Minneapolis to the Arctic Circle

Discussion in 'Americas' started by 73datsun, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    UPDATED MAY 14, 2013

    Right now, I guess this is technically a trip planning thread. But will evolve to Ride Report in July.


    My employer has a program called Dream Catcher. In short, you can opt to set aside money each pay check. They will match it dollar for dollar. After three years, you receive $5,000 and 14 extra days of paid vacation.

    Some have used it to go to China to adopt a child. Some have used it to go to the Olympics.

    I'm using it to ride a motorcycle to the Arctic Circle.


    Bike
    BMW F700GS


    Gear
    I have nearly all the camping and riding gear from previous trips on other bikes. Including a sweet Jet Boil. Really all I have left is: bear spray, tactical shovel/axe, SPOT tracker and GPS.


    Route

    DRAMATICALLY REVISED. SEE POST 20.

    Depart MN, July 3, 2013
    Arrive MN, July 29, 2013

    Flexible to add another day or two.



    Side trips:

    Skagway > Haines via Ferry

    Anchorage > Seward
    Supposed to be a beautiful ride into Seward. Beyond that, doing a half day Sea Kayak excursion
    [​IMG]


    Denali
    This will be my big expenditure. But when in Rome. Flight tour of Denali/Mount McKinley and a glacier landing.
    [​IMG]



    For anyone who has done this before, I'd love feedback, input, must-sees, not to be missed, etc. I have a day or two of buffer, but I'd rather not extend it any longer.


    I'll update this thread as important decisions are made. Like, which bike I'm going to buy. :D
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Moved to Trip Planning.. when your ride is under way, or concluded, we'd like to see you in Ride Reports :thumb
    #2
  3. Cosmic_Jumper

    Cosmic_Jumper Been here awhile

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    Geez, isn't Minneapolis pretty close to the Arctic Circle?:D
    #3
  4. charlesdarwin

    charlesdarwin Adventurer

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    Very ambitious for 24 days. I did a similar trip but went to Deadhorse. You can also kayak out of Whittier.
    #4
  5. KustomizingKid

    KustomizingKid Been here awhile

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    Best of luck on your trip... Fellow Minneapolis resident.
    #5
  6. Yukon Jon

    Yukon Jon Perma-lurker

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    I'll second the notion that it's an ambitious plan for 24 days. But you know better than anyone else what you're capable or riding, and some of us enjoy long days in the saddle more than others. It has the makings of a great trip, and you should enjoy the hell out of it.

    Since you're open to suggestions, I have one; If you're doing the Fjord Express down to Juneau and back up, see if you can get on in Skagway and off in Haines, or vice-versa. It shouldn't be an issue for them, in my experience the folks that run it are like most Alaskans that I've met; incredibly friendly and helpful.
    The road from Skagway to Whitehorse, mostly once you get a bit south of Carcross, and closer to British Columbia, is fantastic, and immensely enjoyable in either direction. I prefer it heading back to Whitehorse in terms of riding, and to Skagway when it comes to scenery.
    The road from Haines, up into the mountains and back into Canada is not to be missed either though, nor is the town of Haines itself, if you've spent the day doing the Fjord Express and need to spend a night somewhere. If you're camping, there's an incredible campground on the Chilkoot Lake / River, where it's not unusual to simply walk down and pluck salmon out of the water with your bare hands, if they're running. You'll miss the grizzly bears feasting there by a few months, but there's always the next trip for that.


    Aside from that, enjoy the planning phase, it's half the fun, and if you're in the Territory and in need of a hand, drop me a line. I'll have moved back South of the Arctic Circle by then, and will have a place with a garage for tire changes and a beer or whatever else in Carmacks.
    #6
  7. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

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    I need a job with an employer like that.... (or any employer for that matter :cry )

    do they cut ADV members any slack and wave such things as education and experience? :evil

    C'mon, I'm local. We could be carpooling!

    I could carry your briefcase.


    Paul from Coon Rpds.

    :lol3
    #7
  8. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for!

    However, I'm curious how I get my motorcycle from Skagway to Haines.

    The Fjord Express looks more like a tour boat then a ferry.

    http://alaskafjordlines.com/

    Do you have another suggestion for a carrier? Is Juneau even worth going to see?
    #8
  9. AspentureRider

    AspentureRider Rube

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    Hey Chris, it's Mike---


    They may be suggesting that you do the Alaska Marine Highway instead of the sightseeing ferry?
    I've been to Haines, Juneau, Scagway, and Ketchikan... they're all worth seeing.
    #9
  10. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    Hey Mike!

    Yeah, I looked into the sea highway stuff. But the time tables weren't super co-operative to me staying on schedule. So I opted of the "sightseeing" fjord line express.
    #10
  11. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    I did a 10,500 mile ride to Alaska this past June/July in 29 days. I rode the Dalton instead of the Dempster. Didn't have time for both. Your planned route looks very similar to the way I went. The Alaska marine highway runs ferry service between Skagway and Haines. I went the opposite way from Haines to Skagway. It only ran once a day as I remember. The ride into Valdez was very nice, as was riding south into Haines and north out of Skagway. If you have time do go to those three places I'd do it.

    Here's some pictures going to Valdez.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Heading south to Haines over a pass, it was quite chilly!

    [​IMG]

    And one last teaser pic of what you might see!
    Riding north out of Skagway.

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    Oh man. Those photos. I'm getting so excited.
    #12
  13. D.T.

    D.T. Difficult but useful

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    Looks like fun!

    I'd like to go to Mexico or to the west coast. I've had enough pine trees for one lifetime.

