Alaska 2018 - Let's Share Plans / Logistics

Discussion in 'Americas' started by rickj, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    Hi Everyone,

    Three buddies and me are planning a trip from SoCal up to Alaska mid-June of next summer. Our last trip in 2015 (and my first trip in 1996) was one-way shipping the bikes back from Anchorage, but this trip is going to be a two-way trip. Sort of.

    This time we're going to truck our bikes up to Spokane, WA as our launch point. We had originally planned on launching from Seattle, but Spokane is much closer to the Icefields Parkway which we want to ride through. Work and home schedules allow us about 18 - 20 days for this trip. We're all Old Fart Riders, with one Super Tenere, one R1200 GS, and two R1200 GSAs.

    Our 2015 trip was about 80% planned out and 20% "flex" days, which allowed for deviations, changes, etc. 2015 Alaska Ride Report. It worked out pretty well, but but this trip is going to be different. We have a general route that we're taking with a few absolute destinations like Dawson City, Kennecott Mine, and Hyder. However, we'll decide where to stay / camp along the way. We plan on camping most nights, but we'll also stay in civilized accommodations from time to time.

    GENERAL ROUTE
    The general route is up to the Icefields Parkway, to Prince George, AlCan up to Watson Lake, Robert Campbell to Carmacks, Klondike highway to Dawson City, TOTW to Tok, Delta Junction, Denali highway, Anchorage, Kennecott / McCarthy, AlCan to Haines Junction to Haines, Skagway, Casssiar highway south, Stewart / Hyder, Prince George and then south to Spokane. No plans for the Dalton or Dempster, but that could change along the way.

    We likely will not be able to visit all places on this route, but this is the overall route. We'll make changes as necessary to accommodate weather, road conditions, or our moods, along the way. We also have a bunch of Optional places which we'll try to visit.

    OPTIONAL DESTINATIONS
    Northern part of the South Canol road from Ross River as far as Quiet Lake (we did the south part in 2015), Forty Mile ghost town, Hatcher Pass, Homer, Nabesna road, Telegraph Creek. Any maybe a few more if I can discover them.

    We certainly can't make all our destinations in 20 days. That's what the "next ride" is for. But we'll try to develop and enhance the route on-the-fly to maximize the fun factor on this trip!

    OK, let's share information about routes, Must-See destinations, great places to camp, camping gear, tires, medical insurance, and anything else you want to offer up.

    See you on the road...

    Rick
    #1
    Halen, USCGC130, neoday2 and 3 others like this.
  2. wilsonjw42

    wilsonjw42 Long rider Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The worst vice is advice, but since you asked....

    Mid-June will be nice. Mosquitos will be bad in places, but when you're moving, who notices? Wild flowers will be good in places, as well.

    Miles Canyon Suspension Bridge -- near Whitehorse. Worth a stop to stretch your legs.
    Robert Service Campground -- near Whitehorse. Great place to get a [hot] shower.
    North Klondike Highway -- Five Finger Rapids
    Dawson City -- Midnight Dome Viewpoint, real food
    TOTW -- Boundary (gas, whatever)
    Chicken -- beverages and real food
    Excursion to Eagle -- frontier town, worst mosquitos I've ever seen (and I lived in Alaska). Road is passable, but watch out for tour buses and moose.
    Denali Highway -- excellent views, not heavily traveled
    Cantwell -- dive bar; worth a stop to get a bite to eat
    Talkeetna -- touristy, but good food and ice cream.
    Hope -- great stop on the Kenai Peninsula
    Homer -- touristy, but good food. Camping on the beach, if that's your thing.
    Whittier -- worth the trip through the tunnel. One of the more unusual places, in an unusual state. The tunnel has made the place much more accessible, so there are more people spending at least part of the year in Whittier. Take the time to learn about the former Army housing -- it's an amazing story.
    Ferry to Valdez
    Valdez -- great place to get an adequate meal, and load up with food for the road.
    Chitina -- gateway to McCarthy
    McCarthy -- the road to McCarthy is strewn with railroad debris (spikes, etc.) because the road follows the old railbed, so go during full light, and take the speed down a notch. While the vehicle bridge to town is gated and limited to residents only, the footbridge is navigable with an adventure bike. The town is a hoot. You can ride to Kennecott, where there is food.
    The Copper River Valley is one of my favorite places.
    Haines Junction -- groceries, real food, and fuel.
    Haines -- beautiful town. I recommend walking around the fort. Good groceries supply. Bald Eagle Reserve.
    Skagway -- see the tourists, then ride to Dyea. One of the spookiest places to camp that I know of.
    Carcross -- interesting and historic [very] small town.

    Looking forward to the ride report!
    #2
  3. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,440
    Location:
    Lost somewhere
    I disagree on Robert service campground. Pay showers, a fair amount of homeless set up camp there, lots of non campers wandering around. Non potable water.

    I stayed this past summer.

