Dear God No, Not another Alaska Ride Report: Los Angeles to Alaska 2019

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AllSeasonRider, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. Matt-J2

    Matt-J2 Been here awhile

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    Good report. Didn't contain any of the stuff that usually cause me to stop reading partway through! Well written and the pics were nice. :D

    Plus I loved Earthwork Jim when younger. Actually still have the SNES game!



    I was stationed at Ft Wainwright (Fairbanks) from 99-03. I've been back to AK once since then, just last year for a friends wedding (Anchorage mainly). It's on my list to make a moto trip, but I have several shorter ones ahead of it in line. Partly for wanting to go to those places more, partly for learning whether moto-trips are a thing I actually like.

    Plus my wife wants to see AK in winter, so I might have to do that first!
    CavReconSGT and AllSeasonRider like this.
  2. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Right on. I can say that riding to AK from WI is not a great idea for a first long trip, but if you've got some overnights or long weekends under your belt, long trips are pretty much just that over and over.

    I have friends who went to Coldfoot last March, I think, to see the Northern Lights. I think a wintertime trip up there would be amazing, but that's a 4-wheeled adventure in my book!
  3. Matt-J2

    Matt-J2 Been here awhile

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    That's what I was thinking, build up to it. Plus I don't get enough PTO right now to make it worth it (I don't even get 3 weeks worth) unless I was capable of and enjoyed doing multiple Iron Butt 1K days in a row.

    Sometimes in winter you gotta go with no wheels at all. Tracks and runners! Or whatever they're called on snowmobiles. Between living in Idaho, Alaska, Colorado and Wisconsin (for the wintery states) I've never actually ridden one.
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  4. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    I can usually pound out two 1kmi days in a row, and them I'm done, usually for the rest of the trip... but I'm not normal and tend to do OK with higher mileage days than most (not meant to be a brag, this is just based on what riding friends think of my pace). Getting those big miles out within the States is pretty easy, it's more difficult in Canada and Alaska as there really aren't many 'freeways' and the speed limits are lower. Combined with the impacts of cold and wet weather, plus wanting to stop to see things once in a while, I think 500 miles was a 'big' day for me once I was far enough north. 500 miles would be somewhat average for me on a regular lower-48 pavement tour.

    Conversely, you get more daylight up there in the summer, so it's easier to ride longer if you want to.

    And I have never felt more out of control on a vehicle than the 1 time I rode a snow-mobile :lol3
    gpfan and Matt-J2 like this.
  5. Bushmaster

    Bushmaster ChazEd

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    On this quiet Fri at my work desk I've completed this inspiring RR... With all your amazing photos and amusing narration it is your final shot that has locked my resolve to embark again. As many have felt I'm sure, I've been torn between family and self... Many times I've told my kids you have to loose/leave something to realize just how much you truly appreciate it. My wife... Our new grandson... That Bed... We've all felt the loneliness and homesick when moving the opposite direction of the things we love but it's the idea of returning to that "Bed" that make all the road trip emotions manageable... for me at least. Thank you!
  6. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Thanks, @Bushmaster - I think you're the first that commented on that photo. Truth is, I had that sequence of shots and that closing in my head hours before I got home, maybe even days. There's only so much to do while tooling down some familiar roads in the final days of a trip. In fact, it's how I occupy my time quite a bit on these longer trips - thinking about the kinds of photos I want to take, and in what manner I want to tell the story, which can then dictate the photos I want, and the cycle continues. My only regret is I clearly left the aperature too wide in a lot of shots, and I couldn't tell my mistake until I got home to see them on the big screen. Lesson learned!

    I recall feeling pretty good until I crossed back into the States. On review, Glacier NP was a worthwhile stop, and while I commented on how ho-hum I found it when I was there, I revisit the photos and find them quite breathtaking, even with overcast, gray skies. In fact, I think I might like them better that way! But in those last couple of days I was feeling really at odds with myself - I wanted to get home so badly, and yet I wasn't home and wanted to enjoy where I was and what I was doing. I also felt conflicted that I was running days ahead of schedule - I technically had time to burn if I wanted. I used none of my flex days, and combined the last 2 days of planned riding into 1. I'm not sure how others do with the closing miles of a long trip, but this is pretty much par for the course for me, at least when they're round trip.

    2020 is a bust for moto travel, especially international, so I'm hoping that so many of the folks that posted up about their plans to head north this year are able to in 2021. I had been planning on my next big trip to head southward, but I'm finding myself drawn to go north again, revisit some of the places I enjoyed and add a few others I had to skip over. It's not like I'm using any vacation days this year, so maybe I'll have some time to burn next summer!
    gpfan and ScotsFire like this.
  7. staudio

    staudio Time to take a ride.....

