Alaska for dummies

Discussion in 'Americas' started by damasovi, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. NorthCoastRider

    NorthCoastRider Livin' the dream

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    Almost every town in Northern B.C will have a hotel (don't expect much). Unless it is a Native village. It is hard to tell which ones they are just by a map so this is where planning comes in. Most roads are good but bare in mind that summer is prime road construction season. Filling up with fuel frequently is good advice.
    #21
  2. cbx4evr

    cbx4evr Still on a KLR

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  3. Drifter

    Drifter Staying the Course

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    <TABLE id=HB_Mail_Container height="100%" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0 UNSELECTABLE="on"><TBODY><TR height="100%" width="100%" UNSELECTABLE="on"><TD id=HB_Focus_Element vAlign=top width="100%" background="" height=250 UNSELECTABLE="off">Come up up the length of California via Highway 395 and into Oregon. Then hang a right on Highway 95 and take 95 all the way up through Idaho (beautiful ride on 95) and enter Canada above Bonners Ferry ID. Take the east port of entry into Canada and head for Banff and Jasper National Park.

    Make sure you ride through Jasper on the Icefield Parkway. Then head west on CAN 16 all the way up to 36 north. From 36, head north to the Yukon and then take the "Top-Of-The-World-Highway" out of Dawson Yukon into Alaska. On the way home, head down the west coast of the US e.g.WA, OR & CA down the Pacific Coast Highway.


    I took the Alaska Ferry back to Bellingham WA and then rode down the coast. The ride of a lifetime. It took me a full month to do this trip. Take your camping gear as a Plan B, but the only town that finding a room was iffy was Whitehorse. Otherwise, there was no problems finding rooms. I went in June.





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    #23
  4. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    Charliemik Gracias for the advice but I only have 3 weeks from work and I will try to get 4 and if I am very lucky could get up to 5 weeks from my employer, the Wife... that is something else but I am being very good from now and I figure 2 or 3 years of being good could get me that time off. The 101 and 1 coming south I have done twice allready and it is worth a 3rd time and the 395 that is something that I am missing but a must next time.

    I am shooting for summer of 2010 is it too far? not for me, I like to read, inform, plann and then just put it in a bag and let time decide... somehow at the end it is all good.

    Damasovi
    #24
  5. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    Now this sound like a road map.... I will keep you post it
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  6. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    Amigo thanks these are good maps, I actually have one and I used it last time I was in BC and work fine so I should be buying a couple more sometime soon, and have then sent to my friend in Vancouver and then go and get them my self:evil

    Damasovi
    #26
  7. charliemik

    charliemik Been here awhile

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    damasovi, 2010 is not too far to plan. By the time you're ready the anticipation will be more than you can stand. I went with 3 others and we really needed to start planning 2 years ahead, just to be able to get all of our work schedules worked out and get our wives used to the fact that we were gonna be gone for a month. We planned and dreamed and dreamed and planned and studied maps and figured out all the places we wanted to visit along the way and roads we wanted to ride. By the time we were ready we had memorized the roads to the point that we felt like we really knew them. I think it really helped to make for a much smoother journey have planned so thoroughly. You'll have a great trip.
    #27
  8. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    OK so this I will do, for my bday and xmast I will give my self a couple of maps of Alaska and the Yukon!! just to learn and remember the maps, just liekt you did!

    Damasovi
    #28
  9. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    Dama-
    A lot of riders miss the heart of what AK is about and asskicking scenery while on their mileage quest to Prudoe Bay and back... got to have that pic of themselves by that stark landscape.

    If you really want to get to know the culture and experience more intense scenery, slightly off the beaten path is where it's at. And the roads are fine enough.

    I'd suggest looking hard at southeast AK and neighboring points in BC. Atlin, Altin Lake, Skagway, ferry hop to Haines, etc. Out to Homer from Anchorage is another decent trek.
    #29
  10. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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  11. ridingAK

    ridingAK On the Road Less Taken...

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    I just saw this thread and thought I'd add my two cents. I totally agree that the quest for Prudhoe is over rated. Worth doing, yes, but don't let that be the focus of the trip.

    The Denali Highway is a great ride and so is the road over Hatcher Pass
    between Talkeetna and Palmer.

    [​IMG]
    This was taken on the Denali Highway during August 2006

    [​IMG]
    This is taken from just below the top of the road at Hatcher Pass - the road is gravel, bumpy, and narrow.:clap

    A trip down to Valdez will take you through some nice scenery, glaciers and waterfalls.

    [​IMG]
    This is taken from the road on the way to Valdez.

    Take the ferry from Valdez to Whittier, then ride the tunnel back out to the Seward Highway. The entire Kenai peninsula is beautiful and there are some really great campgrounds and good riding roads down there. The road into the tiny town of Hope has some nice scenery. Before you get to the main town there is a gravel road that branches off to the left. If you take the right fork you'll ride along the river - very pretty. The left fork takes you up to Coeur d'Alene campground.

    [​IMG]
    Taken from the footbridge in the campground.

    Take the Skilak Loop Road heading South from Anchorage. It's a fun ride and gets you off the main road and away from all the ^$%%$% Rv's that clog the road in summer. It's a gravel road in good condition and the Lakes and Campgrounds are really nice.

