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Old 04-21-2013, 05:35 PM   #1
macinnisl OP
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Joined: Apr 2013
Location: Canada
Oddometer: 56
Alaska/Dempster June trip

So me and a friend we're planning a Alaska/Dempster Highway trip. It didn't look good for a while work limited vacation to 2 weeks etc. but now it seems like there's 3 weeks or so to make this happen in... June.

So we are looking at shipping our bikes to Alberta or BC and starting/ending the trip there. On the way we want to do the top of the world highway and the Dempster. Looking like dates of June 9-30th or so. Has anyone travelled around those times? I found lots of June/July trips but not many pure June. Also do people think 3 weeks are realistically going to be enough time? The starting point is really up in the air we have friends in Calgary, Victoria and Edmonton who could likely help us out and accept our bikes.

So far the mods are:
-SW Motech Crashbars, Skid Plate and Center Stand
-Tall windscreen
-Action Packer luggage
-Seat concepts seat upgrade

Planned farkles:
-Handlebar risers
-Oxford heated grips
-Knobby tires (for the dempster) and likely Mefo explorers for the rest
-Offroad pootpegs
-Tiedown straps
-Some tools and stuff for tire repairs and some emergencies like extra clutch cables
-Maybe Barkbusters

-Do we have sufficient time with 3 weeks? I saw some similar ride reports seems like we have lots to do the dempster but what about Alaska as well?? Did I miss anything in recommended gear?
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:48 PM   #2
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Location: Delta/, Cariboo BC
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Ahh.. trip planning. Just go.

Try not to over pack, as light is right.

Three weeks should be a great trip from Alberta, but you may want three months once up there.

Enjoy your adventure, and try not to over plan or over farkle. Bark-busters ? Don't need those for the tundra.

The vastness of the north is humbling. Watch the tires and weather, and all will be well. The Dempster can be a breeze or a bitch. Go to Dawson first and sniff it out.

The D2D should be around your time.

Spratley. Dr. Spratley.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:48 PM   #3
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Lodi, Ca
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Welcome to the site.
In 2010 I did a 17 day trip from Nor-Cal to D2D rally and the Artic Circle on the Dempster, across Top of The World, south to Haines and took the ferry to Skagway and returned.
Get a copy of the Milepost Magazine.
Good maps and tons of info, take it with you as you travel.

I prefer Hwy 37 with side stop in Hyder (Hwy 37A) over the Alcan but you could make a loop going up one way and home the other (I did that in 07).

This year I plan to leave on June 9th for D2D in Dawson June 20-21.
Maybe we'll see up there?

If the weather is OK your Mefo's will do the Dempster fine.
2010 I rode out on Tourance's, but in 2007 I was glad I had TKC's as the road was mud due to rain and I went all the way to Inuvik.

Safe Travels
Doug Holck
Lodi, CA
3 Continents - 7 Countries - 50 States

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:54 PM   #4
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You could go up and down on the Demp' in two days if the conditions are right or you could burn 4 days (stop in Eagle Plains both ways).
Just make sure you pack good rain gear as the weather can always change. Carry some "what ifs" for tire issues. I got a flat coming down and passed a few cars stuck out there with flats. One KLR rider had to truck his back down to Dawson. A guy I met in Tok was covered in mud and gave some dispelling info on his ride up in the rain.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:33 PM   #5
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I'm planning a similar trip for next summer. I'm giving myself 2 weeks to get to Fairbanks from Utah, where I pick up my wife at the airport. That's riding a lot of back roads in BC, Cassiar hwy, and side trips to Hyder and Inuvik. It's about 4300 miles, in 15 days, so that's less than 300 miles a day average. I'll go way more than 300 miles per day the first few days. Easy. Probably with a couple days to spare. So if you are taking a more direct route I would think 3 weeks is more than enough from Edmonton or Calgary which is 2-3 days closer.

A lot of people do it in June. -al
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:57 PM   #6
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Check out the D2D in the Alaska regional forum. I did the Dempster to Inuvik on Avon Gripsters in 1994 and though it was muddy in places, did not need knobbies. As stated, YMMV. As for planning, some do (me), some don't (them); I enjoy the planning phase almost as much as the actual trip, gives me something to do to pass the time. This year I'm doing San Antonio to D2D and back in 30 days. Although I'd like to have 3 months to spend, I am still employed and must stay that way for a while longer. Even with a tight schedule I have planned enough to have lay-over days on a couple occasions and sub-300 mile days along with a few 500 plus days (across West Texas for one and Wyoming for another.) I'll camp four out of five nights, then motel it for a real bed and shower. The general thought is: make a list of everything you think you will need, then leave 1/2 of it home.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:58 PM   #7
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There is a glacier in Hyder that is a must see. The road to the top is a real challenge. Make sure you bring a can of food for the gate keeper who lives up there or buy some of his pics.

