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Thread: Alaska in the summer of 2007

  1. #1
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    Alaska in the summer of 2007

    Here is a URL for a set of pictures of a ride that my friend Bill and I took in June and July of 2007 to Alaska. We drove the whole way from central Indiana and back, for a distance of about 9,300 miles in three weeks. We arrived at the MOA rally on Friday evening, and hoped that our miles would get us an award for the most miles driven to the rally. But someone else won with 12,000 miles. Oh well, next year.

    Here's the URL:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/averagerider3

    For the experienced Alaska Highway rider, there's probably not a lot new, but if you just enjoy looking at the pictures, as I have looked enviously at the posts that others have provided before this summer, then perhaps you'll find a picture that will serve as an inspiration for you to do the same next summer. I have provided captions to only about 1/3rd of the photos, and am still working on writing more. Feel free to check back later as I get more captions written.

    Hope you enjoy.

    carlc
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    Great photos!

    I'm planning on riding from Seattle to Anchorage and back next summer. I think I've heard that the road is paved the whole way - is this true? My RT can handle a little bit of dirt and gravel, but she likes pavement best...
    Seattle, WA
    2012 R1200GSA
    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  3. #3
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    going to Anchorage

    The issue of pavement will depend on the route you choose. If you go northeast and pick up the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek, then you will be on pretty good pavement virtually the whole distance to Anchorage. There is almost always some construction on the highway, but it is farily limited, and if it is like what we experienced, would involve your driving on packed down gravel behind a pilot car.

    If you choose to go north to Prince George, then go west on the Yellowhead Highway to 37 -- the Cassiar Highway -- which you pick up at Kitwanga, then you will find more unpaved sections. North and south of Dease Lake, we experienced almost 75 miles of some combination of gravel and a kind of gravel/mud mix that seems to be the road bed of choice in that part of the world as they reconstruct roads. We were running Metzler Tourances, not knobbies, and had no problem. We saw other bikes running street tires and they appeared to have no problems. The critical issue is not overdriving what you have.

    Also, in the stretch of road from Burwash Landing, Yukon, to Tok, AK, you will run into a lot of frost heaves that result in the road sinking or rising several inches and then going back to level. If you hit these dips too fast, they can jar your bones. Watching other bikes on this section, we found the greater suspension travel of the GS to be very helpful, but, again, saw others on standard street-type bikes having no problem as long as they slowed down. Most of the drop offs and bumps are marked with red flags at the side of the road, so you can see then before you get to them.

    In short, if you are even a moderately experienced rider, you should have no problem. I highly recommend the tripl, and am already trying to figure out when I can do it again.

    carlc

  4. #4
    Roadster Rider sjbmw's Avatar
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    Fantastic pictures. Thanks for posting them.
    Sig? What's a Sig?

  5. #5
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    My family members who live in Anchorage have just announced that they will be down here visiting next 4th of July, so I may postpone my trip by a year, as early July is when I'd like to go. Long days of riding, fewer bugs, not too hot in the interior areas...

    And yes - it does get hot up north in the summer - a couple of 100 degree days in Fairbanks is fairly common during the summer.
    Seattle, WA
    2012 R1200GSA
    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  6. #6
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlc View Post
    The issue of pavement will depend on the route you choose. If you go northeast and pick up the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek, then you will be on pretty good pavement virtually the whole distance to Anchorage. There is almost always some construction on the highway, but it is farily limited, and if it is like what we experienced, would involve your driving on packed down gravel behind a pilot car.

    If you choose to go north to Prince George, then go west on the Yellowhead Highway to 37 -- the Cassiar Highway -- which you pick up at Kitwanga, then you will find more unpaved sections. North and south of Dease Lake, we experienced almost 75 miles of some combination of gravel and a kind of gravel/mud mix that seems to be the road bed of choice in that part of the world as they reconstruct roads. We were running Metzler Tourances, not knobbies, and had no problem. We saw other bikes running street tires and they appeared to have no problems. The critical issue is not overdriving what you have.

