Alaska trip failures

Discussion in 'Americas' started by EM-50, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. GSA Ghost

    GSA Ghost LOST

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    216
    Location:
    Boca Raton, FL

    Absolutely Yes.

    My riding buddy disappeared from my mirror a couple of times, I turned around and found him struggling trying to pick up his GSA simply because he was distracted so it was always a relief for him to see me coming to assist him and for me to see that he was A-OK. I dropped my ride in the North Pole at Santa Claus's house (too excited to go inside as if I was a 4 yr old and forgot the sidestand :lol3 ) and was glad I had help after a very long day of riding I was beat and no way I was picking her up alone.

    Alaska, BC and Yukon are super motorcycle friendly places. I am certain after taking it all the way to the top that I would do this ride alone hands down, if anyone sees you on the side of the road even if you're having a cup of coffee they will stop and ask if everything is OK and maybe pull to the side and have a cup of coffee with you.

    One thing you will notice up there is that you will not see the Harley, KTM, BMW, KLR, etc.... egos and dirty looks we all get and may give to each other, up there everyone that rides is happy to see you and more than happy to assist in any way possible as it should be.

    Also keep in mind that you will not be alone for long as there are plenty of lone riders and would love to hang with you for a few hundred miles or just exchange stories up and down. It gets to a point that you will wave at each biker 2 and 3 times during your trip, they are doing exactly what you'll be doing which is exploring and enjoying what beautiful part of the world you're in and are always happy to see you again, I know I was.

    I will strongly advice you that if you're alone do not feel too brave and go in areas where little to no traffic are frequent.

    Best of luck,

    GSA Ghost

    [​IMG]
    #21
  2. legion

    legion Honking the Horn

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    15,531
    Location:
    In Your Head
    It's my backyard so I don't plan a bunch for that ride. Make sure you've got Barb's number from Alaska Leather for tires and accessories and Friar Mike's number for tires and wrenching. If you've got those two numbers and you prep right (meaning don't start heading from Fairbanks to Deadhorse on a bald tire) you shouldn't expect a problem per se'.

    I'd definitely plan to get that road muck off your bike once you got back to Squarbanks though. That muck is corrosive in a huge way and will eat chrome and other finishes in a month.

    Barb and Friar Mike are both members of this site.
    #22
  3. johnlt

    johnlt Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2003
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    I forgot to mention that we did bring spare tubes along with tire changing tools and some large internal patches. Did not need them. Did put on new TKC80s in Fairbanks and they were good all the way up and all the way home. As I recall, the pair of 2 TKC80s mounted and ballanced was $532.00
    #23
  4. beammeup

    beammeup Guaging racefully

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    264
    Location:
    Eagan or Knife River, MN
    Going alone is not a problem. I prefer it for the schedule and agenda issues you mentioned. Additionally, if you are traveling with others and are at a rest stop, scenic overlook, etc., you will be interacting with your fellow rider(s) and will be much less approachable than if you are there solo. I have had many people come up to me just to chat when I ride by myself - especially when they see a loaded up GS with out of state plates. I have met some very nice people that way.

    If Momma is worried, get a SPOT transmitter. I just got mine this year and the family really enjoyed being able to see where I was during my last trek. They also knew that as long as I was moving I was probably OK, so a missed check-in call did not lead to excessive worrying.

    Tell Momma you want one for Christmas:thumb
    #24
  5. BobLoblaw

    BobLoblaw Comfortably Numb

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,507
    Mine were $232 after the $300 credit for the scratched rims:D
    #25
  6. GSA Ghost

    GSA Ghost LOST

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    216
    Location:
    Boca Raton, FL

    Seems to be a pattern there...
    #26
  7. MJS

    MJS Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,864
    Location:
    Off the grid in San Felipe, Baja
    Been there, done that (it rained the whole time). Frankly, Deadhorse is completely doable on a Goldwing with street tires and a competent rider. Have your bike fully serviced (or do it yourself) before you leave. Depending on your total intended mileage, plan your tire change if it will be needed.

