Los Angeles to Anchorage - in April.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PittsDriver, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    One of my regular riding buddies has a man-crush on the Motoquest guys in Long Beach California. There’s just no other way to describe how excited he gets at the opportunity of paying them to relocate their bikes. Coach has done one transporter deal for them last year in which he rode an R1200RT from Anchorage to Portland Oregon. I think he’s secretly hoping that he’s going to get the call someday “next week we need some bikes moved from Anchorage to Urshuaia” or maybe the day after tomorrow we need some bikes moved from Hanoi to Kathmandu or some such. Anywho, sometime around late March I get a call from him very excitedly explaining that they’ve got 4 R1200GS bikes in LA that they need in Anchorage by the first week in May and we’re going to go do it right?

    Uh, why do they need them there so early? I heard that June was the next to last month of winter there. Well, he explains, the earliest they’ll do a tour in Alaska is mid-May because of the weather risk so they need them there by then. I reply, OK it makes sense about the weather risk so how’s that not a factor if we do this? He basically accused me of being a sissy pants that wasn’t worthy of the steely-eyed adventurer rank and besides, they say that there’s no problem doing this in April – most of the time.

    We’ve been talking about doing an epic trip to Alaska for a few years but I envisioned it in July/August because hey, getting eaten by bugs is all part of the experience. Getting eaten by bears as a frozen dinner is decidedly not on my bucket list. So I asked, “If you and the others do this, this will probably be the only big ride you do this year, right? And the others are in on this?” He replied that he was still working on them so my feedback was that “if everyone else jumps off the roof, then I’ll do it too.” After all, my manhood had been brought into question and there was little chance they would agree to this lunacy. Did I mention that we all have very demanding lives and family commitments and we needed to clear the schedule for nearly two weeks less than a month in the future?

    @#%, the rest of the guys apparently said yes and I suspect that they did because he told them I was in.

    So this coming Thursday evening, we’ll all gather at a hotel in Long Beach California to collect a quartet of BMW R1200GS scooters and set off. If the weather cooperates, and the conditions are a bit better than usual, then it should be an epically fun adventure - a win-win for both Motoquest and us. Should the weather be a factor and conditions don’t improve, then it’ll still be epic but for entirely different reasons. Stay tuned in here to find out which.

    Here's the route we’re considering – spending a few days meandering around California, Oregon, and Washington before we go turn into popsicles in the Great White North:

    [​IMG]
    #1
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  2. MrKiwi

    MrKiwi backwards & upsidedown Super Supporter

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    What could possibly go wrong... :hide


    In, this should be interesting after a long cold winter.
    #2
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  3. stoney4vida

    stoney4vida Semper Fidelis

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    I'm in
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  4. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    :lurk

    So it begins... pretty soon I'll be like :type about Alaska ride reports...
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  5. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    A friend just sent along this news about the weather:

    https://globalnews.ca/news/4146213/calgary-could-see-a-months-worth-of-snow-in-just-over-24-hours/

    Now, Calgary is on the other side of the mountains from our anticipated route but if you look at the weather map, we were routing through Kelowna and Kamloops on our way up to Prince George. That's over a foot of snow in Kelowna on Sunday but we're not due to ride through there until Tuesday-ish.

    We haven't even launched yet and the fun is beginning as I start looking at a more western alternative route, maybe through Whistler. They don't ever get any snow there, right?
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  6. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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  7. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    OK, bags packed. Flight checked in and on time. Car picking me up at 5:30a for the flight out to LaLa Land where the bikes are awaiting.

    I've been begging off commitments for the last few weeks and telling people that I'm gone on a motorcycle trip to Alaska. Their response has all been exactly the same: "Wait, what?! Isn't it a bit early for that?" My reply is "Yes, yes it is. But it wouldn't be an adventure if we knew how it was going to turn out." I have to admit that of all the big trips we've done over the past few years since rockin' the full TAT ride, I'm more excited about the potential challenges and unknowns of this ride than others we've done.

