Hi everyone, Alaska, and an old trip report

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TigerJimmy, May 22, 2002.

  1. TigerJimmy

    TigerJimmy Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 22, 2002
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    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    Hi everyone,

    I've just discovered this web page because of the BMW GS mailing list. I'm planning a trip to Alaska and somebody mentioned this forum. Impressive!

    Anyhow, I'm leaving on my big trip this year in 2 1/2 weeks to Alaska for 8 weeks or so.

    I don't know if this will be of any interest, but several years ago now I did a trip with a friend of mine in Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy on rented bikes. It was great. I took some pictures and he made a pretty nice web site about our trip. It's his site, so he picked the photos and you don't need to see my ugly mug except for once.

    Take a look if you like:

    http://www.blazevic.org/pictures/photo_gallery/europe/home.htm

    I don't know how the galleries on this forum work, but I could certainly provide a couple of decent pictures. I have pictures from most of my other longish trips, too, including the Appalachians and the Western US.

    If any of you have any suggestions about "must see" places/roads in Alaska, please let me know. I'm particularly interested in knowing how to get to that cool riverbed that is pictured in one of the galleries here on Advrider. Other suggestions are welcomed too!

    I'm swinging through Northern CA "on my way" to pick up my Rick Mayer seat. I'm very excited about this. I will probably go to Alaska along the left coast somehow, via Vancouver, etc.

    Also, I'm pretty worried about Grizzly bears. I'm trying to do this trip as inexpensively as possible, and will be camping as much as possible. I know the basics about keeping a clean camp, etc., but I've read some alarming statistics about the fatality of Grizzly encounters and attacks being on the rise in the last 15 years, etc, etc. Is this a worthy concern? I hope it is all overblown and not a huge problem. I understand many locals carry .300 magnum or .375H&H rifles in more remote areas. I've spoken to guides who even carry .416's into the bush. This doesn't seem practical on a bike, and I can't bring my pistol through Canada. Hopefully, it's not even necessary, but I *have* noticed that many locals are reportedly armed because of the bear population. Is this, in fact, true?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

    Jim
    #1
  2. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
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    5,307
    Location:
    San Francisco


    Jim,

    Do check out my trip report that Jinx refered to. It runs the length of page two in the Alaska Ride thread, in the Ride report forum. There are too many hot spots to mention. If you want to try an easy dirt road the Denali Hwy is the best you'll ever find. Alpine tundra, spectacular scenery. The riverbed you ask about is the Gerstle River between Tok and Delta Junction on the Alcan. (see the attached map for location) There is a very primative rest-stop that is used for camping. First impression when you arrive is not that great; it grows on you and has become my most memorable stop.

    I was very worried about bears, but soon became not so worried. The bears do not generally come into camp areas. They're not "picnic trained" like the ones down here. The precaution is not to keep any food or cosmetics in the tent or nearby. I also did not leave cooler on bike since having the bike attacked would be bad too. Never saw a bear near any camps.... Did see them beside the road. In the Spring, they graze on grass and berries; pleanty to eat without bothering people. There could be more to worry about later in the year. Jinx is right. If you see cubs, slooooowly get the hell out....

    I'd be glad to help with any other questions you may have.

    [​IMG]

    Have a great time,

    R-dubb

    Attached Files:

    #2
  3. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
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    Location:
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    Howdy Tiger Jimmy,

    Somewhere on this list there is a novel I wrote about our trip up to Purdhoe Bay, last July. You can see pictures of the trip at this URL.

    http://www.pbase.com/mr_cob/arctic_trip_701

    We saw many bears while on the trip along side of the road. We only camped out in Cold Foot, and again at a regular camp ground just north of the Yukon River while on the way back south. I too was uncomfortable not being at the top of the food chain and not being able to pack while going through Canada, but we made it and you will to.

    If you are going to Alaska, I would highly recomand going all the way north to Purdhoe Bay via the Dalton Hwy. Depending on the weather this will either be a walk in the park or pure Hell in places, being mass quanities of bug spray pack enough gas to cover at least 300 miles and don't forget your camera.

    Be sure to let us know how your trip goes, have fun.
    #3
  4. RockyRaccoon

    RockyRaccoon Found:Gideon's Bible Supporter

    Joined:
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    Do the Cassiar Hwy

    Take the detour to Stewart/Hyder

    Take the detour to Atlin (one of the prettiest little spots up there)

    The Brooks range is nice, but it's a looong ride through a big piece of country that looks the same for hundreds of miles. And none of the nicest spots are on the road.

    Ditto for most of Central/interior Alaska. Unless you're going to get out in the bush and explore some drainages (which you can't on a bike), it all looks pretty much the same after a while.

    Better to spend time around Denali, Haines, Anchorage and the peninsula.

    Don't worry much about the bears. I spent a summer hiking all over up there, most of it in the deep bush of the Brooks Range and areas within a couple of hundred miles of Fairbanks. I saw lots of bear sign. Only saw a few black bears and one grizzley, and they all ran away as fast as they could.
    #4
  5. MANXMAN

    MANXMAN Overlander

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    Location:
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    Jim,
    Welcome. Great report on your trip. Hopefully you can do one for your Alaska trip when you get home.

    I'm also going there, but in 2003, for 8 weeks on my GS1150 and would like to hear about your trip. Which route are you taking or are you winging it as you go?

    As far as Grizzly bears go, I have spent a lot of time in the wilderness of B.C. canoeing and hiking and the bears really are not a big threat if you follow some basic rules. Make sure you don't have the smell of food on your clothes, tent, saddlebags, ect, and your left over food is stored in a air tight container away from your campsite at night. They also like smells like toothpaste, aftershave, and stuff like that. But theres no way a Gnarly Adventurer on a GS is going to shave or brush his teeth while in Alaska, right:rofl

    Manxman
    #5
  6. Harry Swan

    Harry Swan One more time

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2001
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    Good advice on not attracting bears into your camp. Also try cooking as far from your tent as possible and you might want to invest in a couple of road flares... I've found they make just enough noise, light and heat to discourage a curious bear. Better than bear spray if you've got the time to light it.

    I've had more than my share of bear contacts over the years and I've been okay, except for that one time in Yoho when that cute cub ran past me. It turns out I have a very soothing (boring to bears) voice because mom let me back out of that stream... Other than that I give them all the respect and I've stayed lucky.

    Now having said that: I ran into a couple from Massachuset in Capitol Reef NP who had just returned from Alaska and NW Canada and they had a different take on bears... They found campgrounds with more bears than people, and one encounter of the 3rd kind while riding. They were riding a beat up old R100 or so I thought until they explained that they had a collision with a bear in Alaska. It seems they were riding along at a moderate speed two up on a fairly new R100RT when a bear came running across the road and hit them broadside! They went down hard with the bear. The bear rolled got up and took off leaving some fur and flesh on the muffler and engine. The bike was nearly destroyed. He said it took him over two weeks to get the parts and get it to a point where they could finish their trip. She spent those two weeks in a hospital. He managed to get the bike up and running but it looked like hell.
    #6