    Go up the hill and across the AlCan to hi country rev park. Same price, free showers, fantastic bathrooms, great facility. Free food from RV’ers if you put on a sad face.
    #3
  4. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto aka: trailer Rails Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    27,268
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    On your way to the Icefileds, take 3A along Kootenay lake. Take the ferry across the lake to 31. Take that north to 23 and up to Revelstoke. Then follow 1 to Lake Louise. The ferry rides are fun and free. The roads are nice and twisty. We caught the first ferry in the morning. The roads were empty. It was a nice ride.

    I don't see Liard Hot Springs on your list. I would skip Prince George and stay to the east so that you pass through Liard.
    #4
  5. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    ^^See my comments inserted above^^

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your knowledge of the area, as this is exactly why I started the thread. I've been scouring ride reports and trip planning threads from previous years, and this is what has helped me with our overall route and finding the "optional" destinations that we're going to try to visit.

    I don't plan on writing a ride report this time. I do think the most interesting RRs are the ones that are written daily during the ride, but it's quite a burden. The RR for our 2015 trip took me a long time to put together. I'm glad I did it, as we'll all be able to refer back to it while we're sitting on the proverbial rocking chair on the porch when we can no longer ride.

    Thanks again for your tips!

    Rick
    #5
    Hi-De-Ho and bobw like this.
  6. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    Thanks, Shnizzle! We'll be deciding where we're going to camp on the fly, but I think I'll make up a list of places that are recommended by members so we can reference it along the way. Great tip.
    #6
    Hi-De-Ho likes this.
  7. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    Thanks for the tip! Just the other day I had read some recommendations about 3A along Kootenay and Arrow lakes, and I've modified the route so we can ride there. On the way north, I think we're going to beeline up 95 / 93 from Spokane to get to Banff National Park within a day. However, we're absolutely riding 3A on the return trip. The ferry crossings should be fun and the surroundings looks amazing.

    I remember Liard Hot Springs from my first trip, but we missed it on the 2015 trip as we went up the Cassiar. It's definitely in the plans for this trip, and I'm hoping it wrks out so that we can actually camp there.

    Thanks for sharing!
    #7
    Hi-De-Ho likes this.
  8. Hi-De-Ho

    Hi-De-Ho Mad Scientist Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,884
    Location:
    Omnipresent
    Rick, there are a LOT of us going to Alaska in 2018...some of us on multiple trips. As for myself and another inmate here, we will be leaving the PNW on June 11th, riding up to Watson Lake, then up to Dawson City.....a couple nights there, then over to Inuvik on the Dempster Highway, then up to Tuktoyaktuk, then back to Inuvik....then back to Dawson City for 3 nights, and partake in the D2D gathering.

    Then leaving Dawson City, take the TOW Highway, into Old Chicken, then New Chicken...or is it New Chicken, then Old Chicken???....then thru Tok to Fairbanks. From Fairbanks up to Coldfoot, and then up to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay....back to Coldfoot..and then down to Fairbanks.

    Etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.......you all know the rest of the story.....and back home.
    #8
    Ozarks Rider, wilsonjw42 and robram like this.
  9. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    HeidiHo,

    I've read that you're heading to Tuk with another inmate. Should be a great experience! We have limited time, and one guy on his maiden voyage this far north, so I don't think we'll go that far, as it would mean missing a lot of other stuff.

    Trucking the bikes to close proximity to BC is a necessary evil for us since we don't have the time for 2-way from SoCal. I may do that some day, but I'm happy that I'll be able to ride BC both ways on this trip. I'm getting some great intel from this thread for the trip so far from others, which I really appreciate. Great info for others heading up as well.

    One thing is clear. There WILL have to be another trip after 2018 to visit the places we couldn't visit during that trip. It's an endless cycle. An itch that can't be satisfied, which I'm sure is why you've been up that way umpteen times!

    Cheers,
    Rick
    #9
    bobw and Hi-De-Ho like this.
  10. wilsonjw42

    wilsonjw42 Long rider Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Thanks...good update. My experience there is somewhat dated (and I needed a shower badly enough that I didn't care / didn't notice the other noise).
    #10
  11. wilsonjw42

    wilsonjw42 Long rider Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I agree...I'm too lazy to write every day, so I started to bring along a small, rechargeable Sony digital recorder that I use to keep notes. Then, it's a matter of transcription (which is still a big task).... It's interesting for me to listen to these recordings, as they bring back very specific memories of where I was when I made the recording.
    #11
  12. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,174
    Location:
    Apple Valley, Calif
    I rode by myself in 2016, leaving So Cal on April 23 and getting home on May 19. Many said I was the first motorcycle they had seen the first part of my trip. All kinds of weather, no traffic and few road construction areas. Because I was so early, I did not get to go to a lot of places I wanted; like Dawson City, TOWH, the Kennecott mine, etc. I had originally told my wife I would be gone up to six weeks. I had to change plans a number of times due to weather. I was too early, but I still had a great time. A couple of years earlier we had taken our motorhome, towing our Jeep and were gone about eight weeks, leaving the first part of May and getting home 4th July.

