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Old 02-20-2013, 07:19 AM   #16
Two Wheeled 'Tard
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Originally Posted by BrianF View Post
words.
Getting into the NWT is very workable, and the Dempster Highway up to Inuvick promises to be an interesting ride. I'd advise that over the MacKenzie Highway, the Dempster is much more scenic and interesting. The MacK is fairly unremarkable, save for the distance and desolation.

Your plan of heading south for the first leg is smart, it will be more enjoyable. Appalachia doesn't get the epic hard winters of the high Rockies, and it tends to thaw out much earlier. I think for most of April you should be okay, maybe way up on the Blue Ridge you might have some snow hiding in shady places, but the roads will be clear. Avoid the coast at all costs unless you have something very specific you want to see. It's crammed with people and too crowded, stealth camping there is a bitch.

To be clear, I think Labrador will probably be passable, just kind of sloppy. Your timing for Alaska though, I think that's pushing not-doable. If you're planning on getting up to Deadhorse, I would think late August would be as late in the season as you'd want to try it; September might not be a good idea. The average high temp of Deadhorse in September is just 38f, that's the HIGH. Average daily temps during that month rarely get above freezing. On one hand, this could make things easier, frozen mud is easier to ride over than melted mud, but I would be very worried about heavy snows in the Atigun pass starting in early September.

On top of the worries of the North Slope, you need to give yourself at least three weeks to get back down to the lower 48 from Anchorage, especially if you want to take the (much prettier and more enjoyable) Cassiar highway, instead of the Alcan.

As for your mileage, I don't know where your previous rides have been, or on what. I know you mentioned having done 48-state blasts before, and a two-week trip that burned many miles. 500 mile days are pretty easy on straight tarmac, but if you're doing a lot of exploring on winding, twisty mountain roads, those sort of days aren't very practical when you can't do more than ~35mph. Especially if you're on the popular adventure roads; Last time I was on the Dalton on my way back from Deadhorse, it took me 36 hours just to do 120 miles. I imagine that the Dempster and Trans-lab could be similar.

I can't speak for you, or anyone else besides myself. But I find that the longer the trip, the harder and harder it gets to push that many miles every day. Eventually it starts to feel like work, like you're OBLIGATED to keep burning miles that fast. A few times I even caught myself thinking "Well I'd kind of like to see that silly little tourist attraction, but I need to make it to X place by tonight if I want to stay on schedule". And when you start thinking like that, THAT'S the sign that you're doing a motorcycle trip the wrong way. Take extensive time off. Stop in a little town for a full week. Pull over at the silly roadside attractions, get your picture taken with the Worlds Largest Ball of String, the World's Largest Fly Fishing Rod, etc.

On my 27,000 mile trip in 2009, I took a week off in Whitehorse, many days off here and there staying with friends, and spent a solid week and a half camping in the Black Rock Desert north of Reno (Full disclosure; I might have been surrounded by 50,000 screaming naked drugged-up hippies for that whole time).

I also agree that you might want to reconsider hitting national parks just for the sake of being there. No one is a bigger proponent of our National Park system than I am, but to really appreciate them I don't think you can just drive in for a couple hours and drive out. You should at LEAST spend a couple nights there, do some day hikes, take some pictures. Big Bend in Texas is a backpacker's paraside, and if you love solitude the Guadalupe Mountains are wonderful as well. Glacier National Park in Montana is . . . quite simply the most wonderful place on this entire planet, especially if you can spend a few days getting into the back country.

tl;dr - Don't get attached to a schedule, don't get obsessed with how many miles you can do or what milestone you need to reach. Try not to have any finite plans more than 3-4 days in advance, and play the rest by ear.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:51 AM   #17
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Another completely random spur that you might be interested, and would accomplish your goal of getting into the Northwest Territories (barely) is the Canol Road. It starts off the Alcan about 80 miles east of Whitehorse, and runs through some extremely desolate area up to the NWT. Bring lots of fuel though, I think it's like 500 miles there and back, with no services. I haven't looked into it extensively, but if you dig that sort of road you should investigate it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:16 PM   #18
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thought-provoking words
Thanks for all the advice and wisdom TWT, I think you "get" this whole journey. Canol looks interesting for sure...though carrying a fuel drum doesn't sound great.

You've given me a ton to think about, and I'm contemplating going back to the drawing board (or throwing it in the trash altogether). I want great roads more than I want to check off "destination boxes," though I do fear that there are places on my route I may not have the chance to go again. I've already decided to remove all NP's I've already visited from the list, so as to focus on the new stuff. For instance, I grew up 40 miles from Mt. Rainier...why go there again?

As for mileage, my travels have been mostly on an '84 GL1200, an '07 Strom 650, and my current VFR1200. Even with my wife on the DL650, we averaged 277 miles per day on 15,000 mile trip in '08. I'm literally a sun-up-to-sundown rider, with a 5 second stop to wolf a corn dog somewhere in the middle. To me, the most important part of a long ride is the ride...if I look up and see something pretty, then that's a bonus. Part of what draws me to the Multi is its road prowess. I'm a fast rider on the road, and given the right bike, pretty fast on dirt (if I do say so myself).

I am going to take a long look at my finances and see if extending this little adventure is possible. An extra couple months would be nice, though as you get to winter it becomes less useful. I don't want to have a "schedule," just a "plan." I think there's a big difference between the two.

