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Thread: Alaskan Road conditions?

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Question Alaskan Road conditions?

    Wife and I are heading NW from Louisiana next week on our '04 R1200CLC and some (many) questions come to mind.
    Main concern is, how much paved road is there?

    We 've ridden from Glacier, the Icefields Pkwy, Jasper, etc. over to Prince Rupert where we caught the boat south, but that was back in '82 ('83?).
    At that time my memory has most of #16 to Prince Rupert as baseball sized granite gravel and not much fun. We were on a new Honda 750, all dressed out
    and loaded down, so I backed off on trying the AlCan. Everyone I saw comin' south looked like they'd been in combat.
    I'd like to avoid that if possible.

    Last summer to Telluride we ran into road resurfacing in New Mexico and Colorado that would have been been bad on level, much less on the grade,
    so I realize there are rough sections everywhere.

    It's not always clear from forum posts if a rider is talking about main highway
    or unpaved secondary and my main concern is to get back without damaging my passenger or my ride.
    So, any input is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Dan

  2. #2
    Bo Griffin
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    NW Roads

    Dan, I'm sure you will get better and more current info from others on this question, but my information is still more current than in '82. Hwy 16 from Jasper to Prince Rupert was good (all paved). I'm not sure exactly which road you're asking about but, in 2006, the Alcan was good up to Haines Junction. From there through Destruction Bay and on to the Alaska Border was not too good (Construction area that was mostly gravel). Within Alaska it was good up to Fairbanks. Off the subject, but the ferry ride from Prince Rupert to Vancouver Island was nice.

    I'm sure you are following Voni and Paul, but if not, they are up there now and will be happy to give you current info. They went over to Hyder, then up the Cassiar to Watson Lake to pick-up the Alcan to go west. So far, the only gravel they had was a few sections on the Cassiar. You should have a good trip.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pogo42 View Post
    Wife and I are heading NW from Louisiana next week on our '04 R1200CLC and some (many) questions come to mind.
    Main concern is, how much paved road is there?

  3. #3
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    Check out http://511.alaska.gov/

    Road conditions, construction work etc for the state from the state dot.

  4. #4
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    NW Roads

    Thanks for the replies.

    We've never really set out with any kind of game plan other than when to turn south. Worked so far, but definitely leaves you open to some surprises.
    We'll only have about 2 1/2 weeks to look around once we get into Alaska if the ride up is right, and honestly don't know what to attempt while there.
    Stay in one area and explore on ours, rent a dual purpose, or make a large as possible loop to see as much as we can from the highway?

    The bike handled everything we came across last year ok, although I have to admit the pucker power was pretty high on grade, in the rain, on fresh pea gravel !

    Bo, I have a brother in Bastop county, but I don't know Prosper.
    Your last trip up might help answer a question. What riding gear from our humidity to the cool (cold/wet) NW?
    Of course I'm short on space with 2 up, and the thought of carrying two sets of gear isn't pretty, but I'm not seeing much of a choice except to take the mesh and cover it with rain gear when needed. I don't think I'd survive across the heat (SW) in my "solid" gear.

    Thanks again.

    Sorry for the length

  5. #5
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    I've been on the road between Fairbanks and Whitehorse recently and as mentioned above the only bad stretch is between Destruction Bay and Beaver Creek (US border). There is a lengthy construction zone and the road has very bad frost heaves. Plan to go slow and look out for on coming traffic. There have been two recent bad accidents caused by a driver losing control on the bumps and crossing into the oncoming lane.

    The roads in Alaska tend to be okay, but you do need to pay closer attention to the road surface than you probably are accustomed to. In the past couple of weeks IÔÇÖve ridden the Parks as far south as Denali, the Richardson to Delta and the Elliot to the Dalton (haul road). All are good enough to travel at speeds of 70 or better, but you will encounter bumps and broken asphalt. You can get no better current assessment of the Cassiar than reading Voni and PaulÔÇÖs current thread. Enjoy your trip. When in Fairbanks stop by Trails End BMW and theyÔÇÖll tell you about low cost housing on the local University campus.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  6. #6
    bmaynard
    Guest

    North through Alaska

    Made the trip north through British Columbia a few times in the last several years. March of this year was the last time. Quite a bit of the Cassiar (37) is dirt/gravel...but a nice trip. The AlCan (97) is a great ride and beautiful country. Scenery varies and B.C. is some of the best you'll see. I usually start at Sumas (Highway 1) to get to 97.

  7. #7
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    All sounds good.
    Since my first post yesterday I 've been reading tonight over on ADV Rider and saw lots of nice pics.
    Judging from the variety of bikes and the comments, I'm feeling better about taking the CL. If the Wings and big Hogs made some of the runs they claimed, I should be fine on the main roads.

    Thanks for the help. If you're ever this far south I'll try to return the
    favor.

    Dan

  8. #8
    Bo Griffin
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    You are right about the variation in temps. I've been up that way three times and I've always worn my standard coat and pants (Because I too could only carry one outfit). However, I could have used my mesh outfit in the lower US. I'm sure glad I had my regular outfit including my electrics for the Canada/Alaska portion. I got into some snow around Haines Junction at the end of June. Therefore, if you only have enough room for one outfit, it needs to provide the most protection. We'll be looking forward to your photos.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pogo42 View Post
    Thanks for the replies.

    Bo, I have a brother in Bastop county, but I don't know Prosper.
    Your last trip up might help answer a question. What riding gear from our humidity to the cool (cold/wet) NW?
    Of course I'm short on space with 2 up, and the thought of carrying two sets of gear isn't pretty, but I'm not seeing much of a choice except to take the mesh and cover it with rain gear when needed. I don't think I'd survive across the heat (SW) in my "solid" gear.

    Thanks again.

    Sorry for the length

  9. #9
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    If you substitute "heat heaves" for frost heaves, the roads sound like Louisiana's.

    Thanks Bo, heavy gear's the answer. It'll just have to be a wet ride 'till we get outta this air down here. I use a cotton chamois shirt to wet down under the jacket for cross country rides in the heat. Caryying the extra water for the shirt is a hassle, but the only way I can survive it. Thank God for Camelback and ice machines !

  10. #10
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogriffinrides View Post
    You are right about the variation in temps. I've been up that way three times and I've always worn my standard coat and pants (Because I too could only carry one outfit). However, I could have used my mesh outfit in the lower US. I'm sure glad I had my regular outfit including my electrics for the Canada/Alaska portion. I got into some snow around Haines Junction at the end of June. Therefore, if you only have enough room for one outfit, it needs to provide the most protection. We'll be looking forward to your photos.
    The weather in the interior of Alaska has been cooler and wetter than normal. Almost every day presents scattered or isolated showers. It seems your always threatened with rain but seldom get wet. Lows are in the 40s with 30s still reasonable. It's hit 70 only a few times so far. I ride all day wearing a Belstaff Discovery Jacket and their pants; sometimes with the liner. The Weather Underground is your friend.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

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