Alaska 2018 summer

Discussion in 'Americas' started by franki, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    Hi there. I am a rider from Hong Kong. I have long been admiring the beauties of Alaska all my life. This year, in the summer(late June to late Aug), I have finally got a chance to ride from the lower 48s to visit Alaska. This is possible because a very kind friend of mine in Nevada is generous enough to lend me one of his motorcycle so I can travel up north. Due to a shoestring budget for 2 months or so travel, I can see I may have some difficulties to face. Any advise from you will be much appreciated. My understand is travelling in Alaska during summer can be very expensive for a retired office worker like me. BTW, I have been riding for 48 years travelled through many countries especially in Asia. But I have very little knowledge about Alaska/Canada.
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  2. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

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    Sounds like you have a great friend helping you enjoy an amazing trip. There are several informative threads that you can read and get tips on everything you may be researching. If you start with looking at the threads with AK/Alaska in their title that are visible just below this post of yours and then use the search function for more historical threads. This book is highly recommended too, for a few dollars it offers a great value and is updated each year. Best of Luck!

    https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&k...argid=kwd-169945889353&ref=pd_sl_7afcsm9dyo_e
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  3. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile

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    I recommend checking out this thread as it has a wealth of information: LINK.

    Good luck with your trip!
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  4. froger

    froger Been here awhile

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    Well franki, your biting off a lot. You can probably do the riding fine with your experience. But knowing little of Canada and Alaska is going to put you at a disadvantage looking for free camping spots. Because quite a lot of stealth camping will be necessary if you have to hold the costs down. Even campgrounds are expensive where your going. Remember too that prices in BC and the Yukon are comparable to Alaska. Maybe a little better, but not enough to matter much. Plan on prices being high most of your trip.

    I usually picked somewhere not far from a small town. Rockpit, dirt road, whatever. Making sure there's no bear food handy is the most important part. It's staying away from dead critters or big berry patch's mostly. Worry more about bears than people. In fact, asking the locals where you might camp would be an excellent idea. They got the knowledge, and you'll hardly ever meet anyone who wont help if they can.
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  5. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer

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    In Canada most of the land is Crown owned....meaning....you can camp anywhere there is not a sign prohibiting camping. You can just pull off the side of the road if you wish and all is well. All according to my buddy who lives in Calgary....
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  6. djroszina

    djroszina Been here awhile

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    That was my routine till a bear objected to my choice of campsite (a secluded meadow in BC) in 2006. After that I’ll pay to stay where there is more human activity...that way they’ll find my body faster, lol.
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  7. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    Yes, thanks to his kind offer, that makes it possible for me. I shall surely study the Alaska threads to learn from them. Thank you also for pointing out the book to read.

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  8. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    Thanks for the pointer.
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  9. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    That is very true Froger. A city boy like me can get along fine with humans but not too well with wildlife. I'll surely ask for local knowledge as and when I am there. I always find the nicest poeple in remote and faraway places.
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  10. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    That seems like very good news to me. Thanks.
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  11. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    Thanks for the encouragement, mate. Haha, I do hope the bears there have not yet acquired a taste of Chinese, yet. LOL
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  12. froger

    froger Been here awhile

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    Franki, I'm going to stick my neck out a little. It's not wise to tell a wood and wildlife rookie he needs to camp wild in griz territory for a month. That's the sternest test for a stealth camper, if you didn't know. Cops throw you out, griz might eat you. Still, if others have done it, so can you. But your going to have to learn fast. Lucky for you it's a long way from Az. to griz territory, you'll have time to practice.

    There are two trains of thought as how to best avoid griz in the first place. One is camp five or ten miles from town. Another is stay in the middle of nowhere. I stay closer to town. Sure, bears do the rounds of rural people's places. But they cant be everywhere, and they are somewhat used to people. I'd be more worried in the middle of nowhere, who knows how many people that one's met? The big thing though, is to avoid someplace where the bear might find something to eat.

    So first of all, you need a airhorn and a can a bear spray. In Canada, it has to say its for bears. Learn to tell a blackie from a griz, if you cant already. I followed most, but not all of the bear rules and had zero bear trouble. Good thing too.

