Maryland to Seattle... and points north... in mid March.

Discussion in 'Americas' started by skierd, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,266
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Whats hopefully a first of many in a lifetime, I've pretty much have a lock on a job opportunity for myself in Alaska. The only real wiggle is that we're looking at needing to be in Fairbanks by the first week of April. That means getting cross country and on to the ferry in Bellingham by the end of March.

    Tips and suggestions on getting across without freezing to death in the process that do not include putting the bike into a truck and driving it across? I'm figuring I'm going to have to take a southwesterly track and cross the Rockies further south than would be ideal, but how far south? Once on the other side, would it be better to hug the coast or track further inland until I get to the Seattle area?

    I'm having a heck of a time deciphering the ferry schedules too. I know that Ketchican and Juneau do not have road access to the mainland, but I'm unsure where to get off the boat in order to minimize the time I'll need to get to Fairbanks once I'm up there since I'm assuming its a tad nippy up there still.

    The bike is ready to ride (gas range is 150-180 miles before I get into my spare fuel bottles), I have electrics and waterproof gear, and have two longer trips under my belt though nothing in extreme winter conditions. Any common for up there items that a right coaster might be forgetting or needs to know about bringing ahead of time? My local bookstore has a copy of the 2011 Milepost on the shelf, I should probably grab that...

    I'm downright giddy with anticipation... :clap
    #1
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,158
    Location:
    Bassett, NE
    From MD to WA in mid March, your safest bet would be dropping down through Texas, NM, AZ, CA and up through OR to WA. The weather is pleasant 60s-70s during the day in TX and the desert southwest in March.

    It is nighttime 20s daytime 40s mid March in the northern plains where I live, but you can get caught out at that time of year if a clipper drops down from Canada, and even south pass in WY rockies would be butt freezing. And the 40s are damn cold to be riding through for long distances across the northern and central routes.

    As far as inland or coastal up to WA, east of the Sierra 395 up through CA and OR to the Columbia River gorge could be butt freezing. Central route I-5 or 99 north just shoot me. 101 coast through the Redwoods and the southern Oregon coast would be scenic and likely wet past the Oregon border. I always take the coastal route unless I'm in a hurry. Or head up 1/101 through CA to 199 angle up to I-5 to miss the Siskiyou pass if its snowy and jet up I-5 through Oregon and WA. Just some ideas.

    Have fun!

    Best,
    John Downs
    #2
  3. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Nazis tried to kill my Father

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    33,685
    Location:
    Misanthropia
    AWESOME Dave!!! Congratulations.
    We'll have to drink a beer before you go.


    #3
  4. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,266
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Thanks Jack! If this falls through, I'm scheduled to start at Pete's on March 1 anyways, feels good to be moving up the economic ladder a little regardless. Its been a good week. :rofl
    #4
  5. lakota

    lakota Geeser

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,626
    Location:
    Annapolis MD
    I would also post this question on the Alaska regional forum. I think you could have a real road/snow/ice problem heading north out of Haines to Haines Junction and then north to Fairbanks. If the stations are open gas should not be a problem.
    #5
  6. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,802
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Click on my sig line for a thread about riding our ferry system.

    I strongly recommend you come up to Prince Rupert BC (instead of Bellingham) to board a ferry to Haines, AK unless you're thinking of the super long, boring, and expensive ride from B'ham all the way up to Seward, AK.

    Mid March can be pretty darned early in some areas for 2 wheel travel.

    More later if needed. Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
    #6
  7. Wreckchecker

    Wreckchecker Ungeneer to broked stuff.

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,879
    Location:
    Damascus, MD
    Very cool Dave! Heck of an opportunity.

    Like the other guy said, I'd take the southern route to Cali and then up the coast. But even then you have a chance of snow in the southwest.
    #7
  8. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,266
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Long boring and expensive yes... but I'm also thinking it might end up being a safer and more efficient way to transit myself closer to Fairbanks given the time of year. Its also an attempt to save some additional wear and tear on the bike and give my poor butt a chance to rest, since I'll have ridden to 5000 miles at that point already depending how far south I have to/choose to go... I'm already planning on fresh tires and probably a chain+sprockets change somewhere on the west coast.

    Open ears to any and all suggestions, but from what little I've been able to find on the subject riding through the Yukon in late March is probably not the best idea. I'll be in that area around March 20-25 ish if my planning goes as planned.

