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Old 03-03-2013, 11:44 AM   #1
73datsun OP
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Minneapolis to the Arctic Circle

UPDATED MAY 14, 2013

Right now, I guess this is technically a trip planning thread. But will evolve to Ride Report in July.


My employer has a program called Dream Catcher. In short, you can opt to set aside money each pay check. They will match it dollar for dollar. After three years, you receive $5,000 and 14 extra days of paid vacation.

Some have used it to go to China to adopt a child. Some have used it to go to the Olympics.

I'm using it to ride a motorcycle to the Arctic Circle.


Bike
BMW F700GS


Gear
I have nearly all the camping and riding gear from previous trips on other bikes. Including a sweet Jet Boil. Really all I have left is: bear spray, tactical shovel/axe, SPOT tracker and GPS.


Route

DRAMATICALLY REVISED. SEE POST 20.

Depart MN, July 3, 2013
Arrive MN, July 29, 2013

Flexible to add another day or two.



Side trips:

Skagway > Haines via Ferry

Anchorage > Seward
Supposed to be a beautiful ride into Seward. Beyond that, doing a half day Sea Kayak excursion



Denali
This will be my big expenditure. But when in Rome. Flight tour of Denali/Mount McKinley and a glacier landing.




For anyone who has done this before, I'd love feedback, input, must-sees, not to be missed, etc. I have a day or two of buffer, but I'd rather not extend it any longer.


I'll update this thread as important decisions are made. Like, which bike I'm going to buy.

73datsun screwed with this post 05-14-2013 at 04:07 PM
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
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Moved to Trip Planning.. when your ride is under way, or concluded, we'd like to see you in Ride Reports
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:53 PM   #3
Cosmic_Jumper
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Geez, isn't Minneapolis pretty close to the Arctic Circle?
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:46 PM   #4
charlesdarwin
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Very ambitious for 24 days. I did a similar trip but went to Deadhorse. You can also kayak out of Whittier.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:04 PM   #5
KustomizingKid
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Best of luck on your trip... Fellow Minneapolis resident.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:27 AM   #6
Yukon Jon
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I'll second the notion that it's an ambitious plan for 24 days. But you know better than anyone else what you're capable or riding, and some of us enjoy long days in the saddle more than others. It has the makings of a great trip, and you should enjoy the hell out of it.

Since you're open to suggestions, I have one; If you're doing the Fjord Express down to Juneau and back up, see if you can get on in Skagway and off in Haines, or vice-versa. It shouldn't be an issue for them, in my experience the folks that run it are like most Alaskans that I've met; incredibly friendly and helpful.
The road from Skagway to Whitehorse, mostly once you get a bit south of Carcross, and closer to British Columbia, is fantastic, and immensely enjoyable in either direction. I prefer it heading back to Whitehorse in terms of riding, and to Skagway when it comes to scenery.
The road from Haines, up into the mountains and back into Canada is not to be missed either though, nor is the town of Haines itself, if you've spent the day doing the Fjord Express and need to spend a night somewhere. If you're camping, there's an incredible campground on the Chilkoot Lake / River, where it's not unusual to simply walk down and pluck salmon out of the water with your bare hands, if they're running. You'll miss the grizzly bears feasting there by a few months, but there's always the next trip for that.


Aside from that, enjoy the planning phase, it's half the fun, and if you're in the Territory and in need of a hand, drop me a line. I'll have moved back South of the Arctic Circle by then, and will have a place with a garage for tire changes and a beer or whatever else in Carmacks.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:24 AM   #7
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I need a job with an employer like that.... (or any employer for that matter )

do they cut ADV members any slack and wave such things as education and experience?

C'mon, I'm local. We could be carpooling!

I could carry your briefcase.


Paul from Coon Rpds.

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Old 03-04-2013, 05:58 AM   #8
73datsun OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yukon Jon View Post

Since you're open to suggestions, I have one; If you're doing the Fjord Express down to Juneau and back up, see if you can get on in Skagway and off in Haines, or vice-versa. It shouldn't be an issue for them, in my experience the folks that run it are like most Alaskans that I've met; incredibly friendly and helpful.

This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for!

However, I'm curious how I get my motorcycle from Skagway to Haines.

The Fjord Express looks more like a tour boat then a ferry.

http://alaskafjordlines.com/

Do you have another suggestion for a carrier? Is Juneau even worth going to see?
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:16 PM   #9
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Hey Chris, it's Mike---


They may be suggesting that you do the Alaska Marine Highway instead of the sightseeing ferry?
I've been to Haines, Juneau, Scagway, and Ketchikan... they're all worth seeing.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:25 PM   #10
73datsun OP
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Hey Mike!

Yeah, I looked into the sea highway stuff. But the time tables weren't super co-operative to me staying on schedule. So I opted of the "sightseeing" fjord line express.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 73datsun View Post
However, I'm curious how I get my motorcycle from Skagway to Haines.
I did a 10,500 mile ride to Alaska this past June/July in 29 days. I rode the Dalton instead of the Dempster. Didn't have time for both. Your planned route looks very similar to the way I went. The Alaska marine highway runs ferry service between Skagway and Haines. I went the opposite way from Haines to Skagway. It only ran once a day as I remember. The ride into Valdez was very nice, as was riding south into Haines and north out of Skagway. If you have time do go to those three places I'd do it.

Here's some pictures going to Valdez.





Heading south to Haines over a pass, it was quite chilly!



And one last teaser pic of what you might see!
Riding north out of Skagway.

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Old 03-04-2013, 04:14 PM   #12
73datsun OP
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Oh man. Those photos. I'm getting so excited.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:33 PM   #13
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Looks like fun!

I'd like to go to Mexico or to the west coast. I've had enough pine trees for one lifetime.

Hope it goes well for you!
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:01 PM   #14
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you don't have an unlimited number of days for this trip, and it doesn't look like you have factored days for your side trips. you will need tires too.

for a starter, i would not transit west above the border. it is cheaper, faster, and more scenic to pick a route in the States. the Canucks don't have much of a sense of humor for speeding motos with US plates. fuel, food, and lodging are all more expensive.

you don't have any gravel besides the Dempster and TOW, and for the Dempster you are ambitious in planning out and back in two days. any weather or poor road conditions will be a problem, although you have 22 hour daylight. when you look at your itinerary, ideally, you will have fresh (or fresher) tires for that road. takes some planning.

bottom line, i guess i'd run that route differently. PM if you want to talk about it.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:18 PM   #15
73datsun OP
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Confused about why you think I don't have time for side trips? I've listed three of them at the start of this thread.

I'm staying two nights in Skagway. To explore the town and check out Juneau. I'm staying two nights in Anchorage, with a day trip to Seward. And then another half day for doing a flight tour of McKinley.

I'm researching the tire stuff right now and where I want to do a switch. I thought that there was a chance I could do the whole thing on a K60, especially on a F700. But I guess it's better safe then sorry.

I'll PM you, but if you could post your thoughts back in this thread, it would probably help others that are scouring the Internet planning their next big trip.

The transit west, through Canada in the initial portion of the ride, was just so I wasn't doing the same route back. I'm absolutely open to suggestions. That's why I posted this thread.

I do have a day buffer. And I could also leave one day early. But a month away from home and work, is about as long as I can go.

thanks
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