Haul Road Primer - Part 1

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Alcan Rider, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    August 5th? You should have plenty of time. After the middle of September it gets questionable, but August is usually just fine, especially north of Atigun Pass where winds off the Arctic Ocean delay the seasonal weather changes. Just be aware - it can snow on the pass any time of year, so keep an eye on weather forecasts before you head north from Fairbanks.
    #81
  2. zoomcarve

    zoomcarve Adventurer

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    Thank you- good information.
    #82
  3. Crackerbiker

    Crackerbiker Adventurer

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    I am in Fairbanks tonight. Road report on 511 informs of conditions this morning on Dalton. Does anyone have more current information? Would like to head to Deadhorse tomorrow morning on a KTM 1290 SA with fresh TKC 80s. Did it rain today?
    #83
  4. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    At midnight it appears to be raining at many points south of Atigun Pass, but just partly cloudy north of the pass. Deadhorse is predicting clear skies and warmer temperatures for Saturday and Sunday.

    If it were me, I'd be making a run for it. Rain south of the pass isn't usually as troublesome as that closer to Deadhorse.
    #84
  5. Crackerbiker

    Crackerbiker Adventurer

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    Thank you Alcan Rider. Heading out shortly.
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  6. jlambo

    jlambo Long timer

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    Crackerbiker, the suspense is killing me.....
    #86
  7. Crackerbiker

    Crackerbiker Adventurer

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    Jlambo:

    The ride was relatively uneventful. Rode to Coldfoot, tent camped and enjoyed the food and beer, dealt with swarms of mosquitoes on the way further north and got a room in Prudhoe Bay Hotel and enjoyed the 3 meals that come with it, and rode the entire road back in one day to Fairbanks. Rained all 3 days. My observation is to take it easy with the downhills as they are trickier when slick. The 30 miles of deep loose gravel just south of Prudhoe Bay was the most difficult of any road encountered. All total I was in Canada and Alaska 21 days and it rained 19. Loved the trip but the weather sucked. Saw nothing but fog and clouds from Top of the World Highway, did not see Denali, and the entire trip back on the Cassiar was all rain. Oh well, trip of a lifetime. By the way, my favorites were Talkeetna, Hatcher Pass, Copper Center, and McCarthy, although I did suffer a flat on the road to McCarthy as duly warned on the sign at the commencement of the road.
    #87
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  8. Higherhawk

    Higherhawk Still a n00b

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    It sucks that that was your experience. The weather gods smiled upon me and my riding partner and we had generally good weather for all the major roads (Dalton, Denali Hwy, Top of the World) with only showers or a small hvy t-storm that dropped some hail). Guess you'll just have to sacrifice a small goat or something for next time ;)

    I guess the weather is the biggest "welcome to Alaska" sign there is.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #88
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  9. akgsa

    akgsa '16 R1200GSA

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    I've only ever flown to deadhorse. Getting used to my '16 GSA, thinking I should make a ride up. Hoping to do a late May trip. I prefer to avoid the highways when the tourists are about, roads get dangerous. Who's planning a '17 ride up?
    #89
  10. duckman44

    duckman44 Been here awhile

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    I am riding there right after the 2017 D2D.
    I have 4 weeks planned from NY to Deadhorse and back.
    #90
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  11. KHuddy

    KHuddy Survivor

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    Please do not turn this into a thread about your future plans. Keep this thread about advice in riding the haul road. Why not start a thread about riding to AK in 2017 and delete your posts on this thread?
    #91
  12. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer

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    Sounds good to me. I deleted mine. Glad the Alaskan mods are patrolling this thread.
    #92
  13. KHuddy

    KHuddy Survivor

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    Thanks. Big Sky in this case, but I'm no mod.
    #93
  14. LTRyder

