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Old 07-20-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
trailgoon OP
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Joined: Nov 2011
Oddometer: 20
Oregon to Inuvik with a Side of Alaska

About a year ago my college friend in Alaska suggested that we go for a ride through Canada and Alaska. I thought it sounded like a great idea so the search was on for a bike to do the job. Due to my short inseam all my bike purchases come down to seat height. What I really wanted for the trip was an F800 GS but I ended up settling for an 2012 BMW F650GS .

So I did a little planning and bought my ferry ticket for the trip and it was on to get the bike set up for the trip. Yesterday was the final stop to get a service and a new set of tires for the trip.

The bike fully loaded with a new set of Heidenau K60s.

Since it was fully loaded I wanted to see how close I was to the GVWR of 770lbs.

Looks like I have 50lbs of room for food and souvenirs

And without the rider, you can do the math. I guess I will get to do some heavy lifting when I drop it.

This is the proposed route.
Google Maps Link

I have to be back in Southern Oregon by August 13th I plan on leaving today or tomorrow.

My progress can be tracked here via my Spot page

I have a netbook and will try my best to keep this post updated during my trip when I can find some wifi.

This will be my first long distance ride (and report) and I am really looking forward to the experience.

Enjoy the ride,

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Old 07-20-2012, 10:12 AM   #2
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Eugene, OR
Oddometer: 142
Livin' the dream!

Safe travels. The rest of us stuck back here in Oregon will live vicariously through you!

'08 KLR 650

"Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the saddle." - Anonymous
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:34 AM   #3
trailgoon OP
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Day One

I got a late start (1300) out of Southern Oregon because I was undecided whether to leave Friday or Saturday. Well I decided to leave today (Friday). Before I left I wanted to make sure I could pick up my bike with a full load of gear.

The GS's first nap (intentional)

Its heavy but doable if its off camber or down some sort of slope all bets are off.

I am taking my time up to Prince Rupert Canada where I will get on the Ferry and ride up to Skagway Alaska. I need to be in Prince Rupert by Wednseday, but I don't want to take I-5 all the way up so my route will be using some of I-5 on and off.
Part of the reason for taking the Ferry up to Alaska is to reduce the amount of milage on my fresh tires before we start the Dempster Highway.

My goal for the day was to ride to Corvallis and maybe check in with some of my old college friends. I decided to take a route to I-5 from Trail Oregon to Myrtle Creek Oregon. I found this route on the state published motorcycle map. I found a GPS route for it here
The Myrtle Creek side of the road is paved, the Tiller side is not.

The start of the route

A decent high point with a break in the trees, it looks a lot better in person.

This pond is on the Myrtle Creek side where the pavement starts.

That is the end of the photos for the day. I got some video footage but the netbook doesn't have quite enough power to play it back let alone edit it. I might make a video of the trip when I get back.

The ride to Corvallis was fairly uneventful other than learning that fresh Heidenau's do not like any sort of speed. It seemed like anything over about 70mph produced a speed wobble . After putting 150 miles on the tires they seem to be getting significantly better on the pavement.

I made it to Corvallis and some of my old college friends saw me riding around campus and flagged me down. I stayed at a friends house in Corvallis and will take off for Portland/ Mt St Helen’s in the morning.

PS if someone could tell me if these photos are too big that would be great. They seem a little big on the netbook.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:59 AM   #4
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Brisbane, Qld
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Subscribed! Wish I was doing all this again
Red pedal motorcycle, circa 1965, plastic & with silver painted headlight
1973-1980 Assorted trail bikes; Suzuki & Honda: 100cc-250cc
1981 Honda CB250RS; 1982 Honda VF750S; 2002 Suzuki Bandit 1200S
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:48 AM   #5
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: N. CA
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Camping in Smithers

Just saw your RR this morning... sounds like a great trip. I am from Northern California, Redding Area, and graduated from OSU in Corvallis many mooms ago . Your route etc. struck me as funny in that I am on my way to Skagway where I will get the ferry south

Right now I am in Calgary and will start heading over towards the hwy37/Cassiar hwy Monday.

A couple of suggestions for camping for you to consider:

In Banff Provincial Park, Rampart Creek (pretty close to the boundary between Banff & Jasper parks:

Not sure if you know about the excellent campground in Smithers... it is very nice place to stop if it works out on your route.

I was there last year and plan to stop again on this trip:

In Tete Jaune Cache, just west of Jasper Park the Tete Juane Lodge has both camping and rooms... nice folks owner is a BMW rider

In Prince Rupert the Pioneer Backers Hostel is outstanding:

2009 BMW GSA
Where Are You Going? (2011 Alaska Trip)
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:57 PM   #6
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Petersburg, AK
Oddometer: 3
Thumb I can't wait to join you!

Just 5 days (thursday night) till your ferry stops here in Petersburg, AK. I have already started piling up stuff in the living room. I plan to get everything loaded on the bike on Wednesday. I will post a photo then.

