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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Northstar Beemer, Jan 18, 2017.
This was great! Thanks for taking time to post and the lessons learned will be valuable.
The most usefull thing on a trip to Alaska is a Great attitude. You seemed to have that. Brings back great memories of a ride from Texas to Alaska and back 10 years ago...
These trips are demanding on both machines and humans. As my sons say, Dad will have great stories in the Nursing home. (I don’t plan on making it that far!)
Great read. Really enjoyed it. Just noticed it yesterday. I went up and back in 13. I was extremely fortunate in that the Dalton was bone dry except the final 10 miles or so into Deadhorse. I got there early enough, that I just got back on the bike and went back to Fairbanks. Nice to see some other guys do high mileage days. I averaged 650 a day for 15 days (from St Louis).
I definitely want to ride TOW again, but don't really care if I ride the Dalton again. What I do want to do now, after reading your report, is ride to Inuvik. I've heard there's a lot more wildlife on the Dempster.
I also took the Campbell south, and hit those silt/powder stretches. I still liked it better that the Alaska Highway.
I took the Cassier south, and really liked it, along with Icefield Parkway. You are really making me think about going back.
Enjoyed reading and will be using some of your landmarks to plan my trip this summer. Thanks.
THANK YOU FOR THE REPORT. I HAVE GONE FOUR TIMES AND PLAN TO RETURN IN 2018. THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE AND ADVENTURE IS DOING IT.
I hadn't read your 2014 ride report until tonight, had to smile when I saw a picture of my friend Anne Marie in one of your photos from the Campbell highway. she works in the Yukon during the summers, and spends winter at her home in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
That's wonderful! Fran actually carries jolly rancher hard candies in his tank bag and routinely hands them out to the flag girls.... just to make them smile. Anne Marie actually won our unofficial 'prettiest flag girl 2014' contest! Tell her we said Hi!
she's a cool chick, native Yukoner and super friendly. and yes, easy on the eyes!
Thanks for such a great RR. Great study material for a possible trip in 2019 if I can convince my boss to let me take all five weeks of vacation in one shot. I will on a big bike also with lots of off road experience on small bikes.
Like everyone else said, THANKS! My brother in law just bought an Africa Twin and I ride a KTM 1290 Super Adventure, we are going in late May 2018. Our experience will be enhanced because of your efforts in sharing. Jury is still out on which tires but plenty of time to figure it out.
Tires - this is a moving target because new models keep coming out. My experience has been that an aggressive knobby on the front with a fairly soft compound will save you from a lot. Washing out the front tire on silt sucks - so I like either the TKC 80 or the Heidi Scout up there. (The Heidi front wears better, but is noisier). The Rear tire is where we've always suffered punctures - my 'go-to' tire there is the Heidi Scout K60. Not puncture proof - I've suffered two rear tire punctures even with these tires, but durable and a good compromise between road and gravel. I used to carry tires up and change in Watson Lake, but since I discovered Heidi Scouts, I feel comfortable riding them the entire 13,000 miles from Chicago and back.
The TKC 80 rear would be just about bald after 2500 miles in Yukon and Alaska (I used one in '09), and the softer compound is more vulnerable to puncture when riding that knife edged gravel.
Your KTM will be a hoot up there!
great report. I sat down to find something to read for a half hour and then suddenly my morning and early afternoon were behind me.
Wow, thanks for your opinion on tires. Of course I'd love aggressive, big tread tires up in the intense dirt/weather environment but, like you, will have MANY paved miles just to get up there (including twisties of course!). Yes, the KTM will be awesome with it's cruise control, XM radio and Hayabusa like performance, oftentimes I must remind myself that I'm on over 700 pounds of loaded motorcycle, not a track bike! Anyways, based on your advice, I think the best compromise tires would be the Heidis which I'll install new a few days prior to departure (looks like mid June, '18). Again, thank you so much for your willingness to make public your meaningful experiences! Oh, one more request for your opinion....I'm a retired cop and military, skilled and responsible with firearms but not extreme at all. That said, we'll be camping in some primitive areas. I plan on packing a 12 guage discretely and fully commensurate with Canadian and US law (I have a 50 state carry authorization AND Canadian visitor permit). I've heard views ranging from "never" to "wouldn't be without one". I am sober and moderate on the issue and based on your journalism, you are too....thoughts?
Tires - The Heidis certainly aren't track tires...... but you won't be track riding either. A combination of long straight highway miles plus that you'll be carrying a lot of gear will preclude that. The Heidis gave me plenty of lean angle as packed for the Arctic on the curves you'll likely encounter. They are stable - though there are occasionally complaints about the rear tire on wet pavement when crossing a painted line...you'll get a momentary wiggle. But hey, we ride dirt so an occasional rear tire slip is par for the course.
12 Ga. By all means ,do what you are comfortable with. Over the course of three trips, I've never experienced a situation where it would have been useful or needed. 'Seen a lot of Grizzlies, but in June they are gorging on Dandelions and seem pretty content. If you do go up to Deadhorse, you'll be likely be staying in a 'hotel' where guns are not allowed, though I don't know how or if they enforce this.
I have heard (cannot confirm) that even if you have proper documentation the border guards may and can confiscate your firearm if they feel like it with no reason. I will be leaving mine home.
Read post #1042
Hhaha funny as hell i was there in June as well and the weather was atrocious, it was no use even attempting the Dempster.
Rain and sleet and absolute shit weather most of the time, crossing over from wherever to Chicken was ok and the all the way going south was nice, it even stopped to rain a few times.
thank god for some sour toe.
Yeah - up there once you leave the pavement rain changes everything. What I've learned after three trips is that 12 hours of no rain changes everything back to good! Patience isn't one of my long suites though.
Thanks for the great report. Did the same trip 10 years ago and makes me want to go back.
In the interest of full disclosure neither I nor the ever changing group of guys I ride with have ever had our luggage inspected.
In fact back in 2009, I had a self proclaimed arms dealer try and sell me a Chinese AK-47 while I was having a burger at the now shuttered Burwash Landing hotel. I was reasonably confident that even with the swing stock, I'd not be able to get that piece back into the States.
I do wish, however, that I'd taken him up on his offer to go out into the bush and go target shooting. Note the business card in Dave's hand - you can see the AK-47 image.