Calling all Alaska touring experts.......Input needed...

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by RoyB, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. BARB

    BARB Long timer

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    Yes to Yosimite, Yes to Crater, I think I went to Klamath Falls in July but can't remember. I bought a State Parks pass for $50.00, it gives you entry to all state parks and will pay for itself. Between Havasu and San Francisco there are a couple different routes to go. Death Valley is awesome and May is a good time. The Grand Canyon is only 2 1/2 hours from Havasu but that's the other direction, makes for a good day trip to learn how to drive on the right side of the road. I don't know about the 3 month US thing. I'll call immigration and ask. Barb
    #61
  2. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

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    I will start with Hoover Dam, Vegas, Death Valley then check out those NPs and onto San Francisco stay with an old boss who lives there ,upcoast to Redwood NP then into Crater Lake ect up coast . Is Mt Ranier and Mt St Helens worth a visit . Vancouver, Cassier, When I get to Watson Lakes is it best to go to Dawson Via Ross river or the Canol road or via White horse. Thats about 3,500 miles so with 3 weeks to do it in I will get to see a bit. Cheers Toddy
    #62
  3. BARB

    BARB Long timer

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    Whitehorse to Dawson is boring and it's all paved. I have never been up the other 2 but they sure look good on the map. Has anyone been up Robert Campbell highway or Canol Road??? Barb
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  4. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    Toddy.... Trout Lake, WA into Randle, WA. Mt. St. Helen on your left.
    Very nice. :nod :nod :nod :nod
    I would run Watson/Whitehorse/Dawson. Rather than run the Cannoly to Lost Liver.. take a rip up to Mayo and Keno or save your energy for D2D:evil Fighter
    #64
  5. BARB

    BARB Long timer

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    More input: Denali Highway in June '02
    [​IMG]
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  6. HackyMoto

    HackyMoto TEAM USA GS TROPHY 2012

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    Wuts up with Ross River just outside of Watson Lake I'v never been that way it look like a nice dirt run :evil
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  7. friar mike

    friar mike IronButtGruver

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    Whats up Hacky!
    you watching from work or playing hooky:rofl
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  8. Curtis

    Curtis Life serve the risk taker

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    There was a guy from Vegas that talked about doing that on this site once. I can't remember his name off hand but if I remember right he liked it and saw lot's of wildlife. I think I remembered him say it was ball bearing gravel the whole way.
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  9. Curtis

    Curtis Life serve the risk taker

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    I found it, his name is Rapid Twin and this is what he said back when I was planning my trip."

    "What is your routing going up? If I were you I would not miss the Robert Campbell highway. It is 500 mi. of good gravel between, Watson Lake, and Carmacks, Yukon."

    "I continued to Dawson, and the next day I headed south toward Whitehorse. About midway is Carmacks, and that is where the Robert Campbell highway starts. It is gravel, but a great road, and I got about 350 of the 500mi. and camped at Francis Lake. A very beautiful spot. Woke up the next morning to heavy rain. The road was slick, but the GS was fine after you get used to it. Took about 5 hr. to do the 150mi. to Watson Lake."
    #69
  10. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

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    Has anyone dun the South Canol to Ross River. I read a good report on another site about it. Cheers Toddy
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  11. BARB

    BARB Long timer

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    Toddy, I asked the same question a couple weeks ago. I think you need to ride it and give a report when you reach Dawson. Barb
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  12. Curtis

    Curtis Life serve the risk taker

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    After you play in Death Valley make your way back West to Highway 395 and North. You can enter Yosemite from the backside. The reason I think you should do this is if you like the twisty roads you will want to head for the start of Highway 49 near the West exit of Yosemite. Historic mining towns all along this route and wonderful scenery. I recommend crusing this road the whole way to grass Valley, Ca. and then across to the coast.

    The other way that is equally wonderful is to hit highway 1 at San Luis Obisbo and head north along the coast. I recommend doing this on a weekday so you have the road more to yourself. Big Sur is a nice place to camp before you reach Carmel and Monterey.
    #72
  13. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

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    I will have to do that, Im having this weekend off from bike riding, cant handle another weekend of no sleep, Time to put rear tyres on VTR and heritage and do some overdue maintainance on my cars, have a safe ride to mexico. Might have to give Drew a ride on a sport bike while he is down here.Cheers Toddy
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  14. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

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    What is the best route to take thru Death Valley Curtis ? I want to take in as many old mining towns as possible. I worked as an Underground Fitter in gold and Nickle mines in West Australia and enjoy looking around the old machinery. I also enjoy soaking in Hot Springs after a days riding so any tips on then would be appreciated. Cheers Toddy
    #74
  15. luftwagen

    luftwagen n00b

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    I made a trip similar to the one you're about to take in August of 2003. If you want to check out some photos, here they are.

