Alaska; is June ok or is July a must?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by BOHUNTR, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

    Sep 29, 2003
    Over the rear wheel
    You mention bringing either a .357 or a .44 Mag. If it were me, I'd go for the .44; the .357 isn't big enough for the larger mosquitoes. :rofl

    But if you think it will defend against bears, you'd better be awfully good, and the bear had better be mighty small. As one poster said - you only need one round for a big bear - to use on yourself. :eek1

    Gosh, sometimes I wonder how I've managed to survive 50 years up here without a gun in my hand most of the time. Have yet to carry one on a bike, and still manage to sleep comfortably in a tent. Someday I'll have to find where all those bears hang out so I can at least get some photos of them.

    Personally, I'd be more concerned about surviving the traffic in Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as the highways in every direction - with all those rubber-necking RV drivers added to our own kamikaze-emulating cagers.

    Forget the gun - save the room for raingear, bug dope, and lotsa money. On the way home you can carry raingear, souvenirs, and receipts. :ricky
  2. rapidrider

    rapidrider rapidrider

    Feb 14, 2002
    Pacific North West-USA
    As one who has spent a considerable amount of time traveling all of Alaska I would just say that if you are riding the roads of Alaska your chances of a hostile bear encounter are very slim.

    Though Alaska has vast wilderness areas it is pretty civilized around the road system. Parks and campgrounds most likely will be quite safe. If you carry a large can of bear spray and keep a clean camp with your food supply stored away from your tent you will most likely have little trouble with bear encounters. If hiking... make some noise. Use some common sense. Your not at the zoo so don't approach wild animals or their young. They are more frightened of you than you should be of them. Bear spray (not mace... make sure its labeled Bear Spray) can be taken into and out of Canada unlike hand guns.

    If you feel a firearm is still required... a 12ga shotgun with slugs and buckshot is more effective bear protection. Even that would be a hassle transporting in Canada.

    Hell... just ride and enjoy with out worrying too much about bears.

    I have never had a serious bear encounter after spending much time in Alaska and British Columbia. If a particular Park or camp has a local bear problem it is usually posted and in extreme cases may result in a temporary closure until the problem is resolved. After-all... it's bad PR if the tourists are eaten by the local wild critters.

    Bet your chances of stepping on a rattler in Texas is greater than a bear encounter in Alaska or BC.

    You might also check the Federal regulations on shipping handguns. UPS or Fedex will ship them but I think only from a private party to a licensed dealer or manufacturer or visa/versa.

    Have fun... oh, and watch out for the moose... they can be a bigger problem.

  3. KMS6

    KMS6 Mountains and Motorcycles ...... and Hockey Supporter

    Aug 25, 2005
    Washington the State
    We'll be leaving on May 31st and returning on June 21st, most of the reading I've done says June is a good time to go as far as weather and bugs. I'm wondering how most riders handle the long daylight hours? Is it tough to get decent sleep, especially when camping?
  4. Exurban

    Exurban Long timer

    Sep 14, 2007
    Wilmington, DE
    You mean I can't just shoot 'em?:D
  5. Frontiersman

    Frontiersman Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2007
    Fairbanks, AK
    Bohuntr, you can't go wrong visiting Alaska in June. As for carring that is always a personel choice, but the fact of the matter is unless you want to spend a lot of time on the ferry, you will have to go into Canada and they don't take kindly to firearms. It just isn''t worth the trouble. If you are intrested in the ferry go to As for fishing I would recomend getting a copy of "highway angler IV" by Gunnar Pedersen. It lists all the road accessible lakes and streams for Alaska, as well as best fishing times and tackle recommendations.

    BOHUNTR Character and Honor Count

    Sep 22, 2005
    MacDuff, Scotland
    I guess I'll leave the firearm in Wa State when I head to AK. I normally carry a gun everywhere I go. I'm ex-military and have worked as a medic, bodyguard or security consultant in some of the most hostile places on earth. For me, it's something I put on in the morning along with my belt, I'm 42 and bet I've had a weapon on me or in my vehicle almost everyday since I was 14 or so.

