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Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Alcan Rider, May 6, 2012.
No doubt making Birch syrup fudge...
bump - read this all ye riders coming this way. many questions answered.
Mods, can we get this one as a sticky?
Bump for the out of state questions.
Carefully read, enjoyed, side-tracked a few times to other entertainment...SYM Symbas to Alaska, etc.....and now getting ready for June 2014: Detroit to Deadhorse.
Thanks for all of the information!
You may be too late.
My apologies for my post to which you replied below.
I got caught up with the other extraneous posts and contributed to the diversion from the purpose of the thread.
Again, my apologies.
EDIT: I finally made my own Alaska trip in 2015. I keep coming back to this thread, re-reading the old posts as well as the new ones. Listening to folks planning their rides and wondering when I'll get to do my return trip.
thanks for putting this thread together, here are a few more dumb arse questions for some Australian arrivals coming your way this June 2014.
We are hiring some bikes and riding to Haines to visit my girlfriend who married one of your AK folk and I have been a bit remiss in that she has now been living in your fair land for over 20 years (eek :eek1)
So finally got our act together and the kids are old enough to be left alone (and trash the house like our last trip ) and the bike deposit is paid, we are going to take our time to get there (nearly 3 weeks for the round trip from Anchorage) basically cos I am a slow old chook....... and I am going to have to learn to ride on the wrong side of the road.....one of the things that has me kinda freaked but suck it up princess.....
so here are the dumb questions- what kinda gear/layers to wear under our Klim pants /Olympia jackets / gear ? we normally ride in hottish weather here in South Australia (Autumn in the Flinders Ranges is awesome ) and our coldest is maybe 10 C in winter.....I love my IceBreaker merino thermal top and pants under my gear but is this going to be enough ?
I suspect not.
Can we buy this gear in Anchorage in summer ? I know this sounds dumb but trying to buy thermals in Aus in summer is just ridiculous..... cos we had 13 days of 43C heat and they kinda look at you funny
I am also going to order some wet weather gear, the Olympia horizon rain gear, is this good enough for the possible(probable?) rain ? none of our stuff is particularly water proof (yeah we live in the driest state in the driest continent blah blah....).
I have been looking at US sites but it seems dumb to buy stuff now when we will be shipping it back to the states..... do your stores in Anchorage have good stocks of this stuff ? Our m/c shops have woeful selections of this stuff as its not really the "conditions" you have. And the quality is lousy to say the least....
Any advice on clothing options would be good ..... I am really looking forward to getting over there and just want some nice gear to be comfortable in....
I will pop up a post on when it gets closer on ideas for accommodation and stuff to see, but I have the milepost and relying on good old paper maps and just taking our time to have fun.
thanks in advance......
Alaska Leather maintains a large inventory of riding apparel and other motorcycle related gear. Anything Alaska Leather may lack in the way of undergarmets or camping gear is available from REI.
Basically, you need to be prepared to ride in a warm (30 C) sunny environment or in a cold (2 C) and rainy environment; on the same day. Heated gear will make your ride much more comfortable. Temperatures below freezing are possible even in the middle of summer in nothern Alaska.
also in south Alaska
Denali highway August 7th.
yes thought as much, the old boy suggested heated gear..... I thought he was being a bit ott, that Denali photo... brrrrr...... I don't think anywhere here sells it .....put on the list .....the bikes we are hiring have the power accessory thingy.... the old boys Tenere doesn't even have heated grips here in AU.....
two more dumb questions:
fuel - costs, mention of it being expensive ?
we pay $1.50 per litre at the moment, 10 litres is equal to about 2 gallons so $15 dollars is equal to 2 gallons, what price is your petrol per gallon ?
I thought US petrol was cheap ? or is this in comparison to other states that AK fuel is seen as expensive ? what is your current price for the stuff and does it go up on a whim like ours ? (it goes up 8c to 10 c a litre for long weekends and holidays 'cos they are like that over here)
Also I keep reading about "frost heaves" in the main sealed roads - what are these ?
fancy names for pot holes ?
I do understand how water freezes and expands but not sure exactly how this alters the road surface, (are you roads bitumen like ours ? I see in other states you have concrete roads ? they look bitumen in the photos of AK main roads) again not familiar with this term and never seen what this does to a road .......
Doubtful that you'll see any snow along the way, but you never know what might occur in the higher mountain passes. Even in clear weather it can get quite chilly in the wee hours of the morning. I've seen it drop to below 0°C at 3:00 AM in July (your January) without a cloud in the sky.
There are no dumb questions, but we can certainly manage some dumb answers.
Where I am right now we have some of the highest prices in the state, presently at US$4.13/gallon. Even in Canada, where most of our riders whine about the price of petrol, it will be less than you are accustomed to paying at ~US$6/gallon.
