Alaska Adventure - Broken Bones, Kamikaze Rabbits, and the Norman Bates Gas Stop

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Mastery, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    Maybe we can get together for a local DS ride/weekend camping trip this summer and swap Alaska tales over a couple cold beers? I bought a book that lists 172 great motorcycle roads in Colorado. It's complete with maps, narrative and photos. The roads are listed by regions within Colorado, and they can be linked to form various loops. Dual sport roads are also listed and should be big bike friendly unless noted otherwise.

    A trip to Colorado and Utah is the most likely adventure for me this year. I decided to keep the GSA so that will be my steed for any future adventures in the near future.

    I stopped at Glacier NP last year on the way to Washington State and it was impressive. In 2014 I rode to Crater Lake and that was just awesome! The Pacific Coast Highway was pretty cool too(literally, it was COLD).
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  2. NightOwlMohawk

    NightOwlMohawk Adventurer

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    Jeff,

    I've enjoyed your ride report immensely. I understand the allure of far away places; I'm also subjected to this allure. I live on Vancouver Island the most beautiful part of British Columbia, in the most beautiful province in Canada. Yet ninety per cent of my rides are south of the line.

    Below the 48th there's all these unusual people, kind of exotic, kind of dangerous, yet generous, and potentially volatile, and that's just the personalities you meet; add in the geography and you've got a powerful magnet. Yet in life there are always, "buts." For me travelling south of the line now has a huge negative, "but the greenback is so expensive." Why do I do it? See above

    The "but" in your allure for Alaska may not be the geography, roads, rides or people but how you handled the adversity that came your way. I suspect in time you will come to realize the most attractive thing about your Alaska Adventure was not the state but the remarkable man who rode through a continent of pain and adversity.

    Forest of trees, are just trees, mountains, roads, rivers and vistas of breath taking beauty can be found anywhere. Fascinating people turn up just around the next corner, at the next gas stop or the pub across the road at the day's end. My Alaska is Ireland. I've visited three times, ridden it twice, and keep it wrapped up in a fantasy. I'll move into a croft on the Dingle, ride, find a red headed woman to torment my emotions and drown in my indulgence. It's a fantasy that I trotted out once a day for a good long time. Now not so much. Time and the road ahead has tamed it.

    So pile up the rides. Don't pine for the last one. Continue to draw strength from it and forge on.

    If you make it to the PNW hop over the line to Victoria and I'll introduce you to my corner of the province. I'll show you a view of America that you can only see when you leave and is so painfully beautiful it may change your mind about moving to Alaska.

    NIghtowlmohawk

    Sent from my iPad

    On Mar 11, 2016, at 1:13 PM, Adventure Rider <advrider@advrider.com> wrote:

    Adventure Rider
    NightOwlMohawk, Mastery replied to a thread you are watching at Adventure Rider.

    Alaska Adventure - Broken Bones, Kamikaze Rabbits, and the Norman Bates Gas Stop


    BikerBill
    Jeff, How you doing? All healed by now I hope. Got plans for this summer? After Alaska the only thing I want to do is go back to Alaska! But not this summer. I've kicked around going to Nova Scotia, or Colorado this summer. Colorado may be my big adventure this year.

    After I returned from Alaska I was not motivated to do anything. I was listless, or bored all the time. I finally realized it was the remoteness of Alaska that I missed. It's all on a grand scale I just don't see down here.
    Bill: Yep, going to try to do another epic trip (just down here in the lower 48): http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...acific-ocean-idaho-oregon-california.1091076/ Nothing is going to compare to the Alaska trip, so I'm just creating rides that doesn't try to equal it but produces something unique in its own right. This trip will knock out over a dozen "bucket list" roads and places to stop and explore for me. Just have to find ways to create something different than the normal. Being from Indiana, any ride that has a curve or a hill to it makes me happy since I don't have much of that around here.

    I definitely understand your thoughts on the AK post-trip blues though. It's the only ride in which I think about it every damn day, usually as I crawl out of bed. I never understood the "allure" of the great frontier from others before...but now I do. I hate the cold. I hate the snow. But after seeing what I saw, and meeting the people I met, I now understand the attraction to dropping everything and moving up there. It's very tempting.

