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Old 07-12-2014, 08:30 AM   #1
2laneroad OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Chicago
Oddometer: 30
Sporty and Old Guy Go To Alaska


This is my second ride report.

Solo trip to Alaska started on June 7, 2014 and ended on July 4, 2014.
One of the goals of the trip was to complete a bucket list that began
42 years ago before the term "bucket list" was invented.
More on that later.

Another goal was to ride up to Deadhorse.
Some people want to climb mountains, some want to set records, some
to become famous. Mine was to ride the "Haul Road."

Trip was originally planned for three weeks with first week to get to
the Last Frontier, the second week to spend in Alaska, and the third
week to come home.

Plan was to see some sights in Canada on the way to Alaska especially
Banff and the Icefields Parkway. Starting in the Chicago area, I took
interstates to Bismarck North Dakota and then north to Portal to the
Canadian entry point. Entered in Canada in Sasketchwan and took
TransCanada Highway 1 to Calgary and then Banff.

BTW, bike is 2013 Sportster 883.

Beginning mileage was 1791.

Interesting Potash mine near Chaplin. Smelled like salt. Looked a little like the Utah salt flats.

Approaching Calgary, Alberta. TransCanada Highway 1.

This picture was taken on the third day and rain was becoming a very real part of the trip !
I had rain on the first and second days and now it was getting to be my constant traveling

Campsite in Redcliff. Note another storm and some friends near my campsite.

The added-on windshield is a piece of an old broken Ducati windshield that was just laying around.
Just an attempt for more wind protection that was marginally successful.
Will the Sporty make it to Deadhorse?
There were many reasons for chosing the Sportster for this trip.
Most people would have picked a dual purpose or adventure bike for this trip and I agree with them.
Here are the reasons for choosing the Sporty. FYI, most of the bikes I saw in Alaska were BMWs and I understand why.
1. No chain to adjust and maintain.
2. Bike is under warranty.
3. There are dealers all over.
4. I have never had a HD before.
5. It has a nice cruiser feel to it.
6. No valve adjustments.
7. Great gas mileage for a heavy bike.
8. Tubeless tires, easy to patch.

My other bike is just the opposite and has 113K miles on it but would probably still make the trip!

Thanks for the comments and insightful quotes.

If anyone saw me on this trip, I was wearing a rainsuit most of the time to try and scare away the rain.

After the storm came a beautiful sunset.

Next day's goal was Calgary, Banff, and Icefield Parkway.

The really great scenery started on the way to Calgary and just got more impressive approaching Banff.
There were hot springs in the area but had to press onward.

There were two routes to get to Jasper, but I chose the older, more scenic.

The Bow Valley Pkwy is where the scenery explodes into the senses.

Sorry for the poor zoom but there are two black bears in the picture and not as far away as it may seem.
This is the beginning of big game wildlife sightings that would continue for the rest of the trip until the interstate ride home.

I don't see these in Chicago. They were just across the the street.
The ride of a lifetime.
Somehow everything looks grander, bigger, and more visceral on a motorcycle. Does that make any sense?
Anyone could do this trip in a car or a motorhome. But, that would be too easy.
Your surroundings seem closer when you are in the open cockpit of a two wheeler.

What happens when it starts raining?
You have three choices.
1. Push forward into the rain.
2. Find a detour.
3. Hold up and wait for the rain to stop.

Bike is heading North. What would you expect if you travelled northward? Certainly not beaches.

How about glaciers? This one you can walk on.
If you look closely, there is a path just above the small building with people walking towards the glacier.

Campsite just east of Jasper on Hwy 16. The Yellowhead Hwy.

Next destination is Dawson Creek which is the start of the Alaska Highway.
But, first I get the privilege of passing thru Grand Cache and Grand Prairie.

Getting close to Dawson Creek.
Leaving Alberta and entering BC.
Will the Alaska Highway be like a trip back in time like I am expecting?
Can I imagine the work that was put into it in 1942?
How much of it will be gravel or unpaved surface?

Years ago when it was all gravel there were stories of flat tires, broken windshields, and remoteness unheard of in the lower 48.
The first part of my bucket list was the Alaska Highway. It must be traversed before attempting the Haul Road.

