Alaska or Bust on Versys X-300 with Goldwing and NC700 trying to keep up

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Fuzzy74, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Recently retired so now have time I have never had before. Starting to put together plans for a 2-month trip to Alaska from Tennessee In June / July 2019. I have a good friend considering joining me on his Goldwing. Expect the trip to take full 2 months with 12,000+ mile of riding. I drove the Alaskan highway in '86 in a van with family from where I was working in Alberta, and visited again in '07 by cruise ship, plus bus and train through Denali and up to Fairbanks. No interest in haul road as few I have talked to consider the road anything but a challenge to allow them to say they have done it, but not particularly fun. It is not about the destination but the journey seeing as much as we can on the way. Will be a mix of camping with occasional hotel.

    Initial rough idea of route is to work northwest from Tennessee through South Dakota Black Hills, Yellowstone, then north along Alberta / British Columbia border picking up the highway in Dawson Creek, B.C. Turn north at Whitehorse to Dawson City for D2D, then over Top of World Highway into Alaska. Back south to Haines Alaska. Couple days break from riding taking the Alaskan Ferry to Prince Rupert, B.C. then work south into eastern Washington towards Utah before turning back east to Tennessee.

    Only significant gravel will probably be Top of the World Highway for a day.

    I have 4500 miles on X-300. I have a center stand and T-Rex skid plate installed. I have SWM crash bars to be installed. A Corbin seat and Madstadd windscreen are on order. Need to get all the tools and learn to use them to repair a tube tire on the road. I’ve plugged multiple tubeless, but that is a piece of cake compared to removal of tire. Previous time in Dawson City it was 85 degrees and we were trying to get hotel room cooled down to sleep. Shower head spraying 40 degree water works to cool air but I don’t expect to see those temps and sunshine twice in a row that far north. I have Gerbing heated jacket and gloves. My feet tend to get cold and I use HotHands toe warmers for them. Will camp most of the trip.

    I will start with fully serviced bike with new tires, chain, sprockets and valve adjustment Expect to need at least one more rear before finishing the trip. Stock rear only lasted 4,000 miles. Running Shinko 705 now with just a couple tanks of gas with them on.

    I plan to camp most nights.

    My wife doesn’t ride but says if I am leaving home for 2 months she is going somewhere too and it is up to me to find temporary lodging for Deuce, our 13 year old blue lacy. I’d put him in a trailer but that might be a bit much for the 300cc traveling over 12,000 miles. He would like it though. A few months to work something out so hopefully not a show stopper. Probably put him in a dog B&B for the duration.
    Deuce.jpg
    Deuce

    Any and all advice is welcome.
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  2. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    From X-300 Thread:
    Thanks for tips.

    Even if tires capable of making the trip there are possible punctures on the way. I want a tire I can reasonably get off for repair on the side of the road. I'd rather replace one on the trip than be stuck on side of road unable to get the Avon off and back on.

    I put a cramp buster on another bike and nearly had a couple accidents accidently bumping it so I threw it away. Have a throttle lock installed already.

    I'll check valves just prior to trip and hopefully they will be OK for the trip. At a minimum I will be back in U.S. to find a dealer to help. I will put new chain and sprockets on and at minimum carry spare links if not entire chain. I have a Tutoro Oiler to install. Have one on my NC700 and it does great for chain life.
    #2
  3. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Another from 300 thread.
    Thanks for input.

    I won't travel to artic circle just for the picture by sign. 500 mile round trip of gravel. I don't want to dip a toe in the artic ocean, I already have cold feet. That said there are some good ride reports of the highway. Will likely depend on time and weather when I am there.

    I have 705s on with 500 miles. Will have a few thousand on them before trip and will start with new rubber. Also new chain and new sprockets with Tutoro oiler installed. I have center stand.

    I have a sheep skin from Alaskan Leather. New Corbin on order. Will test sheep skin on top of Corbin if needed. It does soak up water.
    #3
  4. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

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    I'm watching.
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  5. dceggert

    dceggert Been here awhile

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    Yup, me too....
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  6. jmcarter

    jmcarter Been here awhile Supporter

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    Assume you’ve read Tewster’s thread on his WR250 Alaska trip (plus many others), if not it’s required reading for you.
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  7. KKORO

    KKORO Been here awhile

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    I did a similar trip in 2017. I'm going again this year, starting from Northern Michigan on May 19.

