Solo from CT to Tuk and Deadhorse in 2020

Discussion in 'Americas' started by CavReconSGT, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,243
    Location:
    CT/NH
    That's the plan. Actually was planning on last summer but work caused a change in that plan. So currently I am planning on taking 4 months to ride from CT across the continent to Tuk and Deadhorse as the primary goals but with time to do lots of riding anywhere I find interesting. I am planning on leaving on May 1, taking 2 to 4 weeks to work my way up there. Both the Dempster and Dalton rides are going to be weather determined as to when I ride them. I am fortunate in that regards. I am retired so time is not an issue. What I am less certain about is when the best times for these roads actually are. I hear about late June but am interested in any real world experience as to when the "best" times would be.

    I am riding a BMW F700GS and it has been a great bike. Over the last few years I have been tuning the bike by riding some remote roads over the summer by riding roads like the James Bay road, the North road and the Trans Labrador highway. I think I know the bike pretty well and have had good luck riding it in those areas. I had been convinced by a very experienced friend to use the TKC-80's. I can truly say I love those tires but the rears wear out after 3000 miles and have to be replaced. I have used the K-60 tires before and like them but they definitely aren't as good as the TKC-80's. I may carry some TKC-80's or have them delivered to a PO (see next paragraph) for use on the Dalton and Dempster if people think that is a reasonable or a prudent approach.

    Also, is there a way to have stuff sent general delivery to a post office like we can do in the states? If I need medication or want something delivered to a post office will they hold it until I arrive. It appears that you can apply at a post office but has anyone sent stuff to a Canadian post office and have they held it until you arrived?

    I have lots of notes and plans but these are some questions that I still have. Anyone's information will be read and appreciated.

    Thanks,
    KR
    #1
  2. AwDang

    AwDang Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,297
    Location:
    The west bank of Laurel Creek
    I did my Tuk trip in early June, making it to the beach on the 11th. It was still cool which helped a great deal with the bugs. The road was in transition from, leftover from last fall to freshly scraped and fresh gravel spread. Weather wise i got very lucky only finding rain on the way out for the last 100mi or so.

    I went on 705’s that had 4-5k on them when I hit the Dempster. While it was the perfect tire for my overall ride, it was the wrong tire for me on gravel. If I did it again I’d stay with the 705’s for most of my trip BUT! I’d be sure to swap to TKC80’s or 804/805 combo for anything north of Whitehorse.
    Don’t bother taking tires with you. Yukon Yamaha in Whitehorse can set you up with a new set. Just contact ahead of time to confirm stock.

    There are a good many inmates up that way who might accept a package for you. Or ship them to a hotel your planning a down day at.
    Be prepared for fuel prices that will make you cry. The highest I paid was 1.81/L
    #2
    1oldsickle and Rollin' like this.
  3. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,243
    Location:
    CT/NH

    Thanks for the information. I have a list of the inmates who are on the tent space thread so I might be able to send packages there as well as camp.

    I'll keep the Yukon Yamaha in Whitehorse on my list also.

    Thanks again.
    KR
    #3
  4. DWalt

    DWalt **** The Beans....

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,916
    Location:
    At the Dew Drop Inn.
    I am, and maybe another inmate will be heading up around the same time. Leaving Louisiana May 15, and heading up back roads.
    I’ll be keeping up with this thread!
    #4
    Blue295 and CavReconSGT like this.
  5. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,231
    Location:
    S-Cal
    Tires: Yes, as stated, ride on road oriented tires (tractionator GPS-Pilot Roads,etc) to Dawson City. Order dirt oriented tires from Fortnine and have them shipped to The Bunkhouse https://dawsoncitybunkhouse.com/ in Dawson to arrive a few days before you arrive.. Ofcourse make reservations at the Bunkhouse. They are really outstanding folks and the place is fantastic!
    Change out to the dirt tires at the Bunkhouse and back into road tires IF you still have milleage worth it left on the tire. Otherwise, estimate where youll be and drop ship some street tires for your ride home.
    I ran into a bunch of folks who relied on a shop along the way for tires and were left riding on something that was thier third choice for a bunch of $$$$.

