Best place to enter Alaska?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by tennyis, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

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    While I likely had the last ride of the year yesterday so it's time to look ahead to next year :)

    I am looking at going to Alaska this summer, just to say that I did kind of thing. I'll hopefully return later in life post retirement when I have more time to explore the wonderful state. I am looking at 5100km to Hyder Alaska or 5700km to skagway, AK which would also let me cross off the Yukon which would be cool. I have 18 days total for the trip so the plan was to get to Alaska by the end of day 9, spend Day 10 in Alaska assuming there is anything to see in those places then get home in 8 days. Any advice?

    My original idea was to spend the 18 days exploring the US, badlands, montana, glacier national park, before heading up the ice fields parkway in AB then heading home to Ontario via Canada. This trip is very similar mileage wise and probably a better trip.... but it's not Alaska : )
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  2. AwDang

    AwDang Long timer

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    Why not go to Tuk since you’ll be right there.
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  3. SKINNY

    SKINNY Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hyder is definitely worth seeing and the ride out to Salmon Glacier is not to be missed,
    but you're only in Alaska for about 10 miles...
    you cross back into British Columbia before you get to the scenic view point at the glacier and the road dead ends in another few miles.
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  4. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

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    I assume you mean Tok? That's about 500 miles from Skagway.

    It sounds like Hyder is the better entry point, it's also less distance. Skagway does not seem like it has much, and I would probably be better off just stepping foot into Alaska and turning around and going home haha. The appeal though is that I can see the Yukon and ride the Alaska highway :)
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  5. AwDang

    AwDang Long timer

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    No, I mean Tuktoyaktuk, NWT.
    Hyder and the pan handle of AK are just for bragging rights to say “I went to AK” IMHO.
    If AK was on my trip plan, I’d turn right onto the Klondike after Whitehorse, go to Dawson City, across Top of the World Hwy to Fairbanks then back to Whitehorse. If I had the time I could add the loop down to Anchorage and up to Tok.
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  6. dirtybike

    dirtybike Been here awhile

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    Limited travel time seems to be the "step foot in AK" reasoning. I assume that as you speak in KM's that you are somewhere in Canada.
    Hyder is the easiest to reach from the lower 48. Sometimes referred to as "Cheater's Alaska". But you can check it off.
    There are some good threads for knowledge. Check the regional forum.
    Most important - Have fun.
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  7. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

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    yes bragging rights is the entire point, I want to make it to Alaska. I'm 38, with 4 kids at home 18 days is the absolute maximum amount of time I have. I can retire at 62, i'll have more time then :)

    yeah trying to determine which is the best easy route from the lower 48, Skagway is adding about 600km round trip but I think it would be worth it to do the Yukon as well.. Having said that Hyder looks like better riding. I'll poke around the regional threads for some ideas as well. Thanks!
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  8. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

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    I see you are suggesting two different routes (my apologies I do not know the area very well). I believe this map shows a rough outline of your suggestion, this route would be 13,000km which is pushing it for 18 days but if the weather co-operates could be an option. It's adding about 3000km compared to just going to Hyder, AK. I will have to look into this more, as if those 3000km are gravel that will add a lot of time.

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  9. AwDang

    AwDang Long timer

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    Understandable, but i think your selling yourself short on the amount of distance per day covered.
    It’s still a quarter century until retirement. Go now, see as much as you can just incase you dont get to go back ever again. 18 days is a long time on the road. Staying to primarily paved roads you should be able to cover 600mi / day easily.