    Also, in the stretch of road from Burwash Landing, Yukon, to Tok, AK, you will run into a lot of frost heaves that result in the road sinking or rising several inches and then going back to level. If you hit these dips too fast, they can jar your bones. Watching other bikes on this section, we found the greater suspension travel of the GS to be very helpful, but, again, saw others on standard street-type bikes having no problem as long as they slowed down. Most of the drop offs and bumps are marked with red flags at the side of the road, so you can see then before you get to them.

    In short, if you are even a moderately experienced rider, you should have no problem. I highly recommend the tripl, and am already trying to figure out when I can do it again.

    carlc
    Google Maps gives the following statistics on the two routes:

    The eastern route, through Prince George and Ft. St. John, using Hwy 97, Hwy 29, and back to Hwy 97 is listed at 2264 miles and 1 day, 7 hours of driving from my house to my sister's house.

    The western route, through Smithers along Hwys 16 & 37 is listed at 2261 miles door to door, at 2 days and 7 hours of riding.

    It's funny, because the eastern route almost enters Alberta at Ft. St. John and thus would seem to be a much longer route, but in terms of driving time, it's 10 hours shorter though 91 miles longer. That must be due to better roads allowing higher speeds, and thus we can use estimated driving times from web-based trip planners to provide us with a guesstimate of road conditions.
    Seattle, WA
    2012 R1200GSA
    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  7. #7
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    Do them both

    Re the Google map data, I would suggest that you go north by one route and south by the other. The Cassiar Highway is worth the effort. It is narrower than the Alcan, more curvy, especially as you cross the Cassiar Mountains, but is beautiful in its own way. And it runs you by the road that goes to Stewart, BC/Hyder, AK. This road is really scenic, and both Stewart and Hyder are worth a stop. Be sure to get fish and chips at the Sealaska Inn in Hyder.

    Either way, you can't go wrong.

    carlc

  8. #8
    Grammarian no, Rider yes ISAMEMON's Avatar
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    great pics
    I wish I could do that

  9. #9
    Registered User beinin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isamemon View Post
    great pics
    I wish I could do that
    Plan it and do it! This trip was not decided and executed overnight. I met Carl thru my son Garth, when he attended Anderson University. This destination was discussed 5 years ago when the seed was planted. The deciding factor was when Garth was killed in an airplane wreck in April of 2006. Carl and I are both 50 + and decided we needed to do the ride to Alaska to honor Garth and also because we aren't getting any younger. 20 years from now I won't be saying,
    Coulda... Woulda... Shoulda!!! As you can see we took lots of pictures and kept daily journals of where we were and what we saw.

    I suggest to anyone wanting to take a trip like this to start planning and set a date to go. Sometimes it is better to "Ask forgiveness rather than seek permission." Just DO IT!!! you won't regret it.
    Bill
    a.k.a. "Garths dad"
    "F.O.G. Riders" BMWMOA Club# 777
    06 R1200 GS
    90 K100LT "Mule"
    90 K75 S Garth's "Red Pony"
    72 R75/5

  10. #10
    wandering
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    alaska pics

    Just found your post and enjoyed the pics guys. Great story and reason for the trip! Thanks for sharing.

    (Carl: by the way, the ol' 1100 is doing great!)

    Casey

  11. #11
    franze
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    Nice

    Thanks for taking the time to add captions to the pictures. Really enjoyed the ride.

  12. #12
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    Now that was a nice trip! Enjoyed every slide.

  13. #13
    RK Ryder
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    Your pictures and captions have inspired me to put Alaska on my riding list. Wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  14. #14
    decooper
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    Thumbs up

    Awesome writeup and PICs. I'm going the trip this summer . . . excitement is building!

  15. #15
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    Thanks for writing

    To the several persons who wrote, thanks. You honor us with your viewing of the pictures.

    On these short days of December and January, I have gone back to the pictures that Bill and I took, and remember the trip fondly. It's hard to believe that the same Fairbanks we drove through at 60 degrees Farenheit is now experiencing
    minus 18 degree weather with 4 hours of daylight.

    If you are thinking about making this trip, just do it.

    Bill and I are now thinking about going 2000 miles in the other direction in Canada, to Goose Bay, Labrador. Any suggestions? Warnings?

    carlc

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