    I think the only thing that has a chance to eclipse an Alaska or Banff trip is a ride to/through the Andes or Alps. For giggles, I've started planning a ride to Ushuaia but I don't have anywhere close to the money to do it. Maybe one day; I'd love to do a straight through ride like many others here have done.

    I did Colorado in 2014 on the Vstrom. It was a great trip through CO/UT for me and I didn't get to near enough places to be satisfied. Drop me a note and I can send you that GPX track (99% asphalt though). Would love to go back there as well...maybe 2017 for me since the Pacific NW is my planned big trip this year.
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  3. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Definitely, let's try to make it work this year. I think we chatted about it off-handed wise last year but things got in the way. I'll send you a PM.

    NOM - Thanks for the invite, if I get across the border again and in that area, I'll reach out. I agree about piling on the rides. I've ridden many miles and and been all over the country repeatedly. I remember "most" rides but nothing like the adventure that was Alaska. I plan to ride for many more journeys...but believe each day Alaska will be on my mind in some way. It touched me in many ways (one was the five years of talks my mother and I had together before she passed before I was able to do that trip). So, real personal experience. But even for those that don't have the connection I did before they leave, I think this particular destination will always be something unique that they will remember a little differently.
  4. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    This is so true. I've ridden in 49 out of 50 states, and six countries during my life and nothing compares to Alaska. I knew this would be true years before I rode to Alaska.
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  5. moralem

    moralem Been here awhile

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    I still suffer from post Alaska depression and it is now coming up on two years since I made the trip from Texas. Like many there isn't a day goes by I don't recall a portion of the trip. If I could I would do it again in a heart beat. I turn 60 this year and dread that it may be later than I think.
  6. mikejohn

    mikejohn Long timer

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    What's a good amount to have for a trip like this? I'm thinking a least 4 grand, camping most of the time, hotel every 4th or 5th day
  7. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Look at post #300 in this thread; I listed my totals. If you have most of your gear/bike needs already, and don't need a 5-star hotel and food, $4K is enough. However, too many variables...how many days you will be there, what you want to see, etc etc etc.
  8. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Wish I would have realized how life-changing the experience would have been for me...I would have gone many years ago. I highly suggest to anybody reading this that wants to do it but is thinking they'll do it years down the road, that they reconsider and try to figure out how to get there sooner than later. The memories are wonderful to have in your thoughts when you are bored or having a bad day.
  9. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher Been here awhile

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    Just now into your report on page 3. I intend to leave for Alaska the first week of June and not ride more than 300 miles per day to get there. I'll plan on Tok to Fairbanks and a loop around Anchorage. If I am feeling adventurous enough I'll try the Dalton or Dempster highways. I'll only START reading The Milepost next week but figure in less than a month I'll know everywhere I want to go on the trip. Then I have a month to make sure bike and myself are ready and I'll just head out.

    I don't want to under prepare but don't want to overdo it either. My approach is to be able to camp every night if I cannot find a hotel. Have five freeze dried meals that simply need boiled water to eat which means I can be lost for five days or go five days without finding a restaurant to eat at. The final item are fuel stops. Like most bikes my bike is good for at most 225 miles between fill ups which means I won't want to have to go more than 150. So I'll pack two gallons of gas giving me a real world range of about 300 miles so I can count on 200 miles between stations. Not including going to Prudhoe bay I think I'll be ready.

    So do you think I'll end up as bear fodder?

    NC

    Oh and great report so far!




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  10. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    Number Cruncher,
    A 300 mile fuel range is enough to ride to Prudhoe Bay. I bought a bunch of Mountain House Freeze Dried meals and ate at restaurants when I didn't feel like cooking. I used a JetBoil system to boil the water. I spent about $2k on my adventure last summer. I rode all the way to Prudhoe Bay. I camped 23 of 26 nights. The longest stretch without fuel is Coldfoot to Prudhoe Bay, 250 miles. I left Kentucky July 10, and returned home on August 6. My total cost was about $2k, including oil change in Fairbanks. I had set aside $4k, with $2k more for emergency repairs, etc.
    300 miles a day is easy and you got time to explore along the way. My time was limited so I averaged 460 miles per day.

