Indiana to Anchorage and back in 11.5 days on a V-Strom?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by scarysharkface, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Broke it/Bought it Supporter

    Nov 22, 2005
    Full ride report here:

    My thoughts, as posted at the end of the thread above:

    Thanks, Guys..

    The big take-away for me is that really it's a much easier trip than the hype would suggest. Sure, there's a LOT of riding through very sparsely-populated areas, and if things go wrong you might have to lay in that ditch with a broken femur for days before anyone notices (if anyone does), but that stuff can and does happen anywhere. So, yeah, if you like to spend your days on the bike in a mix of weather conditions and are prepared to sleep in an interesting mix of motels and campgrounds there's really nothing daunting about it if you can get the time away from work. For me, I was out 21 days. I slept in Alaska 5 nights. I took a rather inefficient route there and back, which probably added 4 or 5 or more days of travel. I didn't ride as much every day as I optimally would have, due to my back injury and lack of aerobic activity in the month leading up to the trip.

    If I had limited time off, I might opt to just ride up the Rockies instead. Once I got past the Icefields Parkway, it wasn't until I got back into Muncho Lake Provincial Park on the way home that I rode through that kind of overwhelmingly beautiful mountains. Unless you have an emotional/symbolic attachment to ride to Alaska, there is prettier country to ride closer to the lower 48. But whatever, I HAD that emotional/symbolic attachment as I know you do if you're reading all the way to the end of this ride report.

    So, I'd like to ride up to Atigun Pass next time. I've flown over the Brooks Range, and now I want to ride over it. I'm really not driven to ride all the way to Deadhorse, but if you've never seen real tundra, certainly go. It's something to see and something not everyone ever gets to walk on. Adventure Cycle in Fairbanks is otherwise about the only reason I'd ever want to go to Fairbanks, and if I ride to Alaska again I'll probably need to stop there if for no other reason than to chat with the other riders who will be there getting interesting things done to interesting ADV bikes.

    South Central Alaska is beautiful. Don't go there anywhere near the July 4th holiday. Traffic is not something the Seward Highway was ever designed to accomodate. I'd camp at Portage Glacier again, and maybe I'd ride the tunnel again. I'd definitely go to Seward next time, and maybe Kenai and Homer if I wasn't in a hurry. And Valdez. And McCarthy.

    Thompson's Eagle Claw Campground in Tok is an unexpected gem. I know, it's just a little place to sleep kind of in the middle of nowhere, but the host is great and the other campers are mostly ADV types with interesting stories to tell. And the Tok Thai trailer isn't far away.

    The BMW R1200GS was just about the perfect bike for the trip from Indiana. It's got enough mass and power to make the interstate runs relatively painless. It's responsive enough that the twisties in the mountains are still fun. It has enough suspension to handle the construction sections at a decent speed. The ergonomics are good (I did add bar risers). The KLR would have been fine as well, but the slab sections would have sucked. The V-Strom 650 would have been fine, but some of the sections of roadwork would need to be ridden more slowly. Chain maintenance would have been a drag, because if it wasn't asphalt it was either clay mud and fresh calcium chloride or sand.

    Take away the 4 or 5 extra routing days and 4 of the 5 nights spent in Alaska, I think one could easily ride to Alaska (Fairbanks, even) from Indiana and back over a 2-week vacation. Route it through Canada the way I did and maybe spend a little more time riding every day and I think you could still do it and experience some fantastic scenery in that 2-week vacation.

  2. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke █║▌│ █│║▌ ║││█║▌ │

    Mar 18, 2008
    Johnston, Iowa
    This blows my mind. In '08 I did Omaha to Prudhoe and other places in AK but took 28 days and felt like it was the perfect amount of time. It took me 4 days just to get up and down the Dalton!
    scarysharkface likes this.
  3. bmwrat

    bmwrat Adventurer

    Mar 15, 2011
    High Rockies
    In 2003 I rode from Denver to Arctic circle sign on the Dempster and back in 12 days. I was on BMW 1150GS. It was awesome ride.
    scarysharkface likes this.