    The Top of the World is actually a paved road that has turned to gravel. If it's not raining too much, it's a pretty easy ride. I went through 3 showers on my ride and I didn't have any trouble at all. If it's constant rain, I've been told, it gets pretty slippery. Just after you pass the border there is a run of very nice paved road. From that point to Chicken is a dirt road. I can't remember how long the road is, but it's a ways and was part of a lot of construction -- some of it very rough. Past Chicken there was the roughest patch of construction that I encountered on the trip. It was about 6 miles of rough, loose dirt and deep mud. Hopefully, all that construction will be done this year. Construction zones were an ever present occurrence. One of them was 51 km long. Pay attention to the posted speed limits if, like me, you don't have much dirt experience. It'll be slow progress, but you'll make it.

    If it fits your plans, you should take the Ice Fields Parkway to Jasper (AB 93). It's 156 km between gas stops, so fill up before you go. Not sure what the mileage for your bike will be, but my Gen1 KLR didn't have any trouble. Whenever possible ask locals about gas stops. If one is closed, it can be a long way to the next. However, gas stops are plentiful enough if you plan.

    You'll probably want to hit Dawson Creek either coming or going, (nice sign to take a picture) but I found going to Prince George and up the Cassiar a better route. My suggestion, and it's what I did, was to take the Cassiar on your way to Whitehorse and follow the Alcan on your way back. Many will suggest you take the Ice Fields Parkway both ways. I wanted to travel the length of the Alcan to see what it was like, so I didn't do that. I probably will do that this time. The Canadian Prairies are better than the northern tier of the States, but still pretty boring.

    I rode on Mitas E-07's on my last trip. I can't say enough good things about them. They lasted the entire 10,000 mile trip with lots of tread left. They were starting to square off though. They had 12,000 miles when I sold the KLR and still had tread enough to ride. I highly recommend them both for longevity, comfort and rough road conditions. I'd buy them again for this year's trip, but they changed the tires to E-07 Plus and they, reputedly, don't get the mileage. In the size you need, they may be the original. I'm riding a V-Strom 1000 now and can only get the Plus. I'm going with Motoz GPS's this time. We'll see how they work. There are 3 motorcycle stores in Whitehorse, YT. A Yamaha dealer, a Honda dealer and Lister's Motorcycle and Marine. I'm going to find out what type tires they have in stock. If I need tires on my way back home, I'll stop in Whitehorse to get them. I'll take whatever they have, but since the Alcan is pretty good road, I'll probably switch to more road oriented tires.

    I snapped a clutch cable at the border crossing on the Alcan. Because of my insurance, I was able to get towed to Whitehorse -- about 325 miles. My bike was 14 yrs. old and I should have been smart enough to have an extra clutch cable. I would have been pretty easy to fix if I had. So, think about what you might take if you have problems. Lister's in Whitehorse fixed me right up in a day.

    You'll have to make reservations in Dawson City, Dust to Dawson, soon. In fact it may be too late. They fill up quickly. I have a cabin reserved. There are 3 of us sharing it right now. If you have trouble finding a place, contact me. I can't remember, but the cabin may hold 4. Of course, you may have to sleep on the floor. There may be camping available in Dawson City. The only campground I know of is across the Yukon River. You have to take the free ferry to get back and forth.

    I'll be interested to see how your bike handles the trip. I suspect it will do nicely. I'll be 70 this year and I'd like to downsize at some point in future. I'll look you up in Dawson City and maybe we can have coffee or lunch and talk about your experience.

    The suggestion to read posts by Tewster is a good one. Another is Alcan Rider, if for no other reason, and there are lots of reasons, his photography is amazing -- best I've seen for the far north. Also, if you don't have one yet, get a copy of the Milepost. It's the bible for northern travel. Make sure you download a copy for reference on your trip.

    I can't think of anything else right now. Enjoy your planning. I live in Northern Michigan. We just went through a 2 day blizzard and planning is about all we can do up here.

    See you in Dawson City, if not before.

