Alaska trip - 2 weeks long enough?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Bwana, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Bwana

    Bwana Me Bwana You Toto

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    West Sacramento, CA
    All good points NBFM. My intent with this post is to solicit feedback from people that have ridden to Alaska and see if, indeed, 2 weeks is sufficient. It doesn't seem that way unless I:

    a) Fly up and rent a bike
    b) Ride up and tour Alaska then transport the bike home
    c) Ride like the wind to get to Alaska and risk major injury to my posterior

    I'm thinking that a 2 week ride up to the PNW and back would be more fun.

    Thanks all for the suggestions, tips and encouragement. I look forward to 2 years of happy anticipation.
    #21
  2. Vbird

    Vbird In Room 237

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    787
    Location:
    N.C.
    Don't worry about it,I did it in 3wks(round trip from NC) and saw everything I wanted to see and then some.Rode the Campbell,Dempster and Denali Hwys.Even spent 2 nights in Valdez and took the ferry to Whittier that I didn't think I would have time for when I "planned" for the trip.
    Spend the next 2 yrs riding your ass off to get used to doing long days in the saddle and you'll be fine.
    #22
  3. Bwana

    Bwana Me Bwana You Toto

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    West Sacramento, CA
    Thanks Vbird. Do you happen to have your route saved somewhere? I'm just curious as to where you went.
    #23
  4. SocalRob

    SocalRob Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    28,243
    Location:
    Los Angeles @ base of Angeles Crest Hwy
    Bwana,

    You asked a question I didn't because I suspected the answer. I want to take a 10 day or so 2 up trip with my then to be 16yo son next summer. I'd love to make Alaska, but don't see it happening. I'm also self employed, & man it is hard to take more than 1 week off at a time.

    I'm thinking of some sort of loop up the Pacific Northwest of the US & maybe over to the Dakota's & back down through Utah. There is a bunch of great country right here in the US too. If I had 2 full weeks like you, Canada does sound great.

    Seems to me Alaska is 3 weeks from SoCal. I guess I could check into the bike rental thing out of Anchorage. But half the fun would be riding out of one own's driveway on one own's bike into the wild blue yonder.

    I'm also thinking of saving Alaska for when my son rides his own bike. Don't tell the wife.:lol3
    #24
  5. Vbird

    Vbird In Room 237

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    787
    Location:
    N.C.
    Sorry, my trusty 2 1/2yo GPS became as useless as a paperweight by WV!This was my first trip that I didn't bring paper maps with me and had to stop and buy them on the way.Odometer on my wee-strom was showing an extra 11,466mi though!
    #25
  6. Bwana

    Bwana Me Bwana You Toto

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    West Sacramento, CA
    I won't tell your wife if you won't tell mine. She has no idea I am going away for 2 weeks. Come to think of it, I may not survive this trip. :lol3
    #26
  7. Drifter

    Drifter Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    17,423
    Location:
    East of the Sun & West of the Moon
    I did Alaska from Sacramento in 2006. Can you get there and back in 2 weeks? Yes. Is 2 weeks enough time to enjoy the trip and see a lot of places and things? No way! 2 weeks is just enough time to get to Alaska and straight back. You want to take the time to see the Yukon Territory, Jaspaer NP Alberta, take a wildlife/glacier cruse, chill in a few different waterfront towns and eat a lot of Halibut. Plan on a minimum of 3 weeks but 4 weeks will be the tits. BTW, the Ferry back to WA takes a full 5 days.
    #27
  8. TCBronson

    TCBronson Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    149
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I too am planning a trip to Alaska in June 2008 on a Vstrom 1000, from Little Rock, Arkansas to Fairbanks and back. I was wondering if it was possible to go from Fairbanks to Prudoe Bay and back to Fairbanks in one long day or do you need to spend one night out? I think it's about 850 miles?
    Thanks
    #28
  9. cycletlh

    cycletlh Slower than yesterday!

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I agree with what ROYB said:

    "If I had two weeks from where you are, I'd do the Canadian Rockies....Glacier Park, Waterton Park, Banff, Jasper , Whitier and home...........Actually a much nicer trip with sometimes even better scenery than Alaska and absolutely better, more fun roads!"

    Being able to say you rode to Alaska is cool but the above Canada trip is better in my opinion. With 2 weeks you can not go wrong!

    Slab to Grants Pass OR then Rogue River to Crater Lake to Bend to Prineville to Fossil OR to I-84 & 395 to Spokane WA then N. on 395 to Canada. Nakusp Hot Springs is a must stop then Ferry to Revelstoke and plot the rest of your trip from there.

    I would circle over Rogers Pass to Golden then Banff to Glacier in MT. Lolo Pass to Lewiston ID then Rattlesnake to Joseph OR. Paved FS road to Halfway then follow the Snake to Oxbow and Brownlee Dams to Hwy 95 in Cambridge ID. Then figure out how to get home.:clap Should be the best trip you have ever taken. It includes many of my favorites all combined.:D
    #29
  10. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,798
    Location:
    Tucson, Arizona
    I think that with the amount of time you have, you would be better off to do the Banff and Jasper thing too. If you feel compelled to be able to say you rode to Alaska, Hyder would be definate thrill. You can see Salmon and Bear Glacier, experience a little small town Alaska and not knock yourself out too much.