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    Just read your report....I think for the 3rd time.

    I'm on my 2nd beer so maybe I missed it.....what camera did you use? The photos were awesome.

    You mentioned about a strap coming loose but overall how did your gear (helmet, boots, gloves, jacket, pants......) hold up.

    Seems the 1090 held up quite well.
  8. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Hi @staudio - my camera was/is a Canon G7x Mark II. Overall I'm happy with it, but the screen is small and I hadn't seen I left the aperture too open in a lot of shots where the bike is soft. This would have been saved by not pretending to be a pro and just used one of the presets in the camera.

    Gear was very good overall. My helmet was a Scorpion AT950 that I added a pinlock to. Flows enough air, stays warm when I want it to. Didn't fog up or let any rain in. If it fits your head and you want a flip up, it's a good choice.

    I used a Klim balaclava. Says it's windproof, and it mostly is. It did a lot to help keep my neck and face warm, and keep the visor from fogging.

    Main gear was Klim Carlsbad jacket and pants. What can I say, they fit me well, never once leaked, breathed well enough when it was hot, and cleaned up beautifully when I got home.

    Boots are Alpinestars Corozals. Never leaked, pretty happy with them.

    Gloves were a mix of a cheapo mesh pair for the 2 hot days I had and a pair of First Gear waterproof and heated gloves (made by Warm N Safe). All worked perfectly well. I also brought another pair of A* Gore Tex non insulated gloves, but only wore them for a couple hours on the first day day.

    I had a First Gear (Warm N Safe) heated jacket and socks as well, wouldn't do the trip without them.

    The only gear I brought that I would leave home next time was a set of Frogg Toggs. My Klim stuff kept we warm and dry on their own and I never needed them.

    Plan on getting rained on when it's in the 30s, and that's the kind of gear you'll want.
    NSFW, gpfan, CavReconSGT and 2 others like this.
  9. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    Excellent observation.

    I'm at that torn point as I plan my next ride. As I told my wife: "I'm going to be unhappy if I go without you and I'm going to be unhappy if you go with me."

    Her health isn't up to a long ride right now but I need a break from the daily grind. I really enjoy having her along when we go for 1-2 hour long local rides but that doesn't readily translate to 300-500 mile days to prime destinations.
    Folly1 and CavReconSGT like this.
  10. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    My goal for 2020 was to ride to Glacier NP - about 3,000 miles RT for me. I have ten days to do it next week but I'm waffling on going. Not really Covid related - other than the Blackfeet closure makes it a few hundred miles longer. Just having minor difficulty getting keyed up for it knowing that with such a short window I'll have to work hard to enjoy where I am and what I'm doing - exactly what you mention.

    I used no flex days on my Alaska trip and that was a mistake. But sitting in a god-forsaken place with nothing to do for 24 hours while it pours down outside, in some ways, is worse than riding in it and getting out of it.
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  11. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    I had this year as the year I went to Deadhorse and Tuk. I have done some other rides. Been to James Bay twice. The North road, The TransLabrador highway and other spots in preparation for this ride. 15000 miles and 4 months time. It was supposed to be epic. Was supposed to leave on May 1. I had retired last year, and because I waited until July 8th to retire instead of May 1. I decided to wait until this year for the trip instead of doing it last year. I have done a little local riding. Thought about doing the TAT hoping that by the time I got to Oregon the border would be open. Eventually it became clear that wouldn't likely happen. Plan to get the vaccine when available and new launch date is May 1, 2021. I am hoping that this works out.

    KR
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  12. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    You've done some epic rides already.

    You can't second guess yourself on the timing. Stuff happens. Life goes on.

    I'm not sure that everyone isn't being a little bit optimistic on the vaccine front.

    Regardless, congratulations on getting to retirement. I hope you and everyone else who planned to ride to Alaska in 2020 get to do so in 2021.
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  13. KLR Phil

    KLR Phil Boats & Hoes Supporter

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    To the OP - just wanted to drop in and say thanks for taking the time to write this up. Read it from front to back and shared it with a few folks...well done. :clap
  14. poppawheelie

    poppawheelie Long timer

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    There might be a yellow Jeep behind you. :-) :-) These on the KC Daylighters.
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  15. Multimile

    Multimile City Slicker

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    That was great adventure to read through. Thanks for taking the time to add your thoughts along the way.