    Have fun,
    #27
  8. Happy BMW

    Happy BMW Litter Box

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    Whitefish MT
    what time of year are you planing for. I'm planing for 2010 as part of a (i came home alive trip). :rofl Should be home from Iraq in January and have had a long time to plan. as far as riding with friends, i like it but we spread out a lot on the road and meet up stops along the way. I picked up a new 09 R1200GSA while home on leave. put 2000 miles on it in Canada for one of the two weeks i had off. the one thing i'd stay away from is a time table if possible. gives time to go find that cool spot on the ride that you didn't plan for. :clap
    #28
  9. dronning

    dronning TNT -The Naked Truth

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    585
    Location:
    Lakeville MN
    The only thing I would add is either get a protective cover for the throttle position sensor or carry a spare.

    I had a get off on the Dempster and my foot caught the TPS and broke it on the way down.

    It's on the left side intake.

    Dave
    #29
  10. ricohman

    ricohman Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,059
    Location:
    Saskatchewan
    Great thread.
    We are leaving in late June of 2010 to Prudhoe.
    Interesting to read about knobbies not being needed. I was wondering about this as I have spent thousands of km's on Saskatchewan grid roads and never needed knobbies.
    #30
  11. keithmckenney

    keithmckenney Adventure riding for fun and adventure Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    459
    Location:
    Rockville Maryland and Hollywood Maryland
    My 3 cents:

    Spare tubes are helpful if you bend a wheel and the bead won't seat. WD40 the whole tire/tube before changing makes it smooth and easy. ParkTool tire changing bars (TL-5) are great for changing tires.

    Check to be sure your air pump works on your bike (no canbus issues) before you need it.

    A new Jetboil with the "filter press" solves the coffee problem in a compact way and is faster/cheaper/better than Starbucks. Peet's mocha java blend is fabulous in this application. Just the right amount of chewiness.
    #31
  12. justJeff

    justJeff Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,666
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    I was the first bike to ever go up to Prudhoe once the road was opened for public travel, and I've probably made more trips via bike on that road that just about anyone. I lived in the Fairbanks area for 30+ years and road all over the state, on and off road.

    Don't stress too much. It is a desolate, but frequently traveled road. If you ride sanely there is very little personal danger. Anything that is likely to happen is probably more in the category of major inconvenience, and with a well prepped bike and good tools (including tire repair, and at least one tube in case you have to use it) chances are you won't need any outside assistance. Be careful when the road is wet, and be especially careful on the wooden bridge decks when it's been wet. If the weather turns, accept it, and forget any plans you may have had about sticking to some type of a schedule, let the conditions and your personal safety dictate the rules.

    On a trip back up there in 06 it got really, really wet and nasty as I was heading south, started raining hard around Wiseman and just got worse. It took me an extra four hours or so to make it from Coldfoot to the Yukon crossing. I was on a Dakar and had to poke a small hole in a water bottle lid to have some squeeze pressure to clean out the radiator pretty frequently. I decided to stop for the night at the Yukon crossing. A couple from MI pulled in on a GS, and told me a friend on a HD was following them. They planned to stay in the Coldfoot area for the night, and then continue on to Prudhoe. Their buddy on the HD pulled in with street tires and said he planned to ride to Coldfoot with them, and then turn right around and ride back to Fairbanks. I suggested he stay the night with his friends around Coldfoot, and to head towards Fbks the next day. I warned him to not have a timeline in his mind that he was commited to making, even if the conditions didn't really allow for it. He remained macho and said he would make it. We all enjoyed a late lunch together and they all took off, it was early afternoon. I didn't think anything about them until breakfast the next morning when a trucker asked if I'd heard about the rider that was airlifted off the night before. I guess the guy on the HD hit a bridge deck, got out of shape, made it off the bridge, and left the roadway. I later learned he had broken his back in at least once place, and his neck in at least once place. He was still heading north at the time of the accident. The GS had TKC's on it and the HD was probably trying to keep up instead of riding his own, safe ride.