    As for where to camp, dirt side roads are great. Thin it out a little using the mailbox method. One mailbox forget it, it's a rich guys driveway. Lot a mailbox's? Probably something there, but not worth the trouble most of the time. No mailbox, and not much sign of use? Bingo. Over a rise or around a corner, then find a wide spot where I cant be run over in the dark. Long as there's nothing for a bear to eat, its good enough for tonight.
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  13. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    Froger. thanks for sticking your neck out for me. From the years of traveling I have learnt that that there is no end to learning. Experienced riders always has a few tricks up their sleeves that I don't know of. I appreciate very much what you have taught and will practice in due diligence. :clap
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  14. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Adventurer

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    Once you pick your route, then find what you want to see in a day.... you have to decide how many miles you want to cover in a day, then decide where to stay based on miles, and the route. there are places to stay along the way that don't require camping... I'm doing a trip up there this summer and my ridding buddy and I are staying in hotels all the way through BC, YT and Alaska. I found rooms for $80 to $140... as you get to Alaska, it get's more expensive for sure.
    If you are going to camp, use common sense... when camping in bear country, don't store your food in your tent. Keep food 50 yards away stored in a tree up high. Have bear spray and know how to use it. Keep a clean camp. If you encounter a bear, make yourself as big as you can and don't approach it... instead back away while looking it's direction but not in its eyes... Watch for cubs.... if you see them, momma is near... don't camp there and if they wander in, consider moving camp. Get a backpackers guide to bear country book. Lots of stuff in there... but though bears are a consideration, it's not the only thing on a motorcycle trip... I wouldn't worry about them a bit.
    Get a GPS and know how to use it... set a destination and have fun.
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  15. froger

    froger Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the kind words franki, but you realize all we've done is get you started. I also have no doubt you'll do better in Alaska than I would in Asia!

    My number one rule in bear country is no food in the tent, ever. I wouldn't be surprised if a bear couldn't smell last weeks sandwich in there, though I don't really know. Then I take it a step further, and don't cook at all. This means no stinky stuff like tuna or sardines either. Sure, people do it all the time. But look at it this way. The bear knows your there anyway, like as not. That's their job. No use tempting him further with something that smells good.

    Cooking breakfast is probably ok. Its daylight and your leaving. Eating supper in one place and sleeping in another would be a good idea too, and probably not that much harder. But I'm not keen on cooking and sleeping in the same place. Not on grizzly turf.

    I did have snacks in the saddlebags, and didn't bother hanging them in a tree. Usually they were still sealed, though once he got close a bear could of no doubt smelled them. But they left me alone.
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  16. MapMaster

    MapMaster Human Compass

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    Check out
    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/alaska-primer.788417/
    And the other general threads in the AK regional forum.

    Read some ride reports to see what may be of most interest - and then even if you don't plan on a particular area, if circumstances change and you end up there, you'll have a feel for available options.
    (might I humbly suggest that you look at my 2015 trip tale in the sig line :deal)
    Be flexible. Fortunately you have a good time budget. That's better than cash!

    I'd suggest the US/Canadian Rockies on one side and coastal/western BC on the other for the approach and return.
    Some have a preference, but either way works.
    From personal experience I'd go north on the west side and return through the Rockies - the culture shock of returning to heavy traffic won't be as bad that way.

    Have a great adventure!
    #16
  17. Marcham

    Marcham Been here awhile

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    Restaurants and hotels are certainly more expensive than other parts of the US. But if you camp and mostly cook your own you won't notice much difference. Most state /local campgrounds were $10-16. Fuel prices are very low. State campgrounds are inexpensive and in very good condition.

