Two guys, two bikes, and 11,000 miles from VA to AK and back.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by phreakingeek, Jun 21, 2019.

  1. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,942
    Location:
    VA
    Short bio: Long time rider and offroad guy. Been around the US a few times and did the TAT solo back in 2017. Love to spend long days on the road and camp. I tend to overpack and look like a refugee...but it's either that or deal with the anxiety of 'what if....' or 'i forgot to pack...'. So I've learned to live with it.

    I was originally planning to ride my 1150GS with my Dad on his 1200 to AK last summer, but due to some sudden medical complications he is no longer riding. It was bittersweet that he gifted me with a couple bikes that I was able to sell in order to buy his 1200. As much as I love this bike, I'd much rather be riding my old GS with my dad on the 1200.

    In a strange cosmic sort of coincidence while planning on a solo ride to AK...I found another rider to join me. I was in the parking lot at work one morning admiring a brand new 1250GS that was parked there for the first time. Well, on my way out of the building going home, I noticed a couple guys around the bike and I walked over to chat. Turns out the owner, Eric, worked in the building and for the same group, but different division. We got to talking and ended up riding together and going to the JVB Tech Day in April. He was interested in an AK trip, but wasn't sure he could work out the time frame. Well, a couple months go by and he stopped by to see if I was still going and if I'd mind him joining me. As a Lone Wolf, I'm normally happy to ride alone. But riding solo through Canada and Alaska had me thinking another rider might not be a bad thing. So, the plans were made and we got serious about the preparations and packing.

    Preparations A-Z (but not H)
    As my bike has a few mile on her (52k to be exact) I did all of the maintenance...changed the oil/filters, bled the brakes, changed oil and lubed the final drive, new tires. I already had a few comfort things from my Dad like the aftermarket seat, large Black Dog foot pegs, highway pegs, bar risers. I added a Beadrider seat cover, wind screen stabilizer and adjustable extension, swapped the Vario side cases for a set of Tusk cases. I did a two week ride last year (VA-Key West-New Orleans- Austin-AZ-CO-VA...6500 miles) as a shakedown to make sure I could cover the miles and test out my gear.

    Riding Gear
    I waffled back and forth on what riding gear to wear...the temp range and likelihood of rain, make it difficult to pick my gear. After long deliberations, I finally decided on wearing the BMW Rallye 3 jacket and pants. They offer good ventilation and protection and waterproof with the goretex liners. I'd rather not have liners to deal with, but the other options I have either have liners or are uncomfortably hot above 75F. I also wear a Hit-Air vest over my riding jacket...can't be too careful. Settled on Aerostitch Combat Lite boots as my TCX boots do not have enough room to wear warmer wool socks. I am also bringing my Smartwool base layers and socks. I wear Motoskiveez and a pair of Hanes Cool Dri shorts to keep the monkey butt away.

    Other Gear
    Enlightened Equipment down quilt, Exped Synmat 7, Exped pillow, Sea-to-Summit Thermolite Reactor bag liner, Hilleberg Unna tent, Kelty tarp
    Jetboil, coffee press, coffee grinder, assorted cutlery, fuel, fire starters,
    First aid, trauma kit, OTC meds, contacts, bug spray, bug net, sunscreen, power bars, Mountain House meals, water bottles, hydration pack, coffee beans
    Tools, tablet, GS911, tire plugs, air compressor, jumpstart pack, oil filter, brake pads, warn winch, empty fuel bladder

    Schedule
    Leaving June 22 at 0700 and planning to ride northwest up to Whittemore, MI the first day. Going to cross the Mackinaw Bridge into Canada and ride across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and Yukon before getting to Alaska.

    So, if you've made it through that wall of text...I commend you on your fortitude and perseverance...I wrote it and probably wouldn't read it again. From now on, I typically post a lot of pretty pics and talk about the sights and people I see along the way.


    UPDATE- Finally started getting the Ride Report posted up...begins on Page 2.

