ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Trip Planning > Americas
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-03-2015, 09:07 PM   #1
nconoan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
nconoan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Bellevue, NE
Oddometer: 173
Nebraska to Alaska and Back

Hello all:

My name is Nick, and I was born and raised in Bellevue, Nebraska just south of Omaha. At 25 I am trying to put together my first major motorcycle trip as life circumstances have created a perfect opportunity for it...problem is I don't know what the hell I'm doing ...

The proposed trip (very rough outline): Bellevue to Des Moines to visit family, then to Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills National Forest. Through western Nebraska into Wyoming and then South towards Denver for a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Southwest to Gunnison National Forest continuing West to meet up with the Colorado. Follow the Colorado to the Grand Canyon. From there head to Lake Mead to see Hoover Dam. Cross the deserts of Nevada towards Yosemite. From there Northwest until reaching Highway 101. North up to Seattle, then into Canada. Through British Columbia to the final destination of Anchorage AK where I have family.

I realize that the above paragraph is very skeletal, and that after Yosemite it is massively skeletal as I have not decided exactly what I would like to see along that massive stretch of land (this is just day 1 of planning).

My proposed departure date: May 25th-ish
The concert will put me in Morrison, CO on June 3. Past that no dates have been set yet.

Proposed machine: New 2014 Suzuki DR650
I figure, when going this far alone (yes I am currently planning on being alone unless Inmates would like to meet up along the way) simple is best, as I am not a particularly skilled mechanic. And new gives me the best chance of avoiding mechanical issues.

Total Mileage (very rough estimate): 9,500 miles

Time constraint: Don't want to get caught in AK/Canada when the snow starts coming.

Budget: Not that far yet, but I want to camp off the bike for the majority of the trip. Maybe get a cheap motel once every week and a half or so. I will be selling my 2008 Husqvarna TE610 (watch for the ad in the flea market if interested ) and my YZ125 (also will post on here) and those together should get me enough for the bike. I figure with that much camping and not eating fancy I can pull the 3-5 month trip for $2,000-3,000. I have savings so if I end up way underestimating that is OK, but I would like to not blow through all of my money in case I don't find work right away when I get back.

My concerns: I am not sure I can cover the ground and see everything I want to see before snowfall in the North.

I am not a very experienced camper, never done alpine camping.

Air cooled bike in the Summer heat of the desert.

Longest journey to date was Philadelphia to Bellevue in 3 days (1,300 miles).

Please, weigh in on things I should bring, gear selection, bike choice, route modifications, time concerns, mechanical concerns, weather concerns, safety concerns, as this is all new to me.


Thanks for reading!
-Nick
__________________
'99 XT225,'03 DRZ400e STOLEN!!!,'08 Ninja 650r Wrecked ,-'06 Yamaha YZ125 -08 TE 610
nconoan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2015, 11:00 PM   #2
HeliMarc
Adventurer
 
HeliMarc's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Quebec
Oddometer: 29
Hi Nick,

I'm heading that way too, coming from farther away though.

Camping in the cold: have an inflatable matress with light insulation. Approx $100.
New bike with air-cooled engine shouldn't cause problem.
Your body will adapt to increase daily mileage as required. Should rather think in terms of hours in the saddle, as some sections might obviously take longer :-)
Plenty of time to do the round trip before winter returns.
Route is not so important, follow instinct... and compass :-)

Absolute two items: Passport & credit card.

Gear: a few tools, flat tire kit, irons, compressor. Usual light weight camp gear.
Clothes: 3 of each of the following is enough: underwears, socks, t-shirt in quick-dry fabric. Washed at night, dry next morning. One pant.
A heated jacket under the Outer Jacket is fantastic in reducing the amount of layers and it fits well as light casual jacket.
Quality boot with gore-tex membrane is adviseable. Riding takes it's toll on boots. Waterproof booties (overboot) don't last very long.

If you forgot anything, buy it along the way. No matter the trip, you'll find you always carry too much and it becomes an annoyance to pack.

Safety: bear spray + follow posted advices in parks. Try to be with other rider for longest isolated sections; or (like me) have a satellite communicator for emergency.