    Every campground I stayed at had great perks... Full tool shed for maintenance, lake to swim in or even situated right on the ocean.

    http://www.thompsonseaglesclaw.com/services.html

    https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/recreation/campgrounds

    You can also check out the tent space map:

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/776925/

    Travelling through British Columbia and Yukon there is a lot of Crown Land. If you prefer, there are also hundreds of free or very cheap campgrounds. (fyi: bring a roll of toilet paper, as they are not maintained daily). Most will have a water source (may have to be boiled 5 mins or use purification tabs) and often free firewood. Staying in the bush brings the problem of waste disposal.... Are you planning to carry a shovel?

    http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca

    http://www.env.gov.yk.ca/camping-parks/campgrounds.php


    My biggest challenge was staying warm while riding. You'll need good waterproof gear and boots and a heated vest is not a bad idea either. I had 5 days of rain, with temperatures as low as 4 deg C during the day. (last week of June). I was never cold or wet at night ( good 3 season tent, sleeping bag rated to - 10 deg C and an air mattress). I carry a small nylon tarp to cover my gear while I unload the motorcycle. It has long strings on each corner to tie between trees so i can cook / eat / read and stay dry.

    I can't wait to go back in a few years...

    As far as routing, I highly recommend the Cassiar hwy over the Alaska Hwy.

    In 3 weeks of camping I had no problems with bears. I used food lockers when provided and hung my food / toothpaste, deodorant, etc... from a tree in other locations.

    I would not carry bear spray ( do you really want to be 5-10 feet away?) but I do carry an air horn. There's a bigger chance you'll be injured by a moose than a bear.

    https://animals.howstuffworks.com/animal-facts/dangerous-moose.htm

    I spent about $35-50 usd per day in Alaska for camping, fuel and food. I was driving 500-700km per day. I would have spent a lot less if I spent more than 1 night in each location. I made my own breakfast and supper and bought lunch on the road most days.

    The Milepost was useful for trip planning in the months beforehand but i only used it once or twice (pdf on my tablet) while traveling. I found the local free tourist guides had enough information (and maps) to plan my days and find phone numbers. Fuel was never a problem. I have a 20L tank and most I put in was 16L, that was after passing several fuel stops. I never used my 4L Rotopax but it was nice to have for peace of mind. I also read this book beforehand:

    https://www.amazon.com/Adventurous-Motorcyclists-Guide-Alaska/dp/0982913125 ($5 on kindle)

    I never needed or used a GPS for navigation in BC, YT or AK, except I did use my smartphone to find a restaurant in Anchorage (Zorba's gyros, very good). I used Furkot.Com to estimate riding time.

    What kind of bike is he lending you? Given the distance, you'll probably go through 1 or 2 rear tires. Be ready to drive through long construction zones with loose sand /gravel / mud on the Canadian side of the Alaska Hwy. The roads are mostly chip seal (basically tarred gravel) and wears out tires quickly.

    You'll find that once you get away from large cities, people are very friendly and helpful. I never had any breakdowns or flats but those that did always got great help from other motorcyclists and motorists. One thing to consider is medical evacuation could be very expensive. Air evacuation Insurance like lifemed Alaska might be worthwhile for peace of mind.

    Feel free to pm me if you have any questions about travelling through BC / YT.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/5ynU2TUQUDMwJ9aw1

    https://goo.gl/photos/HCqfe4Ed4y5jmtSz7



    Sent from my SM-T700 using Tapatalk
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  18. froger

    froger Been here awhile

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    I had trouble staying warm too. My riding gear was good, but didn't have much of a fairing. It was often cold, even without rain. I did ok, and never got wet, but there was a lot a times I'd a liked being warmer. Had an electric vest, but couldn't run it that hard cause of the bikes old charging system. It still helped a lot, as did the gortex boots. I wouldn't head north without either. In fact, I was gortex from the neck down when it rained. Overall, it turned out to be a colder and wetter trip than I would of guessed. But don't let that stop you, you should have many fine days, hopefully more good than bad.
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  19. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    For the length of travel I plan to do, it is expensive for me to stay in hotel/hostel all the way. So I am willing to camp wherever possible. I do have a old Garmin 276C GPS with N. America maps. It must be 15 years old and I hope the roads have not changed that much. Thanks for the wisdom.
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  20. franki

    franki NB Rider

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    That's very good advise, I guess I need to do plenty of read and plan accordingly. Thank you.
    #20