Where are all the travelers this season?

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by RDJEff, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. alison's wanderland

    alison's wanderland Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the weather prospectives. :D I am looking forward to seeing as far north as I can when I can. I just have my KLR and as many layers as I can fit underneath. Right now just trying to find a warm glove since last summer I made the mistake of a non-waterproof glove while getting caught in a rain/hail storm over independence pass in CO. Man, was that cold. so on that thought, any suggestions? (I can't help but feel like I have hi-jacked this thread a little to keep asking questions)
    I hope to see some of you on the roads when I get there...
    #61
  2. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Heated grips! Makes a world of difference.

    With a couple pairs of well-insulated heated gloves in my assortment, and heated grips on all my bikes, there has been ample opportunity to try it both ways, and with both gloves and grips. The grips win it, no contest. The KLR's alternator can handle heated grips, but not much more.

    When the riding gets a mite chilly I'll don a pair of Thinsulate lined enduro gloves I carry. In an 8-hour pouring rain I was in one time, they were soaked clear through but as long as my hands were on the grips, they were warm. It was 39° when I got off the bike, so "chilly" was not an exaggeration.
    #62
  3. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

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    Hope to see you too. What's your itinerary? Where you hoping to go? I'll be coming back from SE AK via Haines the end of Aug.

    Here are a few more tips: a fog free shield and chin curtain for your helmet and wear a balaclava.

    A Shoei RF800 chin curtain fits into most any helmet and makes a world of difference.

    And I'm with Jack, nothin' beats heated grips!

    Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
    #63
  4. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    If your bike will handle the electric load, then heated gloves are a step up from the grips in my opinion. Electric snivel gear makes bold adventures out of the even the biggest sissies.
    #64
  5. goldenrev

    goldenrev New Dream

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    Got down to 31 on the north end of the Dalton today, rode most of the way after the pass to Deadhorse in fog/rain/snow...

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    but the pass was sure nice:

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    #65
  6. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    26 bikes parked in front of the dorms this AM.
    #66
  7. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    They all read the weather forecasts. :nod
    #67
  8. AKtracks

    AKtracks Kilted Fükengrüver

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    Down to 31????? That's a friggin' heat wave!!!! Why didn't you break out the bermuda shorts for the final miles????
    :lol3
    #68
  9. AkBrian

    AkBrian Long timer

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    Heading over to Dawson in the early AM, Canada Day is a bit of a tradition for me, followed by spending the 4th in Chicken, hopefully with some YT friends. Happy Trails :)
    #69
  10. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy back in the saddle again

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    Actually I prefer my DR for adventure rides... but it is such a long trip up there and back on mostly slab - and the Beemers are much better on long - high speed rides. Now - if I were in Fairbanks with my DR it would be MUCH more fun on the Dalton - don't ya think?

    TheCowboy:ricky
    #70
  11. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Not necessarily. My first rides to Deadhorse were on a Suzuki street bike and I certainly enjoyed those trips just as much as I do the ones on my KLR. There are places you can wick it up a bit and the bigger bikes allow that with a little more confidence, and in some places the bigger bike will give a better ride, such as over washboard. When you get to the last 30 miles, with strong crosswinds trying to blow you off the road, a heavier bike feels much more stable, and the better weather protection is also much appreciated.
    #71
  12. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    This most assuredly does not apply to you Cowboy, but up here the DR seems to be the ride of choice for those of dubious mental stability.....
    #72
  13. Rackemcrackem

    Rackemcrackem Unsafe at any speed

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    "Dubious mental stability..." Why, I'll have you know that I resemble that remark!

    Of course, we know that only riders with the most solid mental stability will ride large street bikes like a Concours or Goldwing several hundred miles through extremely heavy rain, sleet, snow or mud before lunchtime, just to eat their favorite pie, all to turn around and ride home through worsening conditions.

    Fortunately, DRs don't have the road-munching ability to torture their owners for quite so many miles in a day!
    #73
  14. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    Only 6 bikes out front of the dorms today. Tough year to ride the haul road. It's been raining hard off and on here for the past several days. I've heard reports of several bikes going down this year and the local BMW dealer says they are getting a fair number of wrecks. No fatalities, but some broken bones is all I am aware of. The former Gov of Alabama went down on a Harley last weekend. Paper said it was on the haul road, but the story told to the Harley shop is he went off the road about 20 miles north of Hilltop. He too was banged-up but not too seriously evidently.

    If you are headed this way, then bring good rain gear and gnarly gnobbies if your headed north.
    #74
  15. goldenrev

    goldenrev New Dream

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    I got up early (the breakfast buffet starts at 5 am & ends at 8am) it had stopped raining, but it was still a bit foggy and cold (32 degrees F) outside. I had a good breakfast & loaded up the bike. Here are a few pictures from the morning as I was leaving:

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    I headed out around 6: 30am:

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    Now that the rain/snow from yesterday had stopped, the road that I had to travel so slow on was easier to drive on and I found myself going back forth between 3<sup>rd</sup> & 4<sup>th</sup> gear and was making pretty good time, but it sure was cold. When I stopped for a few photos I felt the wind that fortunately was coming from the north and at my back&#8230; very cold as it blew in from the Arctic Ocean AND this is June!!
    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> [​IMG]




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    At one point not to far from PB I saw a rainbow: cool!

