QUESTIONS ON AN ALASKA TRIP?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by stacyj, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. Married Man

    Married Man Been here awhile

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    This past summer was my first trip to Alaska and the D2D. My avatar is me enjoying a sour toe cocktail in Dawson City. I camped most of the time and used a rei half-dome plus tent. It is good to have the extra space. As for insurance, I notified my agent (Nationwide) and they emailed a form to me to carry. I never had to show it. If you want to visit the national parks in Canada and perhaps camp there, get a parks pass before you go. There is some really good planning advice on advrider. I used it mostly for route planning. My favorite Alaska road was the Denali Highway between Cantwell and Paxson. I rode it both ways and preferred West to East. Although I bought "The Milepost", I didn't find that it helped that much with my planning. I rode a 2013 BMW R1200R and carried a spare gallon of gas but never had to use it. I came within about 20 miles of empty on the Haul road to Coldfoot. I didn't go the rest of the way to Pruhoe. I just kept the tank full when I could. In Coldfoot, camping is free and gas is expensive. If I remember correctly, they only have 87. I arrived in time for the buffet and it was great. Some of my favorite riding was in Canada so don't be in a hurry or you'll miss some spectacular rides. The Cassiar Highway should not be missed. I had no issues at the border. I entered Canada at Creston from Idaho. It took 2 minutes. The officers will ask for your plate number. They seemed to like the fact that I could recite it without having to look.

    Don't overthink it. Enjoy the trip.

    I just reread my post. Boy, can I ramble. My last bits before I send you off to http://advrider.com/index.php?forums/alaska.68/ , the HD dealer in Anchorage provides free camping with shower and The Motorcycle Shop (BMW dealer in Anchorage) is great to work with; new tires and service for me. Also, stop by Alaska Leathers and get your butt pad. "Hey" to Barb.

    Doug
    #21
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  2. stacyj

    stacyj Adventurer

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    Thanks Doug good info lots of good people on here thanks again
    #22
  3. Nanuq

    Nanuq Aventurer by Trade

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    Hello StacyJ- I am an Alaskan resident. I ride the Alcan all of the time in the summer, often times to Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montanan and Colorado for work. I ride a BMW 1200 ADV and a KLR. The beauty of your beemer is that you can take whatever you want. I generally ride light because I hate having a lo of crap to manage. I also guide professionally, so light and simple is good for me because that is what I have for work. I would gear-up wit whatever you have that works and if you have money for new stuff...awesome!!! Tents are things I depend on extensively for my livelihood. Professionally I use a Mountain hardwear Trango 2.0. They are wicked strong and wicked waterproof. On the bike, though, I just carry the MSR Hubba Bubba. It's a two person tent-light, very waterproof and although it is a two person tent, it is nice to stretch for a one person tent. There is a lot of vestibule space for gear and it sets up for me in about 2 minutes. If you have questions about Alaska/Yukon/B.C. wilderness based stuff feel free to hit me up or on Alaskan cultural stuff. Crossing the border is a simple process. Your passport is all you need. A common question Americans have usually pertain to guns or Bear spray: Guns are illegal unless you fill out permits etc. Only long guns at that, but it has to be papered and pre-approved by the Canadian government. It's a pain. You can bring any commercially produced bear spray can. I strongly recommend getting the 13 oz from Sportsmans warehouse. they are one of the largest on the market. Our bears are big, fast and usually don't piss around. You don't need to worry about them much as long as you spend the time taking precautions to be "bear-aware." You have a lot of great advice from several experienced and knowledgeable folks on this site. Just think, in a year you will be one of them delving out advice on Alaska trips. Lol!!!!
    #23
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  4. stacyj

    stacyj Adventurer

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    Thanks Nanuq i have been looking at the MSR Hubba Bubba think you just sold me on it , i will take your advice on the bear spray was not sure which one to get ,as for passing threw with guns actually talked to the canadian border patrol about it to much paper work , anyway if i get eaten by a bear in the woods what a way to go, i have done alot of single track in colorado and camping in the middle of nowhere and haven't had any major problems with animals just like you said just use a little common sense, as for gear thats one thing i have learned over the years get the good stuff which i have , think i have pretty much what im going to need trying not to over plan my best trips have been spur of the moment , a couple years ago me and a friend were going on short weekend trip that turned into a 8 day trip to yellowstone about a 2200 mile round trip had a blast , the wife though we we lost our minds. anyway thanks again for the good info
    #24
  5. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

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    I have taken a 12 gauge shotgun with me twice on trips to Alaska.
    I think it was $25 to get it into Canada. No hassel just pre do the paper work that you get off there web sight.
    I'm not suggesting that you will need it, most guys riding to Alaska don't even come close to camping as remote as I have on them two trips.
    If your like most riders and are just camping along the Alaska Highway there really isn't much risk involved. An expired can of bear spray might be fine.
    Now if your camping along a mountain stream off the South Canol road or along the Copper River on Telkwa Pass then you would sleep a lot better with that 12 gauge next to your side.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That 12 gauge fits in the black trunk on back.
    #25
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  6. stacyj

    stacyj Adventurer

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    Thanks for the pics I did check on taking a shotgun didn't seen to be to much trouble like you said I'll probably stick close civilIzation on my first trip thanks again
    #26
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  7. Baccadon

    Baccadon n00b

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    Four trips to Alaska since 2010. Showed my passport and drivers license, answered the usual questions as to where I was going, how long I would be in the area, any guns, how much booze, over $2,000 in cash and how I met my traveling companions. Coming back in to Montana early one morning a US Customs agent confiscated my oranges. I think he was hungry......Never been asked for vehicle registration, proof of financial responsibility (insurance). They always run your tag.
    #27
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  8. stacyj

    stacyj Adventurer

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    thanks for the info baccadon why do they want to know if you have over 2 k in cash
    #28
  9. CaptUglyDan

