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Thread: Touring Alaska in summer

  1. #1
    pinkjacket
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    Touring Alaska in summer

    I've signed up for an Alaskan motorcycle tour at the end of June. Tour starts in Anchorage and makes a big circle through Talkeetna, Fairbanks, Paxson, Valdez and back to Anchorage (8 days).

    Not having been to Alaska before I wanted to get a handle on what to expect from the roads and the remote terrain. We will be on all paved roads but I've heard that we may encounter loose gravel and such. My bike of choice is an F650 which I assume is a good choice. I live in South Florida and our roads are pretty tame compared to what I think I will experience in Alaska.

    Can anyone who's been to or currently is in Alaska provide some insight? I'm really looking forward to the trip and can't wait for the next 3 months to go by.

    Thanks for any insights.

  2. #2
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    While riding the route you described you will be almost exclusively on paved roads. You will encounter construction zones that will be dirt, mud or gravel or combinations of all. Road construction is intense in the summer for obvious reasons, but a construction zone in Alaska is pretty much like a construction zone in Florida. Sounds like you will be riding the Parks Highway north, then the Richardson and Glenn Highways south. These are AlaskaÔÇÖs major highways. They are mostly two lane roads in generally good repair. You will encounter some frost heaves (rolling bumps caused by thawing permafrost) but in general there is nothing especially challenging about riding these routes. By late June you can expect RVs to be moving road blocks, but the economy will reduce their numbers for certain. IÔÇÖd go for the most comfortable bike your wallet and skill level will allow and not worry about roads. Not sure what you mean by remote terrain. Fuel, food and lodging are plentiful and since you are on a tour IÔÇÖm guessing they will be planned for you. Just be sure you are equipped for chilly wet weather. When it rains it is generally cool as well, and while late June is often a dry period you can never tell. YouÔÇÖll have a great time.
    Kevin Huddy
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  3. #3
    pinkjacket
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    In regards to remote terrain - when I asked the tour guide about bathroom breaks, food, etc. she said that there will be a lot of times when we're not near a town and some of the towns we will go through are extremely small. So, I took that to mean "remote". I guess I'm coming from the perspective of living in South Florida where there's a grocery store/Walgreens/gas station on every corner so you never feel "remote".

  4. #4
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Well there is a chance you may have to pee in the woods or use a facility in a small establishment that makes using the woods seem OK. You won't see any chain restaurants for long stretches and will have to eat in a mom and pop place, but that's why your coming up I imagine. Focus on the beauty of the place and you'll survive and have the time of your life.
    Kevin Huddy
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  5. #5
    pinkjacket
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBeemer View Post
    Well there is a chance you may have to pee in the woods or use a facility in a small establishment that makes using the woods seem OK. You won't see any chain restaurants for long stretches and will have to eat in a mom and pop place, but that's why your coming up I imagine. Focus on the beauty of the place and you'll survive and have the time of your life.
    Thanks, Kevin. I'm really looking forward to the trip and can't wait for the next 3 months to go quickly. I'm also in the process of purchasing the proper cold/warm weather gear for up there.

  6. #6
    The Blue Max 31310's Avatar
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    My wife & I toured much of Alaska last August & we loved it. My wife is not exactly the hardy outdoor type and she was not uncomfortable once (well maybe the one rainy day we had). If there is more beautiful place than Denali Nat Park, I want to go and see it.

  7. #7
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by airoilheadbeemerguy View Post
    My wife & I toured much of Alaska last August & we loved it. My wife is not exactly the hardy outdoor type and she was not uncomfortable once (well maybe the one rainy day we had). If there is more beautiful place than Denali Nat Park, I want to go and see it.
    Jasper is close if not equal to Denali.
    Kevin Huddy
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  8. #8
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    I had probably the greatest trip of my lifetime to date on a 21 day 8,200 mile roundtrip from Denver to Alaska (Arctic Circle on the Dalton) and back on my R1200GS in 2007. You will have a great time, and although there is not a Walgreens/McDonalds/Motel 6 in every town, that is to your advantage as that is what makes Alaska so great, it is not franchised and homogenized. As mentioned in previous posts, all the paved roads are fine, the one caveat is if there is construction and it is or has been raining, those construction areas are SLICK so be careful. Otherwise, just drink in everything, take lots of pictures and stop as much as you can to drink it in.

