Alaska 2021 - We're Goin' For it!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by donnh, Aug 2, 2021.

  1. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    I was just checking the weather from Enviroment Canada. Looks like 30% showers in Prince George and closer to the coast. If your heading to the start of the Alcan it looks sunny and dry for several days. Have fun
    #61
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  2. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile Supporter

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    Wow, yes it’s cool and rain here in Prince George. Just stopped for breakfast and saw this. Thanks for the advice we are going to reroute to Dawson Creek.
    #62
  3. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    Just an fyi, SE Alaska is getting hit with a weeklong weather front with lots of rain. These fronts normally head inland.
    #63
  4. MrVvrroomm

    MrVvrroomm Long timer

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  5. idea man

    idea man Remote Plate Spinner Supporter

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    I hope you are able to come back along the Cassiar. It will give you a feel for what the Alcan was like 30 years ago. For my money, it's more scenic. Still, the Alcan is also worth the drive. With all the construction a the lack of tourists, the roads could be in fantastic shape. Hopefully you see the shortcut going through Hudson's Hope out of Chetwynd. You will miss the most industrial and residential part of the Alcan and instead go by a very scenic lake. Congrats on success at the border.
    #65
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  6. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile Supporter

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    #66
  7. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day 2, we made it to Dawson Creek, ~ 400 miles....

    Ok, we rerouted to the Alcan due to weather on the Cassiar. We started this morning in Williams Lake and rode to Prince George before stopping for breakfast about 11:00 AM. It was a cool overcast morning with temps in the 50's (F) and light drizzle. By the time we got to Prince George it started raining harder but not really anything a Seattle person would be worried about.

    That's when I saw the message from Bigbob1 (thanks) about the weather and after checking on my Dark Sky app we agreed and decided to head north to Dawson Creek. Hopefully we can catch the Cassiar on the way back.

    Traffic was light and we were riding fast all day, 120Kph (70mph+) most of the day in the cool overcast. I took one picture at a gas station.

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    Finally a ways past Prince George we came to a construction site with one lane traffic. Per my usual MO we skipped to the front of the line of about a dozen cars. Usually we get away with this without too much grief but man I got the stink-eye from the BC flagger woman. I tried to sweet talk her but she would have none of it. Whatever, I think it's a safety thing. I don't want to be behind a bunch of cars in a construction site kicking up rocks and then I have to pass them one by one which has danger in every car passed. Besides, we were riding fast enough that soon we didn't see anyone behind us and we certainly weren't slowing anyone down. The added benefit of being the lead dog is the opportunity to see wildlife in the road...


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    Mom and cubs were just hanging out in the road. It took a minute to get my helmet cam on with my left hand as I slowed down without shifting. They looked at me for a minute before rambling across the road and over the barrier.

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    Loved watchin the cubs jump the wall.

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    So, that was the big excitement for the day. It was cloudy all the way into Dawson Creek and the temps finally got into the 60's. After checking into the Super 8 the clouds parted and the sun came out. A good omen for tomorrow.

    Tomorrow? Not sure, Deby is voting for another 400 mile day.... I'm not as sure. We decided to just ride and see how we feel and what the weather is. Stay tuned.

    Thanks for following.
    Donn and Deby
    #67
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  8. RockyDS

    RockyDS Lost in the wilderness

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    It happens but it's unusual. Mostly the flag person will wave bikes to the front of the line.
    #68
  9. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    Maybe shoot for Toad River, a shade over 400 miles. The cabins overlooking the pond are newer and the food is good.
    #69
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  10. Marcham

    Marcham Been here awhile

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    That is for someone without 2 vaccines....

    If you have had 2 doses, you can enter for recreational purposes.
    #70
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  11. MrVvrroomm

    MrVvrroomm Long timer

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    The majority of vehicles in line were towing a boat.
    #71
  12. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile Supporter

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    Quick check in from my phone. After 400+ miles we didn’t feel like camping. Toad River was full so we continued to the lodge at Muncho Lake and booked the last room. Quirky place but we got beer and food.

