Wandering Around Alaska and Northern Canada in June 2007

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by H-Jay, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    452
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    Michiganland
    Well well, Looks like somebody finally decided to go back to work. Must of run out of gas again.... Here in this country we like people that don't use all their vacations time and make sure parts don't come lose on their scooters . Anyway we have the boarder folks on alert incase you try to sneak south of the boarder with a leaky gas tank.

    Seriously, it was great getting to know and traveling with you and KLR Dave. Enjoyed your country and can't wait to return. I was rolling on the ground when Siggi told me about finding your German RV rescuer friends still drunk in Inuvik.
    #81
  2. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

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    Jan 7, 2006
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    452
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    Michiganland
    Hey Steve

    Thanks. I enjoyed riding with you partner.

    Way to slap that Rienhold around!!!

    Did you get your bike back together yet?
    #82
  3. GSnerd

    GSnerd Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    15
    Location:
    Michigan
    H-Jay,

    Bikes running good, just got back from a 2 day, 1,400 mile UP trip. I ended up replacing the big rear bearing and seal, left pre-tensioner (I'm no longer a diesel!!!), both front fork seals and the front brake lines (had a leak). It's like I got a new bike, something I believe you can relate too :wink: . If you still hang out with us plain GS folk, we should take a ride one of these days, especially now that I won't be mistaken for a ford 6.9 :lol3 .

    Steve
    #83
  4. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
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    Michiganland
    Sent you an e-mail
    #84
  5. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2006
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    Michiganland
    I appreciated others that included tips from their experience so I thought I&#8217;d add some of my own for those interested. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Technology<o:p></o:p>
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    • Music players like I-Pods melt away the long boring miles. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • A GPS is useful for getting across the lower 48 but really not much help in Northern Canada or <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>. The roads are few and Garmin&#8217;s Point of Interest, particularly gas stations and lodging would be impossible to keep current and are not. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • Getting on line was a problem. I finally gave up trying to regularly sign on. Even the campgrounds that advertised WiFi had very slow or no service.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • I had a Globalstar Satellite phone that was only useful as something else to throw at a bear. I was able to make several calls and even received one. The reality is that in June with all of the trucks, motorcycles and RVs on the road, <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State> and <st1:place w:st="on">Northern Canada</st1:place> is not all that isolated. I won&#8217;t take one next time.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • I&#8217;ll took a laptop and, despite problems getting on line and little time to use it, it helped with communications, picture backup and keeping travel notes. Universities, libraries, campgrounds, etc frequently have computer stations if you don&#8217;t want to pack one.<o:p></o:p>
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    Packing<o:p></o:p>
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    • I didn&#8217;t have a lot of spare time for reading or writing because of long riding days, eating, talking to locals and other travelers around the campground. I had a good paperback book but I only needed one. Think twice before loading up on DVDs, games and other camp/hotel entertainment. The people you meet are a lot more entertaining. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • I took things I didn&#8217;t need and left things I needed. And the corollary is that stores and post offices exist everywhere. Don&#8217;t sweat it, pack light and go. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • The mosquitoes are bothersome but I found it better if I didn&#8217;t obsess on them. In most cases they were none existent because of wind, topography, temperature, rain etc. You won&#8217;t regret having one of those stupid looking head nets. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • Can&#8217;t say enough about the attributes of synthetic materials. The clothes pack small, dry fast, wick moisture and are comfortable.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • Those luggage compression bags that you put cloths in and squeeze the air out, work. I took 2, one for daily use and another for occasional use cloths. <o:p></o:p>
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    • I kept all the miscellaneous stuff in one case that I used in the campground. It made for quicker camp set up. <o:p></o:p>
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    • Having 2 dry (compression) bags made it easier to deal with rain and wet tents, etc. Use one for the wet tent, ground cloth, etc The other for things I needed to keep dry, like a down sleeping bag. The second advantage is, in the rain, you can unpack the stuff you want to keep dry after getting your tent up and out of your wet riding suit. Also you can leave the compression sacks at home for your sleeping bag, therm&#8211;a-rest and tent. They become redundant and a time waster. (Thanks Helen 2 Wheels).<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • An extra compact soft side dry bag stashed in the bottom of one of the dry bags can be handy and not take a lot of space. I used mine for laundry, carrying groceries, hiding riding suit and boots while away from the motorcycle, and more.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
    Budgets and Motorcycle Maintenance<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • Sending $100 per day and eating well is doable if you camp. This excludes buying tires and other motorcycle repairs. Related to this is I found tires in <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State>, while expensive, were a bargain compared to buying tires in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region>. I ran in to a guy that paid $400 for a rear Tourance in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Whitehorse</st1:place></st1:City>. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • On a long trip involving multiple 6000 mile maintenance cycles, you can save money if you learn to adjust your valves, replace brake pads and change the oil. Although, having a dealer change your oil takes care of the oil disposal issue and they may spot an emerging problem you missed. Special note to R12GS riders: Carry extra rear brake pads. <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Alaska</st1:place></st1:State> roads chew&#8217;em up quickly. After doing long trips off road clean your air filter. <o:p></o:p>
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    Food and Restaurants<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • I only planned to prepare breakfast in camp and have a dinner backup, usually a can of stew, for occasional use. This cuts down on food preparation supplies. To prepare a meal and eat it, 95% of the time I only used the Jet Boil, bowl, cup and spoon. I may leave my skillet, fork and cooking utensils home next time. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • On finding good restaurants I was given some good advice that seemed to work for me:
    1. Drive down the main street and look for a gaggle of pickup trucks out front.
    2. Mountain or harbor views usually do not equal good food and reasonable prices.
    3. Most important, avoid the East End Campground in <st1:place w:st="on">Fort Nelson</st1:place> at all cost. <o:p></o:p>


