Alaska One Time...

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Twojump36, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    It began something like "hey, you ever wanted to ride to Alaska?"...
    My riding partner Ray and I have done the Sturgis thing... a couple times... we've ridden to Reno / Tahoe.... done the PCH from Northern Oregon all the way to San Fran... done Laughlin... and just about every place West of the Rockies.
    When the Alaska topic came up, we both decided... Yeah... Let's do it. That was 4 years ago. Life, work, obligations, and you name it... it got in the way... Not this year! The planning started really last summer. Here is our trip plan...

    We both decided we want to see as much of Canada and Alaska as we can in the short three weeks we have to get this done... Ray is nearing retirement... me?... not so much... I have a few years to go so we blocked 3 weeks to do this...
    We both decided too, that we might want to take side trips around the general route so that could mean some gravel and dirt... also the real possibility that we will see road construction with more gravel. The Harley's could take a beating on this trip.

    The original plan was to ride up to Fairbanks, have the wives fly in and meet us... accompany us to Anchorage and take the Ferry back to Bellingham Washington and ride home to Oregon. When we looked at Ferry schedules, Rates and the 5 days on the boat with our wives... in a cabin that we'd have to rent... with food and drinks for 5 days... this got real very quick.
    The Ferry option was going to be over $4,000... for each of us and take five days. For a month or so we looked at almost every option... we finally decided, since Ray was going to have to spend about $2,500 on updating and doing maintenance on his bike before we would even leave, that it was going to be very expensive to take that ferry and loose 5 days in the process.

    I had heard of a company called Motoquest and seen some of their Youtube stuff so we contacted them and found we could rent a BMW GS1200 fully outfitted and ready to roll for the trip and only run about $1500 in the process... Then drop the bike off in Anchorage at their headquarters.
    I'm riding my new Alaska Twin so when we get to Anchorage, I'm dropping my bike off at Classic Motors where it'll get prepped and crated and sent to Alaska Car Transport where they'll ship the bike back to Tahoma Washington where I'll pick it up after we return.
    At that point, we will rent a car and tour the Keni Penninsula for 5 days... fish, sightseeing, train rides... tourist stuff. Then fly back to Portland Oregon....

    This is going to be the coolest thing we've done.
    #1
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  2. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    Sounds very cool! Very jealous

    P.S. Is the Alaska Twin the cold weather version of the African Twin?
    #2
  3. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    The plan looks something like this...

    July 7th... the date we picked for the start of the trip. Ray will have picked his rental bike up from Motoquest in Portland the day before and ridden it to his place to load it up... we kind of though about camping the whole way... then we thought,..."well maybe we should camp a couple days and motel it one time then camp a couple more days..." then we just decide to motel it up the whole way... We'd try to experience the "Alaska" feel along the way by staying in Cabins and small road-side hotels once we got up the road a few days.
    Neither of us have been to Canada and I only went to Alaska once for work about 25 years ago and flew in when I did... this is going to be a blast...

    We've both done 600 plus mile days on our touring bikes but those days were not real enjoyable from an "experience" point of view... yeah we covered miles but what did we ride by?.. and we were both worn out for the next day's ride, so we decided to keep it to 350 miles or less if we could. We also have chosen the most direct route to Dawson Creek... the start of the Alcan Highway.

    7-7 Day one's goal will be to get from our homes in Northwest Oregon into Canada and at least to Chilliwack BC and stay at a Best Western or something similar... 348 miles on the day
    7-8 Day two should find us in Quesnel BC and again staying in a chain hotel... I think there isn't much to see from some of the videos, but we'll see what happens... 349 miles on the day
    7-9 Day three we get to Dawson Creek... and the start of the Alcan. For the night, we decided to go to Fort St John... more than what we wanted to run but... 370 miles on the day
    7-10 Day four we wanted to get as far as we could but still want to give a little time to be flexible and stop to see the sights if we wanted... Toad River Lodge looks about right... 354 miles on the day
    7-11 Day five we get to Watson Lake YT and we want to tour the Signpost Forest... relax a little at Cedar Lodge Hotel.. maybe some bike maintenance? In the very least, get some beers and eat a lot... 202 miles on the day
    7-12 Day six if everything works out, we should be in Haines junction by the afternoon and having beers outside the room at the Alcan Motor Inn while we wait for the clothes to wash and dry... 367 miles on the day
    7-13 Day seven is planned out to be at the Burnt Paw Outback Cabins in Tok Alaska... we made it almost. Supposed to be a Pizza and Beer someplace near here... 290 miles on the day
    7-14 Day eight... if everything is still ok, we will be in Fairbanks at the Best Western Pioneer Park Inn. There we will unload our stuff and do some bike maintenance for the next day... 202 miles on the day
    7-15 Day nine... July 15th is Arctic Circle day. Ray and I head up the Dalton to the AC get a sticker take a picture and head back because the wives get into town today. longest day... 388 miles on the day
    7-16 Day ten, wash the bikes, and sightseeing... Salmon Bake, Santa's House, Chatenika, the Dredge, and who knows what...
    7-17 Day eleven we head down the Parks Hwy to Healy to the White Moose Lodge... drink some beer and relax. Maybe a trip into Denali Nat Park? or maybe more beer... 108 miles on the day
    7-18 Day twelve we are going to Talkeetna. Staying at the Denali Fireside Cabins... hope to take a flight around Mt McKinley before we leave... but more beer for sure... 164 miles on the day
    7-19 Day thirteen is spent getting to Anchorage. Wash the bikes again and unload the gear at the Best Western. 115 miles on the day
    7-20 Day fourteen July 20th is where the ride ends... Ray's bike goes to Motoquest and I take the Africa Twin to Classic Motors... the girls pic us up in a bar someplace in Anchorage...
    Day 15, 16, 17, This is where we tour the Kenai Peninsula... fish the Kenai, train trip to Seward, Homer, Soldotna... who knows...
    7-24 Day18... we fly out of Anchorage back to Portland....

