Top of the world highway

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by hammick, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. hammick

    hammick Long timer

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    Currently in Alaska. Scheduled to be in Dawson city next Tuesday. Have tourances. Had to turn around on the Denali hwy in the rain. Almost went down a few miles east of Cantwell two up and loaded. Does the top of the world get very slick in the rain?
    #1
  2. stickman1432

    stickman1432 Crusty Adventurer

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    It can get slick sometimes, like last year's Dust 2 Dawson. It got rained out and the bikes were having a hard time, but it kind of dried up right before the event. Just drop the PSI just a little for a wider profile, like 5-7 PSI. It is a smoother road that Denali Highway but more elevation changes. Remember to disengage the ABS if equipped. :wink:
    #2
  3. crash!!!

    crash!!! Adventurer

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    From the reports I have read, yes it is slick when wet. I will ride it for the first time next week.I have continental tkc 80s and love them. Used them in a boat load of rain on the haul road a few weeks ago. Good road handling as a well. You should be able to get them at trails end or adventure cycle works in Fairbanks. If you're in Fairbanks and need anything there is a good group here that can help. Tomorrow is throttle Thursday at trails end at 6pm. Come on by if you are in town. Have a great day.

    Crash!!!
    #3
  4. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    Last year it rained and was muddy but everyone minus a Goldwing made it as far as I know. One guy made it on an RT. Just take your time.
    #4
  5. friar mike

    friar mike IronButtGruver

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    Try 2 up on tourance in a snow storm for me and my wife not too bad but it what we are used to. there is a good possibility there could be snow this year they were still clearing snow from the top of the world highway on memorial weekend.
    #5
  6. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Just got back from Tok. On the south side of Mentasta Pass there was fresh snow down to about the 3200' level in a few places. But it was pretty nice at Tok and up toward the 40 Mile country. But who knows what it will be like by Thursday. :dunno
    #6
  7. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Hey alcan....is tow very do able in the dry? I see you just did it. I may be in watson lake tonight or very close to. If I want to get into al but also DC and the tow is to muddy, I guess I have to backtrack down and up again. And that looks lime it will take a full day ride.

    Also how long is the unpaved section? Weather forecast looks not good for the next several days but sun is in the works every day for the dempster.
    #7
  8. Pappy541

    Pappy541 Been here awhile

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    I ride a 1200 GSA with tourances but rode Alaska 2 up on a rental GSA with Michelin analee. They are a little better off road than the tourances. I lowered the tire pressure 5 psi before I hit the dirt roads and rode the Dalton, top of the world and Denali. Where and why did you turn back on Denali. We road it on June 1 and it rained and snowed on us for about 1/2 way. We also came close going down in the 2 mile stretch of what my wife called chocolate pudding. It had water standing and mud with 6 inch deep ruts for 2 miles! White knuckle for me.
    Top of the world was not as good as the Denali but still fair but also has some dark colored soft spots that could be bad. There is also a detour that while good is very slippery when wet. When we rode top of the world we started on the Dawson side and it was raining, snowing, wind blowing and very, very foggy. The weather cleared but the bare dirt was a little slippery. However it was a fantastic ride!
    1 thing I learned was that weather is the game changer and changes often and fast. We loved our adventure.
    #8
  9. KHuddy

    KHuddy Big Sky Country

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    TOW is a good road most of the summer. The US side (about 50 miles) does not hold up to heavy rains as well as the Canadian side. The US side is graded dirt that runs through valleys much of the way; the Canadian side is macadam or old broken-up macadam that runs on high ground much of the way. If there is constant rain the US side can be muddy; if there is heavy rain it can be a mud pit and wash out. I've ridden the road about 10 times, far less than many on the forum, and only found it really bad one time. Last year going over it was a mud bog and washed out a few hours behind us. Three days later that same stretch of road was like an autobahn on a bright sunny day. Every year I see Harley's and Goldwings on the road, including last year in the mud. If it is ugly then slow down and look out for Alcan Rider's Wing in your mirrors,
    #9
  10. marbee40

    marbee40 Some Fear is Good

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    As mentioned above, last year was crappy heading up (from AK) and amazingly fun on the return. Bride and I were on my 1150GSA on TKC's, so a bit of an advantage with tires. I doubt I would personally ride on anything less than a Heidenau k60 or a TKC doing the TOW based on our experiences in the mud.

