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Thread: Yooper needs advice on Alaska trip

  1. #1
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    Yooper needs advice on Alaska trip



    Planning bike trip to Alaska in July 2014. Need some suggestions...ie. (flat tires, luggage, routes, etc.) Staring point: Manistique MI Destination: Wasilla AK Machine: F700GS , 2 up

    Woody


    optional response:
    guitarboyz800@yahoo.com

  2. #2
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Email sent.
    Kevin Huddy
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    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  3. #3
    Kawa Afterthought weschmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Email sent.
    Woody, Akbeemer, I've been kicking around a ride about up to Alaska myself, after the July rally ends, so I'd appreciate any information you may wish to share on the forum. I'm also riding a F700GS (single though, as my wife won't ride with me on my adventures) and am still trying to decide whether to head north to Alaska or east along the Canadian border up to Nova Scotia.

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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Don't y'all know it's dangerous to travel north of the lower 48

    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  5. #5
    Registered User womanridge's Avatar
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    Check out the Milepost. A valuable addition to riding to Alaska. Remember, gas prices. If you are concerned about $$, you may want to ride across the northern US to at least Montana before crossing over.
    Karen Jacobs
    Moderator
    2012 R 1200 RT
    MOA-133005, RA32109, IBA #37923

  6. #6
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by womanridge View Post
    Check out the Milepost. A valuable addition to riding to Alaska. Remember, gas prices. If you are concerned about $$, you may want to ride across the northern US to at least Montana before crossing over.
    Good advice on the Milepost. We paid nearly $8/gallon in the Yukon last summer, but that was an extreme case. Generally gas was running $1.36 - $1.45 per liter (a gallon is 3.79 liters so at $1.36 a liter a gallon is $5.15[ $1.45 is $5.50).

    These are two threads over on the Alaska page of ADV Rider. Both were started by an Alaskan rider who has been riding in AK for nearly 50 years. He has made many trips up the haul road and between the lower 48. He is the nicest guy you?ll ever meet and will answer any questions you may have. Jack also seems to have an eidetic memory and has an historical anecdote about just about every mile of road; many of them are true. He lives off the grid sometimes and may take awhile to respond.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=788417

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=943656

    My wife Annie and I lived in Fairbanks and since we retired in 2011 we have ridden back up to Alaska each summer. I'd estimate we've been up and down the road to Alaska 15 times or so with those trips evenly split between motorcycles and cages.

    There are three ways of getting to Alaska on a motorcycle. (There is a fourth route that is nearly all on dirt. I?ve never done it and never will, and don?t really know where it goes. BigDog over on ADV has done the ride if you are interested.) The ALCAN Hwy which starts at Dawson Creek, BC and officially ends in Delta, Alaska; the Stewart- Cassiar Hwy (Hwy 37) which runs on a more westerly path from Kitwanga, BC and intersects the ALCAN near Watson Lake, Yukon Territory; or, you can take a ferry originating in Bellingham, WA or Prince Rupert, BC and getting off at one of multiple stops (most likely Skagway or Haines AK). I'll not address the ferry unless you tell me you may decide to use it one way or another. When we go to AK we typically go up the Cassiar and back down the ALCAN. No real reason for the order, but it is good to use both routes to avoid backtracking as much as possible. Both routes are 100% paved, however, that does not mean that you will not encounter lengthy construction zones that are dirt, gravel and mud. The Cassiar is less developed than the ALCAN and I enjoy it more. They are installing a major power line that runs along the road so there will be more traffic than normal the next year or so. The ride to and from Alaska can be spectacular; even more so then actually riding in AK.. Consider riding thru Banff and Jasper Parks in AB and along the Icefield Parkway. Also the lake distric around Nakusp and Revelstoke, BC. You can also hit the Chief Joseph Hwy in WY, Beartooth Pass and Glacier NP in MT. On the Cassiar I would not pass up at an overnight diversion into Hyder AK. The ride in to town is remarkable.

    Just so you know, my wife rides both an F650GS single cylinder and an F650GS twin which is essentially the same as your 700. She's ridden both on Alaska trips so we are familiar with your bike's characteristics, and it is a great choice for the trip. I have ridden either an R1200RT or an R1200R on my trips. Riding 2 up will make your trip a bit more challenging and 2 up is something we have not done.

