Alaska trip failures

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

  1. ricohman

    ricohman Long timer

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    Another maybe for the knobbies. Hmmmm.
    I read your ride report and noticed you turned around at the Arctic Circle. Are the roads up to the circle as challenging or better than the road right to Prudhoe Bay?
    #41
  2. idea man

    idea man Plate Spinner

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    Well, since we turned around I don't really know.:D However we didn't know what our situation was going to be so we prepped to go up to Atigun and in so doing asked everyone and their dog what it would be like for the whole trip. The dogs weren't very helpful.
    One constant thing we heard was that the road changed every day and from one set of clouds to the next. When we went, as you saw, it was basically sunny and hadn't rained in a day or two. The road was just about as perfect as you could get. There were only a couple spots that barely got my attention, compared to a few days eralier on Top of the World, there were several spots that really got my attention.
    Anyway, what we heard from Everyone was that the road was going to be generally pretty good until beyond Coldfoot Camp and then it would be crappy for a while. Then it would get a little better and then Atigun would be challenging and then not really bad again until 40 miles outside of Deadhourse where the gravel got thick again. I heard quite a few people tested out the crashworthiness of thier suits up at that spot this last summer.
    One thing I'd say to look out for on the Dalton is not getting stupid on the paved parts. It's nice, and then there would be a driveway on a turn where gravel was across the road or some big series of potholes. :huh
    The day we went was ideal. I heard it's not always so user friendly.
    We turned around about 5 miles north of the circle as we had a social engagement back in town (200 miles back) Just when we got back on the pavement near where the Dalton turns back into the Steese, it started raining again. We felt like that was telling us we made the right choice.:thumb
    People on here were tremoendously helpful, especially Alan Rider and a few others. AKtracks will probably also become a bit of an authority as he will be running a business catering to us folks who are in the process of riding the Dalton and surrounding highways.
    Back to the knobbies. If I could afford them I'd bring them, or have them shipped or something. Buying them in Whitehorse was very, very convenient, but in retrospect, it was also very, very expensive and we left a lot of tread on those tires. Probably should have toted them back with us.
    Lots of things to think about and weigh the pros and cons of. Knobbies not required, but nice to have anyway. My Annakee II's did very well in the mud outside Skagway and on the dirt up to the Salmon Glacier. I was very happy with them.
    #42
  3. signit98

    signit98 Nutcase... really!

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    I did 88 days and 16500 miles this summer... from San Diego to Inuvik, D2D, all over AK and of course, Prudhoe Bay and Circle "City"...

    The Dempster was far more of a challenge than the Dalton... Dempster took 4 days up and back, the Dalton I did in a day and a half... Dempster is prettier to ride as well, although we had some "adverse" weather conditions...

    I carried a tube (18", works for both front and rear), spare antenna ring, a couple of spokes for each wheel and then all the goodies needed for tire repairs and general maintenance and electrical repair (including 2 oil filters).

    I had 5 flats in one day (In Montana, oddly enough) and a blown HID bulb about 2K miles away from home (in that order up and back). The rest is just riding, taking care of yourself and your bike and enjoying... don't worry until you need to, just be prepared. I rode over half the distance alone and the rest with people I "ran into"...

    Made new friends and saw stuff, you don't even find in books...

    In the end, reading, understanding and preparing was the key... even in the most adverse of circumstances (i.e. lying in the gravel of a riverbed ((active river, mind you) with a fully loaded bike and no one within many, many miles) I did not panic but figured a way out of the dilemma... get used to the wild, the sounds and make sure you understand what to do when things happen and you'll have a blast!

    Just do it...
    #43
  4. ricohman

    ricohman Long timer

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    Thanks for the info.
    I think we are going to ship some TCK's to a buddy in Whitehorse and mount them there as my tires will be done.
    I am hoping to ride to Prudhoe via Dawson City and back to southern Saskatchewan on the TCK's. I realize this may be stretching the limit, but I hope not!
    #44
  5. signit98

    signit98 Nutcase... really!

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    If you don't goose it, you can get over 5K MILES out of a set, with no issues...
    #45
  6. BMW Kurt

    BMW Kurt Philosopher

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    I rode my '06 GS from Asheville, NC to the Arctic Circle on the Haul Road and back last year. 10282 miles. Changed oil in Anchorage and bought a new rear tire in Whitehorse on the return trip. Other wise, nada. Damn I love that bike!!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #46
  7. mgarrett

    mgarrett How far to Murphy?