    It's not that I must have it, it's more like I'm not used to, or have never even thought of, being without it. No big deal.

    I am going to take fly fishing lessons from a place here in Austin, so I can be prepared to fish along the way. I don't know what, if any particular species is legal, but I will eat about anything. I love fish, one of my favorite meals. I am guessing that I can get 2-3 day fishing permits in most of the states I would want to fish in. I have looked through some local states fish and game websites, and they seem to be common.

    It looks like June will be my month! I will most likely leave Austin in mid-late May and must make it back by the end of June. I can shorten my visitations with friends, but I don't want to push the trip faster or shorter. I want to enjoy the scenery and catch up on my reading and sightseeing in the afternoons. Once I start the P.A. program, no time off for 30 months.:eek1
  7. Bill 310

    Bill 310 Poser Emeritus Super Supporter

    Dec 4, 2002
    Slip 35
    Hi, I did a small Alaska ride in June 2006 and have been laying out a route for this June for 3 of us. We plan to ride 5,000 miles round trip in 3 weeks and I am already concerned that that is too big a route with 2 days in Dawson for D2D to properly see the area we are riding in. All of us are IBA members who are used to riding big miles every day and based on our experience in the north you can't depend on anything to be smooth, it can happen, but you could have 1500 miles of construction and crappy roads or smooth sailing. Travel in Alaska is like that proverb about God paraphrased

    When we plan
    Alaska Highways and Weather laughs

    We are planning 3 weeks for 3 years to see AK and the Yukon reasonably well.

    I have ridden across Texas 4 times so please understand when I explain that generally 1 Alaska mile will always take far longer than 5 Texas Miles.

    In 2006 I rode Vancouver (5,000 miles in total) to just past Tok, visited Skagway, Whitehorse, Dawson City,the Cassier and rode the Alaska highway from milepost 30 west as far as Tok. I rode 18 -20 hours a day (it never got dark) and never got to really see much. I think that you have daily mileage goals (a tank of gas) and time constraints (5-7 days) that will not get you to see much of Alaska.

    Tires wear really fast on the chipseal and I barely made it home on one set (half my usual tire mileage)

    I have taken the Port Hardy to Prince Rupert Ferry and it is a great trip but expensive.

    Have you priced the Bellingham to Alaska ferry ride?.

    It will cost you more than you think, I spoke to the AK Ferry office last week and it was close to 900.00 without a cabin. Bikes and passengers both have to pay separately

    If you really want to see Alaska and do the state right I would suggest flying there with your gear and renting a KLR for 3 weeks, it would likely be cheaper and you could do Prudoe, Inuvik and all the neat places Alaska has to offer on someone else's bike

    Re the Gun - forget it. If you were ever in a situation where a gun was needed you would need a long gun. Once you see a Grizzly the one bullet advice will be very clear :rofl

    Have fun
  8. Davis53

    Davis53 Been here awhile

    Apr 29, 2005
    Northern California
    I am also in the process of planning an Alaska trip for 08. With limited long distance travel motorcycle experience, I am thinking about the ferry or taking the truck with the motorcycles in tow for day trips.

    Any suggestions for books to read for travel information?
  9. Cubdriver

    Cubdriver Mostly Vertical

    Aug 3, 2007
    Palmer, Alaska
    Davis, you will get as much good info on this site as any book will tell you. But THe Milepost which is published every Spring, is the best source for road info up here. Ive never done the Alcan on a bike, but lots of folks do. Just be prepared for long days, carry gas and camping gear. There has been a lot of discussion on this thread about carrying a gun. The odds are VERY small that you would need one unless you plan on going very remote, like hiring a pilot to take you where you are alone. If you camp on the Alcan you might get pestered a little by bears, but with other people around, problems are minimal. Having said that, I will say that I go remote a fair amount up here and almost never am unarmed. There are lots of stories of maulings that happen, and I choose not to be one of them. I have gotten charged by two bears, and it is a life-changing experience. I was lucky both times, the charges were bluffs, and I am not sure I would have had time to react if I was armed. But I will be prepared the next time. But on the road system, don't bother. The odds are low. If you stay in cheap hotels in Anchorage, 'nuther story.
  10. davevv

    davevv One more old rider

    Aug 17, 2006
    Just north of Dallas
    June is a fine time to ride in Alaska. I flew into Anchorage last summer and picked up a new Uly there on 6-19. Rode it home to Dallas over about three and a half weeks and 5300 miles. The roads up there do get a little hard on tires. I changed my rear in Missoula at about 3200 miles. It could have gone a bit farther, but not a whole lot. You can find my ride report here if you're interested.
  11. BV1