    <o:p></o:p>
    • The locally mom and pop restaurants are great sources for current events, good roads, campgrounds and local gossip.<o:p></o:p>
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    • I&#8217;ve traveled a lot around world and found that being careful about, even &#8220;safe&#8221;, drinking water reduces the chances of stomach trouble. Once I found a consistently available brand of bottled water in <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State> and <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Canada</st1:place></st1:country-region> that was the only water I drank. Note: This does not apply to beer. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    My Top 10 <st1:State w:st="on">Alaska</st1:State> <st1:place w:st="on">Northern Canada</st1:place> Highlights:<o:p></o:p>
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    • Enjoying talking to locals and other travelers<o:p></o:p>
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    • Taking in the wildlife and scenery at every turn<o:p></o:p>
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    • <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Telegraph Creek Road</st1:address></st1:Street> and Town<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • Kennecott Mine and <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">McCarty Road</st1:address></st1:Street> and Town<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Inuvik</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Town</st1:placeType></st1:place><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • The Tundra north of <st1:place w:st="on">Brooks Range</st1:place> on the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Dalton Highway</st1:address></st1:Street><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Thompson</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Pass</st1:placeType></st1:place> on the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Richardson Highway</st1:address></st1:Street><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • Alaska Highway between <st1:City w:st="on">Summit</st1:City> and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Muncho</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Lakes</st1:placeType></st1:place><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • Top of the <st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">World Highway</st1:address></st1:Street><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    • Wiseman the town<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
    Because of rain I didn&#8217;t do the Denali Park, Denali Highway, Parks Highways, or Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. I suspect some of them may have made the list. I'm sure had I stuck around for the D2D that would have made the top of my list. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>

    Hope this is helpful to anyone considering a similar journey. Thanks.
    #85
  6. Bitburger

    Bitburger Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    94
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA- wet and green
    Well written, informative, good pace.
    Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    Well done.
    #86
  7. TheGeorge

    TheGeorge Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    152
    top stuff!!!
    g
    #87
  8. Bad Company

    Bad Company Don't call me Shirley

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Leavenworth Kansas
    Wow. Just wow. Did I mention wow?
    #88
  9. Rich

    Rich Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Killdeer, ND
    That was one awesome report, H-Jay. Your photography skills are top notch. Thanks for all the work you put into this!
    #89
  10. RobH

