Beyond the Arctic Circle in Canada and Alaska

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Venturer, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    After another stopover in Fairbanks, I mailed a box full of camping gear and other items back home to lighten my load. Leaving Fairbanks for Talkeetna, I was already missing the the Arctic. Passing RVs, sedans, cruisers and school buses, was a reintroduction to civilization. I wasn't ready to just be an average tourist again, but all good things eventually come to an end.

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    #81
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  2. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    Talkeetna was a fun stopover with an earthy, hippy vibe. Good food and neat saloons. I then passed through Anchorage to Seward for a night. The trip along the coastline to Seward was some of the hardest street riding of the trip with gusting high winds and rain (again). I had to slow down for fear of being blown off the road. The scenery would have been spectacular under better conditions. In Seward, I took a boat tour to see whales, bald eagle and otters.

    Next stop was Lake Louise Lodge in Alaska (NOT Lake Louise in Banff), a little vacation spot not too far from Anchorage. Sleepy, in a good way:
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    #82
  3. Folly1

    Folly1 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great RR and Pics. Thank you for making the effort.

    Ben.
    #83
  4. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    After a couple of days, I made it to Skagway via Haines Ferry. (Alaska charges for its Ferries.). I barely got on this ferry since I had not made a prior reservation.

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    #84
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  5. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    Skagway caters to the cruise ship crowd but has good food and live music. I made it to Cassiar Highway a day or two later. It is lightly traveled and a more remote route with lots of animal life. (I saw black bear, black wolf, and more stone goats.)

    On the Cassiar:
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    #85
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  6. JB650

    JB650 Adventurer

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    Really enjoying your report. Owning an 1190R too it is fun to see a ride report of someone traveling with one. Seems to be very few long distance ride reports with the big KTMs. Looking forward to more of the report.
    #86
  7. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    I believe this is Bear Glacier near Stewart/Hyder:

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  8. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    I also liked Skagway, in 1999 I flew to Whitehorse and then took the bus to Skagway where I hiked the Chilcoot trail in memory of the gold rush of 1899, when I arrived at Bennett lake 4 days later they had a canvas tent kitchen set up serving bacon and pancakes for the 100 year anniversary! Tough hike with 45lbs of gear, the gold rushers carried 100lbs for many trips over the pass.
    #88
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  9. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    I bumped along for a few days until reaching Banff. One word of advice, Don't ditch your spare gas until you get home. I came damn close to running out of fuel on the Cassiar, and again after leaving Prince George on my way to Banff. In fact, I had to bum some gas from a kindly retired RV'er after traveling for well over 80 miles with no gas options. (I mistakenly assumed I was in complete civilization, and my gas worries were gone.)

    I couldn't really enjoy Banff's beauty because cold rain, fog and snow was once again the order of the day:


    I also witnessed a group of tourists who had stopped on the road (causing the typical animal-sighting traffic jam) to view a black bear. The tourists were posing for photos about 15 yards from the bear and were dancing around and giggling. incredibly stupid. I found myself becoming angry with this Disneyland attitude common in the big government-managed parks.

    Banff's Lake Louise:
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    #89
  10. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    Thank you. I am trying to be "efficient" with the report and avoid covering too much information that has already been written about. The 1190R was superb. Everyone is biased about their bike, but I believe the 1190R was the perfect bike for my trip. Remarkable street capability and a big-dirt-bike feel when the going gets tough. I covered 16,000 total miles in 7 weeks with nothing more than an oil and tire change. (Plus the Haul Road sledgehammer roadside rim repair. You know you are in trouble when your preferred tool is a sledgehammer... )
    #90
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  11. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    That is impressive. I read about the Chilcoot trail, and it is TOUGH! Those Mountains are steep and rugged.
    #91
  12. Venturer 2

    Venturer 2 Adventurer

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    Enjoying the trip. Great videos and still shots.
    #92
  13. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

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    Here and there... but more there than here
    Thank you for making me feel better about hauling a hatchet around.
    #93
  14. TripleDubYa