    Btw, one more unsolicited piece of advice; DO NOT pass something that peaks your curiosity. Stop and take a look. Some of the coolest folks you will ever meet will be riding that road too.
    #5
    CavReconSGT likes this.
  6. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,243
    Location:
    CT/NH
    This or the Whitehorse idea sounds great. I think that is what I am going to do. A tire swap in one of those areas should give me enough tire on the TKC80's for the remainder of Tuk and Deadhorse.

    Thanks,
    KR
    #6
  7. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,091
    Location:
    Maine
    I rode from coastal Maine to Whitehorse on Kenda mostly-road tires, then bought TKC80s at Yukon Honda. Great service. They offered offered me a place to remove my wheels and I handed them the wheels for the tire changes. Then they loaned me a drain pan for an oil change.

    Yes, TKC80s do wear fast. I still like them when a more aggressive tire won't last long enough. Yes, tires are expensive in Yukon and Alaska and a part of that is shipping. I was glad to support motorcycle businesses up there; it's a short season for many of them.
    #7
    CavReconSGT likes this.
  8. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,243
    Location:
    CT/NH
    This definitely seems to be the plan I am going with at this point. I haven't decided whether to carry the tires but I plan on K-60s on the way up and changing and or buying them either in Yukon Honda or at Dawson city.

    When did you leave on your trip?

    KR
    #8
  9. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,091
    Location:
    Maine
    Left on May 29, 2013. I was out there slightly ahead of the Dust-to-Dawson rush, so I was able to find TKC80s in stock at both shops where I asked. No planning ahead. (Well . . . at Yukon Honda I asked when I arrived in the evening if they had them, then returned in the morning for the actual tire change.)

    I bought a second rear TKC80 in Anchorage when my first rear TKC80 still had lots of tread. I had thought I'd never carry extra tires but I did take that one back to YT before putting it on. Every stop to shed a jacket took longer for unlashing the tire, getting into the luggage, then lashing the tire down again. I really don't want to do that again. When I mounted it in Dawson, the first still had tread, but I was tired of carrying it. I stayed north of Whitehorse on the ride back east.
    #9
  10. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,243
    Location:
    CT/NH

    Thanks for the info. I know that lashing those tires will be a real pain but I'm still not sure if I would risk buying them in the Yukon and the extra expense. I still have some time to figure that out though.

    When you say you "stayed north of Whitehorse on the ride back east", would you mind telling what route you took?

    Thanks again for the info,
    KR
    #10
    'Bob' likes this.
  11. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,091
    Location:
    Maine
    Campbell Highway then up into NWT again on 7 for a loop up there then down into AB. So I was even with Whitehorse when I was 250 miles east of Whitehorse.
    #11
    CavReconSGT likes this.
  12. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,231
    Location:
    S-Cal
    Seriously, there is no need to carry tires...if Im reading this correct. Order ahead and have them waiting. I had EXACTLY the same anxiety as you are having. I watched a bunch of folks carry tires for thousands of miles, with all the crap that comes with carry tires. For no reason. Simply stage the tires along your route by ordering them and they will be waiting for you.

    When to go: It's a crap shoot. I left in June to beat the bugs and did fine with the bugs. However, the snow was just receeding along the Cassiars, which meant the Bears were all over the place. Since I camped that kinda sucked, but, also, the Grizzly bears are kinda a-holes and don't really like getting out of the road. If anyone is interested I'll post up my world famous "how to beat the squidos" how to.
    #12
    Grinnin likes this.
  13. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,243
    Location:
    CT/NH
    Thanks. What kind of lead time do they need so I know when to order the tires?

    And yes, please post "how to beat the squidos".

    Thanks again,
    KR
    #13
  14. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,231
    Location:
    S-Cal
    Just posted this on another forum. IF you are heading to anyplace where Mosquidos, biting flies, chiggers, whateverbites are: Do this!