    If any of you inmates see something that doesn't look right, have suggestions, see a problem or have any advise... I sure would appreciate your comments...
    #3
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  4. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    LOL... it is on this trip....
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  5. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    Sounds like a blast... too bad you only have a short amount of time to make the trip up to Alaska... going less than 400mi per day leaves you a lot of time to stop and smell the roses along the way & explore nearby places....
    #5
  6. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    I actually looked at a different route and running the Cassiar Hwy 37... I can shave a day off the travel time but it'd cost seeing sights on the way up...
    From Quesnel to New Hazelton to Dease Lake to Johnson Crossing to Beaver Creek to Fairbanks.... and I wouldn't be able to go to Hyder or take our time in Watson Lake or even see Dawson Creek....
    What this means is we'll need to do an Alaska One Time 2.0
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  7. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer Supporter

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    Nothing in Watson lake but a bunch of signs....nothing in Dawson Creek but one sign....nothing in New Hazelton but a gas station....nothing in Deese Lake except for the Tin Rooster...nothing in Beaver Creek....but....the road into Hyder/Stewart is on of the most beautiful roads in Canada....the Salmon Glacier is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
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  8. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    I kinda’ figured Alaska 2.0 since you and Ray only had 3 weeks and are hitting the must see along the way.... I did the same to get the obligatory photos at Dawson Creek and Watson Lake...

    If you have the time, I would recommend heading up to Dawson City (between day 5 & 6) taking Hwy 2 just past Whitehorse; that is a great place to visit and on your way out head to the Top of the World Hwy into Tok...

    Take lots of pics and have a blast with the wives.... will be looking fwd to your ride report....
    #8
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  9. tellicotom

    tellicotom Been here awhile

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    Seems like a pretty rigorously planned trip. Good to have a plan, but good to be flexible in case bike issues come up or you hit some really crappy rain days or you find a place you want to go to that isn't planned.


    We really enjoyed Liard Hot Springs and the Hot Springs north and east of Fairbanks. We also had a good time with good music in Hippie Hope, AK.
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  10. BikerBill

    BikerBill Motorcycle Addict

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    In 2015 I rode north on the Cassiar to Stewart/Hyder, then on to Fairbanks, Coldfoot, Dead Horse. The return trip I took the Alcan all the way south because I wanted to ride the Alcan entirely. It was a mistake IMO. 37A from the Cassiar to Hyder is only about 45 miles but it's one of the most scenic roads I traveled during my 4 week, 12,000 mile trip.
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  11. fjmartin

    fjmartin Been here awhile

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    I'm taking the Alaska Ferry from Bellingham to Haines and then working my way north to Deadhorse. I arrive in Haines on July 9th and will start heading out towards Haines Junction, Destruction Bay, Fairbanks and then North to Deadhorse. Timing might work out where I can give you all a wave as we pass each other. If luck works, let's have a beer! Look for a little orange bike with a little dude riding it!

    Joe
    #11
  12. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    If we decide to run that inside route on the Cassiar, we might acutaly be in the same place.... It'll take us 3 1/2 days to get to Hyder... if we stay with the 350 per day thing... The more I think about the Cassiar the more it interests me... I think the soonest we can be to Haines Junction will be...July 12th?
    I bet we run into each other at some point! I look forward to that beer...
    #12
  13. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer Supporter

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    The Cassiar is wonderful....no traffic....no RV's....watch out for wildlife, the vegetation grows right up to the side of the road.
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  14. windypoint

    windypoint Been here awhile

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    If you go the rental way, Phil at Motoquest is a good guy. I have done a couple of trips with him in South America and Japan.
    #14
  15. Dragonflylily

    Dragonflylily One Women -Two wheels

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    Seward is absolutely beautiful, hike up Mt. Marathon, visit Exit Glacier, fabulous library, Sea Life Center and so much more.
    Loved living in Seward. Try to squeeze it in.
    Shrimp from Resurrection Bay, shazam! 20171019_104826.jpg IMG_20160712_123442511.jpg
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  16. Dragonflylily

    Dragonflylily One Women -Two wheels

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    Off Nash Rd in Seward.
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  17. Marcham

    Marcham Been here awhile

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    Sounds like a great trip.

