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  #11  
Old 11-15-2012, 04:42 PM
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Disclaimer: I have not taken the Alaska ferry (AK Marine Highway System) although I have used local BC ferries a lot and have traveled the Inside Passage by cruise boat. It's always interesting on the waterways up there, whale-watching and stopping at little towns and ports. But mainly it provides a break from a lot of tedious miles. Contrary to what many people think the Alcan is probably less interesting than many roads in the lower 48. Remember that when the Corps of Engineers laid the thing out during WWII they chose the easiest routing possible, meaning through broad valleys and skirting mountains. Thus it's pretty flat and covers a lot of ground featuring only sad-looking black spruce and limited wildlife. The towns along the way are pretty uninspiring, too.

The Cassiar is much better. But don't pass up any fuel stops. Plan to stay overnight at Dease Lake which has a gas station, a couple of motels and a restaurant. Otherwise it's mostly fishing camps along the way, and there ain't many of them. Traffic is very sparse but bears -- including griz -- are not, so don't break down. It's essentially all paved now, unlike my first trip up there when there was still about 100 miles of gravel. Again, don't pass up the side trip to Stewart/Hyder. The scenery heading down to the coast is excellent.
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  #12  
Old 11-15-2012, 06:05 PM
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No matter what route you take you will have to haul ass to get it done in a month. I assume that you already have got some long distance riding experience. It will be an epic trip so you may as well enjoy it and take a scenic way.
If I were you there are some places and roads that I wouldn't want to miss that are approximately on the way. Fit them in one direction or other.
In Colorado, hwy 550 north from Durango to Montrose; from Cody Wyoming on the Chief Joseph hwy, and the Beartooth Pass to Redlodge Montana, on to Missoula MT, thru Glacier National Park along the Going To The Sun Road; Alberta on the Icefields Highway from Banff to Jasper.
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  #13  
Old 11-15-2012, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 568v8 View Post
No matter what route you take you will have to haul ass to get it done in a month. I assume that you already have got some long distance riding experience. It will be an epic trip so you may as well enjoy it and take a scenic way.
If I were you there are some places and roads that I wouldn't want to miss that are approximately on the way. Fit them in one direction or other.
In Colorado, hwy 550 north from Durango to Montrose; from Cody Wyoming on the Chief Joseph hwy, and the Beartooth Pass to Redlodge Montana, on to Missoula MT, thru Glacier National Park along the Going To The Sun Road; Alberta on the Icefields Highway from Banff to Jasper.
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550 in CO is excellent.

I agree with trying to string things together, but it seems a lot of people are worried about time.

IDK as I've never crossed, but do you have to deal with the border and customs if you take the ferry? Also, the going to sun road is great, but it will take you probably 1/2 a day to do that one section. Lots of slow cars and you will probably want to stop yourself. After all, when will you be back in Glacier? I loved it there. There is more wildlife on the east side of the park. You could camp in Apgar one night, ride the road, and camp @ Many Glacier the next night. Make sure you have reservations though as they do fill up.

I would recommend at least riding through Yellowstone and along the Tetons from Jackson WY as well. You could ride up to Alamosa, CO, over Wolf Creek to Durango, north over million dollar highway to Ouray and Montrose, then north to Grand Junction, Keep going north to Vernal, Keep north to Flaming Gorge and up to Rock Springs. From there, on up to Jackson and into Teton and Yellostone Parks. I have heard about the ride north out of the park over Beartooth pass or something, but have not done it. I would then hammer down to Glacier (however you decide) and do some time there.

It depends on what your goals are. If you just want to see Alaska, slab it on the interstate. If you want to see lots of cool stuff, you're going to have to take the slower back roads. It also depends on how hard you want to push yourself, how often you will stop for pics and the like, and don't forget those pesky issues that may arise. We had 1.5 weeks for Teton/ Yellowstone / & Glacier. That wasn't enough time. Saw a bunch of all, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. I could easily spend 1.5 weeks in Teton/ Yellowstone, not including the time to travel there.

If you're camping, figure in time to breakdown camp, fix meals, etc. If you get to motel every night, you'll save time, but it's pricey. Fixing/ cleaning up meals also needs to be accounted for. Good luck and be sure to post a Ride Report!!!

ETA: Here's a quick google map you might consider. Covers the areas I talked about. This will be slower 2 lane highways instead of fast slab though:
http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=I-...7,8,9&t=m&z=10
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  #14  
Old 11-15-2012, 08:12 PM
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Border formalities are brief and easy as long as you have your passport in hand and don't look suspicious. Long lines at the Blaine (I-5) crossing can be a drag, though. Here's a hint: the Canadians will ask you if you have any weapons with you and the answer better be "no." They may then ask you if you have left any weapons at home, and the answer had better be "no" again unless you want to unpack for a thorough inspection. A Texas plate makes this more likely. Everybody knows what those gunslingin' cowboys are like.
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  #15  
Old 11-16-2012, 12:10 AM
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The Alaska State Ferry is a great experience, and I often recommend this as an alternative to doing the Alaska Hwy both directions. Keep in mind, if you plan on doing the Cassiar,my hat you will still have to ride the Alcan as far as Watson Lake. If you want to take the ferry ride, I recommend picking it up at Prince Rupert and taking it to Skagway. The ride from Skagway to Whitehorse nothing but spectacular.