    Here's what to do. DO ALL OF THESE as they will work as a system.

    1. Clothes treatment: Use Permithrin https://sawyer.com/products/permethrin-insect-repellent-treatment/. You can use the spray sold by Sawyer which is 5%. With the spray: absolutely spray every piece of clothing you will be wearing. Jackets, pants, shorts, socks, shoes, hat, everything EXCEPT underwear. Spray it until its well damp. Do not cheap out, buy several spray bottles.

    TENT: Set your tent up. Spray your tent netting and around the zipper door and the interior ceiling. of both the tent and vestibule. Home depot/Walmart both have the 24 oz spray bottle. This is odorless and WILL NOT melt plastics and synthetics like DEET!!! Use this a couple days BEFORE you need it and let it air dry.

    Head net: https://www.amazon.com/Coghlans-8941-Mosquito-Head-Net/dp/B000WFXDMK Get this and treat it as above. When you take off your helmet put on the net quickly.
    Gloves: Get some thin gloves- Maybe Rynoskinhttps://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/rynoskin-total-unisex-glove. Treat like above. IF you are caught out in the mosquitoes changing a tire they will save your life.

    Permithrin will last 6 washings. If you don't wash the clothes-like your jacket, it will last a couple of months

    Skin: Use Picaridin (NOT DEET) spray and spray all, repeat ALL exposed/unexposed skin, except genitals and feet soles. Spray Hair to toes. You will need to reapply after water immersion.(showering) Don't worry about the smell of Picaridin, its odorless and IS NOT like DEET. Important! Do not wait to use Picaridin.. Apply BEFORE you get out of your vehicle or you will get bit. Picaridin lotion is great also, but doesnt cover nearly as well as spray. Homedepot/walmart)

    Tent/Vehicle: Use a Thermocell. I use this one https://www.thermacell.com/collections/shop-all/products/backpacker-repeller IF the bites are via airborne bugs, turn on the Thermocell 1 hour before going into the tent or vehicle. You can turn it off when you go to sleep IF the tent/vehicle is sealed. I bought a packpackers size Thermocell (thanks Motopsychoman) that works miracles!

    Most folks who get bit after using Picaridin either don't treat their clothes too, or, don't use Picaridin as directed above. Follow above and you will be fine.

    BTW, If you are using a carpet outside your RV...treat it for ground borne bugs.
    #14
    'Bob' and CavReconSGT like this.
  15. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,231
    Location:
    S-Cal
    Tire Lead time: I ordered via Fortnine.ca https://fortnine.ca/en/ because USA companys WILL NOT ship to Canada...and Fortnine had excellent prices/service. I believe the tire shipping took a couple of weeks. So, I simply ordered the tires a month out and shipped em to The Bunkhouse, who held them for me. They were waiting when I arrived. I believe you can also ship to a parcel post (they call it something else in Canadinese) and the "post office" will hold for a month. I'd call and check though.
    #15
    CavReconSGT likes this.
  16. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,486
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I headed to Tuk in August 2019 (my RR is my sig). I can't compare to other times of the year because I haven't tried it, but all I know is a lot of riders couldn't get to Tuk in June 2018 because the road was such a mess, so I elected to go later in the season. My trip up wasn't a cakewalk, and folks were stuck in Eagle Plains for days because of snow the couple of days before I came up (the road had just opened the morning I headed up), but I had an overall decent trip up and back. By mid-late August, the fall colors were starting to come in on the tundra, and all of the mountains were snow capped for my entire trip. It was perfect. I got rain nearly every day, but only once did it last for more than an hour or two.