    I'm actually looking very forward to tomorrow afternoon. My flight gets in early and they're putting me on my bike for the rest of the day. I'm trying to decide between heading up the coast or roaming up onto the Angeles Crest Highway. If anyone has any suggestions about how to spend an afternoon out of the LA area, let me know!
    #7
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  8. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    I left So Cal on my 2016 Alaska trip on April 23 and I made it back alive. I had all kinds of weather and no real issues. I saw almost no other motorcycles on my trip up and I was traveling alone. At least you have company. I am sure you will have a great time. This year I am leaving on May 15 tho :D
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  9. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    That route I posted above has us doing some sightseeing in California before we head on north. It looks to be about 4,100 miles and we'll be aiming for days between 400 and 500 miles. Seems pretty doable even if we stop to smell the flowers.

    My next post on here will probably be after I get back from my romp around SoCal and this will be a much more photo rich thread.
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  10. Oh2RideMore

    Oh2RideMore Long timer

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    Man this is balls. Love those motoquest transporter specials. Always thinking of a fly and ride with them. Drove up to alaska via alaska highway April 29th 2003. Hit all kinds of weather and the 'mountains' were snowed out wrecks everywhere.
    Good luck and be safe. Suscribed.
    #10
  11. vt700guy

    vt700guy Been here awhile

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    I'm in!
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  12. Yukon42

    Yukon42 n00b

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    35 year Alaskan transplanted to Las Vegas here......I gotta subscribe to this!
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  13. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I made it out to Long Beach by about noon and got an early check in to drop off all my crappola. Then it was off to the hills. I rode up north out of LA to the bottom of the Angeles Crest Highway. This road definitely lived up to its reputation:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's kinda hard to see but that's downtown LA way off in the distance in this photo:

    [​IMG]

    The other experience for me this afternoon was the infamous California lane splitting. I had a lot of trepidation about it at first but when you're stuck in stop/go traffic for an hour, it's time to boogie. People just part like the red sea - mostly - and I rode the dashed line from the Hollywood Hills all the way back to Long Beach. If I had any doubts about if I was doing something wrong they disappeared when a CHiPS followed me on his BMW for about 5 miles and turned off and left me to the fun.

    I got back starving realizing that I hadn't eaten anything since the stuff they served me on the flight. A friend had recommended that I order something off the secret menu at In N Out Burger - a double double, animal style. Never let it be said that I can't be trusted to follow directions:

    [​IMG]

    Next time I'll get the animal style fries as well. The burger didn't taste mustardy at all - delicious. If they exported In N Out back to the right coast, I'd be as big as my fat bike.

    The other three guys are picking up their bikes in the morning so I get to sleep late. Then we're off fighting LA traffic again to get out of town to the north headed for Sequoia NF.
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  14. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Oh, and I should have mentioned that the bike they put me on, an '18 R1200GS, had 3 miles on it. The tires hadn't been scuffed up yet. I took care of that problem out in the hills and started the break in right on the engine.
    #14
  15. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

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    FWIW, a double double animal style + animal style fries is a serious gut bomb and leads to food coma...at least for me. Tasty for sure, but deadly. :beer
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  16. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Yeah, I had to come back and take a nap feeling like I either had a big meal or sex - about the same level of coma.


    Well, we've already had our first routing/weather hiccup. The roads up and out of Sequoia are snowed over and/or closed the way we wanted to go so now we're considering a romp up the Angeles Crest and up into the Sequoia National Monument or possibly skirt over to the other side of the mountains a run straight on up to Tahoe. Maybe add Death Valley to our route.

    We've got no where in particular we have to be and all day to get there - said any intrepid adventurer.
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  17. 23103a

    23103a not n00b

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    Subbed :D
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  18. THogland

    THogland Back in Alaska!

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    If you can actually get up here the weather is great - been riding for two weeks now. They haven't swept up all the sand and gravel from the winter, but that just adds to the excitement :D

    Apparently it's still winter outside, though. Worst case you can always head up I5 for a while... Good luck!
    #18
  19. akjblizz

    akjblizz Adventurer

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    You might want to take your time getting up here. It snowed an inch in Fairbanks last night. Many of the roads are thawed out but watch for the occasional patch of ice in the shade. Lots of gravel on the roads and road construction is starting up soon.
    #19
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  20. Johnnydarock

    Johnnydarock Been here awhile

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    This looks good.
    #20