    IF you do ride it on Tourances, just slow the heck down and enjoy the ride. Stop often, take pix...you'll get there.

    J
    #10
  11. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Sorry, shnizzle, I wasn't up on the TOW, just rode up to Tok and did a few miles north up the Alcan.

    If you just head for Dawson now you will be ahead of the main group by a few days, but if the Dempster is dry you can get that done before D2D anyway. And after D2D you will usually hear if TOW is bad before you ever leave Dawson, since they are close together, with people coming into Dawson from Chicken all the time. Plus, there will be a lot of riders going back that way to keep you company. If it turns out that you want to backtrack to Whitehorse, it will take a few extra hours, but some of us are planning on going that way regardless, as I usually make the complete loop so as to stop in at Braeburn Lodge to stuff myself on a cinnamon roll. :dg

    As Kevin described, the Canadian side holds up pretty well in the rain, but the U.S. side can get slick. And there are over 30 miles of dirt/gravel on this side of the border. Even truck drivers prefer to stay off it when wet. One told me that he didn't really feel comfortable when he put on his brakes and the front tires just slid sideways. :eek1 The U.S. side - especially near Chicken - has some tight switchbacks, drop-offs, and steep hills. Can make for an interesting ride. :hmmmmm But... as Marbee40 advised, if you slow down, stop often for photos, and in general just take it easy, you'll make it, even on a street bike with street tires. People do it every year on street bikes, often two-up. After you've done the Dempster, TOW will seem like a walk in the park. :nod
    #11
  12. Spousal Unit

    Spousal Unit Concubine

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    Hey ALCAN Rdr,
    If you stay in Dawson long enough(like three extra hours), would be more than happy to travel to Braeburn for that cinnamon roll too! :rayof:happay:happay:clap
    #12
  13. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    What?!!! You mean I couldn't leave 'til 4:00 AM? What kinda progress is that? :huh

    As a matter of fact, this year I'm breaking from tradition and will be overnighting in Dawson City, not just one night, but two! That means departure from DC won't be until after a hearty breakfast Saturday morning. Besides, last year Braeburn was still closed when I rode by. :dunno Sure thought they'd be open by 4:30 AM, but I guess they like to sleep in on weekends. :scratch

    So... we should all be able to sit and watch each other struggle to finish a cinnamon roll before closing time. :lol3
    #13
  14. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    ey alcan, I am here in whitehorse,another night of camping in the rain,yay. I think I may chill here today as I am pretty early for the rally and sitch doing the dempster maybe. I will do tow tho, the trip has been a lot more exhausting and arduous than i thought and 800 miles of grave may be more than I can handle at this point.

    Plus I am alone and I dont have anyone to ride it with,sadly.......poor me....lol.......alone and friendless.......
    #14
  15. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

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    Hang in there, relax, and keep it fun.

    Warmest regards from up north, Mark H.
    #15
  16. Spousal Unit

    Spousal Unit Concubine

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    ALCAN Rider,
    Sorry to miss you in Fairbanks, hope the run back to Glenallen went well.....get that tire fixed ! Cinnamon buns in Braeburn await no one!
    See you in Dawson
    #16
  17. marbee40

    marbee40 Some Fear is Good

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    Pretty soon you'll have 250-some-odd new friends! :D
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  18. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    You got that right! :lol3
    #18
  19. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Alcan did tow yday. It almost killed me. The border guard couldn't believe his eyes when I rolled up. Said.....ummm we don't get sportbikes up here. Freshly graded gravel no tracks to ride in met grader on corner of switchback hailstorm and construction throgh chicken.

    On a streetbike with street tires runing full spec compression. G9d times!

    Made it thru without a spill but it took me forever fastest I good go was 35 mph on a good section and 25 on bad before bike started the jitterbug to toss me off.

    Lots of dep potholes and ridged ashphalt that would grag the front tire. Sorry typing on phone.

    See you soon! In dawson off course.
    #19
  20. hammick

    hammick Long timer

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    Did tow on Monday and weather was perfect. No problems. The Dalton was the same. Very easy when dry. We changed a flat for an elderly couple on the Alcan at elevation and believe we were given good weather from the motorcycle gods.
    #20