Alaska: How much did you plan?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by enumclaw, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. enumclaw

    enumclaw I just....don't know

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    I know there are a wide variety of planners in this community; some go off on a 3 week trip virtually on a lark, others plan a 3 day trip six months in advance. So I expect a wide range of answers.

    So I am "planning" to head to Alaska from Washington (the state) around the end of June. I've got a rough idea of how far I'm going to go each day and all, some of the things I want to make a point of seeing, etc. I am camping as much as possible, but will be seeking real lodging every few days. The goal is Prudhoe Bay and "the usual" that seems to go along with that.

    Those of you that have done it, did you over plan, under plan? What would you have done differently ahead of time?

    As you may have figured, I'm somewhere in between in the planning department, but lean toward the 3 weeks on a lark end of the spectrum.

    Thanks for the input.
    #1
  2. UKbri

    UKbri Just a Rider

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    I did Vancouver to Prudhoe via Dawson Creek, NWT, Top of the World Hwy and Hyder on the way back to Vancouver in 3 weeks. Saw plenty of cool stuff and did the entire Alaskan Hwy. Planned very little and had an awesome time. Just check for fuel stops and go. 'More Planning = Less Adventure'.
    #2
  3. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    Here is my ride report. I think we picked the perfect time of the year, mid June and returned near 4th of July. See in my pictures, very little rain. Mosquitoes weren't too bad at that time either.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=252582

    Wish I had a better ending though.:D

    ps, make sure you get an OK to go to Prudhoe, they told me 48 hours ahead of time for clearance.
    #3
  4. ggemelos

    ggemelos Been here awhile

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    I went from the San Francisco Bay Area to Alaska in June. Came back through the Canadian Rockies and Montana. The whole trip was close to 10k and a little over a month. The only planning I did was to order a set or tires and have them delivered to a dealer in Anchorage that was going to do a service for me. I have to agree with the comment made above that more planning generally means less adventure and fun, at least for me. I have pictures posted here
    #4
  5. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    It's just a long road/s.
    You plan for fuel, overnights, and for tires/parts that might be needed.
    It's just a long road......:D
    #5
  6. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    We didn't plan at all.

    Only thing that will probably need some advance booking are the accommodations up in Prudhoe Bay. Best to figure that out before you head up the Dalton. Recommend the Prudhoe Bay Hotel. Not cheap (nothing is up there), but it's all-inclusive. Also, if your tank range is less than 240 miles, bring an extra fuel can.

    If you want to visit the Arctic Ocean, it's an escorted tour by bus from Deadhorse and you need to give them 24 hours advance notice so they can check your passport or government ID.

    Bugs in the summer, cold and rain in the fall. Your choice.

    Other than that, unless you're facing a time crunch, just go and explore. Alaska is a US state, it's not the Nairobi desert. If you break down, plenty of cars and people will come along and stop to help out. There is good cell service along all the major highways, and 99.99% of the roads to major cities are paved. Your AAA membership works up there as well as anywhere else in the US... (except for the Dalton Highway)
    #6
  7. nuttynu

    nuttynu Long timer

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    Don't pan so much. Just be ready, have the bike running strong, have cash and your golden . Yes u may have to book ahead for accommodations. But other than that , just have fun.


    I'm planing my ride from ak to California this June, and all I have plan is how much I'm riding , and where ill be sleeping, other than that, I'll just be cruising my way.
    #7
  8. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

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    We went to Alaska from NZ for 6 weeks. Only booked our first night in Vancouver. "winged" the rest of it. Like you, we had a plan of where we wanted to go and an idea of how far we might travel each day, but it was way better to make it up as we went. Weather can play a big part in things and if you've booked everything you're committed to making your next nights accomodation. One thing we learned fast, keep your tank filled at every opportunity. Some of the little dots on the map that you think will have gas don't even exist. Have you got a Milepost book ? Everything you need to know in there.
    #8
  9. nuttynu

    nuttynu Long timer

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    Have time & money.