    Alaska By Motorcycle 2003 Photos

    My personal opinion is that any route you take (for the most part) will be full of great scenery, history, and great riding. Rather than trying to convince you to take any specific routes, I'm going to tell you the way I went and why I chose to go that way. I'll also divulge anything I think you might find helpful in reference to some of your other questions.

    My Route:

    Before I start... If you haven't done it yet, get a book called the Milepost. Be sure to get the 2005 version because things change so much. Trust me on this one. It's worth it's weight in gold and will only set you back about 20.00. While the book isn't made specifically for motorcyclists, it has details of every route you could possibly take, the road conditions, gas stops, food stops, history, and even a very detailed description of the ferry system and the ferry schedules. It's the perfect guide for anyone traveling through Canada and into Alaska. GET THE MILEPOST! http://www.milepost.com/

    I too rode through Banff and Jasper and decided to go into Price George and then up into Dawson Creek. I chose this way instead of the Grand Prairie route because someone who knows the region told me that Grand Prairie is very flat and boring. Hence the name "Grand Prairie".

    I chose to ride into Dawson Creek (as opposed to taking some of the roads that connect you into the Alaska Highway a little sooner - avoiding backtracking) because of the historic value of being at Mile Marker "0" of the Alaska Highway. Other than the historic value of the place, I see no reason to go there.

    From Dawson Creek, I took the Alcan to all the way to the end and then went up into Fairbanks for maintenance. From there, I rode the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle. My original itinerary was to go all the way into Deadhorse but because I was traveling alone, I decided not to. That place feels very remote once you get there and I just didn't want to take any chances of being stranded.

    After returning to Fairbanks, I went back to the Haines Junction and proceeded into Haines via the Haines Hwy to catch the ferry.

    Ever since I made the decision to not go into Deadhorse, I've regretted it. For this reason, I'll be making the big journey again this year with a friend. This time, we're going to take the Cassiar Highway North, then do the Dawson City loop. After that, we'll head into Fairbanks and go north to the ocean.

    GENERAL TIPS / HELPS

    1. On my trip I rode an average of 500 miles every day. My average time on the bike was 10 hours every day. Unless you want your trip to feel like you did nothing but ride, set up camp, eat and sleep, ride less.

    2. Do not second guess whether or not you'll need ass rash creme. Start using it from day one.

    3. Carry at least 2 gallons of gas. You'll use it. On my trip, I passed two remote gas stations that were supposed to be in service and were not. I was running on fumes. There were two other times I used it. If you go to Deadhorse, you'll use it. NO QUESTION.

    4. Read the book "Going The Extra Mile". There's a lot of reading a guy could do to prepare. I think this one is particularly good because it talks about the stuff most people don't think of. It was written by Iron Butt pros. Even though you say you're a seasoned long distance rider, I highly recommend reading like this.

    5. Book your ferry now! A lot of people will tell you to just walk on. This is great if it's just you and a backpack. Because your bike will be traveling with you, it's important you get a spot in the cargo hold. The ferry system is the ONLY way ANY vehicle gets in or out of those small Alaskan towns (Juno, Ketchican, Sitka etc.) They can get very busy.

    6. Skagway is a tourist trap! All of the big cruise ships go in and out of Skagway. My original itinerary was to go there. Thanks to some local advice, I went to the prettier and quieter Haines. The Haines Highway is noted as one of North America's most spectacular highways. I haven't been on every road in North America but I've never seen anything like this one. While in Haines, I checked out the National Bald Eagle refuge as well as a pack of Brown Bears feeding on salmon in a river. Haines was by far the most "Alaska" like place I visited on my whole trip.

    7. Here's some good camping advice for the ferry. There are pros and cons to tenting vs doing the solarium thing so I'll cover both and let you decide. I personally used my tent but saw advantages to the solarium as well. Whether you get on in Skagway or Haines, you should still have a choice. If you want the best options all the way around, start at Skagway because it's at the top of the ferry line. The further down the line you go, the more crowded the boat becomes. Haines is next in line from Skagway so you shouldn't have any problems claiming tent or solarium space.

