Atlanta, GA to Alaska and back 2018

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by evmurdock, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I stopped at the Dempster Information Center. The weather is good now, but low temperatures and possible rain forecasted.

    I've been hearing a few sounds from the bike that are starting to concern me... a bit like a rattle, but happens when there is torque on the chain.

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    I rode 193km to the Engineer Campground. I hadn't even got both feet off the bike before my camping neighbor had offered me a cold beer.

    I had a very enjoyable evening at the campfire with him, his wife, and 14 yr old son. I hope to see them later in the trip as I pass their hometown.
    #81
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  2. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    The rain came in.... I awoke to a muddy camp, my shoes slipping in the mud as I made my way to the outhouse. I still have my book to finish, so I tried to wait out the storm.
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    The campground at Engineer Creek has a shelter with a wood burning stove and picnic tables. Incrementally, my camp shifted to the shelter as I first brought things to read, then things to make lunch, and eventually my tent to drape across the beams to dry.

    The camp gradually emptied as the folks with good trucks left, then camp trailers, and the RV. The road was quiet in the morning. Traffic eventually increased and people stopped by the shelter to make lunch.

    When I finished my book, the tent was dry and the rain continued. I had to make a choice between continuing on to Eagle Plains or return. I had enough gas for either, but I couldn't change my mind after I started.

    There is a point in most vacations where you start to miss home. Maybe it was the family last night sharing their adventure together. Maybe it was the two girls and their dog (I have to admit I miss my dog almost anytime I see one). Maybe it was the "I love you" text message and my lack of cell phone signsl to reply.

    And listening to the noise from my chain - I headed south. It was a long slog to the highway - and it felt good to be headed south.

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    I kept going until I found blue sky and camped at Tatlmain Lake Campground. This is a good ways on a dirt road. The campground was very nice with wood provided, water (need to boil), and a very scenic forest on the edge of the lake. Most people seemed to be there for fishing, boating, or canoing. I couldn't see the elk, but they were whistling a lot during the evening.

    I enjoyed a nice campfire - until the rain came.
    #82
  3. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I enjoyed lunch at Braeburn Inn - easy to miss and drive by, but definitely worth stopping. Huge, I mean really huge cinnamon buns. I resisted, but several other groups came in and shared one. I had an equally large sandwich and saved half for later.

    I met a couple of guys on their way up Canol Rd (at Ross River). 150 miles of dirt up to Northwest Territory.

    Arriving in Whitehorse, I checked for motorcycle shops. Listers Motorcycle Shop bordered on rude when telling me they were booked for the next few weeks... no they were plain rude and told me every other bike shop was equally booked out.

    I found a carwash to take off the upper layers of grime on the bike, but still needs a lot more TLC.

    Driving by Yukon Honda, I noticed a couple of bikes at the driveway - always a good sign. The guys there were awesome - really great. The bike is at 20K miles and the chain needed to be replaced. Besides being friendly and professional, they gave me other tips for my bike and for riding in the area.

    I am camped at Robert Service Campground with a nice view of the Yukon. I had a beautiful afternoon and evening. I dried out my tent fly from last nights rain. I even stepped into the Yukon wearing my Sidi boots and riding pants. They needed a little cleaning.
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    Guess what... Its raining again. Happy for cell phone signal.
    #83
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  4. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I love a rainy night - especially when I can wake up to the sound of the Yukon River flowing by and look up to see blue sky. 20180823_084942.jpg
    #84
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  5. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I headed down to Carcross and Skagway. What a beautiful ride. Just when I thought that I have seen so many different types of Canadian and Alaskan landscapes... they through you something incredible, wild, and stunningly beautiful.

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    There are a lot of fires right now. The Alaska Highway is shut down in a couple of places. Seeing the smoke rising from the trees across the lake provided an interesting view.

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    I am staying a couple of days at Chilcoot Trail Outpost. There once was the thriving town of Dyea here. So many would-be gold diggers passed through here on their way to Dawson.

    The Chilcoot Trail Outpost has cabins and food at the trailhead. I took a walk where the town of Dyea used to be - almost nothing remains... no foundations. ghost town buildings, or broken down vehicles. Nature has taken this former townsite and is now forested pathways.

    Tomorrow I will take a hike up the Chilcoot trail. It is a very popular backpacking pathway. Most people spend five days on the trail carrying 30 to 50 lbs with them. It is hard ro imagine hauling your one ton grub-stake over this pass.

