GREEN LIGHTS IN ALASKA

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Rigger400, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. Rigger400

    Rigger400 Adventurer

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    GREEN LIGHTS IN ALASKA

    A possible trip in July/August 2019 by three South Africans.

    Introduction

    I went to Canada and America a few years back https://advrider.com/f/threads/body-odour-is-a-state-of-mind.1099792/ . I travelled around British Columbia and Washington State alone and loved it but I felt that I had not done the area justice as I didn’t go as far north as I wanted to.

    Ever since then this itch has been growing and I have found myself reading books on Canada and Alaska and yearning.

    I broached the subject with Les Davis who I have had a few misadventures in the last couple of years. From being stampeded by a buffalo in the Bavianspoort https://advrider.com/f/threads/capetown-to-durban-offroad.1219628/

    to Les breaking his leg in Mpumulanga.

    DSC00069.JPG

    Peter, myself, Les and Richard on a ride to Maputo Mozambique in 2018

    Les is very keen to go and Peter may tag along too....


    Helping another biker.JPG

    Les and I helping locals in Zimbabwe

    My passion is to ride in Alaska and see Anchorage. I am aware that another goal could be to cross the Arctic Circle and maybe even visit the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay but this is a secondary goal as I seek adventure riding in beautiful landscapes and the Arctic Tundra lookes tedious….

    Soon after I spoke to Les I started seeing books at the local second hand bookstore on Canada and Alaska. Two that stood out was the tragic tale of the Golden Spruce and the other was “Good Time Girls” by Lael Morgan.

    Good Time Girls.jpg Golden Spruce.jpg

    We South Africans have learnt to ride in the harsh landscapes of Southern Africa but that experience seems very different to what we might experience in Alaska. Here we have the big five, wild animals which tend to want to nosh you. We also have dry, unforgiving deserts and a remoteness which is hard not to love. Sadly, we also sometimes have aggressive locals which keep you on your guard.

    Namibia2008 285.jpg

    Travelling in Alaska and maybe the Yukon is becoming more appealing. The stories of the hardy women (and men) who made it up to the gold stampedes in the early 1900s have piqued my interest.

    The Logistics

    On my trip in 2015 I used Vancouver as my base and bought a bike through my darling cousin who stays in Squamish. This time around we may need 3 bikes so other plans are on the table.

    1. We could ship our bikes over. To Les this was first prize as it would mean that he could say his own bike had been to the Arctic. We investigated the costs and it looks like a non-starter…. Far too expensive and logistically a nightmare.

    2. We could rent. Not my cup of tea, a little contrived and very expensive for us Africans.

    3. Or we could buy second-hand bikes and try to sell them afterwards. We all ride BMW GSs so the bike of choice would be older models of the BMW GS or GSA. This is at present our best option.

    Where do we start?

    Where could we source bikes? I have emailed bike shops in both Seattle and Vancouver. Initial investigations showed that buying second hand in America is more expensive than in Canada. Also, responses from Seattle so far have been… non-existent. Vancouver dealers seem very keen.

    What to take?

    We would like to camp and stay in hotels when we need a break. This is how we do our long trips in Southern Africa. Does that mean we buy camping equipment in Seattle/Vancouver and then toss them afterwards or do we lug our impedimenta with us from South Africa?

    Les and I agree that our adventure riding kit is pretty old and over the hill. Hell, some of my kit is well over 10 years old and in need of replacement. Once again what do we do, buy in South Africa and lug it across or do we buy there and take it back with us?

    At the moment there are more questions than answers. Any advise would be appreciated.
    #1
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  2. keith in alaska

    keith in alaska Valley Gruver

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    Would you be interested in purchasing a well maintained BMW from our rental fleet? We have 30+ bikes that would make an excellent fly and ride out of Anchorage.

    You need to visit Dawson City and Chicken for the real deal gold history!!

