First Trip - First Post! - Toronto to Alaska

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Bambooda, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

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    Hi Everybody!
    I am graduating from Mechanical Engineering in a couple weeks and I am planning a trip to Alaska. I have spent countless hrs on this forum and I cannot thank all of you enough for the wealth of knowledge I have gained from your experience.

    As the title says, this is my first extended trip. I go camping a lot, I have done week long canoe trips, and have gone camping on my bike, so I have experience putting myself through some ugly stuff, but nothing super long with a bike. I also do a lot of trail riding and am considering doing an Enduro or 2 on my EXC 200 when I get back. I bought a KLR that has a lot of the standard mods done to it: the doo, aftermarket piston, luggage, skid plate, highways pegs, heated grips, hand guards, I'm thinking of buying a new seat...

    I have done a lot of reading about the bike and what should be done, so i think I'm good on that front, but at this point I don't have much of an itinerary. I am leaving from Toronto, Trans-Canada to Calgary to see friends, up to Edmonton to see family, then upwards and onwards to Yukon and Alaska. On the way home stopping through Vancouver to see family and then trans-Canada all the way home. I have the months of May and June to travel.

    That literally is the most detail my plan has right now. I am looking for recommendations for ways to get up north, things to do up north, thing I have to see, places I have to go etc.... I had read about the D2D in another thread posted very recently, but I am starting a new job the beginning of July and will have to leave before then. If there are any other recommendations you have for a first timer (what to expect, what not to do, etc...) anything is much appreciated!

    Sorry for the long winded open-ended post, but I look forward to hearing from all of you! :ear

    Bam

    Also, the bike is currently lowered 2 inches I think. Is this something you would recommend against for a trip to Alaska? I have no idea how demanding some of the roads/trails will be there.
    #1
  2. Too Tall

    Too Tall Been here awhile

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    The website www.klr650.net has considerable information on preping your bike for the ride north.

    Plus, a book I'd recommend for purchase prior to the trip is The Adventurous Motorcyclist's Guide to Alaska by Lee Klancher & Phil Freeman. Excellent summaries of all the key stops a motorcyclist would want to make. Also has several chapters on trip planning as well.

    You'll remember this trip forever and most likely repeat it again in the future.
    #2
  3. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    If it has the stock seat on it now, that is probably an excellent idea.

    Trans-Canada on a KLR? You'll change your mind before you go 1000 kms. Route yourself along some good, secondary highways where you can enjoy the ride without having to fear being run over by trucks. If you have the time, dropping below the border and following some interesting U. S. highways might be worth your while.

    From Calgary, do yourself a favor (again, if you have the extra time) and ride over to Lake Louise, then take the Icefields Parkway up to Jasper, then backtrack on 16 to Edmonton. A nice bit of highway for the KLR to enjoy.

    D2D is the 20th and 21st of June, with most everyone leaving Dawson City the morning of the 22nd. You could take a week to get back to Toronto and still make it before July 1st, even on a KLR. Isn't July 1 a holiday in Canada?

    If the bike, as lowered, fits you, leave it as is. I have probably taken my Gold Wing over roads and trails as rough as any you'll encounter on your trip. This won't be a trip across Siberia. We have some pretty decent highways (including the gravel ones) up this way.
    #3
  4. GerryM

    GerryM On the road again

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    Bambooda,

    Can't help with your planning, I have no experience with long trips. Just wanted to say good luck, keep us posted and get plenty of pictures. I am just a tad envious right now.

    Gerry
    #4
  5. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

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    Thanks for the replies guys, all great advice, I look forward to hearing more!

    Alcan, I appreciate your suggestion for avoiding the Trans-Canada, I'll try to plan some smaller highways. I also really like your suggestion for going through the mountains and back out to Edmonton, I used to live in Calgary so I have been to Lake Louise before, but that was over 10 years ago and not on a motorcycle, I can't wait to go back!
    #5
  6. willys

    willys Long timer

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    Welcome Bam....I live an hour north of Toronto and have been to the D2D twice now. I also own a KLR an 04. You must swap out the seat! It will ruin you before to get 4 hours from home.....there is nothing worse than being constantly in pain from your seat when trying to get somewhere. It is the most important item for your trip. I made a Corbin flat copy and it has served me well for both of my cross Canada trips. PM me and I'd be happy to talk about your trip if you want.
    #6
  7. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    Location:
    Granbury Texas
    Icefields Parkway
    Laird Hot Springs
    Dawson City
    Top of the World Highway
    Chena Hot Springs
    Kenai Peninsula
    Homer Spit for camping
    Denali National Park
    Salmon Bake in Tok Alaska
    Glacier Ice House Anchorage
    Snow Ctty Cafe for breakfast Anchorage
    Bush Company Anchorage
    Humpy's Anchorage
    Portage Glacier on way to Kenai Peninsula
    And a whole lot of other great places...
    #7
  8. BlackBeast

