6 National Parks Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by NorthernBoxer, May 24, 2014.

  1. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    570
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Starting Next Friday, the 30th of May, I am embarking on a 23 day, 6800 mile adventure to visit 6 National Parks (Jasper, Banff, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and North Cascades) and Friends and Family, ending up in Dawson City for D2D (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=928390).

    I'm riding down the Alaska Highway and following the Rocky Mountains on my way to spend a few days at my Aunt and Uncles house in Salt Lake City. Then I will turn around and head up over the North Cascades highway to Bellingham to have a few beers with my cousin (http://www.northforkbrewery.com). Then up to Prince Rupert to catch a ferry to Skagway and then on up to Dawson before returning home over the Top of The World Highway. I'm planing on doing as much camping along the way as I can. I don't have any reservations besides the ferry so I'm just going to be showing up at campgrounds and hoping for a site.

    Highlights of my trip that I am most looking forward to include the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff (i've never been but I'm told it's spectacular), Going to The Sun road in Glacier NP (I know it's going to be partially closed until late June but I will go as far as I can from the west side), Chief Joseph Scenic Byway in Montana, and The North Cascades Highway.


    Here is a map of my route:

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    I'll post updates and photos here. :ricky
    #1
  2. FongMan

    FongMan Been here awhile

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    WAAAHHHHOOOO, first in !! what a ride this will be !!
    #2
  3. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Sounds AWESOME! You have to draw the line somewhere, but too bad you can't include Yosemite. It can hold it's own with all the other wonderful parks you'll visit.
    #3
  4. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

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    Been there, done that: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=311613

    ... Have the sticker.
    #4
  5. NTTF

    NTTF ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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    Looking forward to this.
    #5
  6. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

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    The bike is all packed and ready to go. Tomorrow I make a run for the boarder. I'm aiming to land in Beaver Creek, YT. :clap

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    #6
  7. Tamalerider

    Tamalerider Adventurer

    Joined:
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    San Francisco
    This will be a great guide for me to follow! I'm actually leaving San Francisco and heading up to Anchorage->Homer->Denali->prudhoe bay->Dawson (D2) and then heading down to hit Jasper and then glacier, yellowstone and grand teton. I dont have a definitive route yet, but i'm going to keep an eye on your progress for sure! This should give me a good guide and then i'll head back over to San Fran from there.

    Let's meet up for sure in Dawson and maybe you can give me some tips on where to camp, what to do and what roads to take through those national parks. Super pumped i found your thread!

    Thanks, Dan.
    #7
  8. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

    Joined:
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    My first two days of riding were pretty big days and I've ridden about 820 miles so far. The first day I made a run for the boarder and made it to Beaver Creek. It was raining in Anchorage when I left but that stopped as soon as I got out of Palmer. By the time I got to Tok it was down right sunny. I took these two moody shots at my usual stopping point on the Tok Cut-Off Highway exactly half way between Gennallen and Tok:

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    Sometimes there's a great view of the Wrangell Mountains from here when they are not shrouded in clouds.

    In Tok I stopped at the requisite grub stop, Fast Eddy's, and had a BLT on Wheat:

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    I continued on and hit the boarder. There was a pretty long section (I'd say about 3 miles) of road construction between US and Canadian customs. They were regrading and it was very loose gravel; which would have been fine, but the pilot truck that I had to wait 20 minutes for went soooooo slooow... It was still fine, just dusty.

    In Beaver Creek I stopped and grabbed a tent spot at the 1202 Motor Inn:

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    The place is a little rough around the edges but it was fine. A hot shower and place to put my tent was all I needed and that's what I got.
    #8
  9. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

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    It began to rain on my tent in the night which made me dread the morning. It sucks to have to pack up camp in the rain. Luckily it had stopped by the morning and things were just a little damp. I packed it all up, fueled up and headed out. The Alaska Highway is always pretty rough in this section south of Beaver Creek for about 100 miles or so. Many frost heaves, broken sections, potholes, and area of loose gravel are the norm up here. you just have to take it slow and keep on your toes to weave, dodge and avoid the worst parts. I did pretty good and only bottomed out my rear shock one time. I grabbed this shot at a rest area:

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    A group of RVs pulled in just as I was doing this and they thought it was pretty funny and asked me if I got the shot. I showed them and we talked a while about our trips. They were heading to Alaska to get on a cruise ship in Seward.

    It was an extremely windy day today especially around Kluane Lake; and a head wind no less, which made the 400 miles a bit more difficult. Still an awesome day though! I live for this stuff.