    The way I see it .
    #9
  10. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    The K100RS I was riding at the time developped an oil leak. No time to fix that and ride up to Alaska.:wink: Bought a brand new R100GS, took a week or so to prepare the bike....windscreen and some way to hang up the old leather bags and enough miles for the first service and then took off.:ricky

    Took me a lot longer to clean that bike when I got back after 7-8 weeks than to get it and me ready to go.The Cassiar, unpaved at the time sure got it muddy.:lol3

    Morning plannings with paper maps and coffee then "on the road".:wink:
    #10
  11. gharnden

    gharnden Been here awhile

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    Planning is good but be ready to adapt to weather which will change your plans.
    #11
  12. AK1

    AK1 Adventurer

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    congratulations on your upcoming trip! I have done this trip a few times and I live in Fairbanks. I have a shop called Frozen Motor Works. My shop number is 907-451-7600. My cell is 907-750-2573.
    #12
  13. enumclaw

    enumclaw I just....don't know

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    Thanks everyone for the input. Sounds like most tend to my approach, which is generally take it as it comes. And thanks AK1, nice to know there are more folks catering to us up there. :thumb

    Will be making the trip with my son, who will have graduated from college a week or two before we leave. CANNOT WAIT !! I have been wanting to do the AK trip for a few years, and I finally convinced him that it is OKAY to reward yourself, take some time off after graduation, and enjoy yourself before entering the career world full speed. And besides, I'll be paying for most of it. :lol3

    Selfishly, it will likely be the last chance for the two of us to do a trip of this length together for a long, long time. And I know we both want it to be great.
    #13
  14. Nc987

    Nc987 Adventurer

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    Hey Enum,

    I am planning a almost identical trip, leaving from Bellingham at almost the exact time.

    My planning has consisted primarily of making sure I have the right spare parts and gear. My itinerary is pretty loose. Around June 30th I'm pointing the bike north to Fairbanks, then to Prudhoe, then after that I am going to wander around and make my way back south before July 25th at the latest.

    I agree with the others, plan for fuel stops and maybe shipping tires up but other than that I always find it best to have it somewhat open ended.

    And if you want to split a campsite fee or something similar on the way up, let me know as I am a part time teaching doing this trip on the cheap and it sounds like we are headed in the same direction around the same time.

    That will be a trip you and your son will never forget. Good luck.
    #14
  15. babarnette

    babarnette Been here awhile

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    I would carry extra tubes, tire spoons, an extra chain, and extra sprockets just in case. My cell phone did not work almost the entire length of the ALCAN until I got to Whitehorse and again until I got to Tok last year. I'm assuming you'll take the Cassiar/Hwy 37 up to junction 37 and take the ALCAN from there. At junction 37 there is a cool/creepy camp ground that kinda looks like what I think things would look like after the world ends. But the price was right, $4.00/night and Watson lake is just a mile or two East with food. I just winged my trip and was fine but I almost didn't make it between fuel stops, I have a 160 mile range. I would carry extra if you have a similar range just in case. Good Luck!
    #15
  16. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    Don't skimp on the tools.:wink: I have more than I really need on my bike, has come in handy many times for others before.:eek1
    #16
  17. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    I have done a lot of tours and I can't plan a trip to save my life. I just....go.....I thought I had kinda planned my Alaska trip, but apparently I hadn't really. You just meet people along the way and plans change,cool things happen,shit happens.....trying to stay on a plan is stressful.

    My next trip I was thinking off taking the Cape May ferry and I realized that it involved actually being somewhere at a certain time and day....pfftttt.....that went out the window...:D
    #17
  18. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    only reservation I made was in Prudhoe Bay. I did plan a destination for each to keep me on trackl. I was doing Key West to Prudhoe Bay and back to Key West and I had 4 weeks vacation to do it in, so I had to have a bit of plan to keep on track with time. Its very easily to get off track of time, like the day it took me like 5 hours to cover 100 miles when going up the Ice Fields Parkway, there are lots of distractions!!!

    Bottom Line, if you have a short amount of time plan a destination for the day and wing it for food and accomodations, I never had an issue finding a place to stay on any night of the trip..........well except one, but that was mine own fault!!
    #18