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    Last year my antenna ring went bad a week before leaving for Arizona, NM, UT, and CO. No problems on the trip. This year my battery died a week after getting back from Hyder, AK and the fuel pump controller a month after that, but no problems on the trip. So far on my long trips the problems have appeared just before or just after. No problems on the trip other than one flat that a plug fixed. Have fun.
    #47
  8. Bonnie & Clyde

    Bonnie & Clyde Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Ok this thread is right on time. Im planning our trip for next June Napa CA to Prudhoe bay and back. I will be on a 2006 BMW HP2. What is the antenna ring that keep failing on you guys? Is that on on the GSA only? I hope the HP2 dosnt have one.
    #48
  9. cammyontheback

    cammyontheback ADV'ers

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    Basically, when your stick the key in the ignition your putting it through the antenna ring.....(well sort of)...at least on a GS
    Chip in key tells the bike it's ok to start.

    Good luck. Did the trip last year from El Dorado Hills, CA (near Folsom)

    Mark
    #49
  10. GOMA

    GOMA Get Off My A$$

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    After just returning from an epic trip from San Diego-Vancouver Island (www.nelson-rider.blogspot.com, www.rader-rider.blogspot.com), we have decided AK is the goal for next year, leave approx June 7th for 60-90 days on GSA's. Want to hit all the hot spots, TOW, Dalton, Demp, fishing in Denali, etc.

    Lessons from this year- solo is fun and more efficient (I will do almost twice the miles solo that I can get away with if I have to stop every 100 miles for fuel) like the KTM and Sprint ST do, but to be honest, while the riding is fun, more then 1/2 the trip is having good times with the lads around the campfire drinking beer and telling lies. <!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shapetype id="_x0000_t75" coordsize="21600,21600" o:spt="75" o:preferrelative="t" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" filled="f" stroked="f"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter"/> <v:formulas> <v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"/> <v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"/> <v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"/> <v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"/> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"/> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"/> <v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"/> <v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"/> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"/> <v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"/> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"/> <v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"/> </v:formulas> <v:path o:extrusionok="f" gradientshapeok="t" o:connecttype="rect"/> <o:lock v:ext="edit" aspectratio="t"/> </v:shapetype><v:shape id="Picture_x0020_1" o:spid="_x0000_i1026" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="http://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider/friday.gif" style='width:42.75pt; height:21pt;visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square'> <v:imagedata src="file:///C:\Users\GEOFFN~1\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:title="friday"/> </v:shape><![endif]--><!--[if !vml]-->:freakyIt's not the destination, but the journey... or something like that.

    I could/would do a solo trip but why not share the memories and good times with the peeps ("Dude, remember when you :eek1? What a tool- that was hilarious!")

    Currently two of us are doing the whole thing (SD-Prudhoe) and 2-3 more are flying into Anchorage to rent bikes for 7 days or so as that is all they can get off work. Anyone know of good contacts or sub trips for this kinda of action?

    And if others are interested in joining us, drop me a PM. Focus is on no 'tudes and lotsa miles and good times.

    I know this is not the planning section, but we are all on GSA's (I love mine!) and the bike specific stuff is great- keep it coming.

    Was already planning on having some TKC's waiting in Whitehorse.

    Good to know on the antenna ring... never heard of that one before... is this on older GSA's or just 1200's?

    Thanks again!<o:p></o:p>
    #50
  11. ricohman

    ricohman Long timer

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    Just the 1200's.
    Just a thought from a Canuck........
    In early June, most of the northern lakes and rivers were still frozen this year. It was still snowing.
    Why so early in June?
    #51
  12. hipnotik

    hipnotik Been here awhile

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    Since you will be hundreds of miles away from any dealer I'd say get a good road side assistance coverage. I had the one with no millage limit. Went down in McCarthy road 300 miles away from Anchorage, had dislocated the right shoulder and was unable to ride.
    Towing the bike to Anchorage cost me over $1500 so the $50-70 annual charge has paid for itself and is well worth the piece of mind.
    #52
  13. hojo in sc

    hojo in sc Long timer

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    For the antenna for the key, how does it work when you get a spare, isn't the antenna made for the key (like it has to be special order or something).

    Thanks
    #53
  14. Shewbert

    Shewbert Been here awhile

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    Did it in Sept. Me on a R12GS, my buddy on a H-D Screamin'Eagle. We turned back at Atigun Pass (125 miles N. of the Circle) A trucker advised us a storm coming over the Brooks Range with snow! Discretion!! The next morning leaving Yukon River Crossing (Twin rooms $99/night)we could see the storm north of us. Gas was available at YRC and Coldfoot 60 miles North of the Circle. We did YRC to the Pass and back in 12 hours. Oh! and YRC is dry so don't drink all the beer you brought the first night if you want a lukewarm one or two after 12 hours in the saddle! (we actually did save one each, so not a total loss)

    No problem with either bike, for me it was 10,517 km door to door. Oh wait! POS R12GS parking light bulb burned out prior to Fairbanks (I had a spare headlight but no park light). Geez you'd think those German Engineers at BMW could make a parking light bulb that would last longer than 4 years!