    KKORO
    #7
  8. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    When I drove the Alaskan highway in 1986 it was still half gravel. Gravel was better than pavement as a road grader could make it smooth, but pot holes and frost heaves in pavement were much harder to fix.
    Definitely plan to ride the Icefield Parkway
    Plan to ride the ferry one way. If we do the Cassiar will probably skip Dawson Creek.
    X-300 has tube tires. I want tires with soft enough side walls to easily repair on the side of the road.
    Still trying to work out if will be there in time for D2D. Will camp across river if necessary. Heard there is a hostel there as well.
    Hopefully we can meet up.
    Amazon says I'll have My Milepost next week. My 1986 one a bit out of date. I have read some of Alcan Rider's posts and am 1/3 through Tewster2's Tiny Bike to Alaska thread.
    Thanks for all the input. Keep it coming.
    #8
  9. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

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    there are above the knee heated socks about $100 list, battery powered , think they come with a charger also
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  10. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    My 2 cents; change all your bulbs to LED so you can have a little extra electrical power to spare.
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  11. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Done on head and tail lights.
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  12. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    Install the Outex tubeless conversion, plug and go if you get a flat.
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  13. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog Supporter

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    Read every ride report you can. They are invaluable for gathering data about things you don't want to miss, places to stay, and best routes. Two are in my signature line and have links to waypoints, etc.

    A couple thoughts:
    - With 2 months you can really do Alaska right and not have to miss much. Plan an interesting, scenic route to reach Canada, but I'd prioritize AK for this trip, the Lower 48 is much easier to reach any time. Take the Icefields and AlCan to get to AK, and the Cassier back south (or reverse). I'd skip doing the ferry from Haines to PR and instead take the short ferry to Skagway. That way you can see Stewart/Hyder.
    - Don't go thru/near Calgary (traffic), use Kananaskis Trail (Hwy40) instead.
    - Spend at least a day at Dawson City. Consider riding the first 50 miles up the Dempster and camping at Tombstone, it is extraordinary terrain and no harder then the Top of the World or Denali Hwy if conditions are good.
    - Thompson Pass on the Richardson Hwy to Valdez is amazing.
    - Go to Homer, Seward, and Whittier on the Kenai Peninsula.
    - Plan a few days around Denali (Talkeetna) to allow a chance to see the mountain with sun.
    - Think about riding from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle sign on the Dalton. It's 192 miles to the sign and 80 is paved. With good weather and an early start it's a doable day ride.
    - Make sure your buddy is fully aware of your trip plan, lodging, distance involved, gravel roads, construction, cold/rainy temps, etc to avoid hard feelings. I've done it on a Goldwing and if you have some gravel road experience it's not that bad.
    - Since you don't have to rush, wait out bad weather. @Alcan Rider has great advise threads about riding in AK. Stop and meet him if you get the chance.
    - If you get worn down camping every night grab a room every so often.
    - Have 2 methods of tire inflation.

    Most important:
    - These are generally "trips of a lifetime", make sure you remember it is supposed to be fun and enjoyable!!!

    Good luck!

    .
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  14. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    Was hoping to see some pics of the Versys X.....
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  15. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Thanks,
    You've got me thinking about more time spent in. B.C. and Alaska and leaving western U.S. sites to another trip. Great advice on things to see / do up there too. My friend and I have met up a couple times a year for 8 years as part of a group on 3 to 4 day rides. I think he will be a good riding partner for a longer trip and we know each other well enough with similar ideas on how to ride. Way too many bad stories on bad times making a ride with someone your not suited to spend extended time with.
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  16. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

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    Guess I'll have to take some and post here. Windshield and seat show up next week. Will be putting on a power distribution module, probably PDM60 and running lights soon too. Trying to work it out to run down to Daytona for second weekend of bike week and camp in the infield of the track. Will be a good test run of some gear I haven't used yet along with loading the bike. Camping in the infield is combined in one ticket with access to all the races. I'm usually up before daylight drinking coffee and laughing at all the late night party folks rudely woken up by bikes starting practice runs at 8:00 am.
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  17. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog Supporter

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    I'm leaving a week from tomorrow for Daytona, maybe our paths will cross.

    .
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  18. Norty01

    Norty01 Occupant

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    www.akrider.com might be a resource for anyone wanting to complete a bucket list item...
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  19. Mtmedic

    Mtmedic All bleeding stops

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    If you want to, Use the tent space thread. A Lot of good people willing to let you camp and provide showers and even some food. They will help you with any bike issues you might have. I'm on it in Riverton, Wyoming. Your welcome on you way through. Could swap stories about AK. Just a thought.
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  20. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    The right tool for the job...
    https://advrider.com/f/threads/hacks-n-pups.295048/
    Buy used, Sell for the same price (or close to it) after the trip.
    #20
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