    TripleDubYa Intrepid Explorer

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    Heading up to Tuk in June and the key takeaway from all of you brave souls is to mind the weather.
    #94
  15. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    Getting closer to the Canada/US border, I received bad news. A lifelong friend and whitewater kayaking buddy had suddenly lapsed into a coma and passed away while undergoing cancer treatment. He had been sick for some time, but his death was unexpected. I was in contact with several friends about this tragic event (I was grateful for my helmet communicator). My friend’s family also asked that I be a pallbearer at the funeral 5 days later in Mississippi. So, I had 4 days to cross the border and travel approximately 2500 miles. Clearly, my travel schedule changed dramatically with the funeral date becoming the primary focus. I rushed across the border and stayed in Helena, MT before arriving in Jackson, WY to spend an evening with my close friends, Matt and Anne. My original plan was to spend several relaxing days with Matt and Anne. Instead, I departed Jackson, WY the following day with the goal to make it as far across America as possible.

    Jackson, WY with my friends, Matt and Anne:
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  16. Venturer

    Venturer AKA klakeman Supporter

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    I am not your typical long distance street rider (my KTM 1190R is my only street legal bike). Earlier on this trip I had broken my previous single-day mileage records with a 700+ mile day across the Plains. After leaving Jackson, WY I began to calculate my remaining miles to make the funeral: 1,814 miles in two days! To some, this would seem pretty straightforward, but on a loaded 1190R with off-road tires and a damaged front rim, this seemed daunting to me. Time to cowboy-up! As I checked into a hotel at midnight in Omaha, NE that night, some 930 miles later, I felt more optimistic. That was a hard day, and both mentally and physically draining. I made it south of Memphis, TN the next day, and met my friends two hours before the funeral the following day. This was important to me, the family and my friends.

    I made a stop in Birmingham, AL that night to visit my mother and prove to that I had survived the trip. The next day, it was a short 200 mile ride home. As others have experienced, I began to feel sad that the trip was coming to an end. You tend to develop a routine and rhythm with these long trips that is hard to break when you return home. The sense of daily discovery and adventure comes to an end. It seems bizarre, but I even missed the bad weather days and occasional mechanical challenges.

    In the end, it was truly the trip of a lifetime for me. I met so many interesting, helpful and friendly people along the way, and could not have completed the journey without their support. Starting the trip on the MABDR with my Georgia buddies was a great way to kick off the ride, and I only wish they could have ridden with me the entire way. I was particularly fortunate to meet Jim in Whitehorse, YT and ride with him to Tuktoyaktuk. (I have since invited Jim to visit me in Georgia to experience some Southern riding in the Appalachians.) The Alaska Pipeline maintenance crew were incredibly helpful (especially the loan of the sledgehammer to hammer my dented rim). My family was also patient and supportive despite being worried about the trip. So, there is no such thing as a solo long distance adventure ride. We all need a little help along the way. Can’t wait to go back to the Arctic again someday.

    Trip highlights: 16,000 total miles over 6 weeks with Arctic Circle crossing in Canada, visit to Tuktoyaktuk and Beaufort Sea, and Arctic Circle crossing in Alaska.

    July 9, 2018
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    #96
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  17. Bugzy

    Bugzy 2014 VStrom DL1000a

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    Sorry to hear about your kayaking buddy passing, we all end up there some day.

    Great trip report, lots of adventures and memories. Thank you.

    Now where do you go from here?
    #97
  18. TripleDubYa

    TripleDubYa Intrepid Explorer

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    Great trip report. Sorry to hear about the sudden change in plans but being there for a friend is priority one.
    #98
  19. BJMoose

    BJMoose that trick never works

    Joined:
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    Very much enjoyed your report.You seem like a calm person when faced with adversity, well done. What GoPro model did you use? The videos looked great.
    #99
  20. Racerlarry

    Racerlarry n00b

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    I’m sorry about your friend. I really enjoyed your RR. My girlfriend and I are going to Alaska this summer,but we’re taking a much easier path. Flying and renting bikes.