Alaska July 2016 - Planning, Prepping, Psyching

Discussion in 'Americas' started by -Chris-, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    While I have seen far more bears along the Alcan than the Cassiar (on one early spring trip south I gave up counting when I reached 50 before getting down to Dawson Creek - and saw nearly 100 total on the round trip, including the rare Kermode black bear), it is along the Cassiar that more have been seen coming out onto the road. Probably due to there being less traffic on that route.

    Riding north on the Wing back in August '06, still a fair distance south of Dease Lake near sundown, blackies started coming out of the brush on the left (west) side of the road. A few toots on the fairly loud horns would send them scurrying back whence they came. Then I came on a larger grizz who wasn't to be deterred in his ramblings. The choices were somewhat limited: A. Hit the brakes and risk coming to a stop within a few feet of its path. B. Hit the gas and risk having the bear decide to see if it could beat me to the crossing, possibly meeting before either of us accomplished our chosen mission and having a bruised, and now angry, bruin to contend with. C. Play chicken with the bear.

    Having spent plenty of time around old-time big game guides, listening to their tales of bear encounters, I knew most bears could be bluffed by something unknown to them so I chose C. Stood up on the pegs, started tooting the horn in a staccato rythm, and accelerated straight at the bear. It worked. Although the bear didn't whirl and run into the brush, it did turn around and saunter away, which was good enough for me.

    Most of the bears I've surprised while on the bike will get out of clearings and head into brush or timber so as to disappear if they feel that is the safest thing for them to do. Then they will stop and look back to evaluate the thing that caused them to bolt. On a ride over to Dawson City a few summers ago the Wing had an aggressive knobby mounted on the front end. (Don't ask!) It whined, very loudly. As I got within about 100 yards of a good-sized grizz grazing at the side of the road, it stood up on its hind legs, spun around in a complete 360 degree twist to see what sort of monster was about to attack it and, once it spotted me, dashed off into the trees where it stopped to eyeball this ominous-sounding contraption. Then it continued walking farther into the burned over tiaga as I proceeded on toward Chicken, a big grin plastered on my puss.
    jBreeze, FLARider1 and scarysharkface like this.
  2. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Just remember - Bear spray for the bears, a 12 gauge for the mosquitoes. :nod
    FLARider1 likes this.
  3. Gvrider

    Gvrider Adventurer

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    July 1 through Aug 1 2016 for me solo on a 15 R1200GSW A from Nor Cal. I'm sure Ill see a lot of you guys in BC, YT, and AK.
    Entering Canada Hwy 97 July 5. Enderby, Quesnel, Dawson Creek, Ft Nelson, Liard River Hot Springs, Whitehorse, Dawson City, Tok, Fairbanks, Coldfoot, Deadhorse, South to the Kenai, Homer, Seward, Tok, Haines, Load the bike on the big ferry and 3 days on the "poor mans" cruise back to Bellingham Washington .

    have pumped out 700 mi days in my youth but gonna enjoy this one with no more than 325 mi days and free days in Dawson City and Fairbanks area.

    I am willing to get any advice from the vets on AK or give any info i've learned from my research on this ride.

    John M
    scarysharkface likes this.
  4. wingnut11

    wingnut11 generally strange

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    I see this is your first post here. So welcome and good luck with the trip. My advice is simple, enjoy every minute. You never know when you'll get to do such a cool trip again.
  5. Gvrider

    Gvrider Adventurer

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    Thanks Wingnut, for the welcome, You can bet I will.
  6. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Faking it/Making it

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    Looks like a great plan.

    John
  7. xjwheeler

    xjwheeler Adventurer

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    Looks like theres going to be quite a few of us heading up the AK this year! Three high school buddies and I will be heading up that way as well around the first of July. They'll be heading out from Ohio and I'll be leaving from Charlotte with plans to meet in St Louis and work our way west with a day or two stop on Bowen Island with my Fiance's family, work up BC, over to Denali, and then up to Fairbanks before heading to Deadhorse. Maybe we'll get the chance to meet up with some of you along the way!

    Kyle
    N8marsh likes this.
  8. Peter640

    Peter640 Peter 640

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    Great thread this is very helpful we (an Aussie and two Kiwis) leave Fernie BC on 3rd or 4th June to ride to Prudoe Bay ... so thank you for running this thread!

