First Time up to Alaska

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by ktmspecial, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. ktmspecial

    ktmspecial n00b

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    Newbie to this board (spend a lot of time on KTMTalk).

    So for 12 years running, a few of us do the "annual MotoTrip" and are finally going to do it. Let's just say we've THOROUGHLY done the west coast of the US (one trip we headed east to the black hills and we'll basically never to that again as it was just too flat in between....living in the west definately has it's benefits!) Last year we spent a full week playing around in BC (Destination Highways book was simply awesome) and had probably one of the best trips ever. Got us thinking to head even farther north.

    I'll continue to do some more browsing through this site, but thought I'd get some advice from folks here. We basically have only one week (Saturday to Saturday) and our starting point will be Seattle, Wa. So, we are thinking of taking a ferry up (open to suggestions of where to land) and then riding back down from there. Since our time is relatively short and there arent' too many roads to choose from up there, thought some of you could suggest the ideal trip given our time and starting point.

    Thanks!

    We'll be going 3rd week of June this year and will be on the bikes below (although I'm contemplating taking my KTM 625 SMC).

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Conner

    Conner CodeNameChuck

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    I think the AK ferry takes 3 days from Bellingham to Skagway, Mapquest says 1710 miles back to Seattle. That's probably via the Alcan, or you could throw on some knobs and do the Cassiar, stop by Hyder for a drink...

    Conner in Sacramento
    #2
  3. Namron

    Namron Old Fart

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    Don.t think you have enough time. Most riders feel a week is a short time in Alaska. Three days on the boat and about 36hr to get back home will only give you the right to say you were in AK, not much time to see anything!
    Just my .02 cents.
    Norm
    #3
  4. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    A week is about enough time to get to Hyder and back, and that's if you don't encounter road work, accident/traffic delays, mechanical snafus, etc. You might want to fly up and rent bikes if all you have is a week, even then you won't see much of anything. I think you may be underestimating the distances-better check the scales on the map, an inch might be a hundred miles!
    #4
  5. Cheap Ryder

    Cheap Ryder Ride for enlightenment

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    Contrary to the naysayers it is possible to get up north and back again with only a week off. I rode more than a few times from Yakima Wa. to alaska and back and also to the NWT and back.I usally took nine days. Dawson city is a nice trip and Hyder AK. can be reached all on pavement. The main thing is that there is lots of boring road in between the good stuff. Also on my rides I ride, not super fast but not party time and beer drinking time. Get up north it is a beautifull country with interesting people.
    #5
  6. Smith898

    Smith898 Dancin Man

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    I agree fly into Anchorage rent a bike and fly back. you can get some good riding in in a week. http://www.akrider.com/06prudhoebay.html a good site to visit.
    With the 24 hours of day light you can cover a lot of ground if you get behind a day or 2. I think if you want to see alaska that is your best bang especially if you have already di most of the Canada run.
    #6
  7. JimmieA

    JimmieA Long timer

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    There is a Canadian ferry that leaves the north tip of Vancouver Island at Port Hardy and takes about 13 hours to arrive at Prince Rupert(some days it goes to Bella Coola and may take longer). The US ferry travels the same route but travels further north and takes longer. The US ferry may be more of a tour boat vs. a ferry.

    This ferry is a great ride, lots of interesting things to see, like whales and eagles and nice land scapes. The highway in Northern BC is not real exciting. Lots of miles between centres and it has been known to rain a lot. Prince Rupert is nice if its not raining. You could get to the North West Territories and the Alaska Highway via this route but you would be comming back on the same road. There is a gravel road north-east of Prince Rupert that would cut off a lot of distance, not sure how good this road is. There is a member on this list who lives in the area, he would be happy to help you, I'm sure, his user name is kildala2000 .
    #7
  8. LowAdvRider

    LowAdvRider Why aren't we Riding?

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    Did the Alcan up and Cassier back (including up to Artic Circle) in '04 on a wing. Don't buy into the need for knobs or a KTM. Just do it. Take whatever you want for the ride and be happy you are doing it.

    The Cassier was more enjoyable than the Alaska Highway. More remote.

    Not a lot of construction. Just be careful in the rain and watch for them dumping 6" deep gravel. Go slow, do NOT lead. Follow at least one car to see what the conditions are from their tire tracks so that you have the ability to react to changes in the contruction zone. The other road conditions where incredibly great. Have fun. Go to Hyder!
    #8
  9. Green Stainz

    Green Stainz Long timer

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    I thought there was only 7 days in a week?:lol3
    #9
  10. CFAmD7G

    CFAmD7G Adventurer

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    If time is a limiting factor. My advise is, leave to Seattle on bike, cover as much a road as you are comfortable doing, relax without any regard for your destination. Get up to the next day and do the same thing, and the next day. Assuming you are halfway through your trip without any misadventure. Turn around now. Because there will be misadventure. Keep too your schedule. Take a different route back if you want to, but in my opinion the only way to see Alaska for the first time it is without an itinerary.
    #10
  11. KL5A

    KL5A Bugs are the new black

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    I met a guy summer before last on a V strom, up from IL. He'd been riding Alaska for 6 weeks and was planning on spending another month here...had to break the news to him that he didn't really have a month left of ridable weather.