2laneroad screwed with this post 07-14-2014 at 06:22 AM
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:52 PM   #2
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Mar 2006
Oddometer: 160

I miss my Sporty. It was the most trouble free bike I've owned. Rock solid and dependable as the sun coming up. Just wasn't comfy enough for me on long trips so kudos to you for riding it to Alaska! I'm sure it will treat you well and bring you home safe. What kind of windsheild is that on your bike? I'm also from Chicago, so you had a VERY long ride. I'd like to see more pics!
1988 FLHS 185,000 miles
2006 FXDI just a few miles
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:16 PM   #3
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Location: niagara falls, canada eh!
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I'm in...keep it coming !!!...j.f.
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:56 PM   #4
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Joined: Mar 2007
Location: League City (S.E. Houston)
Oddometer: 101
Originally Posted by blueglide88 View Post
I miss my Sporty...
me, too. it was actually the best touring bike i had, even more so than the goldwing i own currently...

looking forward to more post here!
"You ain't lost if you got gas in your tank." - Tommy the KLR rider
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:21 PM   #5
Ginger Beard
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"I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." ~Edgar Allen Poe~
My HD Scram-ster build
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:27 PM   #6
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A Sporty to AK?! Good for you. You bet I'm in.
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:31 PM   #7
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Joined: Jan 2005
Location: Freelard
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I also had an 883. I loved it.
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
(Eleanor Roosevelt)
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:24 AM   #8
Harden the phuck up
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: God's country, Western North Carolina
Oddometer: 824
Stocked up on plenty of beer and popcorn, IN!

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Old 07-14-2014, 03:26 AM   #9
2laneroad OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Chicago
Oddometer: 30
Added pictures for trip up to Dawson Creek.

1 Lee Lake, Minnesota--------------- 658miles
2 Nickle Lake, Sasketchewan-------- 507miles (Near Weyburn)
3 Redcliffe----------------------------- 358miles
4 Jasper, Alberta--------- ------------ 490 miles

Summary of first 4 days of trip.

2laneroad screwed with this post 07-14-2014 at 06:23 AM
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:51 AM   #10
2laneroad OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Chicago
Oddometer: 30

6th day of trip, more wildlife.

Just on the outskirts of Dawson Creek, the beginning of Alaska Highway.

The real start of the Alaska Hwy.

The road started out as convoys of motorhomes.
Luckily most of them turned off at the first campground.

5th night's campsite was along the Sikanni River.

I had a campsite right next to Sikanni River. Notice rain suit is drying out.
Made 486 miles the 5th day.
42 years later, I am finally on the Alaska Highway.
It feels great.

2laneroad screwed with this post 07-14-2014 at 07:08 AM
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:13 AM   #11
2laneroad OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Chicago
Oddometer: 30

Famous Signpost Forest in Watson Lake. It is much larger than I expected.
It also contains vintage road building equipment.
Day #6 is nearing an end.

2laneroad screwed with this post 07-14-2014 at 07:23 AM
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:34 AM   #12
2laneroad OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Chicago
Oddometer: 30

Gas was becoming expensive in Canada.
In some places it was over $1.50 per litre.
Do the math and that means $6.00 per gallon


6th night's campsite just west of Watson Lake.
Shared campsite with fellow rider from Ohio who had
a nice trailer that became a camper.
I used to have a '78 and an '81 Wing but they were much smaller.
This is a very nice "rig."

Just west of Watson Lake there was a section of gravel.
Can't remember how many miles it was, but loose gravel all the same.

When I get to Whitehorse I will take the Klondike Highway to Dawson City and the Top of the World Highway.

The turnoff to the Dempster Highway.
Maybe I'll take this road on a different trip.

7th night I camped at Moose Creek which is near Stuart Crossing.
On the Klondike Hwy on the way to Dawson Creek.
Rain overnight and in the morning kept me in the tent longer than I would have liked.

Note: rain every day so far on trip. either during the day or at night.

2laneroad screwed with this post 07-14-2014 at 07:50 AM
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:36 AM   #13
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Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Backwoods of Kentucky
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Subscribed Congrats on making the trip !
The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:12 AM   #14
2laneroad OP
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Chicago
Oddometer: 30
Day #8

Dawson City

Dawson City is on the banks of the Yukon River.
Could have spent more time here but had to push on.

Took ferry across Yukon River.
Top-of-the World Hwy is next.

This is where dirt or gravel roads become the norm.

I developed a saying:
"all roads in the north are gravel, some are loose gravel, some
are bonded gravel." But they are all rough to the touch.
The books I had read pointed out that tire wear will become a
real issue. They were correct.

Will I make it to Fairbanks on my tires?
They are wearing quickly.

It took 8 days but finally........

What is the next surprise?

The border officer said the next 13 miles were a "rough road"
It was worse than gravel !
People on bicycles were walking their bikes.
Huge rocks with sharp edges.
Not the place for a heavy street bike with luggage and street tires.
It took several hours of feet down and clutch slippage to navigate
this mess.

13 miles of hell.

Picture is looking east towards border with Yukon.

Next stop is Chicken and the Taylor Hwy.
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:25 AM   #15
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Joined: Apr 2013
Location: New Hampshire
Oddometer: 55
Awesome trip so far! How is that North Face duffle holding up. Mine leaked some om my last trip.
Current ride- 2014 HD FLHXS
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