Alaska for dummies

Discussion in 'Americas' started by damasovi, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    Hi, I am planning on going to Alaska sometime soon so I wanted to ask for your advice on the general planning.

    The date is still a couple of summers away but I always like to prepare. So my question is not a question but a starting point, where should I start? I am thinking 1 month there and back, if it matters I am from Baja Mexico, so what should I think of?

    This summer I went to Canada on my KLR and like it a lot, but the weather was so hot and only one day of rain (little nor much).

    I am all ears.

    Damasovi
    #1
  2. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    The folks in Great White North Regionals Forum will be glad to help, I'm sure.
    Post this over there.
    #2
  3. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    GRRACIAS
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  4. rpilottx

    rpilottx Long timer

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    I left El Paso on Memorial Day weekend about 3 years ago. I got snowed on in Montana but after that it was great. Generally, the later in the summer you go, the wetter especially in late July or August.

    I may have to eat my words but next summer we are heading up from the southern border in early August. My riding partner can't get away and I did not make it up to Prudoe Bay last trip but am planning to correct that next year followed by TDF in the fall.

    Take good waterproof riding gear and plenty of wool(ever seen a hypothermic sheep) or polypro and you will do fine. Fall colors around McKinley are late August.
    #4
  5. blender

    blender Just another rider

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    I just did a 5 week trip this past June, total of 10,524 miles. Have good gear, including a good rainsuit (or very good waterproof textile gear). Bring layers to take on/off. You'll likely hit all the extremes of weather.

    Get some maps of Alberta, BC, Yukon, and AK. Start looking at possible destinations and estimating miles.

    Camping sounded like a good idea when I was plannin, however at the end of the day after riding thru rain and cold a motel with hot shower & fluffy pillows looked great. In the end I didn't camp as much as I had planned. I could have left home the cooking gear, since finding a cafe was always possible.

    There's other items I could mention, all depends on what you're looking for. As mentioned the GWN area is a good place to look for advice.
    #5
  6. Benjava

    Benjava ?

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    I got a Milepost and cut out the pages I wanted and separated them into each highway section. Stored each section in a separate page protector to keep them organized. It was a little overkill but it did come in handy a few times and made it possible to see things I would have forgotten about. I did not use it to make an exact plan or time table but to make it easier to improvise because I had the info handy to change things.
    #6
  7. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    Amigo this sounds good, last July I went to BC Canada and found out I had to much stuff but I left the cooking stuff at home basicly because I knew it was not necesary and like you said, at the end of the day you just want to crash.
    I have some good maps of BC and Alberta but still need the last two ones, Yukon and Alaska.

    How many milles are too many? I avarege 400 milles with the ocasional 500 and one day of 600, but is was all roads and no rain, are 350 ok? or maybe 250?

    I will continue to ride and improve my skills by the time I get there but I just wanted to know.

    Thank you amigos and have fun

    Damasovi
    #7
  8. TeacherDan

    TeacherDan Adventurer

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    Where do you suggest getting good maps of those areas? I'm planning for the summer of 2009 to the Arctic Circle.
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  9. holckster

    holckster dougholck

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    Amazon.com for the Milepost, has basic map of Canada and Alaska and you can pick-up more detailed maps on the way if needed. Suggest the Dempster in Yukon Territory for best ride to the Artic Circle, out of Fairbanks the road is mostly paved to the Circle (no challenge and scenery on Dempster is better).
    Google Earth is fun as a pre-ride.
    I hoteled it the entire way but lots of camping spots if you like bugs/bears and such.
    Mid June to mid July worked for us.
    Good luck and go soon before ALL the roads are paved.
    #9
  10. Omar

    Omar Muddling thru

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    Damasovi,

    First let me congratulate you on your desire to ride to Alaska. It is an experience worth having. As a person living in Baja CA, the ride will be going north all the way, so naturally the further north you go the cooler it will get, prepare for it.

    Also, there is much written up about riding to Alaska and I would first look up all the Alaska blogs on this ADVRIDER, much can be gained by that, as most will tell you one heck of a lot, in brief descriptions too.

    The only key advice I can give is that once you enter less populated areas north of CA, never pass a gas station when tank is 1/2 full or less .... fill up at every opportunity. After one really scarry incident I carried a spare gallon gas can with me (bungie corded to my tail bag). The peace of mind was wonderful and at one instance it came in handy to help another biker out.

    Have fun and ride safe.
    #10
  11. stovepipe

    stovepipe Been here awhile

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    How many milles are too many? I avarege 400 milles with the ocasional 500 and one day of 600, but is was all roads and no rain, are 350 ok? or maybe 250?

    I will continue to ride and improve my skills by the time I get there but I just wanted to know.