  9. #9
    pinkjacket
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    I am only 9 days way from my trip to Alaska and I'm so excited I can barely stand it. I'm really looking forward to riding the F650 that I've rented and also to the beautiful scenery. Bought a new camera just for the trip. I wish I could figure out a way to mount the camera on the bike so I can take pictures while riding. I know there items available for mounting a camera on a bike but I fear that the camera will fall off or I might get too distracting messing with the camera, I'll crash. That would definitely ruin the trip!

    AKBeemer - any suggestions on a restaurant in Anchorage my first night. I'll be arriving around 7:00 pm (which will be 11:00 pm by my internal clock) and want something quick and easy (not touristy). I'm staying out on Spenard near the airport. Are you familiar with the area?

  10. #10
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    Send me your email address and I'll send you my trip report from 06.........

    You're gonna love it!

    rvb100@comcast.net
    RoyB....
    2007 BMW K1200R Sport (abs),2007 Suzuki dl650 V Strom (abs),2004 Honda VFR (abs),1972 Honda Trail 90,
    2001 Moto Guzzi V-11 Rosso Mandello

  11. #11
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teeny504 View Post
    AKBeemer - any suggestions on a restaurant in Anchorage my first night. I'll be arriving around 7:00 pm (which will be 11:00 pm by my internal clock) and want something quick and easy (not touristy). I'm staying out on Spenard near the airport. Are you familiar with the area?


    Teeny,

    I know little about where to eat in Los Anchorage. I recommend you post over on the Alaska regional page of the Adventure Riders forum (http://www.advrider.com/forums/forum...aysprune=&f=68). There are many active and helpful posters from the Anchorage area on that site. They love to welcome folks and you'll get a ton of advice. I'll ask the question for you, but you'll get more information if you jump on yourself. See you over there!!
    Kevin Huddy
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  12. #12
    pinkjacket
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBeemer View Post


    Teeny,

    I know little about where to eat in Los Anchorage. I recommend you post over on the Alaska regional page of the Adventure Riders forum (http://www.advrider.com/forums/forum...aysprune=&f=68). There are many active and helpful posters from the Anchorage area on that site. They love to welcome folks and you'll get a ton of advice. I'll ask the question for you, but you'll get more information if you jump on yourself. See you over there!!
    Thanks, Kevin. I've gone over to the Adventure Riders forum and registered. I'm just waiting for someone to grant me access! Thanks for pointing me to that site. It's got some great information! I love it.


    Are you in Fairbanks? I'll be passing through there as well with my group. The weather seems warmer there than in Anchorage. I'm from South Florida so it's a might chilly up there for me!

  13. #13
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Your trip coincides with the annual gathering of Alaskan riders in Dawson, YT called Dust 2 Dawson9D2D). Too bad you can't make that. Due to D2D, many of the Anchorage crowd will be out of town when you arrive. I'm in Fairbanks but we plan on being gone 19-29 June for D2D and some other travels, then back until July 1st when we're going to head up the haul road. Not sure when you'll be in Fairbanks, but post your schedule and perhaps we'll bump into each other.

    So here's the collective adice that's been posted by the Anchorage hooligans:

    Moosestooth would get it done nicely for her. Or is it the Beartooth? I forget which is where...

    ________________
    9 days from today a lot of us are planning on being in Dawson City. Otherwise I woulda been up for an evening visit.

    Gwennies Restaurant on Spenard across from the Harley shop might be a bit much for that late at night. How about The Beartooth Restaurant on W27th off Spenard?

    Or for some Greek food, Pizza Olympia across from REI on Spenard?

    Have fun, Mark H.

    ________________


    For quick and easy there's a whole slew of junk food dealers along Spenard. Subway, McDonalds, Wendys, Dominos, Village Inn... all within 10 minutes walking distance of the airport side of spenard.


    The restaurant & bar inside the mellennium hotel isn't bad. Although it's been about 3 years since I was last there.

    CW

    ________________

    When I'm staying in town in that area I usually go with the Village Inn for breakfast or late night snacks. It is usually pretty clean, without the late night inebriates some of the other places collect.

    Tell her not to go walking too far northeast from that area though - especially late at night.
    ALCAN Rider
    Kevin Huddy
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  14. #14
    pinkjacket
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    Kevin, I posted info over on the Adventure Riders Forum.

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