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

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

  1. keith in alaska

    keith in alaska Valley Gruver

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Oddometer:
    803
    Location:
    Iditarod Trail, Alaska
    I also like Skagway much better than Haines. Especially after the ships call all the shoppers back on board for dinner.The roads leading DOWN to these tiny ports are both amazing. You will like the one that isn't foggy, rainy, and cold the best. :vardy

    I also don't think you need to carry gas if you have a range of 150 miles, unless you are venturing beyond the Arctic Circle. Just top off every chance you get......the roadside lodges are usually interesting anyway. You will be hungry for a diversion if you travel the length of the Alcan :lol3

    The Milepost is an 800 page bible of information and ads. Tear out the pages you need for your trip. A copy that is a year or two old is OK, things don't change that quickly......the just move the construction equipment up/down the road a few miles. :lol3

    Barb and Fighter's advice is spot on!!
    #81
  2. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,394
    Location:
    New Zealand , Fiordland
    Im only planning 2 ferry trips, Whittier, Cordova, Valdez and Haines ,Skagway . Do you have to book in advance when taking a bike . This site is pretty addictive , cant seem to get away from it. Cheers Toddy
    #82
  3. BARB

    BARB Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,970
    Location:
    ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
    I have never booked in advance. Always room in the bow. They do have tye downs on board to use and when those run out, there is always rope. Sorry to lead you here and get you hooked. In 20 years we'll all be attending adv anon, online of course. Barb
    #83
  4. Curtis

    Curtis Life serve the risk taker

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,308
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    These little hops didn't book very far in advance for me. When I was in Homer and heading to Whittier in 2 days there was seats available. When I got there they were booked and I had to go standby.

    I will say this, if you just show up and get put on standby you have a great chance of getting on with a bike. The problem is you are dead last and if it's a overnight ride all the good floor space is taken for sleeping.

    You can book a seat online and at any terminal. I would say print a copy of the entire ferry schedule during your trip and keep it with you and keep an eye on which ferry will work for you, they don't all run everyday. When you get within a few days of your desired departure I would book rather than just show up. Especially Whittier for instance because you have to ride through a several mile long tunnel to get there (fun).
    #84
  5. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,654
    Location:
    Alaska

    One nice thing about going stand-by is that in most cases your bike is parked near the exit. This makes it pretty easy to talk the deck workers into letting you off to do a quick exploration of some of Alaska's neatest little towns.
    Ketchikan and Juneau have enough roads to warrant a side trip. The ferry at Juneau docks at Auke Bay which is a bit out of town but a nice drive. Be sure to set your watch to the correct time and don't be late getting back on the ferry. It will leave without you.
    #85
  6. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,394
    Location:
    New Zealand , Fiordland
    Im a bit worried about young Drew on that fast new bike. We just had a month of real hot weather and all the roads melted and all the tar cum to the top, they put heaps of grit on the bad sections so you got to stay in the wheel tracks like on dirt roads. We had a bit of fun coming down the west coast 2 weeks back. Other problem now there is a lot of shiney patches when it rains. Its been pissin down here for the last 2 days, we had 75mm last night but hopefully it might stop soon. Dunedin had a flood, they got 70mm in 17mins , it was like a river running down the hills and all the stormwater man holes were like guysers. HOG club from Dunedin are having ride to Te Anau this weekend . I better go in and meet them since Im a HOG menber .Most of them probably wont turn up since its wet. I might wear my harley T shirt and my Honda jacket with all the HOG brass. Its not really my scene but its interesting. Its 6 weeks till we fly to Australia for SUPERBIKES , bring it on , I think it will be Chris Vermuelins year on the TenKate Fireblade. Then its not long till I will b on the big bird to D2D. Pretty well got the route planned, started making a list of everything I will need to take over, Well must go Cheers Toddy
    #86
  7. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,109
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I'm trying to figure that out now. I'm riding to the arctic circle in June, then down to anchorage. I'm waiting for the 2005 Milepost to come out before I decide any routes for sure, but if Deadhorse is just a checklist-accomplishment to say I did it, I won't bother. If I think it will have something unique to offer beyond bragging rights then I'll go. I will go to Coldfoot for sure.
    As for the Ferry I've been told you need reservations well in advance, but I don't plan on using it myself except for the short Marine Hwy routes that go to some of the islands once I get there.
    #87
  8. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,394
    Location:
    New Zealand , Fiordland
    Most people that dont do it regret it and end up going back at a later date. You can join up with me Cob. Cheers Toddy
    #88
  9. hondav2

    hondav2 Kiwi Fukengruver

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,394
    Location:
    New Zealand , Fiordland
    Most people that dont do it regret it and end up going back at a later date. You can join up with me Cob. Cheers Toddy
    #89
  10. RoyB

    RoyB Dartmouth, Massacusetts

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,578
    Location:
    Dartmouth, MA
    This evening on OLN (Outdoor Life Network) on TV there was a 1 hour program sponsored by Jeep called the Dalton Highway. Showed the whole thing. Very interesting and very narrow in some spots. Wouldn't like one of the trucks they showed to come barreling around a corner and me be on the other side! Althought they showed lots of gravel roads, the looked and even commented onnhow good the surface was.