    Hope it goes well for you!
    #13
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    you don't have an unlimited number of days for this trip, and it doesn't look like you have factored days for your side trips. you will need tires too.

    for a starter, i would not transit west above the border. it is cheaper, faster, and more scenic to pick a route in the States. the Canucks don't have much of a sense of humor for speeding motos with US plates. fuel, food, and lodging are all more expensive.

    you don't have any gravel besides the Dempster and TOW, and for the Dempster you are ambitious in planning out and back in two days. any weather or poor road conditions will be a problem, although you have 22 hour daylight. when you look at your itinerary, ideally, you will have fresh (or fresher) tires for that road. takes some planning.

    bottom line, i guess i'd run that route differently. PM if you want to talk about it.
    #14
  15. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    Confused about why you think I don't have time for side trips? I've listed three of them at the start of this thread.

    I'm staying two nights in Skagway. To explore the town and check out Juneau. I'm staying two nights in Anchorage, with a day trip to Seward. And then another half day for doing a flight tour of McKinley.

    I'm researching the tire stuff right now and where I want to do a switch. I thought that there was a chance I could do the whole thing on a K60, especially on a F700. But I guess it's better safe then sorry.

    I'll PM you, but if you could post your thoughts back in this thread, it would probably help others that are scouring the Internet planning their next big trip.

    The transit west, through Canada in the initial portion of the ride, was just so I wasn't doing the same route back. I'm absolutely open to suggestions. That's why I posted this thread. :D

    I do have a day buffer. And I could also leave one day early. But a month away from home and work, is about as long as I can go.

    thanks
    #15
  16. 1994klr250

    1994klr250 Been here awhile

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    For tires the K60 front on my F800GS was brand new when I started the trip. It currently has about 13,000 miles on it with still a couple thousand miles left in it. A rear K60 should be good for about 10k. If you end up needing a tire it will probably be on the way home in the states. I didn't run a K60 on the rear, I had a Battlewing and carried a tkc80 that I swapped out for the Dalton ride and ended up trading it for a Ankee in Montana. If I had to do it again I would of put a K60 on the rear for the trip. Many other riders that I rode with and met along the way had the K60.
    #16
  17. Hipster

    Hipster Long timer

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    73datsun,

    I sent you a PM about panniers.

    Tom
    #17
  18. Yukon Jon

    Yukon Jon Perma-lurker

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    You're right about the Fjord Express, I was thinking of the Alaksa Marine Highway, (Ferry) as has already been noted and corrected. If you're spending two days in Skagway, as you've mentioned, then shooting out for a day on the Express down to Juneau is a great idea, if the weather cooperates, it's a great trip, and will make for a relaxing day and break from the riding.
    While you're in Skagway, if there is one or more cruise ship in town, don't be surprised at the crowds sort of overwhelming the whole town. They'll make it easy to spot the main drag, as it's the one with all the jewelery stores looking to take their money. Once on the strip, keep walking away from the harbour until you are past the bulk of the crowds, and you see the Skagway Brewing Co. If it's busy, skip it for lunch, as they have the best food in town, but get very busy very fast, and come back for dinner once the crowds are back on their boats. Best food and beer on tap in town, far and away. Hell, better than anything on offer in Whitehorse, with a population 30 times the size.
    #18
  19. Truenorth2005

    Truenorth2005 Been here awhile

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    If you want to free up a little time have you considered the northern route across the Canadian prairies. The route from Winnipeg to Edmonton and on to Alaska would be more direct and more scenic than the southern route to Calgary. You could incorporate the Jasper-Icefields Parkway-Banff loop into your return trip. If you are looking for a stop for the night in western Manitoba we would be more than happy to put you up on our ranch.
    #19
  20. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    Ok. I've dramatically re-worked my schedule and route. Thanks to the great tips here!

    I've broken the map into legs/segments so that you can more easily view them here. Plus google maps keeps freaking out on me, due to all the waypoints.


    First leg:
    This one is really just a mileage run to get me to the "good stuff." I did take the northern route/icefields, as suggested by truenorth2005 above

    [​IMG]


    Second leg:
    Now we are getting to the good stuff. Some great suggestions to do Seward and Haines. So I dropped the side trip to Juneau and opted to take the ferry from Seward to Haines. This also gives me time to explore the towns on both sides.

    [​IMG]


    Third leg:
    Anchorage as a base. Having tires mounted at Alaska Leather. Dropping down to Skagway to do sea kayaking. Then back to Anchorage to meet another friend/ADV'r. Head to Talketeena to do a flight tour of Denali. Dropping Fairbanks out of the equation and heading out on the Denali Highway. Hoping to side trip at Maclaren Glacier along the way. Camping likely at Tangle Lake.

    [​IMG]


    Fourth leg:
    Richardson Highway North, then east to Top of the World. In to Dawson. Decided not to ride the whole Dempster. Going to head just pass the Arctic Circle. Camp then come back.

    [​IMG]


    Fifth leg:
    This remains much the same as previously planned. Highlight being Muncho Lake, Banff and Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park

    [​IMG]


    Final leg:
    This is where the major reroute came into place. After Glacier, heading through MT, Bear Tooth Pass, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, south and then west, Bonneville Salt Flats, Mt Rushmore, Badlands and then home. There are some long days here. So I may end up adding at least another day.

    [​IMG]



    Time: 28 days, flexibility to add another day or two

    Mileage: 9,867 - not include side trips, stops, etc

    Oh and the big news, bike is now purchased. 2013 BMW F700GS


    Thanks again for all the tips. Hopefully I see some of you out there.
    #20