    I stopped in Whitehorse, briefly, and had a coffee and dohnut while illegally parked at Tim Horton's.

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    Whitehorse was pretty hectic so I got out of there quickly. The highway was much smoother and the speed limit increased to 100 kph so I made the rest of the 100 miles here to Teslin in no time. I'm at the Yukon Motel and Campground and got this great tent site on the shores of the beautiful Teslin Lake!

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    #9
  10. Alaskajeff

    Alaskajeff Long timer

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    So far so good:D Ride safe and hope to see you in Dawson.
    #10
  11. terrapinneck

    terrapinneck Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Prescott, Arkansas, USA
    We enjoyed meeting you yesterday. Following your trip report now. Keep safe and happy trails !
    #11
  12. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

    Joined:
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    It's turning out to be hard to find time/wifi to post updates on this thing... I guess that's a good thing... But I finally find myself with a few minutes and some fast wifi at Leo Burrito in Radium Springs.

    Day 3 was another distance run along the Alaska Highway. I started with a French Toast Breakfast in Teslin then feet up all the way to Watson Lake. I stopped at the Sign Post Forest for some pictures:

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    Someone left their 800 beak:
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    Then I continued riding hard until I got to Liard Hot Springs. I decided to pay the entry fee and grab a quick healing soak.

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    Saw these two bikes from GB at the springs but missed the owners. Awesome R65GS and R80G/S

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    I rode the short distance to Muncho Lake to stop for the night at Northern Rockies Lodge.

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    I was going to camp again but I decided to get a motel room for only twice the cost of camping.

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    I also ran into Brad on a 2012 V Strom who was heading north. He turned out to be friends with the Pterodactyls so he told me some stories and shared a cocktail. He should be at D2D.

    I had the Gypsy Schnitzel with Spätzel and a mug of Krombacher Pils in the lodge for dinner. It was good.

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    Good night Muncho Lake

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    #12
  13. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    Very nice start.

    I'm in for the tour.
    #13
  14. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile Supporter

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    Pacific NW
    Can’t wait to see more! Thanks for posting!
    #14
  15. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

    Joined:
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    Day 4 my plan was to get to Fort Saint John or farther to set up getting to Jasper the next day. I was becoming concerned with the life of my rear tire, however. I was beginning to realize that I had made a tactical mistake by not getting a new tire in Anchorage before starting the trip. I had misjudged how many miles the tire had left, and when they start to go they really go fast. I was getting down to the wear strips and I was really starting to worry about it. I knew I had to do something soon and I didn't think it would last 'till Salt Lake where I knew I could get a tire easily, and even if it did I would worry about it the entire way which would take away from my enjoyment of the parks.

    So as soon as I hit Fort Saint John I began to search out shops that may have a tire and ability to change it on my GS wheel. I asked first at a Polaris power sports shop and they said they used to do it but not anymore but they pointed me to all the potential places in town. I checked the Honda Motorcycle dealership, who wouldn't do it right away and only could schedule me for service at a later date... Not going to work. Then I checked all the tire shops, none of which did motorcycle tires. Then finally I found perhaps the most promising place of all, Fast Trax Motorsports, just as they were closing, but they didn't have the right machine for the single side swing arm style rim of my GS and also didn't have a tire that would fit. They were nice guys though and sympathetic and told me my best bet was Grand Prairie.

    So I gave up and planned to check in Grand Prairie the next day, still worried but hopeful I would find a tire and shop that could mount it. I felt stupid that I had not arranged this before the trip. Live and learn, I guess.

    I rode past Fort Saint John and found a camp site at Peace Island Park, a huge campground that was mostly empty being that it was a weekday. The park attendant said that the place was always full on weekends.

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    I made a Mountain House meal, Chili Mac. With Tapatío, the camping spice, it was very good. This was also the first time I have used my Jet Boil stove and I have to say that I am sold! That thing is astoundingly fast at boiling water and very easy to use. It was almost instantaneous boiling water.

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    Here is a look at the tire. It almost looks fine in this photo but it was actually going past some of the wear strips and a few of the blocks were on the verge of merging together. The tire would be bald in 500 more miles...

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    Good night Peace River
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    #15
  16. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

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    Day 5 and my mission today was to find a new rear tire, get it mounted to my wheel, and make it to Jasper; but first I had to make a stop at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek for the requisite photo.

