2016 oops 2020 AK-Colorado to Prudhoe Bay and back.....

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Big_John, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Most of those times are quite conservative. If you're in a hurry and don't spend a lot of time preparing meals, making/breaking camp, etc you can beat them by a wide margin. And remember - you'll be riding in daylight all the time by the time you're north of Watson Lake. New arrivals up here usually have trouble convincing themselves they need to stop for the night when the sun is still well above the horizon, despite it being after 9:00 PM locally. You'll find a lot of campgrounds in northern B.C. and the Yukon, so waiting until you feel like stopping will still give you plenty of opportunity to find a place to pitch a tent. Were it me, I would probably start looking for a place to camp about the time I reached Kluane Lake, 150 or so miles north of Whitehorse. From there, Fairbanks is an easy day's ride even with the rough pavement north of Burwash Landing. By the time you get there they may have it in pretty good shape and you can sail on through.

    You can pitch a tent at Coldfoot, and there is a BLM campground a few miles beyond at Marion Creek. But if it's raining you might give Boreal Lodging or Arctic Getaway in Wiseman a call to see if they have a vacancy. Much nicer than a room at the Slate Creek Inn in Coldfoot. If you are taking the bus tour out to Prudhoe Bay, an early departure from Coldfoot/Wiseman will get you there in time, and you can actually make it back to Coldfoot that same evening. You will find yourself making better time going south from Deadhorse than you did going north. I've made it north in just over 4 hours without even hurrying, but I rode pretty steady. And... that was with rain and mud along the way, as is pretty normal. When I've gone up with other riders and we're taking it easy, we might do Fairbanks to Wiseman one day, Wiseman to Deadhorse the next, and then all the way back to Fairbanks the third day. By myself, I've pulled out of Fairbanks in the morning, fueled up in Deadhorse around midnight, then had breakfast in Coldfoot on the way back to Fairbanks. It 's not really as bad as some riders make it out to be, and believe me, I've seen it at its worst. Twice I've made it to the top of Atigun Pass then turned around due to heavy snow/blizzard on the north side that had trucks chaining up.

    Farther south, down in the Lower 48, it looks like you'll be riding about as direct a route as possible. But you'll be going right past some pretty good riding that wouldn't be much of a detour. For instance: Big Horn Mts west of Sheridan, Chief Joseph Hwy out of Cody, then Beartooth into Montana. Sure, it would slow you down a bit, but you can make that up farther north. You're going to be surprised at the mileage you can put behind you in northern Canada. In years past, when the road was much worse than it is now, I've gone from Meziadin Jct (where 37A turns off to Stewart/Hyder) to Tok, AK in one day. Of course, I didn't stop and camp.

    Maybe you don't mind traffic, but for me the extra attention it requires wears me out more quickly and I can put more miles down by choosing secondary roads and riding longer hours without getting fatigued. Haven't been up the highway between Edmonton and Calgary for many years because the last time - seems like it might have been in the mid-90's - there were already too many cars on the road. A far cry from when I drove it in '67 and held the speedo a little over 100 mph all the way. :D By entering Canada a little farther west you could run north to Prince George through some really nice, scenic areas. Don't expect much around Prince George, however. Too dang civilized in that area AND quite a bit of RCMP presence. :( It doesn't get good again until you're near Smithers.

    While I can understand some of your reluctance to ride the Alaska Hwy to Dawson Creek, you are missing some pretty good riding in northern B.C. along with great scenery through the northern end of the Rocky Mts. Once you have your wife with you, that might actually be a more favorable route. Something you might look into a bit more before you write it off.

    Probably will have some more comments later, but will leave it for now.

    Regardless, I hope you have a wonderful adventure and a great, memorable experience.
    #41
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  2. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    Go back and read Post #1.....Introduced myself a little better.



    ........
    #42
  3. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    Just outstanding feedback and information.

    Over and over by my close and local riding friends that have done the trip.....they proclaim that they can do a 1,000 miles a day on the AL/CAN and actually have to force themselves to shut down at 10-11pm. They say, "11pm feels like 6pm."

    I tend to follow you line of thinking regarding traffic and congestion and cities....that is why I originally thought of doing the Cassiar up and back. Based on what you have said, I might reroute and go that direction. I would rather ride a remote road at 55mph than fight traffic in the cities and endure the heat and boredom of the easterly route.

    Also nice to know that tent camping will allow more of a flexible schedule, avoiding the necessity of reservations. Even in Colorado in the summer, a reservation for a tent spot is usually required, unless one is throwing down in the USFS, dispersed camping. I'll eat some oatmeal, break camp and be riding early.....and turn in when I'm tired or the conditions force me too. I might even do another 1k'er through northern Canada....get my receipts and witness sigs.....just for the hell of it.