The weather should be awesome Thursday night so we should be treated to an amazing starry sky, with a slight chance of seeing some northern lights. I assume your going to set your tent up on the top deck of the ferry. Do me a favor and grab me a lawn chair (it will be crystal clear what I am telling you once your on the ferry) cause it will be difficult to get anything real set up at midnight when I finally get on. Also remember that you will want to be at the ferry terminal in Prince Rupert 2 hours before it sails. You clear US customs there, and they tend to be Nazi's if your late. Any earlier and you will just have to wait.

Also watch out for your gear if you spend the night in Prince Rupert. I had some stuff stollen from my Jeep a few years ago when I stopped there for the night while waiting for a ferry.

I hope your planning on $$$ for gas. It was $5.70 for regular in Yakutat, AK yesterday. It makes the $4.70 for premium here sound like a great deal. I didn't check Juneau this morning, but it should be about the cheapest gas outside of the lower 48 on this trip.

Right now the forecast is calling for sunny and mid 60's when we are supposed to be on the Dempster. I really hope it holds out.

I guess thats about it for now. I will have a beer for you
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:43 PM   #7
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Location: Fulltiming in an RV! Currently NW Oregon
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Looks like a blast!! I'm moving to Salem in another week or so... will be nice being back up there. Wish I could join you, but a new job calls. :)

'12 Suzuki V-Strom DL650
'96 Suzuki DR650
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:25 PM   #8
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Location: Eastern WA
Oddometer: 871
dang... we try a couple of weeks ago and could not make it... too much rain, mud and when they closed the ferrys.. that nailed it... will try again in two years. GOOD LUCK!
Don't blame me for this mess I voted for McCain

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Old 07-22-2012, 11:12 AM   #9
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Corvallis to St Helens to Mt Rainier

My goal for the day was to ride around Mt Saint Helens. Well I put too much faith into the GPS and it routed me in on the Hwy that goes in and you have to come out the same way. One thing that I noticed was that everyone is trying to get some money from Mt Saint Helens including the state parks. I stopped at the state parks Mt. Saint Helens Visitor center and was not impressed.
Farther up the road is a Forestry learning center with some good view points and nice interpretive center. Its a partnership between the state Hwy department and the Weyerhauser so the displays were mostly about forestry, with some info about the explosion. Still worth the stop since it was free.
The following photos are from that viewpoint

The raods up to the monument are rather boring until you get closer to the monument. Once in the monument there are some really nice hairpin turns. There appears to be two visitor centers Johnson Ridge Observeratory and the main one. The main center was closed but Johnson ridge was very cool. Many interpretive displays and a theater.

I was told that I came on a good day because earlier the place was socked in with clouds and you couldn't see anything. I spent about 4 hours in the monument. A lot longer than I thought.

After leaving the park it was time to find a place to camp, I delusionaly thought it would be easy to find a place to camp in Mt Rainier National Park so that was my direction. I stopped in Morton to get some dinner.

On the highway to the Southwest entrance to the park there is this neat place with metal sculptures.

So I got into the park about 7pm and found out that the campgrounds were full. Anyhow I was already into the park so I rode all the way through ad stopped to take a few pictures. I did not stop at any of the visitor centers though so I don't know if I missed much there.

It was getting late so a lot of the photos might not have turned out as good as they could of.
So I ended up riding all the way through the park and finding a campspot at silver springs campground.

Thats it for now.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:01 PM   #10
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Day 3

Today I really didn't have any plans other than heading farther north. I stopped in Seattle to give some college friends a call. At the off ramp I chose I saw a sign for a flight museum. I stopped at the flight museum and wasted the whole day. If you have any interest in flight it is definitely worth a stop. The only thing I didn't get to do at the museum because of time was try out the flight simulator (the models on hydraulics that roll and tilt).

After the museum I continued farther north following the GPS trying to find a campsite. I crossed I-5 three times looking for a campsite. It started to rain so I stopped at the Boxcar for dinner in Stanwood Washington hoping for the rain to pass. It didn't so I ended up getting on I-5 again and heading up to Mt Vernon and getting a motel room.

Day 4

I got late start today leaving the motel room at 11:00 am. The goal for the day was to cross over the border into Canada and head towards Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway. I crossed over and continued to ride north. I started looking for a Bank in Squamish so that I could get some Canadian Money for the campsites. If its a place that takes a credit card I probably don't want to stay there anyhow. Well I found a bank and went to the ATM and tried to get some cash. All went smoothly until the machine asked for the PIN. I have this credit card for this trip and don't use it very often. The issuing bank issued a PIN and doesn't let me change it. I have never had to enter the PIN before because I have never used it at an ATM. I have no idea what the PIN is. I ended up taking the 35 dollars American I had in my pocket and getting it changed into Canadian Dollars. I stopped at the local McDonalds to stew over my situation and get some stuff to eat.