    We hit one serious construction area between Coldfoot and the Pass, some minor construction between the Circle & YRC where they had sprayed the calcium crap with water and it was pretty slippery on Tourances, had to slow to about 20 mph. Each stretch was about 1 mile in length and there were about 8-10 of them.

    TOW was very windy, I was on the pegs from the border to about 1/2 way to Dawson City. Strong enough at times to push me right across the road.

    All in all a great trip and one I'd consider doing again, we had awesome weather in Sept. One afternoon of rain, showers going into Skagway and Valdez and had to delay our departure from Dawson City until about 11:00 AM till the rain quit, otherwise sunny and beautiful with all the fall colors.
    #54
  15. ricohman

    ricohman Long timer

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    I've been thinking about the calcium chloride clean-up.
    I've spent years off-roading in the badlands of Saskatchewan and the Dakota's. Often we spray the tops of the skid plates, t-case, trans and axles with Pam. All the concrete mud just falls/slides off. And it readily washes off.
    I just may coat my bikes belly, jugs and rear rim with some Pam. Got nothing to lose.
    Is cleaning this crap off the bike after a challenge? I'm more concerned with corrosion than cleaning for the shine.
    If anyone else has any calcium chloride tips post up!
    Our route is going to take us from South Saskatchewan through Edmonton and Whitehorse. Then north to Dawson City, TOTW highway and Fairbanks. Then to Prudhoe Bay from Fairbanks and back home.
    Hopefully.
    #55
  16. Phoenix101

    Phoenix101 Long timer

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    I want to go!!!! The wife and I are in the "talking phase" of a trip to Alaska on 650s.. would love to go this coming year but not in the cards...
    #56
  17. Shewbert

    Shewbert Been here awhile

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    We didn't use any cooking oil or nuthin' (it's not prairie gumbo! Been there, done that, had to throw away the t-shirt) The car wash in F'banks cleaned it off pretty well. As of yesterday no sign of corrosion. I don't think I've heard of anybody having corrosion problems with their GS, my buddy had to take his H-D apart to get it out of most of the cracks and hidden spots, but you know what H-D drivers are like. The GS is supposed to be dirty:rofl
    #57
  18. liv2ryd

    liv2ryd Adventurer

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    Did it with my brother-in-law in June of '07 and had the most memorable trip of my life! Took complement of tools that would fit most fasteners on the bike, tire repair kit and pump, which we used once to fix up a kid on a sportbike near Calgary. Started out with new Tourances which lasted the 8,000 mile round trip. Rear one stood vertical on it's own when I took it off to replace it when I got home! TKCs would've been nice but Tourances were fine. Maybe it's lucky I didn't know about antenna rings, etc, had no mechanical problems whatsoever, had Friar Mike change oil at about 1/2 way point of the trip, put in new air filter about the same time. Bring a rain suit and put it on even if you think it's just a quick shower - it probably will get worse. TOW highway is like snot when wet, be very careful. Actually, all the non-paved roads up there are like snot when wet so treat accordingly. Bear in mind trucks have the right-of-way on Dalton and move over for them - they haul a$$! I have an aeroflow on my 1200GS and 3 of the 4 bolts that hold it on vibrated out - thank goodness for zip ties. Use nylon nuts, lockwashers AND locktite on any bolt you have any suspicions about. We didn't carry extra gas and only had one close call on gas but didn't run out. Moral: If you think you need it get it, and if there is a place to get it, get it! Brakes lasted entire trip but rears were shot along with disc upon return home. So much dirt gets up in there it just wears and scores pads and disc. Was glad to have a companion of similar riding ability on same bike - nothing against HD riders but don't do it with them, too disparate riding styles between them and GS. I've had Harleys and there are definitely roads up there I wouldn't want to ride an H-D on.

    Relax and enjoy, it's just a long string of day trips, don't be in any kind of hurry because it is so incredible up there - savor it.
    #58
  19. bahwolf

    bahwolf Been here awhile

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    I ain't gonna lie: CLEANUP WAS A BITCH. It took steel wool and several hours to get the Haul Road crap off my headers. Did the car wash thing in Fairbanks, but by then the stuff was pretty dry, and it just kinda laughed at the high pressure hose.

    Here's what my cleanup looked like when I got back to OKC.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #59
  20. bradatlarge

    bradatlarge Insha'Allah

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    That must be a harley under that cover in the background!

    :lol3
    #60