbanks. If the stations are open gas should not be a problem.
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:47 PM   #6
AKDuc
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Click on my sig line for a thread about riding our ferry system.

I strongly recommend you come up to Prince Rupert BC (instead of Bellingham) to board a ferry to Haines, AK unless you're thinking of the super long, boring, and expensive ride from B'ham all the way up to Seward, AK.

Mid March can be pretty darned early in some areas for 2 wheel travel.

More later if needed. Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:39 PM   #7
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Very cool Dave! Heck of an opportunity.

Like the other guy said, I'd take the southern route to Cali and then up the coast. But even then you have a chance of snow in the southwest.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:47 PM   #8
skierd OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKDuc View Post
Click on my sig line for a thread about riding our ferry system.

I strongly recommend you come up to Prince Rupert BC (instead of Bellingham) to board a ferry to Haines, AK unless you're thinking of the super long, boring, and expensive ride from B'ham all the way up to Seward, AK.

Mid March can be pretty darned early in some areas for 2 wheel travel.

More later if needed. Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
Long boring and expensive yes... but I'm also thinking it might end up being a safer and more efficient way to transit myself closer to Fairbanks given the time of year. Its also an attempt to save some additional wear and tear on the bike and give my poor butt a chance to rest, since I'll have ridden to 5000 miles at that point already depending how far south I have to/choose to go... I'm already planning on fresh tires and probably a chain+sprockets change somewhere on the west coast.

Open ears to any and all suggestions, but from what little I've been able to find on the subject riding through the Yukon in late March is probably not the best idea. I'll be in that area around March 20-25 ish if my planning goes as planned.

Edit: Looks like my choice may be made for me... so far not a ton of availability for sailings from Bellingham to Haines with vehicle space and nothing further west in the time frame I'll need. If I can't get the reservation in for the last week of March sailings out of Bellingham, I'll be riding to Prince Rupert it seems.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012

skierd screwed with this post 02-19-2012 at 06:11 PM
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:29 PM   #9
Dynamick
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Effing-A Dave


I've got a friend in Anchorage, when you get that far...
The thing about the AK ferry is the schedule is made early and then edited at the last moment. The best way to get information is to call them, not kidding. You will get a person, 907 465 3941
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:50 AM   #10
skierd OP
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I got the job! Now I just gotta get up there.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:51 AM   #11
JaxObsessed
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Congrats!!
Getting out there....
In my experience, it is cold as hell even as far south as I40. I know it's not what you want to hear, and it's probably 1000 miles out of the way, but I would go the whole way down to I10. BUT You are young and actually have blood flow so....Southern AZ is friggin sublime this time of year.
do yourself a favor and ride as much of HWY 1 in cali, ore, and wash. as you can. ESPECIALLY above Sanfran. Stop and say hey to The Darth Peach

best of luck.
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:39 AM   #12
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Party?
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:17 AM   #13
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Anchorage area and north, snow on the ground until the end of April. This far north you get a temps shift called "breakup" -- when the days get long enough to melt the snow. Anchorage area goes from snow on the ground to no snow in about two weeks. This is because this far north you get huge gains in daylight as the season changes.

If you're riding up the West Coast, eastern side of the Cascades and Siskyous is likely to be cold and icy. I just did I-5 from Redding CA to Longview WA, Feb. 5. The day was unseasonably warm, but I-5 in the Siskyou passes had lots of snow on the shoulders -- Ashland OR, Medford OR. Siskyous get 2,000 elevation and within 10 miles of Mt. Shasta on I-5.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:47 AM   #14
skierd OP
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Heated jacket and glove liners and dual remote controller, hotgrips, a respro foggy, and a headlight protector ordered.

Mickey, tomorrow maybe? Gotta work today, won't have time to grab staples.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:45 AM   #15
skierd OP
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More memory lane thoughts... I hate when I search for info when the OP never comes back and updates what happenend...

I left Maryland on US340 through Harper's Ferry, got on US 50, followed it to US62? in kentucky, and then headed more or less due west through to Missouri. Dipped down into Arkansas to go through Eureka Springs then a straight as I could manage shot to Tulsa/Coweta via Fayettesville as I could manage. From Tulsa I headed straight west on OK 59 I think, all the hell way across the state to Boise city, then eventually up to US 50 to get to Salida. Once in Salida, weather convinced me to head south, way south, all the way down past Santa Fe, Alburquerque, Soccorro, Truth or Consequences, and eventually to Silver City to Lordsburg to get across the Continental Divide. From there I head to Tucson, Phoenix, Needles CA, Death Valley, Saline Valley, Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco, then up the coast on CA1 and US101 till about halfway up Oregon when I couldn't stand the RV traffic anymore and burned up the 5 to Seattle. From Seattle I took the ferry from Bellingham to Haines, enjoying the rest and relaxation of my blue collar cruise on the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry (in the bar mainly). From Haines, AK, I took the one road north out of town (haines hwy) to the next major road (Alaskan highway) in Haines Junction, Yukon, turned left, and eventually ended up in Fairbanks. If you can't understand it all, drink some Crown Royal like I've been doing all night, say to yourself 'fuggit, just ride', and get out there.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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