    Edit: Looks like my choice may be made for me... so far not a ton of availability for sailings from Bellingham to Haines with vehicle space and nothing further west in the time frame I'll need. If I can't get the reservation in for the last week of March sailings out of Bellingham, I'll be riding to Prince Rupert it seems.
    #8
  9. Dynamick

    Dynamick לעזאזל עם הנאצים

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,590
    Location:
    On the road to Shambala...
    :lol3 Effing-A Dave :thumb


    I've got a friend in Anchorage, when you get that far...
    The thing about the AK ferry is the schedule is made early and then edited at the last moment. The best way to get information is to call them, not kidding. You will get a person, 907 465 3941
    #9
  10. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,266
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    :wings:rayof:dllama

    :vardy

    :patch

    I got the job! Now I just gotta get up there. :lol3
    #10
  11. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Nazis tried to kill my Father

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    33,685
    Location:
    Misanthropia
    Congrats!!
    Getting out there....
    In my experience, it is cold as hell even as far south as I40. I know it's not what you want to hear, and it's probably 1000 miles out of the way, but I would go the whole way down to I10. BUT You are young and actually have blood flow:lol3 so....Southern AZ is friggin sublime this time of year.:deal
    do yourself a favor and ride as much of HWY 1 in cali, ore, and wash. as you can. ESPECIALLY above Sanfran.:deal Stop and say hey to The Darth Peach:evil

    best of luck.
    #11
  12. Dynamick

    Dynamick לעזאזל עם הנאצים

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,590
    Location:
    On the road to Shambala...
    [​IMG][/IMG]
    Party?
    #12
  13. Rode Daze

    Rode Daze Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    24
    Anchorage area and north, snow on the ground until the end of April. This far north you get a temps shift called "breakup" -- when the days get long enough to melt the snow. Anchorage area goes from snow on the ground to no snow in about two weeks. This is because this far north you get huge gains in daylight as the season changes.

    If you're riding up the West Coast, eastern side of the Cascades and Siskyous is likely to be cold and icy. I just did I-5 from Redding CA to Longview WA, Feb. 5. The day was unseasonably warm, but I-5 in the Siskyou passes had lots of snow on the shoulders -- Ashland OR, Medford OR. Siskyous get 2,000 elevation and within 10 miles of Mt. Shasta on I-5.
    #13
  14. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,266
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Heated jacket and glove liners and dual remote controller, hotgrips, a respro foggy, and a headlight protector ordered.

    Mickey, tomorrow maybe? Gotta work today, won't have time to grab staples.
    #14
  15. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,266
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    More memory lane thoughts... I hate when I search for info when the OP never comes back and updates what happenend...

    I left Maryland on US340 through Harper's Ferry, got on US 50, followed it to US62? in kentucky, and then headed more or less due west through to Missouri. Dipped down into Arkansas to go through Eureka Springs then a straight as I could manage shot to Tulsa/Coweta via Fayettesville as I could manage. From Tulsa I headed straight west on OK 59 I think, all the hell way across the state to Boise city, then eventually up to US 50 to get to Salida. Once in Salida, weather convinced me to head south, way south, all the way down past Santa Fe, Alburquerque, Soccorro, Truth or Consequences, and eventually to Silver City to Lordsburg to get across the Continental Divide. From there I head to Tucson, Phoenix, Needles CA, Death Valley, Saline Valley, Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco, then up the coast on CA1 and US101 till about halfway up Oregon when I couldn't stand the RV traffic anymore and burned up the 5 to Seattle. From Seattle I took the ferry from Bellingham to Haines, enjoying the rest and relaxation of my blue collar cruise on the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry (in the bar mainly). From Haines, AK, I took the one road north out of town (haines hwy) to the next major road (Alaskan highway) in Haines Junction, Yukon, turned left, and eventually ended up in Fairbanks. If you can't understand it all, drink some Crown Royal like I've been doing all night, say to yourself 'fuggit, just ride', and get out there. :lol3
    #15
  16. Michael

    Michael Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    219
    #16
  17. Archer13

    Archer13 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    East Coast
    :norton
    I am going from Maryland to Oregon via Route 50, but at the end of March. Hopefully there won't be any late snow storms or I will have to drop down to the south.
    #17
  18. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,266
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Its always possible... I got snowed on in New Mexico and it was damn cold going over the pass in and around Lake Tahoe on US 50. Keep an eye on the weather, WeatherUnderground was most useful in plotting a course around the worst of it as I found it both exceptionally accurate and extremely helpful in accurately predicting where the weather was going to be.
    #18