    Saw another bear today on the side of the road and a bull elk standing in the middle of the road watching us stop and have a stare down contest.

    Sorry not enough BW for pics tonight.
    My gallery link is here: https://donnh.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Alaska-2021

    nice weather today. Sun and 60s. Tomorrow we have a reservation at Johnson’s Crossing.

    Thanks for following
    Donn and Deby
    #72
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  13. idea man

    idea man Remote Plate Spinner Supporter

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    Johnson’s crossing used to have a place that sells really good cinnamon buns. Probably still do.
    I love that lodge at Muncho lake. I hope it’s as cool on the inside as it is on the outside.
    Continued success.
    #73
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  14. KC10Chief

    KC10Chief Been here awhile Supporter

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    I've stayed at that lodge at Muncho Lake before. It's a beautiful place. You should also hit up the Liard Hot Springs. Soak in some hot water for an hour! It's a neat place and not too far north of you right now.
    #74
  15. rubline

    rubline Coddiwomple

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    +1 for Liard hot springs!
    #75
  16. teamkabob

    teamkabob Adventurer

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    Following!

    Are you two planing to hit Anchorage?

    safe travels and
    #76
  17. Motor7

    Motor7 Long timer

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    >IN<

    Y'all have stones for going through Canada under the current fluctuating conditions:beer Looking forward to more trip reports!
    #77
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  18. MTNFSH

    MTNFSH Adventurer

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    Enjoying the ride report and following along. Very cool that you both ride. I am planning a solo trip next June to Alaska and hope to have my wife fly out to meet me somewhere in Alaska.
    #78
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  19. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile Supporter

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    Whoo hoo, we made it to Anchorage! The mighty F800 finally made it on the third try and served me well with no problems. Sorry it's been a few days so here are the highlights.

    We started out Wednesday morning in Dawson Creek, no Alaska Ride Report would be complete without the following picture. I used the one with Deby because she is much more photogenic than I am.

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    There is a nearby sign that has become the repository for all stickers.... of course I needed to add ours - Dos Motos un Mundo!

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    I made that sticker because "X" marks the spot with the notation "you are here". With that sticker you will never be lost because you will know where you are!
    If you turn it upside down it works in Latin America where you would say Estas Aqui...

    A little ways down the road we saw this guy crossing the road.

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    The rest of the day was just putting in the miles to the very nice lodge at Muncho Lake, 442 miles - moving time 7 hours 24 minutes and average moving speed of just under 60mph. It was a long day. I'm learning that it's a loooonnnnggg way to Alaska and this seems to be the norm. The speed limit is 100kph and we kept ours about 120. The F800 gets a little buzzy between 4K and 4.5K rpm but smooths out at 5K which is where we ran.

    Crazy thing... we saw a few of these guys along the road...

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    Who would have guessed. They seemed to ignore us but I was told later to be careful riding next to them because they can abruptly turn and run into us. Good to know.

    Here is a pic I took of the Northern Rockies Lodge at Muncho Lake.

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    Thursday it was up early and a full breakfast in the dining room, it would have to last us all day so we didn't mind spending the time. I took a picture of the bikes ready to go.

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    Soon we were on our way, had to take a picture when we entered Yukon.

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    But crossing into Yukon meant it was only a short ride to Watson Lake and the famous sign forest. Of course I needed a few pictures.

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    I didn't have a sign but left a sticker.

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    The rest of the day was riding hard and fast to Johnson's Crossing. 359 miles for the day, elapsed time 7:12 and average moving speed a whopping 65.5 mph.

    We stayed at the only hotel and gas stop, they have three rooms.

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    No restaurant but they sold hot sandwiches and beer. Thankfully, beer.

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    Yes, the sign said World Famous Cinnamon Buns but we didn't try any, I never developed the taste for that much sugar.....

    Friday (the 13th) we woke up to rain. There was no way around it, we were going to get wet. The further north we had ridden the temperatures had steadily dropped and mostly it was in the 50's to maybe low 60's every day. We switched into our Gerbing heated gear and warmer gloves. On Friday I put an extra layer under my Klim gear and grabbed by warm gloves before riding off into the cool rain.