    LTRyder Been here awhile

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    Four of us are starting in Key West May 28th & heading for Prudhoe Bay, hope that's not to early.
    #94
  15. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    That should be fine. In years past, a few of us locals have ridden to Deadhorse over the Memorial Day weekend, so you will be arriving at least a week later than that, presumably. By that time it can be quite warm in the Interior (north of the Alaska Range, south of the Brooks Range) and quite possibly above freezing in Deadhorse. Now that global warming is taking over the climate, you may even get there in time to assist in the pineapple harvest. :lol3

    Years ago, a friend of mine who was then a DOT engineer spending a good share of his work time on the Dalton Hwy, told me that the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June were generally the best time to ride to Deadhorse.
    #95
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  16. LTRyder

    LTRyder Been here awhile

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    Thanks Alcan. We won't be in a big hurry so probably leave Fairbanks for Prudhoe mid June. Hoping to beat the rush!
    #96
  17. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    I made a separate post like a NooB. I asked how much of the Dalton is paved now only as far as the Artic circle. I seem to recall someone said there was pavement for quite a ways north? I can't remember now. Broken pavement? An idea of pavement? :D
    #97
  18. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    You're anything but a NooB, Lorie. :lol3 Maybe a Noob to the Dalton, but I bet that won't last long.

    It's been a few years since I've been to Deadhorse, so someone with more recent experience may have to correct me. But last time up that way it was sorta like this: Mile 0 to around 9 was same ol' gravel. Mile 9 to 18.5 was fresh realignment. Still gravel but straightened curves, flattened hills, widened and vegetation cut way back. Looked like it was getting ready for pavement. Mile 18.5 to ~23.5 pavement put down in '04 and started falling apart in '05. Crosses swampy ground with lots of frost heaves, pavement breaks, and numerous potholes. Mile 23.5 to 39.5 gravel, subject to being graded. (NOTE: Grading up there amounts to watering the road for days to soften the surface,
    [​IMG]

    then rearranging the bumps with graders.
    [​IMG]

    It can be a bit muddy and loose until a few trucks have gone over it to pack it down.)
    [​IMG]

    Always keep watch for the little red warning flags alongside the road. Take them seriously and slow down!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From around 37.5 to Mile 50 (or Mile 37 to Mile 49.5 - my memory ain't what it used to be :doh) is good pavement with nice hills and a pretty good view out across the valley to the west. At the end of that, it's back to gravel down across the Yukon River bridge at Mile 56 and on to where pavement (of sorts!) begins again. At Mile 76 you hit aptly-named Roller Coaster Hill, which is steep going north, and very steep coming back south. Then Mackey Hill at Mile 87, another fairly steep one northbound. About a mile and a half beyond the top of Mackey Hill is a perennially soft spot where nearby seeps keep the road wet - although I've seen a couple of really dry summers where it was actually dry.

    At Mile 90 there are wide spots on both sides of the road and you hit the old pavement that continues all the way to Coldfoot, where new pavement begins. There are a lot of pavement breaks, potholes, patches, etc. in the old pavement. Beaver Slide, a long downhill stretch starting around Mile 110 northbound, is all gravel and the pavement starting again at the bottom is in rough shape. But by then you're almost at the Arctic Circle sign so you can breath a sigh of relief.

    Possibly due to so much traffic turning back south at the Circle, the pavement begins to improve beyond the wayside. Still, it pays to take it easy until at least Pump Station 5 (Mile 137) because potholes or gravel patches sometimes appear with little warning.
    #98
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  19. #1Fan

    #1Fan Been here awhile

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    Thanks for this thread! Very insightful. Is there a Part 2 (or 3 or more)? If the link was posted, I do apologize. Thanks!
    #99
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  20. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Part 2 (and thereafter subsequent parts) will be posted about the time the entire Dalton Hwy is paved or the first Princess Cruise ship docks at Prudhoe Bay, whichever comes first. :wink:

    No apology necessary, as the "Part 1" is confusing even to me and I'm... uh? What were we talking about? :scratch
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