    Interesting show, I hope they repeat it.
    #90
  11. RoyB

    RoyB Dartmouth, Massacusetts

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,578
    Location:
    Dartmouth, MA
    Resruns this Thursday, Feb17, 3-4pm (I believe that is eastern time)

    Jeep Dalton
    Alaska's Dalton highway has been called the last wild road in America. Stretching from just north of Fairbanks through the frozen tundra at the Arctic Ocean, the road provides access to nearly 40 million acres of some of the wildest country that remains in Alaska. It also contains some of the best hunting and fishing lands to be found anywhere. Originally built to facilitate the building of the Alaskan Pipeline, the Dalton Highway is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Today the road is open to the public and our documentary highlights the history, the towns, people and sportsman opportunities that lie along the road's 414-mile long length.
    #91
  12. Jeff Munn

    Jeff Munn Just along for the ride..

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,889
    Location:
    Petersburg, Virginia
    IMH experience the ride to Deadhorse was the best reason for riding to Alaska. That is why I bought a GS. The section from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle is just not that awe-inspiring (but can be difficult in wet conditions), and the road from the Circle to Coldfoot is all paved. The real adventure and scenery starts when you leave Coldfoot and run north thru the Brooks Range. When you crest over Antigun Pass and drop down onto the tundra, it is a whole different world that you won't find anywhere else. :thumb Riding the Dalton solo did far more for me mentally than any IBA type ride I've ever done. Just hope you get a good weather window because it is a real challenge in the rain and cold. :vardy
    #92
  13. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,109
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thanks. I have very little interest in IBA type rides so I can't use that as a comparison, but your description sounds great. Based on that, I think I'll go.
    #93
  14. keith in alaska

    keith in alaska Valley Gruver

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Oddometer:
    803
    Location:
    Iditarod Trail, Alaska
    It's is a ride I wouldn't want to miss and wouldn't want to repeat. Start praying for dry weather NOW!!!
    #94
  15. Jeff Munn

    Jeff Munn Just along for the ride..

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,889
    Location:
    Petersburg, Virginia
    If you hadn't seen this already, it may help a bit. I wrote it last summer after I got back. I do hope you have good weather too, but be prepared for anything or else it can be a really FUN ride. :lol3

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50861&highlight=dalton
    #95
  16. Snuffy

    Snuffy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,084
    Location:
    Tucson
    Jeff Munn, last time i was up there was in '93. All the road was dirt. When did the stretch from circle to coldfoot get paved? :ear Guess it's time to take another look. Also, from what i here in advriderland that a lot of the cassiar has also been paved. True? If so, what a shame.
    #96
  17. Jeff Munn

    Jeff Munn Just along for the ride..

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,889
    Location:
    Petersburg, Virginia
    I guess that is why it is the "last great wild road" according to OLN. I'll bet in our lifetimes it will be mostly paved. Heck, if you catch good weather, it is almost like a freeway in sections north of Coldfoot (but before the end of the Brooks Range); 3 lanes wide and smooth as concrete. I actually did break 100 mph in one section that has visibility for about 4 miles. :wink: I'd estimate that between 100 and 130 miles of the total length are paved now, including that 75 miles from the circle to Coldfoot. Believe it or not, there is a 25 mile paved section in the middle of the tundra that starts about 100 miles south of Deadhorse. Go figure. :huh I had never been so happy to see a bit of pavement.

    My wife and I came back down the Cassiar to Stewart. It is mostly paved too, but does have roughly 50 - 70 miles still dirt/gravel. The good news is that the rest is still rough enough to make RVs take another route. I loved cranking by an RV at 50 mph, while they were going 15 mph, getting their teeth rattled, and you could heard the dishes breaking in the back. If you listen into RV conversations at gas stops they tell each other horror stories of how rough the Cassiar is. Great! Let them all stay on the ALCAN. :thumb
    #97
  18. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,109
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Thanks, I'll go check that out now. Did you happen to ride any of Denali highway? If you only had time for Denali highway or Dalton highway, which would you pick? In good weather is it reasonable to try to get from coldfoot to deadhorse in 8 or 9 hours?
    #98
  19. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,109
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Oops, it's less miles than I thought, I should've read the report first.
    #99
  20. Curtis

    Curtis Life serve the risk taker

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,308
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    I did the Dalton and Dempster highway and feel the Dempster is the more adventurous road for all the reasons you mentioned about the Dalton highway. Plus when you arrive at Inuvik you actually have a town to visit and interesting aboriginal people and can even fly further North to some small villages. The mountains are equally beautiful but the Dempster seemed the more desolate route. Reaching the Arctic Circle felt like more of an accomplishment because it took more than a day of dirt road to reach it. The end after the river crossings on the Dempster was plain ugly though. The Tundra of the Dalton was spectacular in my opinion.