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    It stayed cold & overcast with some periods of pretty thick fog as I made my way south back to Atigun Pass. I had to go through the same single lane turn up construction that was so challenging yesterday. This time there was not a soul around as it was still early. Now this section was loose wet dirt with deep truck tracks in it. No choice but to pick a track and go through it. It was defiantly the worst section of road I had encountered, but again, it was not very long. I came very close to dropping the bike as my front tire hit something and got knocked out of the track and lost its grip. The bike began to drift sideways as I tried to find traction and fortunately the TKCs were able to get a grip and get me going forward again and out of the muck.

    As I got closer to Atigun Pass I could see that I was in for more rain and some serious fog as I went through the pass.

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    I am very grateful that my journey through the pass heading North was so beautiful because the journey south was just rain & fog and I could hardly see anything at all. Fortunately the road was in pretty good shape given the places that were pretty steep up & down. The rain stayed steady through the pass and until I got to the &#8220;Coldfoot freeway&#8221; (a really nice section of paved road in the Coldfoot area.)

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    When I got to onto the pavement I took a look to see Hanuman was doing. The road goo had completely caked onto his exhaust pipes:

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    I went into Coldfoot, about 15 miles from where the pavement began & fueled up. Across the Dalton Hwy from where you turn to go into Coldfoot there is a National Park serve visitors center where they post very detailed weather reports for the Coldfoot area, Atigun Pass & Prudhoe Bay. I decided not to camp again given the weather forecast for more rain through the night. I headed back North to the turn off for Wiseman where there was a place I could stay that I had read about in a ADV ride report; Boreal Lodge. I checked in and discovered that I had the place to myself.

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    It is a pretty cool place and they have done a great job creating nice accommodations in a very remote area. They have to provide their own power and use both wind and gas generators. The room was very clean & warm and the shower was nice & hot. They also have a fully stocked kitchen area for guests to use. FYI there is no food you can purchase at the lodge & as far as I know in Wiseman, so either bring food with you which I had done since I was prepared to camp, or eat in Coldfoot at the café. The only down side of the lodge became apparent around 10:30 pm. I had fallen asleep but was awakened by the sound of voices&#8230; not from those dearly departed :lol3 but from those of a family that had arrived & were in the next room. The walls here are not sound proof&#8230; or even remotely close to it! :eek1

    You could here every word spoken as if the people were in your room&#8230; this was not only a bit annoying as far as trying to sleep but utterly bazaar as the saying goes: &#8220;too much information&#8221; to say the least.:huh I made an emergency grab for my Ipod and was soon asleep again.

    At some point in the night I woke up and took my earphones off and it was nice & quiet, the neighbors were asleep But what is that sound? A steady rain on the metal roof. :eek1


    I am writing this update from my room in Wiseman on Friday July 1. When I woke up, it was still raining. I decided to put off leaving to see if the weather might clear a bit. I went to the kitchen and made some coffee, grabbed a breakfast bar and got out my trusty netbook and have been updating the last couple of days for my ride report that I will be able to post when I am back in Fairbanks later today. It is now 7:45 am and I just got another cup of coffee and took a peak outside:

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    See it?? Do you see it?? That is a light patch of blue sky is it not? :clap That means it is going to clear up right?

    I have been noticing how my mind works as instructed by the lessons provided by Mr. Dalton :deal and his cast of characters: rain, snow, fog, mud, huge trucks, the barren tundra in the middle of nowhere and a dirt/gravel road with many surprises that seemingly goes on forever & takes you to about as close as you can get by motorcycle to the end of the earth.

    In the rain, snow & fog with many many miles still to go to get where you are going, past the point of no return to head back the way you came because you do not have enough fuel for that, driving at 20 MPH with very low visibility to even see the best track through the dirt & gravel you are sliding around on, hoping that you will see the next huge truck ahead or in your rear view mirror, I found that my mind reaches for anything that it can to hang onto:

    - Oh look it is getting warmer! (from 33 to 34 degrees F)
    - Look is the fog lifting, yes I can defiantly see a bit farther in front of me.
    - Hea it is not raining so hard now &#8230; really I think it is more of a mist
    - Oh man I just went 5 more miles, I am really getting somewhere now!
    - Only 200 miles to go&#8230; only 150&#8230; wow under a 100&#8230; less then 50&#8230; under 25&#8230; under 10, did you hear me, less then 10!!.. I could walk from here!
    -OK made it to Prudhoe Bay&#8230;. Hmmm that is only ½ way&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;&#8230;

    OK it is just a bit after 8am, it is not actually raining so time to make the last leg on the Dalton.
    #75
  16. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Good pie is worth a few minor discomforts. :dg

    :nod
    #76
  17. Rackemcrackem

    Rackemcrackem Unsafe at any speed

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    goldenrev,

    Thanks for the nicely written Dalton ride mini report! You're helping whet my appetite for a haul road ride of my own.

    Does anyplace along the Dalton serve good pie? :lol3
    #77
  18. AKtracks

    AKtracks Kilted Fükengrüver

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    no, but the burgers at The Hot Spot are worth the ride.
    #78
  19. KHud

    KHud Survivor

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    Hilltop, mile 5 of the Elliot, has decent pie.
    #79
  20. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil Supporter

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    Years ago, under prior ownership, the restaurant at the Yukon (Yukon Ventures, it was called back then) had excellent pie. Nowadays I don't even bother to go inside. :nono

    Must have met at least 20 riders on the Tok Cut-Off and Glenn highways between Chistochina and Glennallen - all headed back south. If the weather everywhere else in the state was as cool and damp as it has been in Slana for the past week I don't blame them. Riders from the southern states must think winter has arrived already. :vardy
    #80