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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,
I am considering / hoping to ride my 2005 Wee from Lake Tahoe (Northern California) to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska next summer. I am reading through many threads on this site, but am curious if any of you know of a consolidated information site, book, etc. I am looking for lists to start with: pre-trip maintenance, tools to bring (and repairs to practice), sites along the route I can't miss, clothing suggestions, tips for packing a bike, etc.
Thanks in advance,
JP
 

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The Adventurous Motorcyclist's Guide to Alaska is out there.
 

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If you've done any longer trips in the lower 48 you already know everything you need to know. Alaska's a long trip, yes, but it's not qualitatively really different from riding in the western half of the USA. Just more days strung together.

That said, some thoughts:

Unless Prudhoe Bay is a big bucket list thing for you, consider spending that time elsewhere.

Related to the above, don't miss the Kenai Peninsula.

Also don't miss the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper.

Tools and spares, pretty much the obvious stuff. I like to have levers, brake/clutch/shift, so that if I break one in a drop or minor crash I'm not stranded. I make sure that I can get either wheel off the bike, can plug a flat and pump the tire back up, and can get the tank off to poke around if needed. Some zip ties and electrical and duct tape too.

Rain gear. Really good, no-shit, ride all day in rain and stay dry rain gear. That includes boots and gloves that work all day in a cold, miserable, driving rain.*

Be prepared for big variations in temp over the course of the trip. If you haven't done much cold weather riding before, make sure you do some before the trip so that you know your gear is up to the task. Include long, all day rides in that test.

Most of all, just relax and enjoy. The roads are good (although there will be some construction) the towns aren't all that far apart and the scenery is amazing.

*If you read a lot of Alaska trip reports you'll quickly figure out that rain is the dominant topic. I was actually very lucky, only had 2-3 days with significant rain, but some friends who did the exact same trip the next year had rain almost every day. Be ready for it, otherwise you'll be miserable.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys! I'll dig in. I am hoping to test myself this winter, when roads are not icy, here in the mountains where i live. I have spent time in Alaska as a professional landscape / nature photographer. However, I've never ridden far or in bad weather. I'll get to it.
JP
 

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Tires get good 50/50 tires. Rain (that has been said) I have also seen snow in August. Heated gear, Fuel carry some extra. Poke around on this site. Many have done the trip. You will find all sorts of little nuggets to help you make the trip yours. Also don't carry to much. Let your hair down and enjoy the people. I rode with people from 6 different countries on different days and different legs of the trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks again. I'm leaning toward Heidenau tires. I'll figure out how to minimize what I carry while bringing a 4x5 film camera kit (minimized) for "work".
 

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Went to Dawson City this past summer. Roads are quite good, will always find some construction.

Do all the maintenance you can think of before you go. If you think you'll do something after you get back, do it up front. New tires before you go - think about a new chain and sprockets. Not a lot of choice up north. Take your passport even if you have an enhanced driver's licence that allows you into Canada. Need a passport if you have to fly out.

The milestone is a good guide. There are sufficient gas stops on the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to Dawson City. If you can do 250 Kms per tank you'll be fine.

The road from Hinton Alberta to Grande Cache is approximately 250 Kms and there are no services in between. There are road signs to this affect. In Grande Cache, you crest the hill. There are services on your right. Stop there as there is nothing after this until you get to Grande Prairie some 250 Kms later.

Take a personal sign with you to post at the sign post city in Dawson Creek.

The Milestone has been mentioned and there are a lot of blogs regarding this trip. Lots of scenery to see, not a lot of variation in between stops - nature of the beast.

Great trip to do and strike off the bucket list.

Good luck. Cheers

In Canada, Grande Prairie and Whitehorse are your service points.

If you see a gas stop after some 100/150 Kms gas up, take a break.
 

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You have to get a Milepost. How people go to AK without one is beyond me. We've got a 2016 edition and have used it for two trips now. It actually gets better with use - at first, you think "this is 600 pages of ads", but once you use it a little and figure out how it is set up, it's a fantastic benefit.
 