    TENTING: setting up your tent on the upper deck is great if you want to be able to "have your own space". You won't spend a lot of time in your tent other than sleeping and dressing but it's nice to be able to have your things under cover (out of sight out of mind) even though people really don't steal very often there (so they say).

    While on the ferry, it will rain. PERIOD. Remember that you're traveling through a mountainous rainforest. Set your tent up in the middle of the deck where it crowns (you can see what I mean in my pictures) and as close to the solarium as possible without being "inside" the solarium - no tents allowed inside. By doing this, you'll be out of the water that collects around the rim of the boat. There are drains all around but the water still piles up. I saw people taking on water and was glad it wasn't me.

    Weigh your tent down with gear. Don't worry about duct taping it down! The deck is likely to be wet so the tape won't stick anyway. Even if it does, when it rains (and it will), the tape just comes off. I saw one tent blow away into the great blue yonder and again, I was glad it wasn't me. It will be very windy at times but your tent isn't going anywhere with your gear evenly distributed.

    SOLARIUM: at first when you board the boat (especially from Skagway), it will seem as if you can find a nice cozy little spot in the solarium to call your own. This will not last long. One day at best. Before you know it the solarium will be full people. During my ferry experience, every lounge chair was occupied as well as the floor space around them. The benefit to the solarium is the simplistic set up and the open air. The downfall is trying to tip-toe around heads to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

    SUMMARY: if you like people, keep it easy and go the solarium route. If you want your own space, set up a tent. One other thing - I didn't know this at the time, but you can stay inside the ferry in the common seating area. You'll see what I mean when you get there. People just turned the soft benches into beds. This is good if you want to be inside where it's warm, next to the showers and bathrooms.

    8. Buy an iPod. Fill it up with good music and / or books.

    9. Check out this site: http://www.globeriders.com/index.shtml
    The video on repairs is good. This guy has some great backwoods advice. Stuff I would have never thought of.

    10. I went to Alaska on August 13. Other than some normal mosquito issues in BC campgrounds, there weren't any major bugs nagging at me like I thought there would be. I have yet to see those giant Alaskan mosquitos everyone talks about. It was a little colder though so bring the electric gear.

    11. Bring good tie downs for the ferry. The water gets rough at times and your bike is sure to fall over when it does.

    Hopefully all of this helps. I was in your shoes 2 years ago. Have fun and who know, maybe we'll see you along the way. If you've got any other questions, feel free to email me. luftwagen@mac.com

    Alaska By Motorcycle 2003 Photos
    #75
  16. Curtis

    Curtis Life serve the risk taker

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    I grew up in Arizona and sorry to say I've never been to Death Valley. The closest I've come to it is Highway 395.

    Up North there is quite a few hot springs. Laird was my favorite but you won't see that on the Cassiar and I wouldn't recommend missing Cassiar. Chitina was nice but very man-made looking. I didn't make it to Manley hot springs.
    #76
  17. BARB

    BARB Long timer

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    Luftwagen, good advise and good pictures. I am going to argue about #6 though. Skaguay is awesome. There are alot of tourists and alot of cruise ships for a reason. The town itself was the gateway to the Klondike goldrush and the historical info there is amazing. One of the few operational narrow gauge railroads still runs up White Mountain on the same trail the miners used. The scenery between Carcross and Skaguay is amazing. And like anywhere in Alaska it sucks when it's raining. Barb
    #77
  18. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    What Barb said plus:
    Ferry reservations??? I guess that's OK if you enjoy being locked in on a schedule.
    Tents on the Ferry??? Isn't that like doubling up a condom? :lol3 :lol3
    #78
  19. Curtis

    Curtis Life serve the risk taker

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    Skagway was full of tourists when a ship was in but the locals were great or maybe I fell in good with the locals. One of the best times I had was in Skagway. I was this close || to renting a backpack and hiking the chilcoot trail. When you realize what happened in this area around 1900 you will be amazed too.

    It is amazing how Skagway, Diea, Whitehorse and Dawson City are all intertwined.
    #79
  20. RDJEff

    RDJEff Lost in Alaska

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    It depends on how much you like being cooped up with a bunch of tourists if it happens to rain. I went to high school in Juneau, and was on the track team, ski team, etc., and we used to travel all over southeast on the ferries. I have a lot of stories about those trips...
    #80