There are just too many great routes between Texas to recommend any one. You only have a month for your trip, and since Alaska is your goal, I'd suggest just taking the most direct route to begin the Hwy. you can always visit places of interest in the "lower 48". Any time, but making a trip of this magnitude you might do once in a lifetime. Concentrate on the northern part of it.

You should pick up a copy of "The Milepost." It's considered to be the Bible of the Alaska Hwy, and is updates annually. The info in it is quite accurate.
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Last edited by strompilot; 11-16-2012 at 12:16 AM.
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  #16  
Old 11-16-2012, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strompilot View Post
There are just too many great routes between Texas to recommend any one. You only have a month for your trip, and since Alaska is your goal, I'd suggest just taking the most direct route to begin the Hwy. you can always visit places of interest in the "lower 48". Any time, but making a trip of this magnitude you might do once in a lifetime. Concentrate on the northern part of it.
I meant to cover this in my post as well. I wish I had focused my time in Glacier instead of spending more time in the parks closer to home. I think you should focus on Alaska more as it will be the hardest (probably) to get back to later on. Great advice there.
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  #17  
Old 11-16-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
The ride from Skagway to Whitehorse nothing but spectacular.
Glad you pointed that out, strompilot. That's another side excursion he should think about whether taking the ferry or not. It's a nice day trip if laying over in Whitehorse. I think the route to Stewart/Hyder is MORE spectacular, but hey, we all have our own favorites.

And BTW, I would suggest to anyone thinking about this trip that they put a day or so layover in Whitehorse on the itinerary. It's a nice town with plenty of hotels and motels at prices within reason, there are things to see there and nearby, and there are stores (even a Wal-Mart!) and motorcycle shops for any supplies or fix-its needed.
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  #18  
Old 11-16-2012, 12:45 PM
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You'll save a bunch of time crossing the border anywhere other than I-5 (Blaine and Pacific Hwy). For the good riding up you shouldn't be anywhere near there anyway. Sumas-Abbotsford or anything east of it are far less congested. Have your passport ready, no weapons, no liquor, no fruit, engine off at the booth, and you'll be through in 60 seconds.

On my last trip I found that you can find higher-speed secondary highways that may be slower than superslab, but are much faster than, say, Going-to-the-Sun. They make for much more interesting riding days than interstate. Examples of these might be US-12 (Lolo) and WA-20 (North Cascades) instead of a straight I-90 run, or taking BC-5A (Old Princeton-Merritt) instead of the BC-5 freeway in south-central BC. Stringing a few of these into a fast route through the northwest might add just a day or two at most to your schedule, but would be much more memorable as they are some of the best riding roads on the continent.

Sounds like its going to be an awesome trip.


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  #19  
Old 11-16-2012, 01:49 PM
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Here's a suggestion for a good border crossing with great riding following. Consider crossing into Canada at Osoyoos, BC. The Canadian customs folks there seem to be reasonably pleasant to deal with. It's in a spectacular setting, right in the middle of fruit and wine country. Taking Hwy 3 east will take you through some amazing mountain roads, about 120 miles to Hope Jct. From there you go north on Canada 1 up the Frazer River Canyon, which is a must, IMO. At Cache Creek it turns into Hwy 97. An alternative to that, with equally great riding is to turn north at Princeton, BC, then west to Merritt, than out to Hwy 1 at Spence's Bridge.

I was thinking back on some other posts regarding riding to Alaska and this occurred to me: I just got a book entitled "The Adventurous Motorcyclist's Guide to Alaska." It's just come out, so it's current. You can get it at bookstores or on Amazon.com for a bit less, and it's worth it. These guys are very knowledgeable about Alaska riding, which is rare. It was posted as to what should be taken along to Alaska. There is a section in this book that deals quite well with what sort of gear/clothing is good to take. There is also a page in there that details out a great tool kit. They leave nothing out here. Keep in mind, though, that these guys are KLR650 fans, so it's sort of slanted that direction, so when equipping your tool kit, say, you probably won't need to include a spoke wrench, for example. The other thing is that this book centers on dual sport riding opportunities for the most part, but it doesn't leave out all the paved routes, either. One neat thing in the book is a great list of neat bars to visit, with a cute thumbnail sketch of each one. There is also a good restaurant guide for Anchorage, although they seem to prefer the most expensive places. Good food at those places. I think they want to convey what is iconically Alaskan. In any case, lots of good stuff in this book.

And their recommendation for the best route to Alaska? Fly!!!
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  #20  
Old 11-16-2012, 02:17 PM
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When we lived in Vancouver for 4 years we found that the best crossing point with respect to line-ups and procedural hassle was the one near Lynden, WA on Rt. 539. Get off I-5 at Bellingham. Note: this is not a 24-hr crossing point; days only.
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