    ......
    #43
  4. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    You can see from this pic, the pretty boxer heads are completely unprotected. Both being a fan of Happy Trail and taking advantage of their 'smokin' holiday sale, I snagged these Nerf Bars. These dudes are very stout and I can't wait to get them mounted.


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    #44
  5. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Your friends are right. My first day headed south, and last day heading back to the barn are virtually always 1K days. But if you're planning on doing a 1.6km day, make sure you'll end up somewhere other than the middle of nowhere when that 24 hours is up. Quite a few years ago I started one in Fairbanks, wanting to ride the entire length of the Alcan for a change instead of getting on it at Tok, as I had always done. Twenty-four hours later, some 1050 miles down the line at around 5:00 AM local time, the only witnesses I could see were a couple of moose and a black bear. And I still had 40 or so miles before I could get to any sort of business that was open. That taught me a valuable lesson. :lol3

    Looks like a nice powder coat job on them. Now you've gotta be careful not to drop it and scuff the finish.:eekers I'm with you on Happy Trail stuff. Well engineered and reasonably priced.

    It appears you're getting everything lined out well. Makes the trip go easier once you're on the road.
    #45
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  6. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    I was wondering how long it would take Alcan Rider to chime in!! Thanks again Jack, as always I learned even more. We are leaving Homestead, FL on June 30th, dropping down to tag Key West that morning and then its all north to Alaska. The plan is to make the KW to Deadhorse to KW loop in thirty days!!! We should be in Fairbanks by July 9/10. Jack, I figure we will be down your way around the 13th or 14th, same as 2011. And yes, I will have fudge in had.

    Big_John, looks like you got a good plan, maybe we will catch you on the road, this time I am going with a group. If everybody shows we will be four GSA/GSs and two Super Ts. Mine will be the old worn out, well scarred one on its second Coast to Coast to Coast challenge!!! Hope to see you on the road!!
    #46
  7. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    I am wondering....My first night in Canada will be Saturday night, June 18th maybe around ....Father's Day Weekend. How crowded will the tent sites be in campgrounds? For this whole trip, is there any advanced reservations that I need to make?

    Also, if I drive through any of the Canadian National Parks, is there a fee that I need to plan to pay or if just traveling through....no fee?


    ....
    #47
  8. wingnut11

    wingnut11 generally strange

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    I went in 2015 and my last few days in Canada before crossing back into Montana was right around Canada day (independence day there). I don't do reservations, I didn't have any problems finding a room the night I wanted one and camped in a provincial park another night. So I'd think fathers day wouldn't be any worse. As far as the whole trip goes like I said I don't do reservations, I slept four nights in a hotel, paid to camp three nights, all without reservations. The rest of the time was pitching the tent anywhere that looked good, and along the Cassiar and Yellowhead highways there are a lot of places that look good. In BC for camping look for the BC recs and trails sites. They are often free, have an outhouse but no showers, but they are often on lakes and rivers so a quick dip can freshen you up a bit for another day. For the last question driving through the Canadian national parks you will need to pay, but it's worth it.
    #48
  9. CommanderDave

    CommanderDave Kick Ass Adventure Rider

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    Fees going through their National Parks. Your schedule says you were planning on spending first nite NW of Edmonton. Once you get 300 miles north of Canada/USA border things calm down....A lot! Commercial campgrounds usually have a tent camping "commons" area. Just set your tent near a picnic table that they have scattered about. You will find a great % of your tent neighbors will be older guys on a motorcycle or young couples pulling their tenting gear out of the trunk of a Toyota. I didn't do any dry camping on the side of the road. Commercial campsites give you a shower which is a major part of my regimen to get moving for the day. Have fun....dave
    #49
  10. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    Another question....and I feel a little silly asking this, but.....

    I'm a gun guy. When I ride and camp in the US, I carry. It is usually a very compact handgun, with lethal loads. To be honest, I am much less concerned about the two-footed folks....rather the 4-footed critters.....especially if I might stumble upon an campground aggressive or Rabid misfit. Yep....not carrying to Canada, as I know that is taboo....but wonder if anyone has a solution that provides piece of mind? A buddy of mine who has camped in Griz country and has ridden the AlCan said that he likes to take a small can of Wasp Spray.

    Any thoughts here?


    .....
    #50
  11. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Yup. :nod My first trip to Deadhorse was on a 22-year old (at the time) Suzuki GS1100G. The tires were Metzeler Tourances with over 10,000 miles behind them when I pulled out of Fairbanks. Uneventful trip up and back. Yet my KLR will wear out the exact same tire in under 5,000 miles. But the old bikes keep ticking along. That Suzuki (that I paid $850 for 6 years earlier) made four round trips before I retired it in favor of the KLR.