    BV1 Adventurer

    Jan 6, 2008
    Have you considered a board with a nail in it?



  12. Daggy

    Daggy Wondering ...

    Jul 29, 2007
    What's that nail gonna do?

    Better tie yer Ka-Bar to the end of a long sturdy stick!
  13. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

    Feb 22, 2007
    Granbury Texas
    ALaska is very un-predictable, went late last May and had shit weather. Every year is different. I would say go. Weather is part of the adventure. Take Bear Spray and DEET, everthing else is baggage. Bring lots of cash, gas is expensive, especially in Canada. Camping is excellent all along the way. Plenty of food places. Gas up at every chance. Watch for RV's. Now, just go do it, you will love it. Take the ferry one way. Keep you eyes wide open. You will see Bears, Moose,Buffalo,Deer, and alot of other animals. Enjoy.
  14. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

    Mar 18, 2006
    We went mid June till the end of July. If you added all of our rain together it amounted to about 2 days over 6 weeks. Brilliant ! Spring was late in 07 so much earlier would have been tricky. As it was we still couldnt get anywhere near Salmon Glacier in the back of Hyder because of the snow
  15. PistolaPete

    PistolaPete Adventurer

    Jan 26, 2008
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Hey man I went there last year in late Sept and it was great NO bugs at all, little snow and 28 deg but what a trip and bears well I saw two and they could care less about me if you know what I mean its like to see one you have to be on the look out and then some.
  16. rpilottx

    rpilottx Long timer

    Feb 16, 2004
    El Paso
    I rode to Alaska in 2003 leaving El Paso on Memorial Day weekend(late May). We got snowed on in Montana (also got snowed on in Utah and Idaho this year the second week of June) and a bit of sleet in southern BC but Alaska itself was fine Generally, the later in the summer you go, the better the chance of rain.

    You can catch the ferry in Bellingham, Washington. It is three and a half days to Haines which is as far north as you can go on that route. It is still 750 miles to Anchorage and you have to go thru Canada and the Yukon.

    I just retired after carrying a gun for the government for 31 years (Marines and federal law enforcement) so I think I can say with some authority "DITCH THE HANDGUN!"

    By the way, I have in-laws in Alaska and have done lots of wilderness travel up there and have never found a need for a handgun although I carried a .454for years. It was a great comfort but never needed. A good friend guides fly fishing trips and does not even bother with CS spray.

    If you get caught trying to smuggle a handgun across the border, you will go to jail. If you really think you need a handgun, get online and find an FFL dealer in Anchorage or Fairbanks and ship it to them. You might try "Wild West Guns in Anchorage. Jim West makes some really fine guns that WILL stop a charging grizzly. His 45-70 Copilot comes to mind. It is a breakdown rifle which can be carried on a bike and might be legal in Canada since it is a rifle. But it cost upwards of $2500. I have one and could be talked into making you a deal.

    A couple years ago I flew a Customs Blackhawk up to Sweetwater, Montana to help celebrate the opening of the joint port with US and Canadian Customs in the same building. Even though I was there on official business and was an armed federal agent, we had to surrender our handguns if we crossed into the Canadian part of the building. The Canadians are really great people but their officials take handguns very seriously.
  17. LadyDraco

    LadyDraco KillerSmileIHazIt !!

    Dec 10, 2007
    Some of the best roads in the east..
    Did anyone have a problem at the Can. line ?? in or out...
    We are planing to go this June ourselves... Ride in and out.... :ricky
    Thinking of the Passport card or should we get the reg. passport book ????