    Bill
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  11. Tango2365

    Tango2365 n00b

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    I haven't been here for a while. Glad I found this report sounds like it's going to be a good read.
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  12. moralem

    moralem Been here awhile

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    If you are traveling alone that should cover it. I traveled with my brother and hosted him and my total expense was around $7000
  13. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher Been here awhile

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    As a dirt bike ride decades before street bike riding, I grew tired of being the leader. Staying on course and on time was always up to me and there always seemed to be someone who didn't approve of what I did. To them I say if you intend to just follow along on a "free ride" you had better not complain about anything I do. I have NEVER gotten lost or returned late to camp. I am VERY good at timing just about everything in my life. I like to think other riders are only lazy but on the rare days I follow others, I know they'll hit the down trees before me along with spider webs and getting shot at by meth heads. Everyone always has an ulterior motive.

    But as a result of this, I'll follow almost nobody as I don't trust they'll do the guiding job as well as me for all the same reasons you mentioned.

    Owing in largest part to the mystique of the great Al-Can highway and reports like yours, I am going to Alaska in June of this year.

    NC

  14. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher Been here awhile

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    Hearing about wrecks like your gives me the creeps. Glad you are okay. Did you go down on asphalt of gravel? How fast? Did you go down on the HD or BMW? Lastly, was your collapsed lung the type they have to inflate by making a huge incision along your side with no anesthetic? I have seen this done before as shown on an in-ambulance video camera. A really big, tough looking hombre cried like a little kid and screamed like he was on fire. I hope you did not have to go through that and I hope I never do as well.

    NC

  15. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher Been here awhile

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    I am guessing you prefer the InReach SE over the explorer as you had a different device for GPS-Nav duties. Am I correct in this? I may have to add an InReach to my budget.

    I can see that Garmin has now bought DeLorme or at least the acquisition completed in March of 2016. Better buy one now before Garmin messes them up.

    NC


  16. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    Yes, I used the inReach SE for 2-way-texting, tracking, and automatic blog updates (you can see what that looked like at the top of my blog even though it has finished at http://www.asphaltjourney.com. This device worked wonders; allowing me to communicate with family as often as desired (I paid for the monthly unlimited plan) which was great to use.

    I used a Garmin Zumo 660 for GPS needs. I use the Tyre program to setup my routes at home, upload to the Garmin, and go. Easy to update and reload on the road using a small laptop.
  17. NorthPole

    NorthPole Adventurer

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    Cyclebabble, the weekend of D2D I rode my K1600 across the Denali highway and met a couple guys riding rented bikes for the week. All the road miles between your place and up here might be better done with a Boeing 737 then you could spend two week actually riding Alaska, the Yukon and parts of Nunavut. Just a thought.
  18. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher Been here awhile

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    Is your blogsite, asphaltjourney, something you program yourself of is that a generic blog provider that provides the space and resources for you to blog? I'll need something like that on my trip. I'll update here as well but don't want to type things in twice so I figure a copy and paste here may be what you did.

    When you used your deLorme for blog updates, did you send an entire file from your MacBook? That is cool if you did.

    NC
  19. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    The asphaltjourney blog site is actually hosted on Blogger (Google). I've had/have blogs on different platforms, including WordPress and off custom coding I've done myself but for a very simple blog platform, Blogger is the easiest to utilize. I do copy/paste my blog entries...I write them in Word or a text editor, and copy/paste to a ride report here. I also cut/paste it into my AsphaltJourney blog, but I do clean that up a little from serious curse words or anecdotes or anything that my professional side doesn't want displayed (when I did the Alaska trip, a number of professional resources of mine followed the blog entries there).

    I didn't use the inReach SE to make blog entries. I did a few while on the road using the Blogger or Blogsy app on my phone or even Blogo from a Mac. Most of what you are reading as part of the actual ride report was written at my home computer while recuperating from the broken ribs last summer when I got back home from Alaska.

    The blog updates I am mentioning regarding using the inReach was only the tracking feature that shows up at the map at the top of the blog (still there if you want to see it). It allowed anybody following my blog to get updates where I was on the journey. It also led to more than one person who found where I was while traveling....a cool (and creepy) feeling....

    ETA: The blog site is now being hosted on a non-Google server, on a WordPress theme that requires more coding knowledge than using Blogger...but it gives me much more freedom too. I'm just doing much updates to it anymore but hope one day to start back up again.
  20. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher Been here awhile

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    Advice taken. Especially regarding the mosquito repellant.

    NC