    Keep your head about you, be prepared, and travel without reservation or fear. If you need to have some tires shipped to Fbks or anything let me know and I'll give you an address you can send them to, if you like. A lot of riders consider the haul rd to be the holy grail of rides. It is very, very cool, and once you get above Atigun, probably unlike anything you have ever seen. Don't forget the Denali and the TOW too, both pretty cool in their own ways. If you have a way to haul some extra gas, or have it dropped, I can pm you about some incredible off road riding around Galbraith Lake, up the haul rd.
    #32
  13. dialdn

    dialdn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    669
    Location:
    Carp, Ontario, Canada
    I like your lights mounted on top of the GSA fogs. May I ask what lights and mounting kit? linked to high beam? I also see you have HIDs for high and low beam.

    D
    #33
  14. GSA Ghost

    GSA Ghost LOST

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    216
    Location:
    Boca Raton, FL
    Don't want to hijack this very informative thread, I sent you a PM.

    Regards,
    #34
  15. idea man

    idea man Plate Spinner

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,525
    Location:
    Central Coast -California
    A lot of good advice there.
    Traveling with a partner works well depending on who your partner is. I had someone who wasn't crazy, wasn't a daredevil and basically had the same goals I did, which was to return home in one piece. It worked for us. You always want to have an out plan as well in case it doesn't go the direction you want. Having another person just to watch your stuff while you go inside somewhere was invaluable.
    Really good rain gear we found to be indespensible.
    A decent point-and-shoot on a lanyard was nice for shots on the go.
    KNobbies were maybe not must-haves but were definitely nice-to-haves and were confidence inspiring.
    We had our service done by aktracks in Fairbanks which seemed to work out perfectly.
    Tires changed in Whitehorse. Worked for us, others may do things differently. WHitehorse Honda, though spendy, was good people to work with. (talk to Jon.)
    I took an 1150 GS Adventure and Dyvking took a 1200 GS and no issues with either bike the whole trip. Not even a flat. Okay, Dyvking had a strap dangle on to his header, but a strap on the header is nothing to worry about IMHO. :D
    Good boots are a great idea. If you are in the rain at all Gore-Tex or equivalent is very valuable.
    Biggest piece of good advice: Don't ride beyond your sight line.
    Planning was half the fun.
    Okay, maybe not half....but it was fun. Enjoy.
    [​IMG]
    #35
  16. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,615
    Location:
    The Badlands (of NJ)
    Not sure if I know what you mean about the salt?
    #36
  17. ZONKR

    ZONKR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    575
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun
    2005 R1200GS 8634 miles from Chandler AZ to Alaska and back with no issues at all in June of '07.
    #37
  18. pavement pounder

    pavement pounder The road to Paradise is "UN-Paved"

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    745
    Location:
    East Coast Canada N46.313282,-64.598851
    They salt the dirt roads to reduce dust. The salt absorbs moisture from the air to humidify the surface.
    #38
  19. dialdn

    dialdn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    669
    Location:
    Carp, Ontario, Canada
    Got it, thanks. Sorry to all. I am following the thread closely as it is a trip I hope to do but not solo.

    D
    #39
  20. bahwolf

    bahwolf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    Oklahoma City
    Did the trip this past spring on my '05 GS. Ride report is here -- http://www.sff.net/people/brian_a_hopkins/alaska.htm -- Only problems were blown bulbs in my headlight and PIAAs (replaced at hardware store along the way) and the Haul Road eating my rear pads (replaced with spares I was carrying). Started on new Tourances and carried a spare rear tire. The original rear would have almost gotten me home (Oklahoma City), but I replaced it in the last few days of pavement heading home.

    <table border="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td>
    [​IMG]
    </td> <td>
    [​IMG]
    </td> <td>
    [​IMG]
    </td></tr></tbody></table>
    #40