Alaska 2018 - Let's Share Plans / Logistics

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

  1. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    10,351
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Went to McCarthy over a month ago. Plenty of others have been there since. I thought the road was pretty good if that's what you wanted to know. Really nice ride. Great views.
    Hi-De-Ho, rubline and 2Stamp like this.
  2. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,760
    Location:
    High Point, NC
    I was in McCarthy about three weeks ago and the road from Chitina to the old mining town was in good condition. I rode the Denali Highway on July 6th from Tangle Lakes to Cantwell and experience no problems with the road.

    Safe travels,

    Mike
    Hi-De-Ho, rubline and Tewster2 like this.
  3. 2Stamp

    2Stamp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    458
    Location:
    Lehi, UT
    I decided to not do the McCarthy road. I noticed a small cut down between the tread of my rear tire. Not knowing the road conditions, decided not to test my luck. Maybe next time. Thanks for the info.
    CavReconSGT and rubline like this.
  4. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    10,351
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Maybe good to be cautious but you missed out on a nice ride!
  5. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,760
    Location:
    High Point, NC
    Next time . . . . . . .
    [​IMG]

    Mike
  6. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    10,351
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Nice photo :thumbup
    mikegc likes this.
  7. 2Stamp

    2Stamp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    458
    Location:
    Lehi, UT
    Ya, I figured I would. Did head down to Valdez though. That was pretty cool. Heading to the oeninsupe today, in the rain...
    mikegc likes this.
  8. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,457
    Location:
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    Small cut?! That’s why you carry a spare tube isn’t it?
    Tewster2 likes this.
  9. 2Stamp

    2Stamp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    458
    Location:
    Lehi, UT
    Looks like a small "split" I guess. Looks like a sharp rock got down between the lugs and dug in (rear tire). Would it have gotten worse? Don't know and I decided I wasn't going to push it. Yes, I carry a tube, for my front. Rear is tubeless. Yes, I have plugs.
    mikegc likes this.
  10. Colemanfu

    Colemanfu King of all manfu

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,061
    Location:
    DAYTONA USA
    I came and went. Life altering experience. 13,000 total miles. It's the apex of all road trips and I'll be back for sure. Dust to Dawson was a great chance to meet the hardiest of ADV riders.
    I've made series of videos called 'The search for stoke". I keep em short with an emphasis on the fodder and try hard to capture the adventure of a major expedition. Since I've been back it's been fun digesting the vid. I forgot about all the cool shit we did back in June.
    The latest video is from Chicken to Fairbanks where I run the Fox 50 Enduro course - 3 days after the race???

  11. Rider351

    Rider351 Dude Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    216
    Location:
    West Michigan
    So how did the big adventure go? I am looking at the Arctic Circle in 2020 with a stop inside alaska. I am also retired(just done in 2017) and wife is most pleased to see me leave for 6 weeks. Great post and keep riding safe



    wilsonjw42 and rubline like this.
  12. 55Chevy

    55Chevy Tuk in 2018

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Johnstown NY
    My trip was great, solo at 13,774 miles in 27 days, I could write a short book, meeting people, language barriers to setting up my tent in Coldfoot and making a run to Deadhorse and back in the rain and snow in one day, stopping occasionally to clean the mud out of the radiators from mud puddles, fixing a KLR (easy fix, stretched cable for neutral safety switch) for a guy from Belguim, and his buddy shouting air cleaner (only English he new apparently). When we got back to ColdFoot the guy who spoke the most English asked me what I did before retiring, I said mechanic and the poor guy that kept saying air cleaner must have been embarrassed.
    Was planning to go solo but ended up conversing with another inmate whom I met up with who's bike suffered from computer issues in ND, after messing around with if for the better part of a day we both agreed that I continue while he limp to a dealership. I ran daylight to dark until far enough north that I would have to quit by 11:30 PM and as late a 1:15 AM. Did a few Tent Space stays, including a rustic cabin in Homer, and again in Anchorage at their house and scoring a float plane ride over the glacier. Crashed up in Hatcher Pass, front end wash out and low speed high side, quite the interesting maneuver if I do say so, Never so happy to see two guys in a pick up truck seeing that I hadn't seen another vehicle for 45 minutes or so prior to this being alone and raining cats and dogs, it stopped as soon as they got out of the truck, perfect timing. Top of the World Highway was awesome, trips down to Eagle and 48 Mile Camp were a couple more runs not to be missed. Everywhere was neat, Chicken, Dawson, Tuk hanging in my Hammock with the rain beating on the rain fly makes you sleep like a baby, when I didn't have trees to hang from I slept in a Redverz (highly recommended) tent. The garage gives a great space to veg out for a few in a pack chair, get dressed and repack your gear.
    Road conditions vary from good to not so good to sloppy mud to deep deep sand in construction areas. Triple digits are easy enough to reach with knobbies on ALL the highways (gravel) you just have to pay attention as conditions change quickly, and remember hospitals are a long long ways away and so is help, any help. Another thing to keep in the back of your mind, the throttle is your friend in the gravel and sand on a big bike, you have to convince your brain and nerves of it as the front end will plow, not want to, will. Much of the time riding with smaller bikes, riders would want take it slower, I found that didn't work for me, I needed to run between 45-60 MPH where they we comfortable around 25-35, everyone is different, watch the gravel, it gets deep quick, real quick. I found on the R1200GSA 70-85 MPH was quite comfortable on the hard pack but usually ran 60-65. Nature and the breath taking views will be your enemy as it is so easy to get distracted. I could go on for ever, hope you get the Idea, my biggest disappointment was my video camera took a shit and I got very little in that respect, take two video cameras.
    Want to give a shout out to the girl running solo out of TUK when I was rolling in, she was up on the pegs doing fist pumps, you are my inspiration.
    Last but not least, the translab was a harder road to ride than most of what you'll encounter up there, you will find bad spots, especially the construction zones, that being said, you better hightail it to the Translab before they pave the whole thing.
  13. worncog