    CaptUglyDan Been here awhile

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    It's 10.000 cash or over they want to know about. The rest of what is told is pretty much spot on. The 2000.00 ? is they want to make sure you have enough funds.
    #29
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  10. stacyj

    stacyj Adventurer

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    thanks for the info captdan by the way i suppose you can use US currency in canada ?
    #30
  11. CaptUglyDan

    CaptUglyDan Been here awhile

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    Yes you can, But at this time I'd recommend using Canadian$. Last time I checked Canada was 70/75 cents to the US dollar.
    #31
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  12. HeidiHo

    HeidiHo Old, Bold, Still Riding

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    @stacyj , the answer is...yes...you "can" use US dollars in most of Canada, but......you will find it easier, and better on the exchange rate if you simply get some Canadian money in advance, or shortly after you cross the border. A lot of riders will simply use their credit cards/debit cards, and the US banks will do the exchange rate for you, and it will appear as US dollars charged to you on your bank statement, or online. That works "okay" at gas stations and restaurants and motels, but there are also instances where you will need cash, and it is better to have Canadian dollars in your pocket, than to ask every store owner or clerk to do the exchange for you. In "some" cases, you may not get a fair exchange rate, as it depends on what THEY think the exchange rate is for the day.

    When I go north, which is every year, I carry about $ 500.00 to $ 1000.00 in Canadian money with me, and if there is anything left over after the trip, it is simply saved for the next trip. You can always cash it back in at the border duty-free shops, or exchange shops, which are usually located within sight of each border crossing.
    #32
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  13. stacyj

    stacyj Adventurer

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    Very good info just something I never thought about I'm getting passport this week thanks again everyone
    #33
  14. tridawg

    tridawg Been here awhile

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    I went to my local Wells Fargo before my trip and got some Canadian cash that way I didn't have to worry about it when I got there. Just make sure you only come back with bills. I went to the same Wells Fargo when I got back and they wouldn't take the coins back. Not sure why but now I still have a few loonies and toonies along with all the other denominations. Guess I'll just hafta go back to spend it. :-)
    #34
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  15. stacyj

    stacyj Adventurer

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    thanks for the info not sure in my bank does that but will find out if not can stop a a bigger bank along the way thanks again
    #35
  16. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    If you belong, AAA may get you Canadian money. Few yrs back we went to Scotland arriving early on Sunday morning, and thru AAA had their currency on us when we landed. Were able to hit the ground ready to go!
    #36
  17. stacyj

    stacyj Adventurer

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    lots of good info i think i do have AAA THANKS , been riding my bike a average 250 mi every sunday trying to get my rear end ready for that many miles think its going to be fun bought a mastad winshield tryin it out think i like the stock one better got a sargent seat it seams to work ok
    #37
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  18. trailer Rails

    trailer Rails Washes hands before going to the bathroom

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    A couple things on bears and bear spray:

    When crossing the boarder, if they ask if you have mace, say "no". Don't offer any more information about the bear spray. Answer the questions directly and honestly, bear spray is ok but mace is not and if you think they are the same product, they will confiscate it. This summer we crossed the boarder a dozen times and only once did they ask if we had bear spray. They asked about mace almost every time.

    While I have no experience shooting a gun or mace at a bear, I would prefer mace because I can "spray and pray". No aiming. When in Hyder, check out the pics of the bear getting maced.

    I worried about bears more in urban areas because they were more likely to have tasted human food and associate humans with tasty food. If bears have not tasted human food, they do not associate us with anything good and want to stay away. People get attacked because the bear is tying to get food from them, not because the bear wants to eat them (the exception is polar bears).

    We had dozens of encounters with bears this summer. We passed a grizzly with two cubs on the side of the road, we did not get between mom and the kids, they never lifted their heads. They were literally on the shoulder of the road, eating berries. We had tons of other bears run in front of us on roads (like deer do here in PA). Near Valdez, we had a large animal walking around in camp late at night. We kept bear spray close when at camp.

    Lastly, we tried to practice good food safety, always hanging the food in a tree 100 yards from our tent, trying to (but not always) cook 100 yards from the tent and food storage.
    #38
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  19. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    No one has mentioned mosquitoes so I will. Bring a headnet and a hat that fits under it. You can also buy clothing by Ex Officio or other companies pretreated with permethrin or just buy the permethrin and treat some yourself. I like having a lightweight, longsleeve fishing type shirt and pants of the same material pre treated so I can wear them when warm and not go insane from the attacking hordes.

    For bear spray, if you're passing through West Yellowstone, the store at the Bear and Wolf Discovery Center has the best prices I've ever seen - $30. When riding an adventure bike, I wear a hydration pack and carry the spray on the sternum strap where I can quickly access it and also not forget it on the bike when I walk away. If possible, I prefer not cooking dinner where I camp as it really generates a lot of scent and you will be in the area a long time. Of course, if you're in a campground where everyone else is cooking it doesn't really matter. After cooking breakfast, you'll usually be leaving shortly thereafter.

    If you don't have one, I'd get an electric jacket or vest as it really makes riding enjoyable in conditions where you'd otherwise just be enduring the ride.
    #39
  20. HeidiHo

    HeidiHo Old, Bold, Still Riding

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    For the 1000th time....... there is not a single mosquito in all of Alaska.
    #40