    [​IMG]

    Seward and Homer are both cool towns that are worth exploring. Go to Exit Glacier in Seward, and in addition to riding to the end of the spit, ride to the end of East End Road in Homer.

    [​IMG]
    Exit Glacier, September 2007

    [​IMG]

    If you go to Homer, stay at Land's End Resort if you want to be on the water, or treat yourself to an awesome break at the Bear Creek Winery and B&B. They provide clean and comfortable cabins, good wine, and pleasant conversation in addition to a clothing optional hottub.:evil

    [​IMG]

    You will probably need reservations at either place if you are going in summer.



    Have fun and don't hesitate to ask anyone who lives here for recommendations as the time for your trip gets closer.
    #31
  12. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    AK2 thanks for the info. To say the truth I am not seeking to go beyond the Artic Circle, only if I have the time I will but I would prefer to see a lot of what you show me in the pictures you share than just being somewhere with a lot of nothing. And if you have more info please do share
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    Damasovi
    #32
  13. twotracks

    twotracks Enjoying the Ride

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    What is the most economical way to ship a bike to Alaska? We would like to take the cruise line up then ride back. (Not the ferry ).

    Ride Safe
    RDR
    #33
  14. EdOriginal

    EdOriginal Been here awhile

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    If you can live with a KLR...keep an eye open for a used KLR (in Cycletrader, Craigslist, or Alaskan newspaper on the internet). I was scheduled to pickup a 2004 KLR for $2,700 (with bags) that someone had in Fairbanks...fail thru at the last minute but I saw 1/2 dozen opportunities. You save a lot of accomodations and gas by doing one way. If you don't need the bike when you get back sell IT! Would be cheaper than renting.

    Regarding the trip.
    Take a tent even if you don't plan on camping. Was with a guy 2 yrs ago who got stranded with no motels available for 200 miles. Pouring down rain and he ended up staying up all night.

    Camping food for me was not worth it. U really don't save that much money and waste a lot of time unless you like cooking.

    I agree Artic Circle is overblown...and is more a macho thing that will take 1 or 2 days away from more scenic sights. If you have the time though, Deadhorse is worth it.

    Lots of people do not seem to like the Alaskan Hwy...but the trip thru BC, Jasper/Albert, etc has amazing scenery and the trip back thru Cassier Hwy was a good change. You will hear different viewpoints based on weather and season (dates). Cassier seems to be preferred by most riders but I've been to AK 3 times and found on my last trip Cassier Hwy the most undesirable (probably because the roads were in such bad shape & it rained most of the way). You will find road work (pot holes) get fixed during a 3 month period so roadworkers and equipment to dodge during mid summer and less workers in early and later parts of summer. I've found approximately 80% of roads paved but you run into stretches of 30 miles of good pavement then 1 or 2 miles of potholes. I ran across 3 or 4 potholes that would have wrecked any bikers if they did not see it. Be prepared for rain...u will get several days of it. Also, early June trips will reward you with lots of newly borne elk, bears, moose, etc. Most animals are born in May/June time frame...Whitehorse is good place for tires...u can easily call mcycle shops to get prices or ship a tire as needed.

    To me the best part of traveling to Alaska is the Yukon Territory and all the great little side roads.
    #34
  15. Exurban

    Exurban Long timer

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    "Take a tent even if you don't plan on camping."

    Would it be reasonable to pack a hammock instead? I prefer to travel light and a hammock wouldn't take up much space. However, I would need two trees relatively close together to be of use. I realize much of the northwest contains trees but in places where I might need a place to camp will there also be trees? i.e. would I more likely get stuck in the tundra than not?
    #35
  16. Vbird

    Vbird In Room 237

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    I wasn't planning on camping-my first m/c camping experience was miserable-but I packed a tent & sleeping bag just in case.I ended up camping 11 nights out of the 21 that I was on the road.After a few nights,I prefered camping to the motels that are few and far between and $$$.I stayed in several scary dumps that were $80- $110.

    The skeeters will eat you alive in a hammock.
    #36
  17. treysmagna

    treysmagna Bald is beautiful

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    When I went to Alaska we camped out every night for four weeks and it saved us a bunch of money. A good tent is a must, but a good bivy sack will save you time and work great too. Several nights we slept on pic nic tables when it was raining too hard to set up the tent. Other nights when it was really nice out we just slept in our bivys beside the bikes. Like the night along the Prophet River
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/190194004/
    #37
  18. jbim

    jbim Been here awhile

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    I would say in case of "Emergency". Let's say you have a breakdown and are still too far from anything either way, you may want to call it a night and start planning for the next step in the morning. The tent would isolate you from bugs and rain in the middle of nowhere. If I was planning on "motelling", I would still bring a tent in case.
    #38
  19. jbim

    jbim Been here awhile

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    this may be a dump question (okay I'm asking for it) but why would you spend money on maps instead of a GPS?
    #39
  20. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    You know it sounds like it but it not a dumb question. Some of us actually prefer a paper map over a GPS, why? I like to see a lot more than the GPS gives me and it does not need bateries. Ok you can be for one or the other but at the end I just think is a choice rather than one being better than the other.

    I did a trip and use both GPS and paper maps, the GPS was too small to be use while ridding except for basic info, and paper maps where great to look at during eating time.

    My 2 cents about this thing
    Damasovi
    #40