    As for tires... I'm certainly not going to tell anyone not to get more aggressive tires if that's what makes you comfortable, but I was on a single set MotoZ GPSs for the entire trip (about 10,500 miles) and never wanted for anything more. The kind of mud on the Demspter is that slick as snot crushed shale sh*t and I'm not convinced any tire would have a good time of it. The gravel sections were in good shape when I did my run up and I was able to absolutely rip it through those sections and make up a lot of time. These roads aren't loamy, rocky, rutted single track, or sand washes, or what have you. Street tires will get the job done - and I'm not a great rider. Changing tires unless I have to is not a hassle I was interested in.
    #16
    CavReconSGT and Migolito like this.
  17. 'Bob'

    'Bob' Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    230
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    Hey KR, we attempted the Dempster in early July 2016 but the road was closed for several days and we didn't have the time to wait for it to open. Tried it again in mid June 2019 and this time we had an extra week available to wait out the weather if need be.
    Fortunately we had no weather delays and rode to Tuktoyaktuk and back to Dawson City in three days at a leisurely pace.

    Regarding tires, best to call ahead to Whitehorse as suggested and have them waiting. We used the K60s both trips but would try a different tire next time. We found the middle of the K60 carcass doesn't have enough tread pattern and we found them to be a bit skittish in the wet at street pressures.

    Regarding tire changes, Whitehorse is your best bet unless you plan to do it yourself. If you do your own tire changes just strap them on in Whitehorse and change them at The Bunkhouse in Dawson City which is an easy paved ride from Whitehorse.

    Re accommodations and gear storage if you stay at The Bunkhouse in Dawson City they provide free locked storage for any gear you don't want to carry up the Dempster and can possibly loan you a gas can if you need one. The manager there is a Suisse guy named Ollie who rides a Husaberg. They also have a pressure washer which you'll need when you come off the Dempster.

    Re gas, it's 40 kms from Dawson back to the Dempster highway turnoff so fill up in Dawson and top up again at the card lock pump there at the turnoff (if it's working that particular day...) and you may be able to coast into Eagle Plains on fumes without touching your reserve gas.

    Looks like you have lots of time available to do a nice ride and I'll be following your RR if you do one.
    Here's a link to a few pics from our 2019 ride:
    https://bobinkpen.smugmug.com/Alaska-2019/
    #17
    CavReconSGT likes this.
  18. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,091
    Location:
    Maine
    I met several people who had crashed on the long gravel highways up there. Every one of them was carrying tires. The extra weight on the rear of the bike doesn't help handling at all.

    There USED to be parts of the Dempster surface that was shale and it would cut tires. People were recommending on ADV that everyone carry spare tires in case of a long cut in the cords. The gravel pit that had shale has not been used for many years. You might still get a flat, but with newish tires the chances are smaller and the chance that it's shale are smaller still. The chance of slipping around in freshly-stirred-up calcium chloride are pretty good since they are constantly maintaining and grading the roads.
    #18
    CavReconSGT likes this.
  19. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,035
    E07 will last the trip I have gone to Dempster/Dalton twice both times one set lasted whole trip 14-15k. The second set had 10k when we got out of Dempster dirt performance starts falling off about that point. If you can find a place to mount them somewhere on West Coast or in BC that would be the best tire strategy. 705 are fine except that a) rear won't last b) you don't really want to ride them on Dalton/Dempster if it rains and gets muddy; not if you can help it.

    With regards to timeframe statistically July is wetter than June and D20 is end of June; there will be enough people to hook up for a ride.
    #19
    rickj and CavReconSGT like this.
  20. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,243
    Location:
    CT/NH
    These is looking like the best option. I have the same feeling about the K-60's. I used them years ago. I liked the fact they wore like steel but they always had me queasy on wet asphalt. I think they should work OK getting to Whitehorse. I plan on some dirt roads along the way but I thing those should work OK for me on the trip up and on the way back. I typically only get 3500 - 4000 miles or so out the the rear TKC-80's so I am thinking that hanging to them in Whitehorse and traveling up to Tuk and then up to Deadhorse but the time I get back from Deadhorse the rears at least will probably be shot. I will probably switch to another set of K-60's for the ride back to CT unless there is anything left on the K-60's I rode up on.

    I will read your smugmug write up.

    Thanks everyone for the help and discussions.
    KR
    #20