    A week gives you 3 days to get up here, a day to see something and then 3 days back. If you want to get some miles under the tires, that schedule will work-but you won't really see much of Alaska. I've lived here for almost 40 years and I still haven't seen everything!

    Even if you don't see much, it'd still be a great ride. The bikes in the photo look like mile eaters from the word go. You really can't go wrong...:clap
    #11
  12. ktmspecial

    ktmspecial n00b

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    Wow guys....all great feedback. Sounds like we'll have to think this through to maximize. CFAmD7G, on every trip, we do usually take the "one day at a time" approach with general direction in mind, but where we go and how fast we go depends how we are feeling and the surrounding atmosphere. This trip will be a little different for sure. We'll still do it, just need to think it through. Hyder feels too short so I think we'll have either commit to Anchorage and have a high mileage run getting back or re-think and spend more time in northern BC.
    #12
  13. wsmc831

    wsmc831 Long timer

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    huh? We don't need no stinking plans!

    Fine Jesse. We'll head north, then a bit east, then south. Then we get home and go back to work.

    planning...since when have we planned any trips!


    if it takes longer than a week, so be it...wouldn't be the first one.



    damn kids.


    and remember Jesse.... :norton
    #13
  14. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    What's the hurry, if all you have to look forward to is a job?:huh

    From Seattle to Fairbanks (don't know why anyone would want to go there) - 2 1/2 days if you hurry. No need for knobbies on the Cassiar - or most any other road in Alaska, for that matter.
    How about riding north on the Cassiar, go on up to Jake's Corner, and then turn west to Carcross, over White Pass to Skagway? Try to schedule your arrival there to coincide with the ferry to Haines. (Warning: Do not spend too much time drooling over all the delicious pastries at Johnson's Crossing or you could miss the ferry. Don't ask how I came by this bit of information.)
    Ferry over to Haines, thence over Chilkat Pass back to the Alaska Highway at Haines Jct. Once there, decide whether to continue on to Alaska or turn back for a leisurely trip down the Alcan.
    Note: To Seattle from Alaska (except Hyder - a mis-labeled corner of B.C.), the Cassiar is about 125 miles shorter, but you can expect it to take at least two hours longer - more if rain on the Cassiar.
    If you continue north from Haines Jct. expect some construction around Kluane Lake, but nothing to worry about. I've been going back and forth over it for the past 8 years on my Suzuki GS1100, Concours, and GL1800 with no problems.
    Up to Tok, then decision time again. 1. On to Fairbanks (that stretch of highway is some of the most boring you'll find in Alaska); 2. Down the Tok Cut-Off to Gakona and the Richardson to Valdez (the ride over Thompson Pass and through Keystone Canyon is worth the mileage); or 3. Back 12 miles southeast to the Taylor Hwy. and then the Top-of-the-World Hwy. to Dawson City before heading back home through Whitehorse.
    It would be a busy 9 days, but it would give you a look at at least a part of Alaska - something that generally only whets the appetite for a longer, more leisurely tour of the state. After all, you can rest up back at the job. :D
    #14
  15. Cheap Ryder

    Cheap Ryder Ride for enlightenment

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    Just a little clarification. If I have a week off work that means 5 days I don't have to show up. Tack on the weekend before and after that and I come up with 9 days total. So I leave after work on friday all stoked up on adrenaline and make it back 9 days later in time to take a shower and head into work while dealing with visual and auditory halucinations. Wow I wish it were warmer right now I would go for a ride.
    #15
  16. RDJEff

    RDJEff Lost in Alaska

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    -40 something today!
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  17. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Yeah, same here. Too bad the Zook's in for an oil change, guess that means I won't get to ride today. :D
    #17
  18. RDJEff

    RDJEff Lost in Alaska

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    I have to wait until mid April or early May because of all the snow on my steep driveway. I have "chained up" the bike to go for a ride though!:clap
    #18
  19. wsmc831

    wsmc831 Long timer

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    We welcome all hints and suggestions guys. Been touring for 12 years not, but the farthest north we've been is a 100 miles or so south of Prince George.

    Time kinda is a factor unfortunatey. I'm spending 2+ weeks in Europe in May, and have friends coming out for the GP in July plus some days riding around...more vacation time than I have so just trying to be efficient.

    we WOULD wait a year...but who wants to wait to go to alaska?????
    #19
  20. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    Guys, the AlCan is mostly Can. Nothing wrong with that, but if you want to see Alaska even a little, consider renting. Pretty sure in the Anchorage area there are VeeStroms, KLRs & Harleys for rent. Either that or ship the bikes one way, fly up & ride back. In May, don't be surprised to see snow at higher altitudes either. If you plan on the ferry (Alaska Marine Highway) check the schedual close. Most ports of call only get 2, maybe 3 stops per week. If you miss a hookup you're there for a couple days. Around July 4th the ferries are booked soild & have no remaining vehicle space.
    #20