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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AllSeasonRider, Aug 2, 2019.
Clothes get hung on the bicycle only!
Great report. Really enjoyed reading it. I am headed to Tuk and Deadhorse in May 2020 so it was a help in planning. I am taking 4 months though. From CT. I retired 7/8/19 so this plan has been in the works for a while. Was supposed to be this year but ran out of time.
Thanks again for the report.
Thanks, KR! Have fun up there, it's a neat place.
Great RR! Haven't read many Alaska reports yet so the others will have live up to yours :)
Great report, I’m wanting to do this in 2020 but still confused on best dates weather wise. Sounds like you had pretty good weather later than I expected? So when is it best?
Fun ride report.... I read the entire thing on Saturday, then went and read my own ride report from last year.... brought back a lot of memories
Simply outstanding! I loved your narrative and humour.
I rode up from North Carolina in '16, '17 & '18, leaving in mid-June. I got to Alaska somewhere between July 1st and 4th each trip and stayed around thee-and-a-half weeks. '16 and '17 were pretty dry. I had a little rain but usually rode out of it fairly fast. '18 was WET! I got a little snow on that trip but it didn't last too long. June and July are usually the best times to go and even into August. Just go! I look forward to going back in '21.
Thanks, trying to get my 16yr old son who just got his license to ride solo with me. I understand the weather is the biggest variable so trying to pick the right window. It’s been a bucket list item for years and this year is the time. Thanks for your reply. Sounds like your a pro at it so I may be asking some more questions.
Great report. Love the commentary along the way. Thanks for the entertainment.
Fabulous report....... Soon I am doing Alaska with a friend....soon
just wondering if you ride much around Prince George BC
All - My supreme thanks for this recent burst of feedback. With having gotten back to work, the holidays, house chores and all the rest, this trip already feels like it took place a lifetime ago. People I haven't seen in a while will ask, "Hey, how was Alaska?", and my response is usually some variation, "Huh? Did I go to Alaska recently?" The reminders that this trip actually happened have been a treat.
I have an expertise level commensurate with a single trip, so bear that in mind. I was originally planning on June, but moved it to August based on some feedback from @Alcan Rider , who opined that the Dempster would be more reliably passable later in the season. The unexpected bonus was that some of the autumn colors were starting to come in, especially the reds up on the tundra and in Tombstone park. By the way, even if you don't do the whole of the Dempster, go at least as far as to see Tombstone - it's not far, the road is in great shape, and the scenery is mesmerizing.
I'm digressing - June is, statistically, the driest month of the riding season. July is wettest, and was never an option in my mind for that reason. August is in-between. Also, statistics don't matter if it's raining like hell and it wasn't supposed to be. In the moment, I had assumed my good weather was a stroke of luck - and perhaps it was in part - but I think the real reason was flexibility in my planning. I altered my itinerary based on weather, and not only avoided lots and lots of rain, but ended up seeing some things I wasn't expecting to. I think August, for the most part, is still safe for moto travel up there. I ran into snow on my way back down the Dempster, and a little "wintery mix" over Isabella Pass, but otherwise all of the water I encountered was thoroughly wet.
I wish I could recall the RR, but I also read one where they were up there for early/mid Sept and had great weather, so that was another reason I decided to go later in the season.
And yet another reason I wanted to avoid June was to steer clear of the Dust to Dawson event. I'm sure it's a good time, but I was interested in avoiding crowds as best I could. Dawson City can be tough to get a room as it is, and I didn't want to have to make reservations in advance and commit myself to being in certain places on certain dates (see "flexibility" comments above).
Also, the mosquitoes were almost nowhere to be found anywhere up there on my trip. Not sure how it was earlier in the year or if that was typical for August.
TL;DR - I'm not sure there's a "best" time to go, but anytime between June and August is fine. If I were to do it again (and I just might...) I'd pick August again.
Don't say soon - pick a date. You won't regret it. For realzies.
As others have said great ride report and wonderful pictures. Leaving Ga last week of May and wives flying into Anchorage middle of June for a week riding. Allowing 6 weeks for trip. 2 of us on HD dressers so not as much dirt roads as you but want to do TOW and Denali. Your report has been great inspiration and advice.
You can do TOW on Harleys. Do you mean Denali the park, or Denali the highway that connects Cantwell to Paxon? The former is no problem but you'll need to book a bus tour to get more than 15 miles in, the latter I probably wouldn't want to do on a Harley - it's chunkier than TOW and would beat the bike up a bit.
In 2011 at the gas stop along the Yukon River, on the Haul Road, I met 5 guys from Brazil on full dress HD's. About a year earlier they had left their homes, ridden south to Ushuaia, turned around and rode to Prudhoe Bay, and were now on their way home! I wish I had a video of this --> the shortest guy of the group bid me farewell in very broken English, backed up and took a running leap to mount his HD! He was too short to step over it. I'll never forget that meeting.
I have to admit that I regret not going to Dawson City and Chicken on my Harley after getting some firsthand information from someone in Anchorage who had done it. But weather and tread depth is still a factor IMO. I'd second guess doing it if I was down to one or two thirty-seconds of tread depth and it was wet. Otherwise, I'd give it a go.
Just be aware, the AlCan eats Harley tires - especially soft compounds. All because you leave home with ten thirty-seconds on a stock Dunlop doesn't mean you are going to arrive in Dawson City with six thirty-seconds. Assuming you run with the proper air pressure, depending on your load and compound you could chew through six thirty-seconds by time you get to DC. Just anticipate the tire wear and plan accordingly.
[This also from a One-time Alaska rider on a '17 Road King, lightly loaded.]
Was talking about Denali Hwy. We hope to ride as many roads as we can. At 61 yrs old not sure how many more chances we will have for Alaska. This is last state for me and he will still needs Hawaii.
Denali Highway could be tough for a dresser Harley. It's not something I'd be looking to do on purpose on a bike like that. There's some sections where it gets a little chunky and washboard. Even on my 1090 it was a little wearing. If you do TOW and find it no sweat, then you guys will probably be fine on Denali Hwy. If instead you find it just barely tolerable and only worth it for the views, then Denali might not be a great idea - but the views are pretty great, so it's a trade-off.
Not trying to discourage, just want to share the best intel I have.