    Tires: I've made the trip on an RT running street tires and with a heavy load. Goldwings with 2 up and hauling a trailer regularly make the ride so your bike should do fine with any of the popular dual sport tires. Annie prefers Tourance tires, but Anakees or Battlewings will do just fine. Best to start out with new or almost new tires and perhaps you'll be able to make it round trip on one set; Annie has always done so but you are starting from a bit further away. You need to be able to fix a flat on the road. With tubeless tires there are multiple ways to plug a tire. Motorcycle shops and online outlets sell several different types, but I use what you can find in Walmart. Never had to plug a bike tire, but have done so on a car and it is not particularly difficult. Some practice on an old tire would be smart, preferably one on a rim with a little air in it. If you have a tire that has a tear or slash, then you may not be able to fix it and will need to seek help. Get a pump that you can run off the bike's electrical system and make sure it works. Some of the BMW accessory outlets will not handle the current a pump draws. A direct fused circuit to the battery may be needed. Do not rely on C02 cartridges. If you need tires in Alaska there are a few options I can recommend.

    Chain: Make sure it is in good shape and clean when you start. Annie lubes once or twice a day depending on how far we go. Every 300 miles or so is good; there are many opinions out there about what to use and how often. Use some sort of lubricant and do it at least daily. A broken chain on the road will be expensive.

    Absolutely no handguns in Canada. Bear spray is okay but must be labeled as for wildlife. I've carried the same spray can for 6 years and never has it been inspected. You do need a passport or passport card to cross the border.

    Fuel: No need to carry extra fuel. There is seldom any time where it is more than 50 miles between stations. Up north there are few stations that have card swipes so if the place closes at 6PM then there is no fuel. The Cassiar has fewer places to fuel and from Kitwanga to Bell 2 it is over 100 miles without fuel. Think twice before passing any fuel point. It will also be difficult to find any grade of fuel other than regular in some places. I am convinced that Canadian fuel is better than ours; my mileage always improves.

    Plan to ride in bright sunny weather that gets into the high 80s. Plan to ride in constant rain with temperatures in the high 30s. Plan to do both on the same day. We've ridden in late June in temps as low as 26 degrees and as high as 88.

    Camping? Seems it will be tough riding 2 up, but some do. We camp about 50-60% of the time. I will always camp unless it is too cold, too hot, too windy, raining or too buggy. Take good bug spray and head nets.

    Motels? They are available. We seldom make reservations but have had close calls finding one. They tend to fill-up by the late afternoon with travelers. If we are planning on getting a motel we will start looking around 4 PM. Do not plan on finding an unreserved motel in the Fort Nelson area. The oil drilling keeps all their rooms pretty much full. Reservations at least a day out is not a bad idea if you know you must have a room. Even if you do not plan on camping you should be prepared for a night outside just in case.

    Hope this is useful.
    Kevin Huddy
    Intrepid Incompetent
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  7. #7
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    Alaska in the summertime

    Quote Originally Posted by weschmann View Post
    Woody, Akbeemer, I've been kicking around a ride about up to Alaska myself, after the July rally ends, so I'd appreciate any information you may wish to share on the forum. I'm also riding a F700GS (single though, as my wife won't ride with me on my adventures) and am still trying to decide whether to head north to Alaska or east along the Canadian border up to Nova Scotia.
    Hey AKB,

    Thanks for the message. I started with the 'kicking around' stage a year ago and it has been none too early. I read somewhere it would take a year to make all the preparations and I was sure they must be nutz!! Anyway, We're starting out on July 27th from Manistique, MI with our bike on a trailer. We'll drive to the Twin Cities (same place the National Rally is being held), but we're just visiting relatives. Then we leave the next morning for Bismark and the following day for Billings MT. There we leave the car/trailer at a friends and head for Belliingham, Washington to get aboard the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry). 6 days later we hope to be in Whittier, AK. From there, we ride to Wasilla, where our son lives. On Aug. 8-9 we'll be in Denali to celebrate our 50th anniversary with our two sons. Then on the 11th we head south...first Tok, then Haines Jct. , then Teslin....then Watson Lake....then Ft. Nelso....then Dawson Creek...then Hinton.....then Canmore....then Shelby MT and finally back to Billings. This is a pretty sketchy description of course, we hope to take in so much more, like Jasper and Glacier, etc.
    If you give me your yahoo messenger handle, we could chat....I'm guitarboyz800 or if you'd prefer just give me an email. But, it's ok for us to keep in touch here also. We had planned on going to the St. Paul rally until this trip came up. Talk soon.

    Woody (Lee)

  8. #8
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    Schlossmans

    Quote Originally Posted by womanridge View Post
    Check out the Milepost. A valuable addition to riding to Alaska. Remember, gas prices. If you are concerned about $$, you may want to ride across the northern US to at least Montana before crossing over.
    Hi Karen,

    When I saw Milwaukee, I just had to ask..... I bought my beemer at Schlossmans... You might know kevin or Marcus.

    Have you riden to Alaska?

    Woody (Lee)

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