    RobH Don't tase me bro

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Houston
    Great report and pictures. thanks.:thumb
    #90
  11. riceburner30281

    riceburner30281 misADVenturer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    654
    Location:
    Lurking in the shadows of ATL
    I just got home from my Adventure ride to Alaska 10 days ago, I did not get to do all that you did, the Cassiar was closed on my way back, so I had to traverse the Alcan, I did not attempt the prudoe bay run, because I dont enjoy the gravel that much, I reserved that for my McCarthy run, I was on a WeeStrom, and other than tires, chain and oil changes I performed no maintenance and traveled almost identical mileage from Atlanta to Alaska in 5 weeks, it takes alot of time to put one of these reports up as I am learning, I posted one "from the road" wherever I could gain access to a computer, here is a link to my ride report(s)

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=215893

    Honestly I wouldnt attempt a trip like this again without a laptop and a better camera, and I doubt I will go this far again unless someone hands me a new bike when it gets time for new tires and chain,

    You really did the Alaska experience right! you must have spent a fortune!,
    I think I made it on less than 5K without including the cost of the bike...

    My next "long" trip will be up the eastern coast by way of the ECD, on up into Canada and around Nova Scotia and maybe farther north...
    #91
  12. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
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    Michiganland
    Hey Riceburnner,
    I have been following your trip also. What a great place to ride and great people?

    Not sure what makes you conclude I spent a fortune. I spent around the same as you. I averaged about $100 a day, mostly because I camped all but 3 days.

    This trip just made me want to do a longer one... somewhere?

    What the heck is ECD????

    Take care.
    #92
  13. Phish

    Phish Fishbone

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,406
    Location:
    Alaska
    H-jay, I just returned from a quick trip to McCarthy. While in McCarthy at the New Golden saloon I got to talking to a guy from SanFransisco touring the north on a GS. nice guy ! I think his name was Jeff (I was a little under the influence, It was a saloon after all :beer ) , I mentioned that I ran into this guy in the Dawson campgrond adjusting his valves in the campsite. He said I know who that is , thats H-jay, I have been following his trip report.

    I concur with you about McCarthy/ Kennecott being a highlight, for me it was a quick up and back from Anchorage but I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

    Anyway, great trip report :thumb It was nice to meet and talk to you last june in Dawson. I am glad that your journey went well. hopefully we'll meet on the road again sometime.
    #93
  14. H-Jay

    H-Jay Mo 2 C

    Joined:
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    Hey Fishbone,

    Good to hear from you. Did you enjoy the D2D? From the pictures and reports I should have stuck around.

    Quick run to McCarty? .... You AK guys are so lucky to have all those great destinations around you. I'm trying to get enthusiastic about riding around Michigan after AK. I've been spoiled!!! I'm sure I'll be back up there soon.

    Take care, see you on the road.

    H-Jay
    #94
  15. OrangevaleFJR

    OrangevaleFJR Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Orangevale, California
    Yep Donald, I lurk over here and say stuff once in awhile. I'm still pretty new to the DS stuff, but I learned how to jump my DRZ last weekend :norton


    Alaska is next year...woohoo! H-Jay gave us a lot of great ideas and definitely is helping us during the planning stages. Thanks H-Jay! Can we buy you a beer, scoth, whiskey, anything?
    #95
  16. HYLYNDYR

    HYLYNDYR naewittyshitepostedere

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    116
    Location:
    Carson City, NV, USA
    Excellent report ! Can you tell me where this pic was taken ?




    [​IMG]
    #96
  17. Doug Matson

    Doug Matson Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
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    Location:
    Torrance, Ca.
    Really enjoyed your report and your style of writing. I like how you wander around and find out about the locals, I think that fox wanted to come home with you.
    #97
  18. timk519

    timk519 Long timer

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    Location:
    Kitchener Ontario, Canada
    just re-read this RR - what a great ride!
    #98
  19. Duscherck

    Duscherck Vufera Era

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
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    Location:
    Bologna,Italy
    You're welcome! :clap
    #99
  20. IB Mike

    IB Mike AKA Yukon Cornelius

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Oddometer:
    792
    Location:
    Falcon CO
    Damn fine read! Thanks for taking the time to share your journey! I am stoked for my trip to Prudhoe next June!