    worncog YBNormal Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    881
    Location:
    Florida Panhandle
    Well said 55Chevy.

    Six weeks is a great idea. My trip was on a short timeline, cuz I am still working, and I think that really detracted from the total epicness we were hoping for. Next time it WILL be longer. A solid bike, good weather resistant riding gear, a good 3 season tent, a 15° bag, and a great riding buddy made my trip easy. Albeit shorter than I would have liked. Have fun planning.

    PS. We went early as in the First week of June. Colder, but the mozzies haven't had time to grow into bird size yet. You may see some white stuff early though...

    Denali hwy.jpeg
    Phoenix101 and rubline like this.
  14. 2Stamp

    2Stamp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    458
    Location:
    Lehi, UT
    My trip, total riding time, was 21 days, just shy of 9000 miles. I took my time and was solo. Didn't have a plan really, just a couple ideas on where I wanted to go, and a few "way points" I could use to keep my wife updated. Going up I went to Hyder, rode the Cassiar, headed up to Dawson City at the last minute, Top of the World, detour lunch in Eagle, Tok, Fairbanks, Arctic Circle on the Dalton, Down to Valdez, and over to the Kenai Pen to visit family for a couple weeks. Alcan was taken back. I wanted to go to McCarthy but I found a couple cuts in my tires (between the lugs) and decided against it. I could have probably done it after all because those tires got me back home. I camped the majority of the time; stayed in motels in 100 house, Fairbanks, Edmonton and Helena. I loved camping and would do it again.

    I don't have a wieght on my gear, but I kept it light, at least it seemed like it. All my gear was backpacking based so it was small and light. The one concession I made was a small cot (Helinox Cot Lite). That was WELL worth it.

    Two lessons learned for me, take two pairs of riding pants and sleeping bag. I left SLC Utah in my Klim pants and jacket. By the time I hit Pocatello I was going into a CAL Ranch store to buy some Carharts. I wore those the majority of the time and watched the weather. If the forecast was rain I put my Klim pants on for that day. Sleeping bag: I took a bag I've had for years and quickly realized it had lost it's lost some of it's warmth. So in Butte I went and bought an additional bag to supplement ( a light 40 degree bag). This was used to put my other bag in and add warmth. It worked well for me, but now the other bag will be retired.

    I took very little in the way of extra clothes and did laundry when needed. I also only used one set of tires. MotoZ Tractionator GPS. They did square of a little in the back, but they still have good life in them. I'd use them again or even try the new Adverture from them.

    If you can do it without being rushed, that's my advise. Enjoy it.
  15. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    10,351
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    I rode for about 30 days and covered 12,400 miles to/from S. Louisiana. Aiming for Deadhorse in early/mid June was obviously about right this year as I was not bothered by mosquitoes but did not have too much crap weather either. I was probably lucky as those a few days earlier would have found some roads impassable with winter snow and those a few days later got caught in horrible rain and snow (esp those trying to get to Tuk - where I didn't opt to go.)

    There were probably a few odd things I could have left behind (including the lightweight machete that I have carried on several trips now and NEVER used) but overall, I felt that my gear and equipment choices worked well. Knee braces and an off-road, armored mesh shirt were comfortable in the Southern US with just mesh pants (armor removed), and with a one-piece waterproof suit over the top when the weather was cooler. I also had a heated jacket.