    I plan to go again in 2018 and have a friend from Idaho that will be joining me. I told him to plan on being gone 6-8 weeks. I do not detail plan my trips, but research things on a daily basis.

    I assume we will meet up at some time with all the groups going next year. I will be on my KTM 1290 and my friend on his BMW GS1200. Will be a good test of two great adventure bikes.
    #12
  13. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    Hopefully, our paths will cross along the way!

    I've sent an email off the the Triple J hotel to see what the status of the cabins is during the time we're likely to roll through as we will probably spend two nights there. We had a cabin in 2015 and it was great. We'll likely arrive in Dawson City 6/24 or 6/25, not long after D2D, so there will still be a lot of riders there. We may consider changing the route to go up the Cassiar and down the AlCan and see if that works out better.

    My wife and I are talking about upgrading our camping trailer for some longer trips once she stops working in a couple of years, and I would love to bring her north and show her these beautiful places!

    It will be interesting to hear about how the two adventure bikes get along on your trip...
    #13
    Hi-De-Ho and Ol Man like this.
  14. wannabehippy

    wannabehippy I'll risk it!

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    Walker LA
    I'll be heading up that way in 2018 as well.
    Probably sometime in June or July don't have a definate date set just depends of my work load. I'll be riding solo on a 2014 BMW 1200gs and I don't really have a plan except to head in a north westerly direction. Too much of my life is planned and I'm just looking forward to no plan for a month. Hopefully I'll run into a few of you along the way.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    #14
  15. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,440
    Location:
    Lost somewhere
    As you know there is TONS of construction up north during the good season. This past summer there were several accidents concerning get bikes in Costruction zones.

    I passed one heading nbound just before the open grate bridge ( it's fun!) where it was just a advbike on its side,panniers still attached,not a soul around except a RCMP suv.

    Someone refresh me where that bridge is,there's a campground and restaurant motel right there.

    Anyway,don't try to be a off roading hero through the construction zones. Go slow and be cautious. Don't forget that pretty much all the big rvers up there are old with slower reflexes and are unfamiliar with driving a big rv through some zones.

    Also give them lots of space or ideally,pass them when you can on rougher roads. When they start driving through whoops sections they can get twisted out of shape quickly.

    The section north of stewart crossing comes to mind. Absolutely beautiful but ride with caution.
    #15
    Ozarks Rider, robram and Hi-De-Ho like this.
  16. PlznMySoul

    PlznMySoul Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    304
    Location:
    Dirty South... FloRyda

    ........and this is when it's DRY!:raindance Things can change drastically when it rains depending on where you are at the time.

    Hello Theshnizzle ole friend.....:wave

    Sounds like these guys are seasoned riders who know how to enjoy a relaxed pace, they will be OK. I can't wait to make it that way again.
    #16
    Ozarks Rider and Hi-De-Ho like this.
  17. PlznMySoul

    PlznMySoul Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    304
    Location:
    Dirty South... FloRyda
    Oh! One thing I will mention that many do not take into consideration. The SPEED LIMITS you are used to riding here in the US are not the same in Canada. Keep that in mind unless you just don't give a @#$%. Also, you will initially ride at a good pace..... until you see your 1st animal on the side of the road just looking at you as if he's ready to jump in your lap. At that moment, you WILL have an instant pucker factor and ride slower for the remainder of the trip :wink:.
    #17
    Ozarks Rider, AK_Hoff and Migolito like this.
  18. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,440
    Location:
    Lost somewhere
    True dat. When you see the "watch for wildlife"signs, obey them. The local highway guys have seen it all as a visitor don't blow it off as needless government interference.

    My first trip up I watched a Strom rider just miss a big sheep when it ran in front of him. He didn't even slow his speed since where there is one there is always another or 3 .....he almost got taken out when the other 2 ran out.

    My heart was in my mouth.

    There is almost never just one!

    Hey, ty,I saw a wolf on the cassair. It was awesome. I had just had a young bear cross in front of me then 5 min later a wolf. First time I had seen one.

    The lure of the North is strong.....
    #18
  19. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    351
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    Great points about keeping the speeds down and being leery of RVers! We're all pretty experienced riders, but definite noobs when it comes to off-road riding. In fact, if you read my ride report from 2015, you'll read that I rated us a .5 on a scale of 1 to 10 as ADV riders!

    The most challenging part for us to ride in 2015 was the Dempster, as we hit really heavy rains, but we did manage to keep the bikes upright. Construction zones can be very tricky too, so we'll take it easy through them.

    It's great to see animals along the way, but when there's not much of a shoulder on the side of the road they can be lurking in the trees and bolt out at any time!

    There are plenty of places locally where we can go a bit fast. The roads in BC, the Yukon, and Alaska are not places to be in a rush for safety reasons. Best to to ride reasonable and take in all the beautiful scenery!
    #19
  20. CaptUglyDan

    CaptUglyDan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    776
    Location:
    Port Orchard Wa
    #20