    AK Route.jpg
    #1
  2. ClutchDumpinDan

    ClutchDumpinDan Go do

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1,373
    Location:
    Virginia
    In!

    Can’t wait to see how much you packed :D
    #2
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  3. SarahR

    SarahR n00b

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Washington DC
    That looks fantastic, truly a bucket list ride.

    Can't wait to see your photos/travelogue.

    Ride safe!
    #3
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  4. Rider351

    Rider351 Dude Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    217
    Location:
    West Michigan
    Ride super safe and list out what you wish you would have brought. LEt us know if we can ship anything you forgot. All those following can help out and make your ride even better.
    Enjoy!!!
    #4
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  5. Gatornation

    Gatornation Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Virginia
    This guy sounds like he knows what he's doing...I'm in!
    #5
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  6. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
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    Location:
    33.202738 -117.384040
    I'm in for the ride as I'll be making the trip next year...

    safe travels...
    :beer
    #6
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  7. Ruined One

    Ruined One Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    South east Wisconsin
    I am doing something similar but left on the 8th out of Wisconsin. Similar route as you but entered Canada north of East Glacier. Am holed up in Haines Jct. tonight Watch Grande Prairie - lots of construction and WIND. Did I say WINDY.... so be ready
    Another thing, if you have time, avoid Calagary and drop down to enter 40 north off of 22 in Longview AB. Take that up to #1 and the icefields parkway on up. Awesome ride. Am not sure if you are carrying a heated liner, but strongly recommend it. 37 degrees at Summit Lake a few days ago. Maybe I'll see you on the Dalton.

    See the Moose? I triggered the Go Pro when I seen the movement. Getting closer there were two of them. Pay attention to the wild life. Buffalo laying in the middle of the road or right on the shoulder. moose.jpg
    now you see them.jpg
    #7
  8. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    289
    Location:
    Canada
    You might want to consider going North of or out of Winnipeg. Cut through the Interlake area to St Rose Du Lac. Then you can take a more northerly route across Saskatchewan and Alberta. Much nicer scenery than the endless prairies. If you're looking to do Glacier parkway then hit it on the way back maybe and that way you can just keep going south through radium city and run right to Idaho. Guess it depends what you're looking to ride
    #8
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  9. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    I do hope you’re camping as much as possible. You have the gear and the areas you’ll be in are perfect for it.

    You chose just about the same route I took in 2014.

    Ride safe, have fun!
    #9
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  10. Downhill502

    Downhill502 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
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    Location:
    Fredericksburg, VA
    This is going to be awesome, soooo in!
    #10
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  11. Corsair84

    Corsair84 Adventurer

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    May 28, 2019
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    Mass
    very cool
    #11
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  12. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Michigan
    I’m in for your report. It was a pleasure to meet you and Eric. We were happy to have you stay here on the first day of this great journey. If you need anything give me a call. Have a great trip!!
    #12
  13. zhousir19820815

    zhousir19820815 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    26
    good trips
    #13
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  14. onthetrail

    onthetrail Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Oddometer:
    199
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    He has gotten slightly better about it ;)
    #14
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  15. Gatornation

    Gatornation Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Virginia
    Looks like they just hit Alaska, waiting for the updates.
    #15
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  16. ClutchDumpinDan

    ClutchDumpinDan Go do

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    Nov 12, 2015
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    Virginia
    :lurk
    #16
  17. CArcher77

    CArcher77 Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2019
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    Montclair, VA
    Can't wait to hear all about it. Talking about something like this with a guy I know, we'll see how it pans out.
    #17
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  18. Retired 18Z

    Retired 18Z Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2019
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    Clarion, PA
    I'm in! Doing the Dalton Hwy in 2020!
    #18
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  19. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,942
    Location:
    VA
    Well, got back home on July 20...but with the long days and limited connectivity for most of the trip, real-time ride reporting just wasnt feasible this trip. I have a few thousand pics to go through and upload and then the real RR will start coming out.
    #19
  20. misterk

    misterk Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
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    DFW Texas
    in!
    #20
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