And don't forget to take the ferry from Haines to Skagway, it's only a couple of hours but a offers some unforgetable views.
"All reved up and no place to go"
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:27 PM   #8
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That glacier is Salmon Glacier...on a clear sunny day it is spectacular!!!
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:08 AM   #9
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That will be an awesome trip and great time. Make sure you hit Dawson for D2D around solstice .

Pack for rain and cold . Fuel range of 250 miles works. I ran heidenaus k60 scouts up and back for 8k miles and did fine on dirt and street. Barkbusters yes! For when the bike takes a nap on the kickstand in the gravel or with you on it . Dempster is about half 70mph and half white knuckle mud and deep gravel from construction so be prepared. Lots of bikes are on the road then so you should have company. Lots if trucks too on dempster to dodge and to give you a lift home if you break. 3 weeks should be enough time for moderate pace and enjoy the roads . A Spot tracker gives a nice sense of safety insurance too. Have fun !
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:52 AM   #10
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Agreed with above....I run a SPOT 50% for me 50% for the family who worry about where I am. It's worth it's weight in GOLD!!! Buy a gen 1 unit off fleabay or Kijiji as they are better on batteries. Plus they take double A's not triple A's which are harder to find out in the middle of nowhere. They also want lithium batteries which makes triple A's very difficult to find.

The first year I did the Dempster it was dry for the first half, then damp to wet for the second leg. The leg down it rained. It is a totally different animal in the rain!!! I came off at 80.....towing a single wheeled trailer. The trailer kept the rear of the bike from swinging at speed! Until it passes you that is!
I also ran with Kenda 761's They worked great until it started to rain and you got to the black sections ....where it turns into what we up here call beaver shit. Slippier than goose shit....and deeper!
Last year I took Kenda 270's as my gravel tires, they worked great. It rained a lot last season!

It is a must do trip for any adventure rider at some time in their life time.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:01 PM   #11
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: High-Atop-Illinois
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If you go to the area to do the Dempster you might as well go attend D2D--this is not a Rally. As tire selection is always a debate as much as what kind of oil are you using I highly recommend an aggressive tire for that trip. I saw a couple guys pay $2500 to get their bikes loaded in a pickup truck from Inuvik to a campground (not Goldrush-but the first one on the left going into town) in Dawson City. If you try to predict the weather--good luck. Fronts go through all the time in the distance from Dawson City to Inuvik and back.

This sign greats you as you start the Dempster

Also signs for Wild Horses--never saw one. But I did get close to this guy as he was on his way home from shopping at the local meat market.

Some of us spent two nights at Eagle Plains as the road was closed due to rain. The road does dry out fast if the sun comes out. I ran Tourance tires aired down to about 25 psi but was wishing for TKC80's a few times. You need about 250 miles worth of gas to get to Eagle Plains from the start of gravel. Eagle Plains parking lot.

Fun and games at D2D

Take the Top of the World and go through Chicken

I will be going up again this year to check it out and I will bring my rain gear.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:35 PM   #12
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What year did you go? Last year? I was there in 2010 and again last year. I parked next to the white Hyabusa, the woman with the shocking red hair, The Shnizzle.
She even made it over the Top of the World Highway but she says it was the most nerve racking experience she has ever had on a motorcycle. It is a badly eroded tarmac road with plenty of gravel through in for good measure! Not too bad on a KLR but I bet terrifying on a Hyabusa! I saw a motorhome spin out about halfway along. Not sure how it happened but the skid marks were impressive!
The Dampster is a must do IMHO, you will regret not doing it if you ride that far and return home having not done it. Same goes for Telegraph Creek and the Hyder/Stewart Salmon Glacier area. All well worth the price of admission!
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:12 PM   #13
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: High-Atop-Illinois
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I think this is your rig

I was camped pretty close. Was 2010 as I did the TransLab, Newfoundland and Gaspe Peninsula in 2011 and did the complete TAT on a KTM 500EXC for 2012.

I rode a 2009 BMW R1200 GSA under the red cover--I take good care of my steed. .

Needs a cleaning after the Dempster.

And you have to see the main man--The Dick

Back to Alaska for 2013 on a 2012 BMW R1200GSA Triple Black.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:33 AM   #14
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Yep that's me.......I have met so many and can't keep people I remember people by their face now not so much their's a bitch getting
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:41 PM   #15
macinnisl OP
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That's great everyone thanks! Still don't have everything 100% nailed down but really going to try to make this work. D2D looks amazing and it would be great to see a bunch of adventure riders. Seems like a really great bunch here. If it does fall through I will be going another year for sure but I am really trying to get this together.

Thanks everyone!
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