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Old 02-08-2015, 07:05 PM   #1
1200gsceej OP
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Alaska loop alternate routes question

This may be a difference w/o a distinction, but I am thinking about two routes and wonder if locals can provide pros and cons.

First choice:

Beaver Creek to Tok to Valdez, ferry to Whittier.
Ankorage east to Glenallen and up to Paxton.
Then west on the Denali highway and finally north to Fairbanks.

The alternate:

Tok to Valdez but no ferry.
Back up to Glenallen and west to Anchorage.
North to Denali and east on the Denali highway to Paxton.
North to Delta Junction and west to Fairbanks.

I lean to the former because I get a ferry ride, do less backtracking, and ride the Denali highway east to west toward The Mountain.

Is there a compelling reason to do the second route? or not to do the first?

Thanks,
-ceej
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:27 PM   #2
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I like the ferry option as well. I would stop into girdwood after exiting the ferry. Also on your way to Valdez I would make a stop into McCarthy/Kennicott mine then continue down to Valdez.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:14 PM   #3
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Yeah, I plan to at least ride to Chitina and then check out the McCarthy road from there.

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Originally Posted by J&K View Post
I like the ferry option as well. I would stop into girdwood after exiting the ferry. Also on your way to Valdez I would make a stop into McCarthy/Kennicott mine then continue down to Valdez.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1200gsceej View Post
This may be a difference w/o a distinction, but I am thinking about two routes and wonder if locals can provide pros and cons.
My recommendation would be to do a mix of the two. Keep the ferry - if the weather is good, it is a great ride. Even in bad weather it's not bad. But try to get the schedule with the Aurora rather than the Chenega. The latter is a "fast ferry" that zips you across with little delay. The former often takes little detours to offer a better view of the spectacular scenery along that route.

As far as getting to see "The Mountain"... yes, you get a peek at it, briefly, from the Denali Hwy. Very briefly. There are much better views available along the Parks Hwy between the Susitna (the "Big Su") river and Broad Pass. Going west to east on the Denali then north to Fairbanks will route you through Isabel Pass - to me, some of the best mountain scenery along Alaska's highways.

Take the best features of both routes and combine them in one trip.

Beaver Creek > Tok > Valdez > ferry to Whittier > Kenai Peninsula > Anchorage > Talkeetna (excellent view of The Mountain just before you drop down into town) > Cantwell > Denali Hwy east to Paxson > N to Fairbanks on Richardson Hwy > etc.

The short detour up the Talkeetna Spur will give you (weather dependent, of course) the best view of Denali outside of the park.
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcan Rider View Post
My recommendation would be to do a mix of the two. Keep the ferry - if the weather is good, it is a great ride. Even in bad weather it's not bad. But try to get the schedule with the Aurora rather than the Chenega. The latter is a "fast ferry" that zips you across with little delay. The former often takes little detours to offer a better view of the spectacular scenery along that route.

As far as getting to see "The Mountain"... yes, you get a peek at it, briefly, from the Denali Hwy. Very briefly. There are much better views available along the Parks Hwy between the Susitna (the "Big Su") river and Broad Pass. Going west to east on the Denali then north to Fairbanks will route you through Isabel Pass - to me, some of the best mountain scenery along Alaska's highways.

Take the best features of both routes and combine them in one trip.

Beaver Creek > Tok > Valdez > ferry to Whittier > Kenai Peninsula > Anchorage > Talkeetna (excellent view of The Mountain just before you drop down into town) > Cantwell > Denali Hwy east to Paxson > N to Fairbanks on Richardson Hwy > etc.

The short detour up the Talkeetna Spur will give you (weather dependent, of course) the best view of Denali outside of the park.
Damn solid advice, IMO. Taking the Denali Hwy west to east is worth the trade, in order to work in Isabel Pass. The view of "The Mountain" isn't all that spectacular going east to west. Certainly not worth sacrificing Isabel. On your way up the Parks to Cantwell, take a side trip to Talkeetna. It's a neat, funky little hippy town, with good food, and good local beer.

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Old 02-09-2015, 12:33 PM   #6
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Thumb Great suggestions.

Alcan Rider, AK650,
I'd forgotten about Talkeetna.
And don't think I knew about Isabel Pass.
I'll do more research.
Thanks!

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Damn solid advice, IMO. Taking the Denali Hwy west to east is worth the trade, in order to work in Isabel Pass. The view of "The Mountain" isn't all that spectacular going east to west. Certainly not worth sacrificing Isabel. On your way up the Parks to Cantwell, take a side trip to Talkeetna. It's a neat, funky little hippy town, with good food, and good local beer.

Jeff
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Old 02-09-2015, 12:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 1200gsceej View Post
Alcan Rider, AK650,
I'd forgotten about Talkeetna.
And don't think I knew about Isabel Pass.
I'll do more research.
Thanks!
Take a plane trip over Denali from the airport in Talkeetna.
Worth every $$$
Landing on a glacier is amazing, taking off even better.
I flew with K2 Aviation

The tunnel to Whittier and the ferry ride to Valdez is great.

The road to Kennecott Mine was nicely graded and an easy day ride in and out on the way from Valdez to Glennallen.

Hwy to Haines is beautiful and ferry to Skagway is a nice shortcut back to Whitehorse.

Get a Milepost mag for complete AK reference info and maps.

Safe Travels
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:24 PM   #8
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Another good read is the adventure motorcyclist guide to Alaska. Tons of great info about Alaska and phone numbers of roadhouses and such. Alcan rider is the best reference to where to go in Alaska but not sure he will pack into your pannier as well as the book.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:22 PM   #9
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ya the Kennicot is worth the trip. one of the top half dozen need to see things in AK. since the tourist thing has picked up the washboard & dust on the road are well controlled.... you could run most of it at highway speeds. only thing to watch is the fuel. unless things have changed, Kenny Lake is the last place for fuel, so top up.... from there the round trip to the mine & back is 180 miles.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:38 AM   #10
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Alcan Rider can sometimes be "convinced" to sacrifice some of his time to go for a ride also... Hint: The offer of fudge or cupcakes can be very persuasive!

Hi Jack!
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:39 AM   #11
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Alcan Rider can sometimes be "convinced" to sacrifice some of his time to go for a ride also... Hint: The offer of fudge or cupcakes can be very persuasive!

Hi Jack!
so very true.......a little stop here in Fairbanks will get you a very nice tour to Valdez and back!!

http://www.thefudgepot.com/
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:58 AM   #12
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Alcan Rider can sometimes be "convinced" to sacrifice some of his time to go for a ride also... Hint: The offer of Geritol and Depends can be very persuasive!

Hi Jack!
Touched that up for ya.
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Old 02-10-2015, 12:01 PM   #13
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soooooo.............. thats the secret to how he does those long rides
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:17 PM   #14
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Touched that up for ya.
Okay, youngster... you want me to give Maggie your address?
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Old 02-10-2015, 10:36 PM   #15
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Okay, youngster... you want me to give Maggie your address?
Ha, go ahead and nudge her to wake her up and tell her.
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