The way you write your post, you have the right attitude and that's most important.

Marc
__________________
This is my life, I cannot help it that she chose me

HeliMarc screwed with this post 03-04-2015 at 04:33 AM
HeliMarc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 10:39 AM   #3
nconoan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
nconoan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Bellevue, NE
Oddometer: 173
Thanks for the tips Marc! You mentioned you are heading the same way, what are your riding plans? I'd like to do a majority of the trip alone, but it is always nice to have company and meet new people if the conditions allow.

Your advice is encouraging, as it is in line with a lot of what I already had planned. The inflatable mattress in particular is a good note, as I was on the fence about that.

Do you use a SPOT tracker for your emergency communicator? I was definitely considering one.

I am also still on the fence about using a GPS or not. I like going by feel as opposed to following a set route, but sometimes it is nice to know where things like gas stations/grocery stores are.

Any suggestions for rain-proofing the luggage so things like sleeping bag and clothes stay dry?
__________________
'99 XT225,'03 DRZ400e STOLEN!!!,'08 Ninja 650r Wrecked ,-'06 Yamaha YZ125 -08 TE 610
nconoan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 02:53 PM   #4
AKDuc
Alaska Born Ducatisti
 
AKDuc's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Oddometer: 6,654
Hi Nick. Are you planning on riding back down from Anchorage? Usually you can leave AK and get thru Canada thru Sept w/o hitting any snow tho it'll be getting pretty chilly and the daylight will be shorter than mid-summer.

I highly recommend trying to get to Dawson City Yukon for the annual Dust2Dawson gathering where a couple hundred like minded riders from around the world meet for fun and folly. This year's is Thurs/Fri June 18-19.

Many of us also have a lot of fun camping out at http://www.thompsonseaglesclaw.com/ in Tok on our way to and from D2D. It's in the woods with unlimited free firewood and the water there is great! Good times.

I also suggest spending time reading stuff in the Alaska forum on here for suggestions about AK. My sig line links to a few ride reports I've done on AK and the Yukon too.

SPOT can make for a lot of peace of mind for friends and family on your travels and they can follow your progress besides being a good emergency signal device.

Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
AKDuc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 07:56 PM   #5
nconoan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
nconoan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Bellevue, NE
Oddometer: 173
Hey Mark,
I would love to make it to Dust2Dawson, it sounds like a blast. But I won't be hitting AK until mid to late July I'm guessing. I am planning on riding back from Anchorage, though I have not yet planned that half of the trip. I would like to spend most of the time getting up there, and spending time with family while there (but will definitely check out those threads to see what kind of trouble I can get into with fellow ADVriders up there!). So my route home will be much more direct and quick.

Thanks for the thread links!
__________________
'99 XT225,'03 DRZ400e STOLEN!!!,'08 Ninja 650r Wrecked ,-'06 Yamaha YZ125 -08 TE 610
nconoan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2015, 10:00 PM   #6
mach1mustang351
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: May 2014
Location: Alaska
Oddometer: 663
I made a trip to AK from Central California in 2008 (I enjoyed it so much I live here now). I had 26 days to cover the trip. I worried about being able to see everything I wanted to see. I took 14 months to plan the trip and the solution I came to is... You cant see it all. You could take a year to make that ride to Alaska and I guarantee there will still be places you really wish you had more time to check out.

I would start your planning with how many miles you are comfortable riding in a day to keep your schedule or close to it. If you want to spend some time in a place work it so you get there in the afternoon or however you want it to work out.

I found great success and had a great trip by playing it completely by ear. The only plan I made was my cabin I booked for the end of travel day 1. I did this cause it was a place I used to go as a kid and I wanted to check it out again. From there I decided to not spend a lot of time exploring on my route to AK and spend more time checking stuff out in AK. At night I would look at the map and zero in on a stopping zone. Usually a 300-400 mile window. If it was tough riding I would stop earlier and if I felt good I would go further. These days I feel most comfortable in the 500-600 mile range but I have changed some.

Not everyone likes traveling this way but I found it stress free, for the most part. It is a little spooky as it gets late and there isn't a camping place that looks like fun but that can be worked out.