    As far as tires - I've seen HDs ridden over the Haul Road two-up with street tires and no problems. And dualsports with knobbies have crashed. It's pretty much up to the rider, tires are much less important. The late Dick Fish, once a factory endurance rider, made the round trip from Fairbanks to Deadhorse and back in 18 hours back in '01, when the road was far worse than it is today. He was riding this BMW K1100LT shod with ME880s -
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    The late John Ryan, in making his record-setting run from Deadhorse to Key West in 86:31 had Metzeler street tires all the way, as he had no time to swap tires, or even to adjust air pressure. So it was set up for highway travel when he pulled out of Deadhorse. With your experience, I think you could ride any tire you feel like putting on the bike and do just fine. :nod

    With many riders, it's the confidence factor that certain tires will engender that makes the most difference. It's hard to feel confident when every little squiggle suggests that the tire is about to slide out from under you, even if it's not. For me, the TKC80 meets that criteria although I'll take them off after two round trips (total 3000 miles) because I don't want to risk a flat on the Haul Road. As far as that goes, the only flat tire I have ever had out on the road was the first Heidenau I tried. Fortunately, it was on a rim I'd sealed for use with tubeless tires so all that was needed were a couple of plugs. Tire's fault? Or merely a coincidence? :dunno
    #51
  12. miked68

    miked68 Adventurer

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    been there 3 times and thinking about a 4th. i've taken the Cassiar going both ways, definitely the best plan. think about going north out of Spokane then taking Boulder creek rd thru to the crossing at Midway, might slow you down a little but it's NOT crowded and a great ride. then Canadian hiway 33 to Kelowna also a great ride and very little traffic. Kelona to Kitwanga is just miles. if time permits definitely to to Hyder, the ride along 37A and the stop at the glacier made my day. i advise the D2D in Dawson City on the summer solstice, be sure to get a t-shirt it will be the envy of all your adventure riding buddies. from there I strongly recommend the Dempster vs. the Haul Rd. more scenic and when you get to the end Inuvik is a real town with hotels, bars, campgrounds, etc. along the way you'll take two ferry boat rides (free) that are a blast. i sold my GS in the fall of '14 so i currently only have dirt bikes, but I'm looking; if i pick something up i'll contact you if you don't mind riding with anold guy
    #52
  13. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    I'm a decent rider...and will equip the bike with K60 Scouts. This tire should do the trick.

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    I have my route worked out where I need to average 550 miles a day, up until I pick the wife up at the Anchorage Airport. From there, we need to average 350 miles a day.

    I am comforatable with this average.
    #53
  14. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    Well....a bit of good news. I have been able to secure 25 days to do the trip.

    I am now thinking of two runs above the Arctic Circle, both the Demster and the Haul Road. I am also looking at routes NNW to the Cascade boarder crossing, going through Kamoops and up the Cassiar.


    .......
    #54
  15. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    I have begun the tear down.......


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    The rear shock is on its way to Lindemann Ent. in CA on Monday. He is respringing the rear, so that the bike is better equipped for the heavy, two-up load on the way back.


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    #55
  16. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    I have decided to repaint and a Triple/Quad Black will be the scheme. Something like this, but the frame will remain silver....not tearing it down that far.

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    #56
  17. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    The paint prep began today, as I watched my Broncos beat the cheaters.

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    #57
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  18. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    Well....curve ball. I was over at a buddies shop on Friday and noticed a 'purple' spring on his shock and asked him about it. He didn't know a lot, so we began to do some research. Long story short, it is a progressive spring. After I read and studied progressives and realized that a progressive is the exact solution that will meet my needs of riding a GS alone with no bags....and then 2-up with the bike tipping the GWVR maximum. So rather than a linear rate spring like Eibach, I am going with progressive...and a HyperPro.

    Here is some info that is really good: http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/hyperpro-shock-spring-upgrade-for-gs-gsa.661208/#post-15234814

    Taking the spring off was actually, really easy. We did it with a hydraulic press. But I did decide to spend $25 on spring compressors to take the front apart and then reassemble.


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    #58
  19. mtncrawler

    mtncrawler Long timer Supporter

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    I carried this. The border folks had no problem with me taking it across (I had the 8oz). Just carried it when I hiked - and had it in the tent with me at night. Lots of good info out there on camping/hiking in griz territory.
    http://counterassault.com
    #59
  20. Big_John

    Big_John That'll be the day

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    After a lot of great feedback and comments on here and further research by me.....I am going to change the route for my first 4-5 days. I am definitely going up the Cassiar.

    Instead of going up through Montana, I am going to head northwest and eventually cross over in eastern Washington.

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    #60