    Looks like we will be a little earlier than you guys .... I will have come over from East (bike is parked in UpState NY now) vis NS NF and Trans Lab (I hope!). Kiwis coming up from LA.

    Will watch this thread with interest.

    Peter
  9. Peter640

    Peter640 Peter 640

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    Subscribed
  10. slothy

    slothy Adventurer

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    hoping to get the time off and leave July 1st and be back in Michigan July 18th
    scarysharkface likes this.
  11. StrokedNBored

    StrokedNBored Been here awhile

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    Next they'll be trying to convince us that they shit there too....

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G928A using Tapatalk
  12. MotoDuro

    MotoDuro MadDawg

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    I'm adding myself onto the list of northbound riders. I'll be on my heavily modified 90 XT600E, departing sometime in late May/Early July from Kansas City, with my destination set on that dead horse up by the arctic ocean I keep hearing about.

    Planning on taking 6 or so weeks, might hit D2D if I'm there at the right time. By the sounds of it I'll probably flip some of you guys off on the way. :ken
  13. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

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    MotoDuro
    Is this your idea of a ride?
    He was in Chicken, Alaska last Aug.
    [​IMG]
  14. Mustang28027

    Mustang28027 Been here awhile

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    Add me into the thread. I want to do the trip this year. Im on a 2002 Yamaha FZ1. I did a 62 day, 19k mile trip out west last year. I like to tent camp rather than hoteling it. Id like to do the Dalton but my concern is for the tire grip in the dust and if it gets wet. up there. I like to run Michelin Pilot Road 4s. Anyone else running street tires on the Dalton?
    Dave
  15. XXMe

    XXMe Not my picture

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    Broken record here... Go to the Alaska Regional Forum and read the pinned (stickied) threads by Alcan Rider... Alaska Primer, Haul Road Primer etc. his stuff will answer a lot of questions.

    Oh, it's not IF it gets wet, it's WHEN it gets wet...
  16. jathkajoe

    jathkajoe Been here awhile

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    Mustang,
    Find trip report on rick3foxes AK trip last year. If I recall correctly, he rode a Concours C10 with those tires and gave a report on them.

    Jathkajoe.
    travelingguy likes this.
  17. Mustang28027

    Mustang28027 Been here awhile

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    Thanks, Bro!

    Dave
  18. MotoDuro

    MotoDuro MadDawg

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    eemsreno

    Hell yeah!

    That guy makes me wonder if I'm overdoing the bike prep though. :lol3

    [​IMG]
    eemsreno likes this.
  19. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    While they aren't everyone's first choice, every year there are a few riders who make the trek to Deadhorse and back on street tires. It depends primarily on the rider's experience on substandard surfaces. I watched one bike, shod with TKC80s, go down when a street tire probably would have done better. Hard-packed dirt, freshly watered for grading, added up to something akin to ice and the knobs couldn't get a good grip. A street tire with more siping would have held on better.

    Personally, I'm a fan of dropping tire pressures about 30% for the Dalton and/or Dempster, but when the late John Ryan set the record for Deadhorse to Key West in 2009 he went all the way on street tires running them at full pressure for the highway so he didn't have to spend time adjusting pressure.
    [​IMG]

    On the way north, snow on Atigun Pass held him up for a few hours until the sun came up and it melted -
    [​IMG]

    My KLR with TKC80s made it to the top, but snow on top of ice was too much for the street ME880s. BTW - that photo was taken at 1:00 AM June 18th when the weather was still pretty chilly. By afternoon the hill was just wet gravel.

    While I haven't gone all the way to Deadhorse on street tires, in '01 I took my overloaded Concours north of the Yukon on bias-ply ME880s with no problems and the road was in much worse shape back then.
    [​IMG]

    Rather than depend on the tires to get you there and back, get some practice on loose surfaces with your bike loaded as it will be for the trip. You'll be thankful you did.
  20. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

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    All you guys heading north that are on real Adventure bikes, you should really consider some of the best prettiest remote roads up that way.
    That would be the South Canol Road. And side trails.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The North Canol Road. And side trails.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That was the Highlight of my trip up there.
    But then again everything was a Highlight!
    rideslikeafish likes this.