    Overall, the Cassiar is a much more enjoyable ride than the Alaska Highway. But, you wouldn't be able to say you drove the Alaska Highway from end to end. Is that worth it? Only you can answer that.

    The Cassiar roadway is in better condition, there's a lot less construction and a lot less truck traffic. The hardest sections to ride on my trip were the construction zones (sometimes 50km at a time) with lot of freshly laid, unpacked gravel on the AK hwy. When it rained, visibility was near zero and I had to hope there was no truck in my lane going the other way. I was riding on Metzeller Tourance, wish I had something a little knobbier like a Heidenau K60. My Tourances were finished after 8000km. I later installed some Shinko 705s which handled better on the construction sections and overall seemed to last longer on the chip seal.

    If you skip the Cassiar, you'll also miss the road to Stewart BC (hwy 37A) which was one of the best from my ride last summer. There was a lot more wildlife on the Cassiar than the Alaska Hwy, probably due to the reduced traffic. The only part of the Alaska Hwy which was a good moto road was about 1 hr leading up to Muncho Lake (East of Liard River) and the road going around the lake. The rest is just a a trucking road that's been gradually straightened over the years. For the most part, not a lot of curves or hills. When I go back to AK, I'm taking the Cassiar. Watson Lake to Liard Hotsprings (highly recommended) is only about 2 hrs , you could still get that into your trip if you wanted to.

    If you have time, riding up to Quesnel via Hwy 99 (Whistler) is well worth it, unless you've done that one before.

    If you want to do anything in Denali, book it well in advance. I'd book it now.

    Wear good quality, warm, waterproof gear. Temps can be anywhere from 40 to 85F. I was in AK 5 days, it rained 5 days! I used my heated vest every day in northern BC, YT and AK (late June, early July).\

    I spent nearly 3 weeks (including 1 day off for Dust 2 Dawson): Winnipeg - Drumheller - Icefields Parkway - Dawson Creek - Dawson City- Tok - Denali - Homer - Glennallen - Whitehorse - Stewart - Smithers - Cache Creek - Merritt - Princeton - Rossland - Creston - Medicine Hat - Winnipeg. You've got lots of time ... as long as you don't try to see everything at once! Make sure you plan time in your day for photo stops. I lost 1 day due to an unplanned tire change, rest went off without a hitch. I had nothing booked except for 2 nights in Dawson City ... but then again I was camping all the way.
    #17
  18. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    I've re-routed a few times here and I think it's going to be a game time decision.... when we leave on July 7th our plan is to get to Chilliwack... the next day to Quesnel... if we get to either of these two places and still feel like we want to keep going, then we'll decide what to do... I'd really like to ride that Cassiar route... but services look to be a little sparce... (we are hoteling all the way) we have to be in Fairbank by the 14th and hit the Arctic Circle on the 15th... (weather permitting) other than that we are good to go. Ray and I just met and talked about the itinerary... and we are both open for whatever, and totally flexible. Planning a ride with Ray is like planning a ride with yourself... we have been on the same page since we've been riding together... that's been a long time.
    I can't see us going up the Cassiar and not stopping at Hyder to see the bears and that Glacier (Salmon Glacier?)... but that adds a hundred miles to the trip... not a deal breaker, but it will kind of depend on how tired we are on these new bikes.
    Ray is renting a BMW GS 1200 from Motoquest... they are an amazing group. Again I'm riding a brand new Africa Twin and neither of us know what to really expect out of these bikes... we know what we can get our of our touring cruisers but this is a little different. I'm 54 and Ray is 65 and we are in pretty good shape for the shape we are in... I'm gonna need a few beers every night and Ray will too so as long as we can put in some miles I think we could make the Cassiar work.
    But then that opens up another can of worms... if we are going to miss the start of the Alcan and the photo of Mile "0" and the Sign Forest at Watson lake, we might as well hit Hwy 2 out of Whitehorse and run up to Dawson and into Fairbanks... but that's a lot of "picking them up and laying them down" with no room for any errors along the way... and on gravel?
    When Ray and I finished the converstation, I think we decided to stay with the original plan on this trip and like we did on our first Sturgis ride... once we do this trip we start thinking about the things we want to see next trip...

    I see an Alaska One Time 2.0 on the horizon...
    #18
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  19. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    Keep the suggestions coming you guys.... and girls... nothing is etched in stone and we have 6 months to go before we have to get a hard plan together.
    those pictures of Seward are very cool... though I'm not hiking to the top of that hill... no shot!
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  20. Twojump36

    Twojump36 Been here awhile

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    BTW I mounted my Garmin 650T Montana GPS to the bike with some RAM mounts and a wiring kit from Garmin... I also ordered a fused wire harness with 6 switchable circuits to power it up... when I get that harness, I'll post some pics of the setup.
    I have put almost 600 miles on the bike since I bought it on Nov 11th... been tough because it's been so cold out here in Oregon. the bike will go in, in a month or so to get serviced and get the break-in oil out... I'll have them wire in the Optional 12v plug into the bike then.... should never have came without one in my opinion.
    The planning is fun!
    #20