    IIRC, Top of the World, Campbell, Canol, Dalton and Dempster are the only main roads that are still gravel. The Alcan and Klondike are definitely paved as well as a road can be up there.
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  10. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Nothing "cheating " about Hyder and the Panhandle and the Salmon Glacier . If that territory is "cheating "then why don't they just give the panhandle to British Columbia ?
    :imaposer
    With your limited time - starting from where in Ontario ??- go for it. It is your trip and an introduction to Alaska and it counts as valid. Who knows you might find that suddenly you will discover ways to make more time for another sampler or two or ten before getting tired-re .
    I would suggest that with your limited time budget , IF Alaska is the main attractant, that you forget about doing that rambling tour outbound through the US west .
    Get on the bike an bee-line it for Calgary or Edmonton and get on the Yellowhead to pick up the Cassiar north for the exit for Stewart and Hyder .,Then decide on what path and " attractions " .
    It seems that you have been doing fine day by day detailed planning - too much of it - when you say do this on day 9 and that on day 10. Over such a long distance with the unpredictables like weather, detours etcetera ,etcetera it will be difficult to stick to such plans . Reduce the number of target items and work towards the main item and you can always add some of the other points on the way back IFF time permits .
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  11. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    I’d you just want bragging rights, I’d do the other trip you suggested (badlands, glacier, jasper, etc) and just tell people you went to Alaska. ;)

    There is good riding in Alaska, but neither of those places will see much (ride into Skagway is nice) - they both offer good bits of CANADA, but why not save Alaska for when you really have time to go there?
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  12. dirtybike

    dirtybike Been here awhile

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    Mr Bakker has some good advice.
    600 mile days are achievable. My thinking was that wherever I was during the first few days, I could take a week or two and visit those places. That was all the northern US states. No sightseeing until I hit Glacier National Park. Eat, sleep, ride, repeat.
    I have done the trip NY to AK twice. I am not much of a camper. I hotel'd it most nights. I did the first trip the month of July and did not have a problem finding a hotel. Stopped at whatever town I was near toward the end of the day and decided if it was time to stop, or if I was likely to find someplace else within a few hours. You should not need to plan your trip to death. Weather can cause some short days.
    And, Mr Bakker - don't take the Cheater's Alaska remark too seriously. If the OP reads the regional forums, he will likely run across the term!

    Your kids will be telling their friends about Dad's riding his motorcycle to Alaska for a very long time.
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  13. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

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    Thanks guys, I like the idea of getting there as quick as possible and then doing the site seeing on the way back. If I go with the suggestion of doing the top of the world highway I'll get to see a lot more ground. I've done plenty of 6-700 mile days but I don't like planning to many of them because of things like weather. 18 days, 13,000km is 722km per day, does not seem so bad when I say it that way :) I know when I did a Northern Ontario trip a few years ago to Thunder Bay I did a 1200km day easily. The bugs are so bad you didn't want to stop and there was very little traffic or towns to go through so I made great time. I am guessing the parries will be much the same!
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  14. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

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    I averaged 400 miles/day (645km) going to AK, NWT, etc., but that average was created from longer days in the east and middle of the continent then closer to 250 mile days (400km) when I was in some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery that I've ever ridden in.

    I think Maine and Pennsylvania and Quebec and Ontario, etc. are all very, very beautiful, but it's in a different way than the stark mountains of the west with their sights over immense distances.
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  15. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    Well, I just retired in July at 62 and this is the time of my trip. In 2020. I have done several trips over the last three years (lasting 2 weeks) into Canada to areas like James bay and the Trans Labrador, The North road and Newfoundland, etc as test runs two years solo. I really wish I did it when I was younger but am excited to do my big trip in 2020. Deadhorse and Tuk for 4 months with hopefully lots of other places in Canada like Yellowknife, Dawson creek, etc.

    Do as much as you can now. It doesn't get easier, except now I have lots of time.

    KR
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  16. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    I think it's great if you decide to stick with your original plan of making it to Alaska primarily for bragging rights. However, don't under-value the rest of the ride. Alaska is a fantastic destination, but the ride to / from there should be your real focus.

    I have never ridden from Ontario across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. However, I have ridden up through British Columbia and the Yukon several times on the way to Alaska. BC and the Yukon are absolutely gorgeous places to ride!

    If you have already ridden across Canada, or are not overly excited about the trans-Canada ride, I have a possible alternative. Consider shipping your bike to some place that you can use as a launching point for a ride to / from Alaska through BC and the Yukon, such as Vancouver.