As far as roads up I had a great time on Trans Canada 16 last summer on my ride back to California. The Cassiar Highway is the best way to get to the Alaska Highway in my opinion. Great riding, great scenery, and no heavy traffic.

As Far as weather... its anyone's guess. We can have snow any month, but it generally is rideable in May and snow sticks to the ground in late October. I bring out the bike first part of May and it tends to go way end of September. ... its anyones guess though. Roads are clear and dry right now so who knows. It will probably snow 3 feet in June

Hopefully some of this helps. Enjoy your trip. Any more questions let me know... from the perspective of my California family and friends I am an Expert of Far North Motorcycle travels... but like I said... that is all a matter of perspective.
mach1mustang351 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 03:42 AM   #7
MountainsandRivers
loves dirty things!
 
MountainsandRivers's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2010
Location: To Hell U Ride
Oddometer: 2,794
Yo! Another Nebraskan! I was raised in North Omaha, near Florence. I am now in southwest Colorado. PM me when you get close, if you need a hand or more local advice.
You worry about getting down from BC before it snows. Also be prepared that you could still get some snow in Colorado in June. The highways will be open but probably not a lot of the high jeep road passes.
Good luck on your trip!
__________________
2009 Beta 525RR
supporter of COHVCO, RMAR, PAPA, TPA and the GOATS!
MountainsandRivers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 06:59 AM   #8
froger
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Gizzard Gulch, Oregon
Oddometer: 180
You want a compression stuff sack for your sleeping bag.

Get the best riding and camping gear you can. Gore-Tex boots saved my ass. In fact, everything south of my helmet was Gore-Tex.

If your not doing something stupid, black bears seldom cause trouble. But your heading for griz territory. I have on occasion stealth camped in grizzly country. But after once finding a fire hose sized turd on the road that wasent there the night before, I don't think too much of that idea anymore. Nowday's I give the campground money.
froger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 07:26 AM   #9
boatpuller
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Central fly-over land.
Oddometer: 683
What a wonderful trip you are planning. Best of luck with it.

I think you're vastly underestimating the cost. Expenses come up during such a trip you just can't foresee in the planning, and after awhile of depriving yourself for cost-saving, you start to splurge a little - get a second beer, a hotel, replace worn clothes or gear or tires, etc. Now, I think it's great you want a fund for after-trip pre-job, and you should. So, you should reconsider the motorcycle.

It's my experience that today's motorcycles are pretty darn reliable, and getting a used one doesn't mean more problems than new, in fact new often has "shake out" issues to fix. If you got a used motorcycle then the savings could be applied towards your budget for the trip. BTW, why did you select the DR650? What was your criteria?

You are not too mechanically knowledgeable. Well, you have a few months improve that. From taking adult ed classes on mechanics, to offering to services at a motorcycle repair shop in an apprentice type role, to watching you tube videos. This is good info to have, especially if you are going to be away from civilization. In a ride like this, you'll have to be self-sufficient more than most people ever have to be.

Spot tracker: Yes. It can save your life.
Insurance: Health - will it work in Canada? Motorcycle - same question.
Medical Evacuation Plan: If you get hurt far away from home, how do you and bike get back? There are services that cover this for reasonable subscription costs.
GPS: Hell yes! You don't have to mount it, just have it in the bag so you can access it when terribly lost or low on gas. Some units' maps do better on dirt roads than other, if that's a concern for you.
Don't take my post as a downer towards your trip, it's not. Your trip sounds kewl, and I want you to have happy experiences and memories.
boatpuller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 07:56 AM   #10
HeliMarc
Adventurer
 
HeliMarc's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Quebec
Oddometer: 29
Hi Nick,

I plan to depart Quebec City late May, westbound on the south side of the Jet Stream, to stay warmer. This could take me anywhere between the Dakota states and the Canadian prairies. Keep checking this site; I'll post when I depart, with details of itinerary as it evolves.

The GPS only tells me where I am, not where to go. If I didn't already have this old Garmin 60C, I wouldn't bother to buy one. Paper maps will give you another perspective that lot's of us have lost... It's still my preferred method of navigation.