    We rode 362 hard earned miles mostly in the rain with a brief stop in Haines Junction for lunch. We decided to stay at Beaver Creek for the night and cross into Alaska Saturday morning.

    I took one picture at a visitor center along the way.

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    Oh, we did see a grizzly bear. I managed a short video but it didn't really come out that well. I can't seem to embed the video but here is the link: https://donnh.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Alaska-2021/i-B9DVD6p/A

    I searched online and only found one hotel in Beaver Creek at the Fas Gas, yikes. I called and they had one room left so I reserved it so we would be guaranteed a dry place to sleep for the night. FYI, there is another hotel across the street that looked like it had a bunch of rooms but we were committed.

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    We arrived about 6:00 PM tired and wet. From the front the place looked like a decent lodge type log building, not bad. But, when we got the key to our room we had to ride the bikes around back to a single wide trailer that was converted into two hotel rooms, very depressing. Not that we're picky but a nice room would have felt good after a day in the rain. I went inside and it was cold. I mean really cold. I checked the thermostat and it was on full but there was no heat. Arrrg. Deby started to unpack her bike and I stomped around in my full gear back to the main office. I'll save the details but my pleasant demeanor with the desk girl resulted in an apology and an upgrade to the second floor of the main building. We went from depression to wow in 5 minutes. That room was crazy, I think it was meant for a family of 6 or more with two king size beds, a single bed, a futon, full kitchen, living room, fireplace, big screen TV and two theater style recliner chairs. Ha...

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    Oh yea, I wasn't moving until my share of the IPAs were finished!

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    Crazy thing, not long after we took that big room three Harleys pulled in, two of them were two up and they were looking for a room. Dang, that big room would have been perfect for them but they were turned away in the rain and checked into the hotel across the street. We ran into them the next day at Fast Eddies in Tok and I fessed up, they didn't seem to mind.

    So, once again food was an issue. There was no restaurant so we had be satisfied with sandwiches from the store on the first floor. We had a full kitchen but nothing to cook. Deby was hoping for any kind of vegetable or even some fruit, nothing. Beer, chips and roast beef sandwiches. I managed to get the fireplace to work (electric with fancy colored flames) and we fell asleep to the sound of a downpour on the metal roof. The pounding rain woke me a few times in the night which I thought was a bad omen for the next day.

    Saturday - On to ALASKA!

    Another long day - 432 miles. We started in the rain with the 45 degrees temp. I added yet another layer and we headed off in a light rain that soon turned into a heavy rain. That was the story of the ride. Light rain, heavy rain and a couple of brief sun breaks. Our border crossing was uneventful with only one vehicle in front of us, the last of the Harleys from the night before.

    We stopped to take pictures at the Alaska sign but had to be quick because we were getting swarmed with mosquitos... really bad.

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    We stopped for a well deserved big breakfast at Fast Eddies where we sat next to a guy on a big 1250GS (David) who was trying to ride home to Colorado. He said he had been waiting in Tok for three days for his Covid test and still didn't receive it. The Canadians require a test within 72 hours so I think he was out of luck but he said he was going to try. Good luck. Nonetheless, he was full of good information. He had been in Alaska for a few weeks by taking the ferry from WA to Alaska and skipping Canada altogether. He said he had great weather the whole time. We were jealous, the forecast for us seems to have rain almost every day.

    Tok was a decision point for us - North of Fairbanks and the Artic Circle or south to Anchorage. We checked the weather and decided to ride south and explore Kenai and hope the weather would improve north later in the week. Tonight we are in a non descript hotel in a shady part of town, tomorrow we ride south to Homer which should be a good day.

    I'll close out with a nice shot of our first glacier sighting on this trip the Matanuska Glacier from the Glen Highway.

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    Thanks for following and all the comments, sorry for not having time to reply to them all.

    Donn and Deby
    #79
  20. MacG

    MacG Been here awhile Supporter

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    Loving the report! Have a great trip!
    #80