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Thread: Alaska in July '10

  1. #1
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    Question Alaska in July '10

    I'm thinking about jumping on the GS and heading for Alaska this July. While I've put a few miles on in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Mexico, and Europe, never been to the FAR NORTH! Anything out of the ordinary that I should carry or plan on?

  2. #2
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    There are two good sub-forums over on the Adventure Rider's forum that either have ongoing threads about riding to Alaska or have folks that will be glad to answer questions. The Alaska regional forum at: http://www.advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=57 and the Americas Trip planning forum at: http://www.advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=57

    To answer your question:

    Bring:
    - Bug spray and a head net
    - Clothing for near freezing temps in the rain
    - The Milepost (or use it to plan your trip)
    - Time enough to enjoy the trip. Don't set unreasonable daily mileage goals.
    - All the normal stuff to camp, repair and enjoy

    Do not bring:
    - Firearms. Canada has no sense of humor about the topic. Bear spray is ok.
    - Tires. We have them up here. You can call ahead to ensure what you want is on-hand and held for you. (Alaska Leather in Anchorage and Adventure Cycleworks, LLC in Fairbanks are two good examples).

    Consider varying your route up and back between the three main choices: ALCAN, Cassiar and ferry. Travel a bit earlier and try to be in Dawson City, YT (not Dawson Creek) for the Dust-2-Dawson gathering on 24-25 June. Many Alaskan, Yukoner and other riders get together for a good time.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  3. #3
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Do ya camp?

    I've traveled far North and camping with animals that consider you a food source is interesting. Camp CLEAN, meaning no food or anything that even smells good in the tent. Food and smelly stuff is aok, but KNOW where to put it come sleep time! USE the campground containers. Randy

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    Alaska in July '10

    My wife's not crazy about camping so we may not. Not taking tent, sleeping bags, etc lightens the load also. I guess the challenge will be to always plan such that we can find a place to stay.

    I'm curious about tires - I see and hear some talking about changing to knobbies for part of the trip. But then I see that Harleys and Gold Wings and RT's make the trip also. My GS has "standard issue" Metzeler Tourances on it.

    One thing I can't figure out - why do Canadians and Alaskans call gravel roads "highways"?? In Texas we call 'em "gravel roads".

  5. #5
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Your Tourances are fine for a ride to Alaska. You will probably encounter 50 miles or so of construction zones spread out along the way. If you plan on riding the major dirt roads once you get here (Dalton, Denali, Top of the World and Elliot Highways, etc.) then tire selection becomes more of an issue. People can and do ride those roads on street tires with success. Much depends on the skill level of the rider, the rider's willingness to accept risk, the weather and just plain old luck. I opt for TK80's or Sahara's on those roads. Last year an exceptional rider road a Yamaha FJR from Deadhorse to Fairbanks, in the rain, on Metzaler 880s in 7.5 hours.

    If you are not planning on a major excursion on dirt roads then certainly the Tourances are good to go.

    We call them highways because if we didn't we wouldn't have any highways.

    I'd recommend carrying at least some emergency camping gear, such as a light weight sleeping bag and tarp just in case.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  6. #6
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    First, note that riding to "Alaska" really involves a lot of western Canada. The "Alcan" refers to the Alaska/Canadian highway. So, you'll spend a lot of time in Canada. I second the suggestion to consider alternative routes. You might want to ride north and take the ferry south, for example.

    Motorcyclists might prefer hard surfaced ("paved") roads, but the reality is that in the north the winters are very hard on pavement. During the wintertime, the roads are basically hard-surfaced with snow and ice. Then when the breakup comes (maybe late May or early June) the road crews try to patch things up. They grade off the frost heaves and fill in the potholes with gravel. And of course there are always long stretches of road under construction. So, the bottom line is that any highway in the north is maybe 80% paved, and 20% gravel. So, whether it's a "highway" or a "gravel road" depends on what time of year and what's happening.

    pmdave

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