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    Along highway 43 between Dawson Creek and Grand Prairie, I first came to Gaudin's Honda. It was a fairly large place and looked like they just might have what I needed. The parts guy was very helpful and looked in his stock for a tire that would work. All he could find was a more street oriented tire that was not the exact correct size but still could work. Now I know beggars can't be choosers but I decided to turn it down in hopes for the perfect tire in Grand Prairie. He showed me on my map of Grand Prairie where the 3 big motorcycle dealers were. Luckily they were all in a row and I wouldn't have to be running all over the city.

    In Grand Prairie, the first dealer I came to was Windsor Motorsports Suzuki. I was trying to be extra nice and personable in hopes that one of these dealers would do me a favor and take care of my tire right away among their no doubt busy schedule. The kid at the parts desk was not very customer oriented and seemed to have a bad attitude, however, and I could tell right away that I wasn't going to get very far. Luckily he did have the tire I needed but he wasn't going to change it for me and gave me a good luck finding a place that will because everyone is busy remark. Thanks man...

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    Anyway, I bought the tire and strapped it to my bike. At least I had a tire with me now and if I couldn't find someone to change it over for me in Grand Prairie, I could attempt to spoon it on myself if need be. I have the tools for that with me and have done that once before at home.

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    Next stop was Redline Powercraft, the Yamaha dealer. Luckily I caught the head service manager at the desk and he was sympathetic to my situation and told the kid at the computer that they could take care of me. Super nice guy. He talked to me about my trip and told me about Jasper and how I was really going to like it. He said "travelers come first here". This was exactly the kind of place I was hoping for! I took my wheel off the bike in the parking lot and handed them the wheel and the tire and they had it done in about a half hour. All told, I probably spent a hour and a half in Grand Prairie dealing with the tire. Not bad at all for not planing this ahead of time.

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    Back on the road, I headed south for Jasper. After fueling up in Grand Cache I ran into Rick and Kathy, who were on their own adventure heading north to Alaska on their 1200GS (http://alaskaadventure2014.blogspot.com) we talked for a bit and swapped info and checked out the visitor center. Nice folks. I made it to Jasper by about 8:00pm and found the campsite I was looking for, Whistlers. It was very nice and had level tent pads and warm showers. I was excited for the next day exploring the park.

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    #16
  17. GP640

    GP640 Long timer

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    Location:
    NW AB
    Take your time in Jasper.
    The Jasper Brew pub is a nice spot with good (pricey) food.
    Ride the Edith Cavell road if it's open.
    #17
  18. NorthernBoxer

    NorthernBoxer Fükengrüven

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    Day 6 I awoke, packed up camp and went back into the touristy town of Jasper for breakfast. I found a nice little coffee shop with great coffee and a really good cinnamon roll. I chatted for a bit with a couple of tour bus drivers from Banff who were fueling up for another day of bussing blue-hairs around the park. They gave me a few must see stops along the Icefields Parkway and also suggested I backtrack a few miles before heading south and go check out Maligne Canyon. I wasn't going to cover very many miles that day so I decided to take their suggestion and go see this canyon...

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    It was actually a really cool slot canyon and just a short walk along the edge and over a series of bridges. The informational signs were also interesting and talked about the geologic and hydrologic forces that created the canyon. A worthy stop if you are visiting the park with some time.

    Then it was on to the Icefields Parkway, which was very awesome indeed. The first thing I saw within the first 100 yards was a grizzly bear. There were a few cars pulled to the side of the road looking at it. I didn't get a very good shot of it but this is what I got:

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    Next I made a stop at Athabasca Falls and walked down to check them out:

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    The Icefields Parkway runs north - south through Jasper and Banff National Parks and links the Town of Jasper to Lake Louise. It has spectacular views of glaciers, mountains, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife and is great fun on a motorcycle!

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    I took my time on the parkway, taking it all in, and made my way down to Lake Louise to fuel up. I then headed west through Kootenay
    National Park (bonus park, not counted in the 6) to Radium Hot Springs. Just before getting to Radium, I saw 4 black bears right beside the highway; a sow with two teeny cubs, one light and one dark, and another adult on the other side of the highway. I didn't stop for any pictures.

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    In Radium Hot Springs I got a camp site at Redstreak Campground, which was in Kootenay National Park. This was another awesome, clean, well-designed, full service Canadian campground with nicely separated sites and hot showers. I just love Canadian campgrounds.

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    #18
  19. MotoChron

    MotoChron Got Dirt?!

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    Glad you found a tire, and a place to then change it for you. Excellent pics, looking forward to more.
    #19
  20. MOJO

    MOJO Adventurer

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    Great pics! Thanks for taking us along! :thumb
    #20