    Keith
    RentAlaska.com
    #2
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  3. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    maybe start here https://vancouver.craigslist.org/search/mca?query=bmw+

    you can probably get a shop to look at a find, maybe even store it short term

    check the D2D thread. be sure to ping us when you make Anchorage

    edit. posting same time as Keith.... ya, include the copper mine at Kennecot on the list of things to see. to get some background, see if you can find a book "The Copper Spike". there was also a fiction written by Rex Beach in the 1920s about it called "The Iron Trail"
    #3
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  4. X-wing fighter

    X-wing fighter Do or Do not, There is no try!!!!!! Supporter

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    That's a challenging proposal. I'll be watching this thread with interest. I feel if you find a city with the bike selection you want, look at craigslist for that city for used camping gear. Then you can go to a big outdoor store and fill in what you haven't been able to find.

    Also once you find your city, maybe you could mail/ship some of your camping gear from South Africa to a hotel you have reservations to, where you at getting the bikes from, or even an ADV inmate. Then you can mail/ship your gear back when your done. I think the expense of mailing and shipping just a medium sized box with tent, raingear and other light knic knaks will save you in the long run vs buying gear and then having to resell it.

    Unless you purchased your bikes with a promise of a buy back, I don't know what to do for the end of your trip.
    #4
  5. Rigger400

    Rigger400 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the advice! We will have to finalise our plans pretty quickly.
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  6. Jarvis

    Jarvis DC GSer Administrator Super Moderator

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    Not acceptable on this site.
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  7. X-wing fighter

    X-wing fighter Do or Do not, There is no try!!!!!! Supporter

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    After that hateful rant! If you get to Fairbanks and need a place to set up camp, I have 3 acres with plenty of nice green grass! You are welcome in my U.S.A and my Alaska! Hell, I'll even take you guys out to eat!

    The U.S.A. is not a members only club!!!!!!!
    #7
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  8. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric Supporter

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    A great paperback book that describes:
    1. the Alcan (aka Alaska highway) in mile by mile detail
    2. all the possible routes to the Yukon and Alaska
    3. gas stations, hotels, motels, campgrounds in Yukon and Alaska
    4. all the main roads in Alaska
    Is the Milepost available from Amazon. It comes with a PDF version easier to carry.
    I've been over the Alcan many times and still carry it.

    D2D June 20-22 should be on your itinerary. Most of us will be there. But even if you miss it the Top of the World Taylor Highway is a great ride. Keep us informed and if you need anything while you are here shout out. Someone will be along shortly.

    david
    #8
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  9. Rigger400

    Rigger400 Adventurer

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    Thanks for the encouragement. I will pass the invite on to the others!
    #9
  10. Rigger400

    Rigger400 Adventurer

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    I tried to buy it from Amazon but they don't deliver to South Africa:ban. I am up for a pdf version if it can be emailed?
    #10
  11. X-wing fighter

    X-wing fighter Do or Do not, There is no try!!!!!! Supporter

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    #11
  12. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric Supporter

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    Amazon won't ship the Milepost to SA? What nonsense, but all Alaskans feel your pain, we deal with this all the time from vendors in the lower states who won't ship to Alaska...
    If you can't get it from Milepost direct, perhaps ship it to where you start in BC. The file is 420MB so a bit big for email. Or PM me your address and I'll mail one to you.
    #12
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  13. Rigger400

    Rigger400 Adventurer

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    My address is P O Box 1575, WESTVILLE, DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, 3630
    #13
  14. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric Supporter

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    OK. I'll need a name too, not sure Rigger1400 is a valid mail name. :rofl
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  15. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

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    Rigger/Solarmoose - I just received my 2019 Milepost. I won't use the digital access.

    I will PM Rigger the website and the secret code so he can access the 2019 Milepost immediately for free.

    Rigger - I'll be at D2D then on into Alaska for most of July, you can buy me a beer.

    PM sent
    #15
  16. X-wing fighter

    X-wing fighter Do or Do not, There is no try!!!!!! Supporter

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    Racking up those free beers John...I still owe you a few for the room res in Dawson. Keep this up and you won't have to buy beer your whole trip!
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  17. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

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  18. Solarmoose

    Solarmoose electric Supporter

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    Thanks bigjohn!
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  19. Rigger400

    Rigger400 Adventurer

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    Thanks Dude!!!!
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  20. X-wing fighter

    X-wing fighter Do or Do not, There is no try!!!!!! Supporter

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    So how are the South Africans making out? How far have you gotten?
    #20