    BlackBeast Been here awhile

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    Did a Vancouver to Alaska trip in 2007 on my F650GS. Best advice I can give is get yourself a current version of a Milepost. Tons of information and is literally worth its weight.
    #8
  9. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

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    This one sounds interesting in particular :evil
    #9
  10. PhotoMotoAdv

    PhotoMotoAdv PhotoGuy

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    Have fun, Bam, I wish our dates would coincide, but you will probably be headed home when I leave Florida in mid-June. Enjoy the ride, and may it be an epic one!
    #10
  11. lakota

    lakota Geeser

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    +1
    if you are going to buy only one book this is the one to get
    #11
  12. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

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    Hey Everybody, just wanted to say thanks again for the advice and information. 1 Week 'till departure! I'll do my best to keep everyone updated on how she goes!
    #12
  13. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

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    Also, I'm looking for a travel buddy, someone who would want to do the Dempster, go to Prudhoe Bay, etc...I don't know if I would want to venture out there alone. If anybody is going to be out there around May/early June, PM me and hopefully we can set something up!
    #13
  14. Waterboiler

    Waterboiler Adventurer

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    Last year I did TO to vancover and back on a Vstrom.

    A few things to consider:

    1. Fuel - do not pass up an opportunity to tank. Take 17 north thru Ontario very scenic but fuel is far between. Longest stretch is probably near 150 km but it may be another 125 to the next one. Thunder Bay to Dryden 360 KM only sure fuel between is Ignace - do not pass without tanking.

    2. Winds on the open praires will be a challange. I got beat up bad on the Vstrom, I suspect the KLR will be worse. Go for it but be ready. If you get a head wind expect fuel range to plummet.

    3. Daily distance - I did a couple of 1000 km days on the bigger roads west of Winnipeg but was limited to about 700 in Ontario due to speed limits / OPP presence and stops for scenery.

    4. Speeds on the Praries. West of Winterpeg the limit is 110 - even the big rigs roll 120 - how comfortable are you rolling the KLR that fast ? Consider HWY 16 up to Edmonton or other options.

    5. Tires - consider putting on some knobbies up north and running west on dual sports. I put pilot road 3's on my Vstrom for the ride west and they were a big improvement for the open road.

    6. Mechanical Abilility: Seeing as you are an ME, bring some tools and be ready to use them. Make sure you have a chain tool and bits to deal with a chain break. Also consider a spare clutch cable along with a small selection of bulbs and fuses.

    Calgary-Banff-Jasper is amazing, take some time it is a must do.
    #14
  15. NightProwler

    NightProwler Adventurer

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    Humpys is a must for halibut nuggets

    The great alaskan bush company is a must for the best scenery the north has to offer:freaky:drif
    #15
  16. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

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    Update: last night while removing the cam chain guide to remove the current shims, I dropped a small bolt into the engine... Looks like I may be getting to know this bike reeeeaaally well. Hopefully it doesn't postpone my trip!!
    :baldy
    #16
  17. Bambooda

    Bambooda Adventurer

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    Man: 1, Bolt: 0
    HAHAHAAAA!!!! YEAH THAT'S RIGHT, FUCK YOU BOLT!!!!

    Went down the street to the handy-dandy Canadian Tire and got myself a Handy-dandy magnetic probe (the fancy one too), and after a long hard struggle through magnetos and cam chains, the bolt finally succumbed to the might and will of a determined and desperate man!

    Now lets just hope someone has my shim sizes in stock...

    :clap
    #17
  18. PhotoMotoAdv

    PhotoMotoAdv PhotoGuy

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    Have fun and enjoy every minute of it - even when the sky is falling down! Will be following you here.
    #18
  19. willys

    willys Long timer

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    The local BMW dealer will have shims cheaper than a Kawi dealer and will be able to get them overnight in most cases. If you know the number of the shim I can give you the BMW part number for each shim as they will not sell you a shim if you tell them it is going inside a KLR, stupid I know but that is what I came across at two dealerships. Legalities etc they quoted....call me and I'll give them to you if you want. Avisciouscycle is your other best friend for cheap prices on shims, but sometimes they too need to order them in. Gone are the days when shops actually stocked small parts all the time.
    #19
  20. Waterboiler

    Waterboiler Adventurer

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    Awesome! That is the spirt that will carry you north and back safely.

    Ride on brother ...
    #20