    Thing you have to remember about going up all the way is that you are going out into some really remote territory. Most people don't realize until they start getting up there exactly how far you are going. Imagine going up there and back as being about the equivalent of driving to Argentina.

    Anything can happen, and you have to allow time for it. Most of the Alcan is not electrified, so if the generator at the gas station is out or being serivced, you may have to wait. Many businesses are closed or out of gas, so you have to stop at every gas station you see or run the risk of running out.

    The road is, well, most of the time it is a road...but I would not plan on any 700 mile days north of our own country. The speed limits are low, and tickets are high. Learned the hard way once....
    [​IMG]
    I was riding and 12 and 14 hour days just to cover 500 miles a day. The roads are not safe for high speeds. 700 miles a day on this...??????

    [​IMG]
    nah....gotta go alot slower....

    A lot of people go too fast or take chances to cover more ground in a day. You will see plenty of frightening things out there, but you have to remember not to take chances yourself. Help is a long, long, long way away, if...if anyone were to notice you off on the side of the road severely injured in the ditch. You have to allow plenty of time, drive safely, allow for things like this....the road was closed for 5 days I hear.....I was one of the last people to get through. I met people along the way that were totally stranded for days by this flooding....
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can go pretty quick in the south of Canada, but, and I know there are others that might disagree, but you cannot do it safely in the north. Road conditions change without warning, animals are everywhere and you just don't want to fall down. When people go too fast, this can happen...road was closed over 6 hours for this fatal accident I just missed being tangled up in myself. The guy in the Stratus had passd me seconds before.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It took me 10 days to get from Tucson to the top, so I if you have 2 weeks, I would go to Hyder, hitting Banff, Jasper, Glacier, and Yellowstone maybe. This would be realistic.
    Banff, Lake Louise
    [​IMG]
    Jasper
    [​IMG]

    Hyder
    [​IMG]

    Bear Glacier
    [​IMG]


    If you don't have 25-30 days, don't even consider going all the way up. You would be hard pressed just to get to Fairbanks and back in a 2 week period.
    I met some Brazilian guys who flew in and rented KLR's in Anchorage for $110 a day. Might be more the way you might want to go with your time limits. I would fly up, rent the bike for a week or so, and then ferry back.
    Even with the cost of the rental, might be very cost effective as gas in Canada is over $5.00 a gallon.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Being is a place like this makes it all worth while though...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Just my 2 cents..I've done it, so what it's worth...

    Look here for more...

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=246031

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=157770
    #30
  11. Bwana

    Bwana Me Bwana You Toto

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    West Sacramento, CA
    Jmead11 and cycletlh,

    Thanks for the great tips! It looks like a great route going up to visit Banff and the Lake Louise area. I think a visit to Hyder would be sufficient for my first bike trip up there. I'll save the Artic Circle for another day when I have 4 weeks of vacation. :eek1

    Did you guys camp or stay in hotels? Did you carry any emergancy communication equipment like sat radios or beacons?

    Thanks again.
    #31
  12. justJeff

    justJeff Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,666
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Hey Bwana, at least if you hit Hyder you can say you were in Alaska. I spent 30 years in Alaska and have a lot of miles up there, as well as about 2 dozen round trips on the Alcan, four of them on a bike.

    I rode to Alaska in August 06. You can check out my trip report, it has quite a few pics. If you let me know what appeals to you the most, and how long of days you enjoy, or can endure, I can plan a couple of routes for you. If going above the Arctic Circle is a biggie on your list, I'd suggest gong to Hyder, and then heading towards Dawson and up the Demptster from there to get above the circle. I know some routes that wouldn't have you covering much of the same ground twice, and still expose you to the maximum amount of varied topography and scenery. I've traveled all over Alaska and Canda, and flow a bunch of it in my own plane as well. There is a lot of beautiful country. If you want some great offroad type stuff that you can do on your bike, let me know. I can steer you to some places that you won't find in any guidebook.

    I've met Phil from Alaska Rider Tours and he's a great guy. The suggestion to fly up and rent a bike isn't a bad one at all.

    The ferry from Haines will drop you off in Belllingham. The ferry ride itself is quite a bit of fun, but does take a few days.
    #32
  13. tejasbusa

    tejasbusa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    69
    My son and I ran up to Prudhoe Bay last summer from Texas and we did it in 16 days. (10,500 miles on a Busa and a V-Strom) It wasn't enough time to do the trip justice. Coming from Sacramento and back again is do-able. I did check out the ferry trip and it was faster to run it if all you are trying to do is get to Alaska. If you want to see some very pretty scenery I would think about the ferry trip. Another option would be to ride one way and ship the bike and fly the other direction. I do know that I want to do the trip again, and if there is time restraints for that trip I am seriously going to look into the fly and ship method for one way.
    #33
  14. Bwana

    Bwana Me Bwana You Toto

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    West Sacramento, CA
    Hey Jeff!