    Thank you amigos and have fun

    Damasovi[/quote]

    Hi Damasovi,

    First off, you are going to have an absolute blast. I rode out of San Francisco in late June and was gone for a month up north. It was unbelievable. The KLR held up like a champ.

    I wouldn't plan for longer than an average of 250 miles a day. There is a bunch of great gravel/ dirt roads to contend with. The Dempster and the Denali Highways are 2 that I would NOT miss. 200- 250 is good so you can slip in a rest day or two in there and not be doing too many 500 mile days.

    The weather was all over the place in July.. but you can usually just ride through whatever system is bothering you, and into clear skies.

    My buddies and I camped most of the trip, as we got lucky with mostly clear skies in the evenings. it saved us a bunch of loot. as others have mentioned, i could have left the cooking gear at home.. who can get enough of those cinnamon buns and pies!

    other tips...
    shipping an extra set of tires to Whitehorse ahead of time was a great idea. much cheaper than dealing with local shops!

    I wish i had a really really tall windshield. mine is about 4inches taller than stock. get the taller one. having to clean your faceshield all the time from bug splatter is a little annoying.

    Have a blast!!
    #11
  12. Ironheadziggy76

    Ironheadziggy76 What the hell?

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    I am starting to plan for a trip to Prudhoe Bay in 09. I am starting to pick up gear a little at a time for the trip. You can never start too early!
    #12
  13. wildwilly

    wildwilly Old Fart

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    Damasovi

    Are you going as a group? From my experience on my previous trip to Canada/Alaska: Ensure that your riding partner(s) share your enthusiasm for adventure; rides a bike with similar capabilities as your's. Take it from me, it really sucks to ride with a whiner on a trip of a lifetime.
    #13
  14. Vbird

    Vbird In Room 237

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    This forum was filled with great advice for planning my trip this summer.The only advice I didn't see was:If you are camping,carry a tent with a dark rain fly to keep the light out at night.
    #14
  15. treysmagna

    treysmagna Bald is beautiful

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    I left Houston, Tx the first week of June in 05 and the weather was pretty good. I actually would have liked it to be a little cooler. The other thing is that the mosquitoes were not real bad that early either. I am going back in probably 09 and plan on leaving about the same time or maybe a week earlier.
    #15
  16. stovepipe

    stovepipe Been here awhile

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    it may be kinda funny,
    but no need for a dark rainfly if you bring one of those sleep masks along with you.

    I did so this summer and it definitely let me snooze, even in the blazing midnight sun.
    #16
  17. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    I completed a Texas to Alaska back to Texas Ride with 3 others this past June. Expect all kinds of weather, especially Rain. Excellent Raingear will be required. Will also be from cool to almost hot, by there standards. Always keep you tank filled whenever you pass a gas station. Gas is alot more expensive than in good ole USA. Food is not a problem. Bugs can be aproblem. The roads will be better than you expect and other times worse than you imagined. Do not miss the chance do this ride, words cannot even come close to describing the ride. Plenty of campsites or expensive motels. Enjoy...
    #17
  18. Exurban

    Exurban Been here awhile

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    In order to travel light, I'd rather not take my camping gear and stay at motels. Any problems with skipping the tent and sleeping bag? Other than the Dempster and Dalton, any real need to make motel reservations mid-June and July?
    #18
  19. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    OK all your comments are so good and best of all they allow me to dream and think I CAN.

    I can see the points about gas, gear and tires, also I think I will go alone or with my buddy, the same one we went to Canada last July, since we are good friends and prety much have the same level or bke habits.

    I will start with buying better maps for the nothern part of the trip, so I won't miss the most ride.

    How much is it better to hotel it then camping? I know from an economic point of view but I am worry not to find hotels available North BC, Yukon and Alaska, are hotels that available for June-July?

    Colthes? I will be buying the electic vest this winther and already have the 12V for the bike

    Gracias and keep it comming
    Damasovi
    #19
  20. charliemik

    charliemik Been here awhile

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    All good advice here; gas, tires, RAIN GEAR, The Milepost. A month is good but if there's any possible way to take more time, do it. I did the ride to Prudhoe Bay from Northern Arizona in '05. We had a month and we had to average about 375 miles each and every day. If we wanted a layover day somewhere (we had 2) we had to double up on mileage somewhere else. We had a great trip but I sure would've liked more time.

    BTW, my saddle sucked and 375 miles was a very long day (ouch!). Oh, if you like beer as much as I do :freaky , don't expect to get any in Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay). It's a company town and alcohol is stricktly verboten. I was tired and then sorely disappointed when I arrived and couldn't get a cold one:cry .
    #20