After devising a secret plan it was time to start looking for a campsite. A lot of the campsites around the whistler area wanted 25+ dollars a night for a place to stay. I stopped at the Whistler RV park and campground and the fellow behind the desk directed me to the the Cal-Cheak recreation site run by Ministry of Forestry site just down the road that cost $11.00 a night. While setting up my tent two other adventure bikes rolled into the site next to me. Turns out it was 2motokiwis. It was really neat to talk with someone who is in the process of a significant journey.

2kiwimoto got a photo of the three of us on their camera it might end up in their ride report.

Day 5

After parting ways with 2 moto kiwis in the morning it was time to hit the road and get some miles down. I rode through Whistler nothing really stood out to me other than the number and money in Mountain bikes present. The Sea to Sky Highway from Pemberton to Lilloet had exceptional views. The rode was a little rough in some places and many of the corners were coated in gravel from people dropping a tire off the edge. Many of the following photos are from my handlebar mounted point and shoot camera.

I completed highway 99 and continued onto Cache Creek to get something to eat. I stopped at Chumps and ordered a Mozzarella Bacon Burger. It was pretty much a plain old hamburger and nothing spectacular so no picture. After eating it was time to make some ground towards Prince George. One thing is fore sure the Caribou Highway aka hwy 97 is just as boring as the highway 97 in Oregon and Northern California. I stopped in Mclease Lake for the evening because I didn't want to be setting a tent up in the dark again. Tomorrows goal is to lay down some serious miles so I can arrive get a into Prince Rupert so I don't have to wake up way earlier to get on the ferry in the Morning on Thursday.

trailgoon screwed with this post 07-24-2012 at 10:05 PM Reason: Grammar
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:01 AM   #11
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Location: Prince George, BC
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Great RR and pics... keep up the good work!

I wish I'd found this RR a little earlier - I could have offered you some free camping in our yard, or the use of the spare bedroom. If you wind up stopping in PG on your way south, drop me a PM!
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:15 PM   #12
Comrade Art
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Good luck with your trip and keep posting
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:23 PM   #13
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Crater Comet

I had to go earlier to Inuvik. I wish I could have waited longer it would probably have been much drier weather. Use your credit card everywhere you can. Some business will ding you for american money, that being said you can't even use the canadian paper in the US. I was going to get dinged 5% at Teslip so I just asked for my cash back and used the credit card. Most of the businesses will take US money even up, there is only 3% diff right now anyway.
Good food at the Haines Jct bakery. Grub is $$$.
Have fun, go Comet's!
"Do today what other's won't, so you can do tomorrow what other's can't." Jody Sears-West Point
“It is not enough to want to make the effort. It’s in the doing, not just the thinking, that we accomplish our goals."
Just tell her my wife said it's OK-Handy
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:43 PM   #14
Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Petersburg, AK
Oddometer: 3
Originally Posted by GISdood View Post
Great RR and pics... keep up the good work!

I wish I'd found this RR a little earlier - I could have offered you some free camping in our yard, or the use of the spare bedroom. If you wind up stopping in PG on your way south, drop me a PM!
I know Trailgoon plans to go back through Prince George on his way back to OR at the end of the trip... Thanks for the offer.
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:06 PM   #15
trailgoon OP
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Today was all about putting in the miles and getting to Prince Rupert before I stopped for the night.
I got an early start in the morning when I woke up about 5am to rain hitting my tent. I didn't recall a chance of showers in the forecast oh well. I better get out of bed to figure out how to pack up between the rain cells. When I peaked my head out of the door I noticed that the ground was relatively dry compared to my tent. This turned out to be the culprit.

Thanks to the campground host for warning me about the sprinklers LWS (Laced With Sarcasm). Oh well at least I found out that my tent is fairly water proof and it got me on the road early. According to the GPS I had 910km (565 miles) to cover today.

So off I went the roads were so boring. I didn't stop to take very many photos during the day. The stops I made during the day were for Gas and a Lumberjack Grand Slam at Dennys to power me through. And one other unplanned stopped.

Cruising outside of Smithers the opportunity presented itself to make an easy pass on someone. Well the result of that pass, included an unplanned stop and an opportunity to finance the British Colombian Government.

Do'h – This is the first one I have ever got. The law enforcement officer informed me that in BC if you get caught going 40 kmph over they take your bike for a week. I guess I was getting close to that, so I am thankful the officer used his discretion so I didn't put a huge wrinkle into the plans for the trip.

Well I continued on and arrived in Prince Rupert at about 730. The Alaska Marine Highway suggested you arrive 3 hours early before your boat leaves. My boat had a planned departure of 630 so that meant I had to be at the terminal at 330. With about 6 hours I didn't really want to pay for a campsite so I killed some time by riding around town a bit and ended up taking a short nap between my bike and the Jersey barrier while the bike and I sat in line.

So this is the start of a 36 hour boat ride... More to come.
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