    In 2018 two friends and I shipped our bikes from Southern California to Spokane, WA from where we started and ended our Alaska adventure. We were able to ride up the Alaska Highway and return on the Cassiar highway. Our route took us up the Icefields Parkway to Prince George, The AlCan as far as Whitehorse, the Klondike to Dawson City, up the Dempster as far as the arctic circle marker, TOTWH over to Alaska, the Denali highway, Kennecott Mines, and Valdez. We then took the Cassiar highway down to Hyder and then back to Prince George. From PG we rode the Cariboo highway, then highway 23 along Kootenay Bay and down to Spokane. It was an amazing ride, and shipping the bikes to Spokane allowed us to focus on the Canada and Alaska roads we wanted to experience.

    Whatever you decide to do, it will be a great ride!

    Rick
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  17. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

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    Thanks! I am really looking forward to it! I like the idea of going up through the Yukon as well, Dawson City is near the top of my riding destination list so I can combine it and do the top of the world highway into Alaska. I have a sour toe cocktail to drink! I did Newfoundland last year and it was absolutely amazing!

    I have never road or driven across Canada so I am definitely riding. I would also imagine shipping to be very expensive. I have a lot of things planned to do on the way, which is why I am trying to keep the miles down. 720 is pushing it but I think I could leave the night before and knock off a few hundred km and then get in some 1000+ km days early on so that when I get west I can keep it around 500km days. I want to see Dinosaur provincial park, ice fields parkway, Grasslands National Park,etc.

    also seriously considering dropping the $1000 on an McCruise Control setup for my 2018 Vstrom!
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  18. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Hyder doesn't have a whole lot going on. If you get there on a Monday when the Seafood Bus is closed, there's almost no reason to stay there, in my opinion. I ended up riding back to Stewart to camp and have dinner there. That said, the ride into Stewart is pretty amazing... but as others said, that's BC and not AK.

    My favorite crossing to enter Alaska was on the Top of the World highway between Dawson City and Chicken. Worth riding that just for the road, anyway. I did it twice on my trip and it may as well have been tow different roads given the change in weather.
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  19. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

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    Bering Strait?
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  20. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Tennys , 722km PER DAY for 18 days end to end is bad , really bad . That is no way to ride a bike trip and expect it to be much fun . Imagine driving from
    Cornwall to Chatham each day for 18 days .
    I've done many round trips to the west coast and they always seem to take a bout 3 weeks at minmum, going out to BC looping back through either country and sightseeing allthe time .. Going to anyplace in upper Alaska for fun and home will take a good month .After a few trial speed -runs I concluded that for it to be a pleasure ride the daily distance is best kept around 400km ,less is okay too . And that is not a problem to do if you can be entertained by the rural landscapes and small towns you will be riding through . I can .
    There are lots of different roads you can follow ,it is not just a question about slotting into the flow of transport trucks doing their coast to coast runs on the Trans Canada Highway across the prairies . Your start point in Ontario will influence the first part of your ride - say if you start from far -east Alexandria or from southern Ont . you will be looking at three days of riding just to get out of the province ,whereas if you live in Kenora you would be in Manitoba in a half hour .The TC across Ontario is a great and varied highway but you can leave it (TC) behind at many points when you get to Manitoba .
    I mentioned the Yellowhead which starts its run to Edmonton from west of Winnipeg ,but any highway will do.
    You will have your hands full to fit even Hyder /Stewart and the Salmon Glaciers into 18 days of pleasant riding.Adding the YUKON will also add almost a week of time required . Never mind the arithmetic that says going to Skagway you add "only |" 600km , you will still be only 10km into the Alaska panhandle. Then you need to double back to the Yukon to begin the ride home , by different roads.

    Try to wheedle some more weeks of free time for touring in the short term upcoming years ,Looking ahead to a retirement 24 years from now is a recipe to go nuts. (just my opinion :lol3)
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