    The day after I will enjoy seeing the alternate path from Skagway to White Pass. This will be on the scenic White Pass and Yukon railroad.
    #85
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  6. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    i hiked up the Chilcoot trail until the rain had created puddle crossings too deep and long to avoid getting my shoes too wet. I did not bring hiking boots or bear spray. I sang and played music - especially when passing by some big bear scat on the path.

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    I had dinner with a nice girl traveling from Spain. She has been backpacking with friends in the Yukon and is heading out tomorrow on the trail solo. She was patient with me as I practiced speaking Spanish with her through the meal - a nice evening.

    Hoping my clothes dry out - by the time I finished my hike, my hiking pants and shoes got quite wet.
    #86
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  7. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    According to my host at Chilcoot Trail Outpost, the 8:15 am train is the prefered ride schedule. Sit on the left side for the best view. I choose the first car (on the return down the mountain, it becomes the last).





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    The town of Skagway is visited by the big cruise ships. There are many tourist souvenir shops which are not my cup of tea. I still enjoyed browsing through.

    Tomorrow, I begin a series of ferry rides eventually resuming my ride in Prince Rupert. The hardware store in Skagway sells tie downs needed for tomorrow's ferry to Haines.
    #87
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  8. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    The ferry from Skagway is a short 45 minutes and was $85 for myself and the bike.

    I took a quick detour to Chilcoot Lake campground. I had been warned that there is a lot of bear activity here. It is nice to visit, but can be crowded with "bear watchers", and probably not the best location to tent camp.

    I was able to watch a sow with three cubs feeding in the river. Later, when leaving on the ferry, I saw what appeared to be different bear near the same spot.
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    I stayed two nights at Oceanside RV Park. It was a funky little place. I was nice to have "dry camping" - setting my tent up under a canopy. When the rains came, my tent stayed dry. Flush toilets, laundry, and a shower was nice.

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    I spent time at Chilkat State Park, the eagle preserve and native culture gallery in Tlukwan, Fort Seward, and the restaurants in town.
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    #88
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  9. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
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    The ferry from Haines is a bit longer - 4.5 hours / $154 for myself and the bike. I arrived in Juneau in a heavy rainstorm at 10:00 at night.
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    While most of the crowd turned right toward downtown, I turned left in the dark rain to find a campsite.

    The Auke Villiage campsite / recreation area is not far from the terminal. I set up in the dark. There were a lot of "by reservation only" on the campsites - It was nice to find real data available on my phone and I was able to pay the $20 fee for the site from my phone.

    i enjoyed the view of the bay near my campsite in the morning.

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    #89
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  10. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Avoiding the crowd from the four big cruise ships in port.

    I took a slow start today in hopes the rain would dry out on the tent fly. Even hanging the fly out to dry didn't finish drying. At 1:00, I headed into town.

    When I saw the four big ships, the sidewalks were crawling with people and there were crossing guards handling the crosswalks. A quick drive through town was enough for me

    I enjoyed a drive and hike near the Mendenhall Glacier.
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    I drove north to the end of the road enjoyed some great riding with the curves hugging the coastline. I stopped at the St. Terese shrine on the way. I finished drying out my tent in the sunshine at a pullout on the side of the road and enjoyed chatting with a couple of local bikers. While not a long ride. this is an enjoyable ride as there is little traffic.
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    On the way back, I stopped for a beautiful sunset and watched a bear fishing in the stream.

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    #90
  11. Laboratory Rat

    Laboratory Rat böser geistmeister Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,432
    Location:
    Bar Harbor, ME
    Wow, what an adventure!
    #91
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  12. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Ferry from Juneau to Ketchikan

    My family flew into Juneau to join my on the ferry ride. This ferry ride was a bit more pricey: $419 for bike and rider for just over 23 hours 15 minutes. I paid extra for my family and a four berth outside cabin. There are stops in Kake, St. Peterburg, and Wrangell before we stopped in Ketchikan.

    Sailing through the Wrangell narrows was very cool. The Malespina and Columbia are the two vessels that sail from Skagway all the way to Bellingham. The sailing times vary to accomodate the tides through the narrows. We left Juneau at 3:30 am.

    St. Petersburg and Wrangell seem to be interesting places to explore and would have meant a daytime departure from the ferry.

