planning a trip to Alaska

Discussion in 'Americas' started by cba191, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    I'm planning a trip to Deadhorse next summer. I'm just wondering if there is anything special I should do to get the girl ready.
    I just ordered new suspension, front and rear. Obviously, I'll replace the chain and sprockets, whether they need it or not. What are some of the other details that I might want to consider? I'm going to solo it, so I'll need to be completely self sufficient.
    One concern I have is tire repair on the road. Any suggestions with regard to that?

    btw, I'm going to be on an '02 girlie.
    #1
  2. jcmcc

    jcmcc Been here awhile

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    I've heard many times to practice at home with the tools you will be using on the road. I'm planning the same trip from WI next summer as well. This winter I will be in my garage taking my bike completely apart with the OE tool kit, and changing the tires without my handy dandy tire changer (even though it will be 3 feet away from me in the garage). It might be a pain in the ass doing it in the garage, but imagine how much easier it will make it when you get a flat in the dark 100 miles from camp while its raining.
    #2
  3. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    actually, that is brilliant. It will also let me know what is actually needed, and what is unnecessary.
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  4. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Having the bike in top mechanical condition is an excellent start, and the suspension will take quite a beating, not just on the Haul Road, but on all of our northern roads, so upgrading that will also help. Other than that, as jcmcc has already implied, having yourself ready is paramount. Most any bike, even in poor condition, can make the trip. But the rider is generally the weak link when things go south.

    Be ready for any kind of weather you can imagine, for delays due to situations you can't even imagine, and sights to stun the imagination.

    Don't overdo the planning, as flexibility to adjust for the unexpected makes the trip much easier. Keep your load to the least you think you can get by with, then cut that in half. You'll still have more than you will use. Plan on stopping in at Adventure Cycleworks in Fairbanks before heading up to Deadhorse. A great, highly recommended, place to get service done on your bike, as well as to get the latest on Haul Road conditions.
    #4
  5. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    I just ordered new Wilbers, front and rear, so the suspension is covered. Just need to get everything else together.
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  6. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Wilbers, eh? :hmmmmm Back in '07 a friend from a bit west of you - over near Reno - rode up to Deadhorse with me on a V-Strom that had a new Wilbers on the rear. By the time we got there his rear shock was toast, barely keeping the rear fender liner off the tire. In fact, the rear tire wore through the fender and we had to fabricate a patch from galvanized sheet steel so he could make it back home - at a reduced pace, riding very carefully over bumps.

    Be sure the rear shock spring is up to the job. The manufacturer's recommendations don't take into consideration the loads most touriing travelers carry, or the effect our less-than-perfect roads have on suspensions.
    #6
  7. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    There are different ones. I'm hoping his was the base model. For $1100, this one better not do that. They do make a emulsion type i believe. I ordered it from Ted at the Beemershop, and he seemed like his primary concern was making sure that I was getting exactly what I need. We talked for quite a while about how I was going to be using it.
    #7
  8. bendermtn

    bendermtn n00b

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    I am considering doing the Deadhorse adventure ride next summer too. I'm just wondering what summner month is best and what specific roads are better to plan for. Totally understand that I should be flexible on routes.

    Is anyone looking for a riding partner?
    #8
  9. jcmcc

    jcmcc Been here awhile

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    I'm planning on leaving beginning of June. I was planning an indirect route thru the Dakotas but I'm pretty flexible. My pace will be fairly leisurely as I'll be on a wr250x and I've got tons of time. Also I'm (stealth) camping or couch surfing-motels only in a pinch.
    #9
  10. jcmcc

    jcmcc Been here awhile

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    yeah my favorite part about this is throwing away the shittily made pliers and screwdrivers in the OE toolkits (I prefer to bring better quality versions of these items). The tool pouches are always so much easier to get cased back up :rofl
    #10
  11. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    I've never been, but I'd strongly recommend buying a copy of the Milepost for ideas on roads.
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  12. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black?

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    Some of the best videos I have seen of that area.

    This is part 4 of 7. Watch all 7 and you will have a lot of questions answered.

    The person that did this video did his ride in early June of 2012.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/obQba5aGrvg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



    I did my ride in mid-June. Pictures - http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=827740



    .
    #12
  13. hammick

    hammick Long timer

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    I don't know what a "Girlie" is but my strong recommendation is to have Knobbies for the haul road and TOW highway. Our trip was June of 2012 and we had Metzler Tourances on our GSA bikes. We were very lucky that we didn't get any substantial rain on the haul road or TOW because those road get slicker than snot when wet.

    We almost crashed on the Denali highway in moderate rain. Slick as ice with the Tourances. We had our wives on the back at this point of the trip and they had to walk back about a mile.

    My next trip I will put knobbies on in Whitehorse and have them store my street tires and put them back on for the trip home.

    Some of the most breathtaking scenery and wildlife will be in BC and the Yukon. We saw more black bears and Moose than people. Saw lots of big moose in AK.

    Didn't see a single bear in Alaska other than our bus trip through Denali. We got lucky and saw several grizzlies, one ten feet from the bus.

    I recommend you take a SPOT especially since you will be solo.

    We put synthetic oil in our bikes and didn't worry about changing it. Over 10k miles with no mechanical issues. I was on a 2011 GSA and my buddy on a 2012 GSA. Had new rear tires installed at the Beemer dealer in Anchorage.

    We were gone 23 days for 10,400 miles and could have used an additional week not to be rushed.

    Everything up there costs a lot more. The further north you get the more expensive it gets. Don't let the inflated prices bum you out. Chalk it up to your trip of a lifetime and understand it costs business owners a lot more to get things done with the harsh climate and short tourist season.

    On the way back we rode the Cassair highway and I highly recommend it. My next trip I will take it both ways as it is much more scenic.

    I feel you have to take the Alcan just so you can take it off you bucket list.

    Send me a PM if you want more info on our trip.
    #13
  14. srelegante

    srelegante srelegante

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    Did exactly that trip-on exactly that bike-2002 Tiger.

    Will PM you.

    SE
    #14
  15. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    For anybody else that's interested in the 7 videos, just go to to Youtube and do a search for "ricksandyfox". Like Rollin' stated, informative videos. Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/user/ricksandyfox
    #15
  16. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    A Girllie is a 99-06 Triumph Tiger. Reading about everyone else's trip is great.
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  17. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    Is there a reason why most of the trips to Alaska that I see are planned for June? I won't be able to schedule the trip until late July/August. Is that a bad idea?
    #17
  18. Mastery

    Mastery Mr. Funny Man

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    There is a small window for the best weather, although it could rain or snow anytime. Later in the summer tends to be the rainy season as well.
    #18
  19. cba191

    cba191 wanna buy a monkey?

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    I'm looking at going from 7/19-8/14. That's the earliest I'll have the vac time banked.
    #19
  20. srelegante

    srelegante srelegante

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    That window is as good as any. That is basically what dad and I did in 2011, and we had at best 4 days of rain out of 34 days. Some buddies did it the year after, and got 100 year rainstorms.

    Gear up!
    #20