    I remember your report because of the "Dubious Duo". I couldn't believe some of their comments but the best one was when Mr. RT wanted you to use your calling card and cell phone to check on HIS parts. Did they think you were the hired help or what??

    Anyhow, with the great advice from everyone here I think I am really starting to get the direction I want to go. I think Hyder will be the farthest I want to go in Alaska this time. I want t a nice easy scenic ride. I'm not concerned about racking up the mileage. I want to enjoy meeting people and seeing the beautiful countryside of Canada and the US.

    Any routes you can suggest would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    #34
  15. soloyosh

    soloyosh Dad and husband

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,488
    Location:
    LHC, AZ
    I am planning a trip to Prudhoe from Phoenix, AZ for June 2009. My riding buddies and I figured we could do the round trip in the 16 days, but it wouldn't leave a lot of discretionary time for looking at stuff and emergencies. They all have more vacation time than me so we are riding up and seeing the sights. My bike then gets shipped home and I fly outta Anchorage. They're gonna ride home (one to L.A. the other to Naples, FL).

    Maybe I'll see you there....

    Look for the Uly with fuel cells.

    Cheers
    Brett
    #35
  16. Bwana

    Bwana Me Bwana You Toto

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    West Sacramento, CA
    How much is it going to cost to ship it back? Which company re you going to use?

    I'll definitely keep an eye out for you. I'll be on an orange 990.

    #36
  17. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,880
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    I'd say you do not need the emergency communication devices, and I sell 'em. You'll be lucky to go a half an hour w/o seeing another vehicle anywhere on the hwy in the summer.

    If and when you think about comin up farther I highly recommend against ever taking the ferry all the way to or from Bellingham. Instead take it in and out of Prince Rupert BC and Haines AK. You save a lot of time and money and the roads in and out of those two places are among the best around! Plus you get a nice 2 day rest each way with free hot showers. Don't rent a berth and don't pitch a tent either. Unless of course maybe you're on a honeymoon or sumthin. Just make yourself comfy in the fully reclining lounge chairs under radiant heaters above them up in the solariums on each vessel. Except the newest ferry the MV Kennicott which is the LEAST passenger friendly in the fleet. I've ridden them all up here and I hope not to ride that one again because it was designed more as an oil spill response command vessel than a passenger ferry. Built post Valdez oil spill, ya know.

    And I also encourage advriders thinking about venturing north alway keep in mind the annual Dust to Dawson ride to Dawson Yukon each Solstice. Fun!

    Lots more good info in the 'Great White North' forum on here too.

    See ya, Mark H.
    #37
  18. Norsman

    Norsman ...a GSophile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,779
    Location:
    Plover, WI
    I thought my time was short, I have three weeks. I've considered putting our bikes in the back of my truck or a uhaul and driving up there nonstop (alternating drivers) to save several days.

    Uhaul is a good option... truck it up into canada, then ride. Truck it back.
    #38
  19. zacnzoe

    zacnzoe bustnluc

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Cen Co CA
    Bill,

    I just did San Luis Obispo CA to Alaska in two weeks with a buddy in August and it was ggggreat!!! My father and his buddy flew up to Anchorage and rode the bikes home (06 950 ADV's), while we flew home. I was only able to take 2 weeks off so this was the best way to make sure I could see alot! We rode a little over 6300 miles in 13 days, 1 tire change at the end in Anchorage and 1 oil change in Fairbanks. We rode through parts of Nevada, Oregon and Idaho getting up to BC. We went through Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Prince George to the Cassiar/Stewart Hwy #37(very remote heading North). This was a fantastic road, dont miss it! Next came Watson Lake and Whitehorse. Here we headed to Dawson City on the #2. Don't miss this route, very remote to Dawson City (AbFab). "Top of the World " #9 into Chicken Alaska, this what the 950's are made for, dirt and gravel road fun, I felt like 007 James Bond coming back into the US on this dirt rode border crosssing (Too much Fun!!!) Finally into AK, Tok to Fairbanks. oil change, Fairbanks to Deadhorse to Fairbanks on the Dalton Hwy in 26 hours. This was the most fun so far, great dirt road, mud, dust, asphalt, animals, Polish tourists, cute females at the construction zones operating heavy equip, Northern Lights, fast-fast-fast and fun new curvy paved sections, two flat rear tires, dropped my 2 gal spare gas can - greattt fun!!! Denali, Anchorage, Seward. Don't believe any nay-sayers, it can be done and it should be done. If you want a vacation to sight-see, take a motor home and your family. If you take your motorcyle, then ride baby ride!!!! You won't regret it - remember, "tomorrow is promised to no one".

    P.S. If you need to arrange the ride home for someone in '09, give me a ring, I'll be ready by then for the return trip. Have a great ride - Zacnzoe.
    #39
  20. soloyosh

    soloyosh Dad and husband

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,488
    Location:
    LHC, AZ
    I get discounted shipping through work. After checking what it would really cost... well, you're better off riding back. Sorry.
    #40