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Just out of interest: did you in any stage consider adding Central and/or South America into your plan as well? I mean, 50 thousand miles / 6 months would get you a lot further south, too, if you wish.
Yes, that was the original plan, to do the Dalton to Tierra ride I've always dreamed of. Whether unfounded or not, my wife was not particulary encouraging in that regard due to political unrest and whatnot. Same for a Norway to Cape Town ride, which was my other idea. Doing N.A. allows her to fly-in/fly-out at her leisure, and lessens the chance of me being in potentially dangerous situations alone. I am still considering it though, to be honest. My wife is a writer, so if she doesn't work she doesn't get paid. It's very hard for her to take off a big chunk of time and join me through the journey.

Mileage-wise, I generally take one day per week off. So if I wanted to average 275 miles per day, that means I only have to ride an extra 45 miles beyond that on each of the other six days. I am not hell-bent on making it to 50k by any means, that was just what I came up with by factoring out my averages from the past. This will be my longest trip so far by a large margin, so no way to know if that average can be kept up long-term. Regardless, I'm glad these points are being raised, because you guys have me thinking...which is quite rare!
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BrianF screwed with this post 02-21-2013 at 03:23 PM Reason: Lurning howw too spell...
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:39 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BrianF View Post
Thanks for all the advice and wisdom TWT, I think you "get" this whole journey. Canol looks interesting for sure...though carrying a fuel drum doesn't sound great.

You've given me a ton to think about, and I'm contemplating going back to the drawing board (or throwing it in the trash altogether). I want great roads more than I want to check off "destination boxes," though I do fear that there are places on my route I may not have the chance to go again. I've already decided to remove all NP's I've already visited from the list, so as to focus on the new stuff. For instance, I grew up 40 miles from Mt. Rainier...why go there again?

As for mileage, my travels have been mostly on an '84 GL1200, an '07 Strom 650, and my current VFR1200. Even with my wife on the DL650, we averaged 277 miles per day on 15,000 mile trip in '08. I'm literally a sun-up-to-sundown rider, with a 5 second stop to wolf a corn dog somewhere in the middle. To me, the most important part of a long ride is the ride...if I look up and see something pretty, then that's a bonus. Part of what draws me to the Multi is its road prowess. I'm a fast rider on the road, and given the right bike, pretty fast on dirt (if I do say so myself).

I am going to take a long look at my finances and see if extending this little adventure is possible. An extra couple months would be nice, though as you get to winter it becomes less useful. I don't want to have a "schedule," just a "plan." I think there's a big difference between the two.



Yes, that was the original plan, to do the Dalton to Tierra ride I've always dreamed of. Whether unfounded or not, my wife was not particulary encouraging in that regard due to political unrest and whatnot. Same for a Norway to Cape Town ride, which was my other idea. Doing N.A. allows her to fly-in/fly-out at her leisure, and lessens the chance of me being in potentially dangerous situations alone. I am still considering it though, to be honest. My wife is a writer, so if she doesn't work she doesn't get paid. It's very hard for her to take off a big chunk of time and join me through the journey.
I don't think you need to go back to the drawing board, just change the order of a couple things you've got planned. And okay, maybe not so much time crossing the flatlands :). Identify the stuff that YOU yourself really want to see, rather than what you think will make the most impressive list to talk about later. There's tons of great roads all over this continent, and as your wife mentioned you don't have to worry about the political situations and language barriers like you would heading south.

You seem to know your capabilities best, so more power to you if you cover that much distance. I think the biggest decision you're going to have to make is how off-road oriented do you want this trip to be. This forum is understandably biased to dirt excursions, with many here placing more interest and emphasis on long and desolate stretches through wilderness, rather than twisty sportbike type roads. Dirt is amazing, and gets you into places that tarmac never will, but it will also require some different choices in machinery. As much as the 'Strada is brilliant (and it is, a friend just bought an '05), it's definitely a road-oriented touring bike. I'd say my V-Strom is a bit more capable off the pavement than the 'Strada, although maybe the new ones have altered that. But I think Ducati still calls it a Sport Tourer, and even if you can get knobbies for it, it's awful heavy with lots of exposed plastics to break when it goes down. And they're too nice of bikes to spray with Rhino-Liner like I've done to my 'Strom :)

*edit* I derped a werd

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Old 02-23-2013, 09:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Two Wheeled 'Tard View Post
Advice
Making me wish I never woulda sold my Strom....variety is the spice of life? I've already reworked the route pretty heavily so Alaska will be in the early Summer, and I've removed one of the plains-crossing section. Your advice is being assimilated.

Multi/WaterBoxer/S10/TigerExXC...it's a toss-up for now. No matter my intentions, I realize this will likely be a 90/10 street/dirt trip. I swear, if I was a single guy, I'd do this on the WR. THAT would be epic. Perhaps I should drop in on SportTouring.net...
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:47 AM   #21
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Making me wish I never woulda sold my Strom....variety is the spice of life? I've already reworked the route pretty heavily so Alaska will be in the early Summer, and I've removed one of the plains-crossing section. Your advice is being assimilated.

Multi/WaterBoxer/S10/TigerExXC...it's a toss-up for now. No matter my intentions, I realize this will likely be a 90/10 street/dirt trip. I swear, if I was a single guy, I'd do this on the WR. THAT would be epic. Perhaps I should drop in on SportTouring.net...
I'll sell you my '08 ABS DL650 in the fall once I'm done with it :) I'll have the better part of 40k miles on it by then, but with every farkle you can imagine, and completely set up for long-distance dirt road touring (including the good stuff; steering damper, elka rear shock, emulators and a re-sprung front).

My next touring bike for my 2014 trip is likely going to be a DRZ400, or some other kind of lightweight dirt machine. My goal for that year will be multiple shorter trips (2x 1 month trips), but of at least 60-80% gravel and dirt, maybe even some single-track.
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