I use an inReach Sat communicator. It's on the iridium constellation hence has better coverage of the north.

You can get a drybag at the sport section of large dept store, for $20. Start preparing early, find what you want, wait for when it comes on sale.

Marc
__________________
This is my life, I cannot help it that she chose me
HeliMarc is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2015, 08:14 PM   #11
Loro17
Adventurer
 
Loro17's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Denver, CO
Oddometer: 22
Leaving Denver

Hey Nick,
Sounds like you have a great trip planned and a good amount of time to spend on the road! I'm actually leaving Denver for Alaska on June 5th, so if you want to ride West for a bit the offer stands. I'll be riding as far West as Salt Lake City to meet a riding buddy before turning North. Also, if you need any info or use of garage and tools just let me know. Have a great trip!
Loro17 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2015, 02:12 AM   #12
Mastery
Mr. Funny Man
 
Mastery's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Hoosier Daddy?
Oddometer: 1,539
Going to Alaska? Read THIS thread by Alcan for a great primer.

I put up a thread about 2015 departures to Alaska HERE that you may be able to link up with somebody if you like or cull some ideas from.

The entire trip planning section here is a wealth of information. Many of the non-Alaska threads also have great ideas in them, just start digging and you'll find tons of information.

Good luck on the trip...many of us are going up there this year.

Mastery screwed with this post 03-06-2015 at 02:22 AM
Mastery is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 02:30 PM   #13
nconoan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
nconoan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Bellevue, NE
Oddometer: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpuller View Post
What a wonderful trip you are planning. Best of luck with it.

I think you're vastly underestimating the cost. Expenses come up during such a trip you just can't foresee in the planning, and after awhile of depriving yourself for cost-saving, you start to splurge a little - get a second beer, a hotel, replace worn clothes or gear or tires, etc. Now, I think it's great you want a fund for after-trip pre-job, and you should. So, you should reconsider the motorcycle.

It's my experience that today's motorcycles are pretty darn reliable, and getting a used one doesn't mean more problems than new, in fact new often has "shake out" issues to fix. If you got a used motorcycle then the savings could be applied towards your budget for the trip. BTW, why did you select the DR650? What was your criteria?

You are not too mechanically knowledgeable. Well, you have a few months improve that. From taking adult ed classes on mechanics, to offering to services at a motorcycle repair shop in an apprentice type role, to watching you tube videos. This is good info to have, especially if you are going to be away from civilization. In a ride like this, you'll have to be self-sufficient more than most people ever have to be.

Spot tracker: Yes. It can save your life.
Insurance: Health - will it work in Canada? Motorcycle - same question.
Medical Evacuation Plan: If you get hurt far away from home, how do you and bike get back? There are services that cover this for reasonable subscription costs.
GPS: Hell yes! You don't have to mount it, just have it in the bag so you can access it when terribly lost or low on gas. Some units' maps do better on dirt roads than other, if that's a concern for you.
Don't take my post as a downer towards your trip, it's not. Your trip sounds kewl, and I want you to have happy experiences and memories.
Hey Boatpuller,
My criteria for the DR was mainly simplicity. Air cooled, carbureted engine is about as simple as they come. I figure the simpler the machine the less that can go wrong, and if it does go wrong I have the best odds of being able to do something about it. Plus I love the 600cc class thumpers. Light enough to play around off-road but enough power to cruise comfortably on highways.

I would love to take my Husky, I am extremely fond of that bike, and the fuel injection would be great when going up and down in altitude, but I haven't had much time to ride in the year since I bought it and have only put a few thousand miles on it, so I am not really ready to trust it for 10,000 hard miles. But worst case scenario, if I can't get a good price for it I might just end up taking it. It would save a lot of money and hassle....unless it broke down on me.
__________________
'99 XT225,'03 DRZ400e STOLEN!!!,'08 Ninja 650r Wrecked ,-'06 Yamaha YZ125 -08 TE 610
nconoan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 02:32 PM   #14
nconoan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
nconoan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Bellevue, NE
Oddometer: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeliMarc View Post
Hi Nick,

I plan to depart Quebec City late May, westbound on the south side of the Jet Stream, to stay warmer. This could take me anywhere between the Dakota states and the Canadian prairies. Keep checking this site; I'll post when I depart, with details of itinerary as it evolves.