    Lessons learned:
    • There were a few days where heated gloved and insoles to supplement the jacket might have been nice.
    • I survived on the KTM "ergonomic" seat but investing in a better LD saddle would have made things much more comfortable. I bought an Alaska Leather sheepskin pad in Anchorage but it provided only the most marginal improvement.
    • Had I known I was going to have such an easy time finding tires in many places, I would have probably squeezed a 1000-miles more out of the rear Heidenau that I put on in Calgary and replaced in Anchorage 3700 miles later.
    • If I'd NOT tried to squeeze more miles from the chain after the Dalton hwy wrecked it, I could have replaced it in Anchorage instead of wasting a day and couple of hundred dollars doing so half way down through BC a week later.
    • Finally, I should have pre-emptively replaced and upgraded the fuel filtration system on the big KTM before the trip and thus avoided spending 3 or 4 hours pulling the fuel pump out by the side of the road, somewhere in Southern BC (just 2 days after replacing the C&S.)

    I met some great people along the way and had so much fun I may well go back again in a couple more years (if I can fit it in around other places I want to go and haven't been yet.)
    rubline and ScotsFire like this.
  16. 55Chevy

    55Chevy Tuk in 2018

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Johnstown NY
    I love the sheepskin on the HD and Vstrom but updated my riding gear to Klim Badlands and found the bead seat to be much more comfortable. The Badlands was worth it's weight in gold when the weather turned cold, wet and nasty, just not enough breathability in the butt and crotch for me on the sheepskin (in 90 degrees +) and layers of Gortex, was easily overcome with the seat beads. Inexpensive accessory to try before your trip, be warned when going in the rough stuff, deep sand or gravel flip them out of the way because they tend to get squirmy underneath you and you don't feel planted on the bike.
    The last thing I'll say and then shut up, GO, don't talk about it, don't over plan it and travel by a strict schedule of dates and times, it's a freaken adventure, pick a date to leave, and a day to be home around. Do the rest by chance, ride in the rain as long as you can see the front wheel, that adventure thing again and stay within your abilities, sort of. Some of the best scenery is around crappy weather, and clear sky doesn't always mean better pictures or weather, and as long as you have a quality shelter the rain will put you to sleep like a baby, a quality rainfly is your best friend unless you have an unintentional get off on a big bike solo, ha ha. Don't ask how I know.
    fastpast and rubline like this.
  17. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,047
    Location:
    Right Side of WA
    Amen
    mikegc likes this.
  18. k12lts

    k12lts Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    528
    Location:
    Indiana
    My buddy and I made the trip last year leaving Indiana June 23 and getting home July 18, right at 9400 miles. We went up thru Montana to Banff, Jasper then west to the Cassiar. Went over to Hyder then up to the Alcan to Tok, Glenallen, Anchorage for a couple days, Fairbanks, the Daulton to the Arctic Circle, then back to Tok, up to Chicken, Top of the World Hwy to Dawson City and back to Whitehorse and the Alcan back home thru North Dakota. Also rode Hatcher Pass just north of Anchorage.

    We only camped two nights and that was at the Harley Dealer in Anchorage for free. They have a nice area for tent campers and a room with showers accessed with a keypad lock from the outside. Other campers we met there were from Scotland, Switzerland, Japan and the UK. Highly recommended. Motels in Canada were inexpensive and easy to find if you didn't ride to late in the day. We stayed for two nights at the University of Alaska dorms in Fairbanks. Also a great place to stay at $35/night and included laundry. There were 10 bikes in the parking lot with license plates from Texas to Germany. Motels in Alaska are expensive.

    I rode my 2010 R1200RT with Michelin Pilot Road 4 GT tires and had no trouble. Did have a small rock from a construction zone start a slow leak in the front tire on the way back from Dawson City but that was easily fixed with no other issues all the way home.

    I wore my Darian jacket and pants and they were perfect for the trip and weather conditions. Don't have to fool with a rain suit and I stayed perfectly dry. I wore Goretex Sidi Adventure boots and they worked well too. We had one rainy day with temps in the 40s and a couple other times it rained for a few hours at a time. I took my electric liner but didn't use it. I did use the heated seat and grips.

    I'll go again when I have more time.
  19. HuskerBlue

    HuskerBlue Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2016
    Oddometer:
    73
    I’m impressed you did that ride on an RT! Did you hit any mud on the dirt highways like the Dalton? I have an RT but chose to go on a used Vstrom I set up for the trip and a few times I was glad I went that route, including one remote solo get-off. Most of the trip of course would have been more comfy on the RT.
  20. k12lts

    k12lts Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    528
    Location:
    Indiana
    We got lucky and had dry weather on the Dalton. Some friends rode it a couple days later on Harleys in a light rain and they had a rough time with the slick road. The RT did a great job on the road. When it's dry the gravel sections are the best, the paved sections were full of pot holes but the gravel was smooth.

    [​IMG]