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    So far. each ferry has had different configurations on how motorcycles are handled. All have had tie down straps available. The people loading the cars on the parking deck have been very nice and accomodating.

    Food on the vessel has been good - not fine dining, but well prepared with generous portions. No alcohol served.

    Wildlife viewing included many whales (one pod near Kake was particularly large), harbor seals, and many birds. I missed having a good set of binos and bird book.

    My family shared a taxi that met the ferry arrival. I rode through the rain to find our AirBnB on South Tongass (near hole in the wall bar and marina). A bit far away from town, but we avoid the cruise crowd and enjoy a separate bedroom for my son, views of the ocean, a nicely landscaped backyard and a fun host.
    #92
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  13. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    A few days in Ketchikan

    I spent time with my family in Ketchikan sightseeing and having fun. While there are a lot of cruiseships in port, we rented a car and stayed outsude of town.

    We enjoyed hikes, a floatplane tour to Misty Fjiords, fishing, walks through town, and some good eating. We saw lots of eagles, bears, and harbor seals.

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    #93
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  14. CharlestonADV

    CharlestonADV I do my own stunts. Supporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Did a kayaking trip out of Petersburg. I've been to Alaska three times and really like the SE area.
    #94
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  15. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I took three days to ride from Prince Rupert to Seattle. This was rushing the ride - especially considering how nice the ride was. This is an area that deserves a motocamping trip all on its own.

    My favorite parts of the trip were:
    - Prince Rupert to Smithers
    - Williams Lake
    - Sea to Sky Highway

    I spent a few hours cleaning the bike before dropping it off at a shipping company. I fly home tomorrow. The bike will be delivered to my house next week.

    I'll make a few more trip recap posts to reflect on this adventure and to remind myself of things I want to do on my next Alaska adventure - I will return to this part of the world again.

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    #95
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  16. melt757

    melt757 Mel757

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Good report, you did a nice job adjusting your route to the weather.

    I had to replace a chain I thought was good after a wet ride on the Dempster (kept it lubed and adjusted). Also a lot of rear brake wear due to mud in the caliper and disc. V-strom 650

    Can you tell me SEA to ATL: 1. Shipping Company 2. Price for a bike 3. Did the bike have to be crated?

    Thanks, Mel
    #96
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  17. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I used MotorcycleShippers.com - website is easy for getting a quote (mine was <$800). I had heard of them from BMW Rally and BDR.

    I called the number on their website to find the dropoff address before my trip. I had to place my shipment order using the website two days prior to the date I needed to drop off my bike. The website worked fine on my phone. I received an order # and info to track my shipment.

    For my shipment, I dropped off at Air Van Moving in Tacoma. It was about as easy as returning a rental car. I drove the bike up a ramp into their warehouse and met the guys with the paperwork. We did a detailed bike inspection noting all scratches. I kept the keys leaving the front steering unlocked. My panniers are locked with the stuff I couldn't take home on the plane.

    They will ship the bike inside a truck with a shipper provided skid and straps. My estimated delivery date to my home is next Thursday or Friday. The driver will call a day in advance to coordinate delivery.

    I'll post an update when my bike is home. The shipment tracking status has not been updated yet. My FIN GPS security tracking device shows the bike inside the Air Van Moving warehouse - no movement inside a truck yet.
    #97
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  18. fastredbike

    fastredbike back on the loose

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    639
    Location:
    Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
    evmurdock, thanks for sharing your ride. I have been following along and adding a few notes and waypoints into my "ride planning" flile. Thanks too for posting the link to your website, another valuable resource. It was great to read about a trip that wasn't just about ticking off boxes and rushing to meet self-imposed deadlines. You've got lots of great photos in there too and memories to last a lifetime, I'm certain. Great RR!
    #98
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  19. evmurdock

    evmurdock Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Geeze it felt good to pick up my bike today. I have been going through withdrawals... Waking up disoriented, wondering where I am, the garage oddly empty.

    The bike arrived a few days later than I expected, but still within the promised delivery window. All is well with the world... shopping for new stuff... and starting to plan a next trip.

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    #99
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  20. Old Codger

    Old Codger Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    105
    Location:
    Ventura County Ca.
    Great ride report and Pictures. I have a 2018 dl1000 adv. love the Bike, the Idle Hammer not so much, Great report..Thanks:clap
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