The GPS only tells me where I am, not where to go. If I didn't already have this old Garmin 60C, I wouldn't bother to buy one. Paper maps will give you another perspective that lot's of us have lost... It's still my preferred method of navigation.

I use an inReach Sat communicator. It's on the iridium constellation hence has better coverage of the north.

You can get a drybag at the sport section of large dept store, for $20. Start preparing early, find what you want, wait for when it comes on sale.

Marc
Hey Marc,
I will keep an eye on your progress to see if we intersect, sounds like you will be a ways ahead of me but you never know. Do you have a thread going that I can watch?

I think I might get a cheaper off-road GPS as a backup but would like to do much of my navigation by map/intuition.
__________________
'99 XT225,'03 DRZ400e STOLEN!!!,'08 Ninja 650r Wrecked ,-'06 Yamaha YZ125 -08 TE 610
nconoan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2015, 02:44 PM   #15
nconoan OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
nconoan's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Bellevue, NE
Oddometer: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by mach1mustang351 View Post
I made a trip to AK from Central California in 2008 (I enjoyed it so much I live here now). I had 26 days to cover the trip. I worried about being able to see everything I wanted to see. I took 14 months to plan the trip and the solution I came to is... You cant see it all. You could take a year to make that ride to Alaska and I guarantee there will still be places you really wish you had more time to check out.

I would start your planning with how many miles you are comfortable riding in a day to keep your schedule or close to it. If you want to spend some time in a place work it so you get there in the afternoon or however you want it to work out.

I found great success and had a great trip by playing it completely by ear. The only plan I made was my cabin I booked for the end of travel day 1. I did this cause it was a place I used to go as a kid and I wanted to check it out again. From there I decided to not spend a lot of time exploring on my route to AK and spend more time checking stuff out in AK. At night I would look at the map and zero in on a stopping zone. Usually a 300-400 mile window. If it was tough riding I would stop earlier and if I felt good I would go further. These days I feel most comfortable in the 500-600 mile range but I have changed some.

Not everyone likes traveling this way but I found it stress free, for the most part. It is a little spooky as it gets late and there isn't a camping place that looks like fun but that can be worked out.

As far as roads up I had a great time on Trans Canada 16 last summer on my ride back to California. The Cassiar Highway is the best way to get to the Alaska Highway in my opinion. Great riding, great scenery, and no heavy traffic.

As Far as weather... its anyone's guess. We can have snow any month, but it generally is rideable in May and snow sticks to the ground in late October. I bring out the bike first part of May and it tends to go way end of September. ... its anyones guess though. Roads are clear and dry right now so who knows. It will probably snow 3 feet in June

Hopefully some of this helps. Enjoy your trip. Any more questions let me know... from the perspective of my California family and friends I am an Expert of Far North Motorcycle travels... but like I said... that is all a matter of perspective.
Hi Mach,
Your style of trip planning is actually more in line with how I go about doing things. As you guys can probably tell, I'm not the best planner in the world. I'm sure I will make some mistakes and have a very bad time as a result (hopefully I won't make THE BIG mistake)...but to me that is all part of how I learn and part of the adventure (I say as I'm sitting here well fed and warm behind my computer )

Do you have any recommendations for the types of maps that would be most useful for this type of travel (i.e. maps that have campsites indicated)? I will be checking out the tent space map for sure and using that as much as possible, but I am a little nervous about finding a suitable place to stay every night for this amount of time.

What type of food do you guys pack? Obviously nothing that needs to be kept cool, but what is a good way to get all the calories you need without packing meat? (By the way I do plan to take a collapsible .22 to try my hand at hunting and preparing small animals. Assuming this doesn't cause an issue at the Canadian border)

And thanks for the road suggestions! I'll definitely look into those.
__________________
'99 XT225,'03 DRZ400e STOLEN!!!,'08 Ninja 650r Wrecked ,-'06 Yamaha YZ125 -08 TE 610
nconoan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015