Yes, our roads are bitumen, like yours. Here, we call it asphalt. The full, proper name is "asphaltic concrete".
Frost heaves are bumps, generally across the road, or at least a portion of it, that can provide anything from a gentle roller coaster ride to launching you off the seat of your bike if you hit one too fast. Sometimes they cause pavement breaks as well. In the most severe cases you will find them incorporating potholes, pavement breaks, dips, bumps, and loose gravel in any and all combinations. Shortly after leaving Alaska and entering Canada you will learn all there is to know about frost heaves. That is where you will find riding in Australia has its benefits as you will be riding on both sides of the center line in an attempt at dodging the worst of the damage. Just be careful to make frequent use of your mirrors and to practice moving to the RIGHT HAND side of the road when meeting other traffic.
I've missed your entertaining posts lately!
I hope to meet you this summer to shake your hand and thank you for all the information and great pics you've contributed to this forum! You've been one of my most valuable resources in planning my trip!
I'll even bring you fudge... If I don't eat it before I see you!
You've been talking to Andy, haven't you?
No... I've just lurked a LOT in here. Read all the links in your sig line etc.
Being a geezer myself, though not in your class of geezer and a fudge lover I thought we might have a little in common
"Yes, our roads are bitumen, like yours. Here, we call it asphalt. The full, proper name is "asphaltic concrete".
Frost heaves are bumps, generally across the road, or at least a portion of it, that can provide anything from a gentle roller coaster ride to launching you off the seat of your bike if you hit one too fast. Sometimes they cause pavement breaks as well. In the most severe cases you will find them incorporating potholes, pavement breaks, dips, bumps, and loose gravel in any and all combinations. Shortly after leaving Alaska and entering Canada you will learn all there is to know about frost heaves. That is where you will find riding in Australia has its benefits as you will be riding on both sides of the center line in an attempt at dodging the worst of the damage. Just be careful to make frequent use of your mirrors and to practice moving to the RIGHT HAND side of the road when meeting other traffic. :d "
Yes I must remember to do this right hand side thing..... going to put some stickers on the screen of the bike in big bloody letters - KEEP RIGHT !
I am not a fast rider by any stretches of the imagination (much to the consternation of the old boy who follows me) one thing I don't think you have much off that I am used to dodging on some of our country roads is the sight and smell of road kill - dead roos and emus and stuff hit by road trains, nothing like coming around a corner to slushy skippy across the path, good for the reflexes and quick mirror use....just fur and stuff sticking out....the smell is really bad once they have had a day or two in the baking sun....maybe its going to be more the walking moose or other quadrupeds that I know will make me wet my self when I see the first one......what happens in a heated suit when this happens ? instant electrocution ?
fuel sounds cheap, good.
so looking forward to getting over there.....
Hi Kimi. When will you be here and where are you renting the bikes from?
If you're renting bikes from Motoquest, there's free camping right next door with a code access shower room.
I've long considered Alaska Leather http://www.alaskaleatheronline.com/servlet/StoreFront a rider's best friend and they stock a lot of heated gear.
Numerous shops around town carry cold weather clothing for layering under your riding gear including some second hand (used) clothing stores. Since you have so much time you could also find some great deals in 'Flea Market' on here and have the items sent to me or another inmate here in Anchorage.
I'll be in Haines July 30 to catch a ferry south to Ketchikan the next day. And again Aug 18th on my way back to Anchorage. I love Southeast Alaska.
Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
we arrive on the 25/6 and are going to spend some days adjusting, ride to Haines, meet up with friends, they are going to travel with us via ferry to Skagway, Whitehorse and then we will head back via ? still to be decided.... no point rushing .... slow rider, no point crossing the globe to rush around like a headless chook, plus weather considerations, confidence levels on a slightly bigger bike, how much fun we are having , would like to do the Denali if things go well..... so many things to see..... just take our time.... got a few ideas but will post a thread when time gets closer....
out about 18/7 to go to Juneau to spend more time with my Aussie gal and her husband and their boat
for a week then home via LA on 25/7.....
Kimi after riding in UK, the problem I had was after making turns. After a couple of days you'll get used to riding on the right side of the road. Just don't ride tired until you get used to it. I almost went head on with a dump truck at 3am in wales had I not realized I was not driving on the left side of the road when I did. Everything else is easy to get in Anchorage for the most part.
My 1st encounter with left side drivers was my R+R in Sydney. Two friends and I with nothing but good food, good booze, and beautiful ladies on our minds leave our hotel, walk to the street and look left before crossing... WRONG!!! The truck missed us by inches!
Then there was rented scooters in Bermuda and the 1st traffic circle which was, to me, backwards! Good thing the residents see a lot of tourists there, probably the only thing that saved my life!
Enjoy AK! I'm looking forward to my 8th vacation there, 1st time by bike!