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AL2AK2AL

I plan on doing a similar Ride June 2020.........have been planning for 10 yrs. Leave B'ham around June 1st, give myself enough time to get to D2D In Dawson city, Yukon on June 19-20.......2-3 stop-overs prior to that with friends in Illinois and Denver. My goal is to turn around at the Arctic Circle point and then hit the coastal towns on the way back home. I'm giving myself 30-40 days. Also wearing the H-Scout 60's for shoes. I plan on camping 2 out of 3 nights.......at least, that's the plan. Will keep an eye on this thread. Oh yeah, BumbleV is also making a run to Alaska next summer.
mark444
 

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Just received my Butler map of AK. Not real impressed. Not much more info on there as opposed to AAA map...
 
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Don't overthink the trip. Two days in Dawson Creek is good, museum and film regarding the building of the Alaska Highway. An overnight in Watson Lake to install your sign at the Sign Post City, and a good evening show at the northern lights museum. Spend an extra day in Whitehorse, lots to see but only need one extra day. Dawson City is a two day event as well.

Lots of fuel stops if the bike can make 250 Kms per tank. Need fuel going up the Dempster Highway.

June early July can be a wet ride. We had 8 wet days at the start of our trip, left 24 June.

Contact Dawson Creek Tourism. Good info and a gas station chart as well.

As I have mentioned, do ALL your maintenance (don't leave anything until you get back home), new tires, chain sprockets, chain lube and cleaner. A towing package is nice but not a lot of tow companies north of Prince George, BC, or Hinton Alberta on the way up. Recommend having a satellite tracker such as a SPOT or Garmin inReach explorer. Lots of cell phone dead zones. We had the Delorme inReach explorer, had to use the email to let family know all was well.

Roads are good and getting better.

I had to do some maintenance in Fort Nelson on the way up. Didn't have all the tools I needed, but the fellow at the ACE hardware store loaned me what I needed so I could be on my way. Good folks up north. There is a nice museum in Fort Nelson to visit.

Enjoy your trip.

Cheers
 

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To me, the "planning" (anticipation) is 60% of the fun factor. I put my head on my pillow every night thinking about my June 2020 AK Trip in some way or another.

Lots of fuel stops if the bike can make 250 Kms per tank. Need fuel going up the Dempster Highway.
Taking a 2L spare can of fuel at all times....also have a 3L collapsible fuel bladder to use once I get up there and may need some insurance.

June early July can be a wet ride. We had 8 wet days at the start of our trip, left 24 June.
I should be leaving around June 1st or so in order to make it to D2D by June 20th without having to haul-arze getting there.


As I have mentioned, do ALL your maintenance (don't leave anything until you get back home), new tires, chain sprockets, chain lube and cleaner. A towing package is nice but not a lot of tow companies north of Prince George, BC, or Hinton Alberta on the way up. Recommend having a satellite tracker such as a SPOT or Garmin inReach explorer. Lots of cell phone dead zones. We had the Delorme inReach explorer, had to use the email to let family know all was well.
Even tho my 2008 Wee only has 13k miles on it, I am replacing all brake pads, tires, sprockets (1 T less on back), chain, and battery......as well as flushing brake systems and coolant system (neither has been done since new). I'm also installing a new set of Sonic Springs in the front forks along with rubber fork gaitors, that has been on my bench for 3 years. Scotts Stabilizer already on the bike.


I had to do some maintenance in Fort Nelson on the way up. Didn't have all the tools I needed, but the fellow at the ACE hardware store loaned me what I needed so I could be on my way. Care to expand: what repairs were needed???
Cheers
 

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250km/tank is well below what a 650 can achieve, that should be up around 400km. I was getting over 400km on my V2 up there. Never had to use my spare gas, but you want to bring some anyways.

Be sure to add fork socks to keep your seals from dumping fork oil all over your brakes, there is a lot of dust and dirt up there. I guess the whole road is fork seal eating crap. :)

Get your bike comfortable for standing up. It really helps when the road gets bumpy, which is pretty much everywhere up there, and when there is deep stuff to ride through. One mirror needs to be able to tip up high so you can see behind you when standing up.

I added steering stabilizer to my V2 for the trip, and it saved me a couple of times when front wheel went into deep gravel and threatened to turn sideways, but most people do not do this, and most do not crash, but if your looking for something to do before the trip, this might be a good addition.

Remember that riding up there is not a race, go at a comfortable speed, and if people pass you, don't let it make you suddenly ride like an idiot. Some people have a high desire for a quick death, but for me, I am happy if I get up and back in one piece.

There was a big grizzly on side of road in my way back down, and lots of bunny rabbits running across the road as you travel, so keep alert.
 

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To me, the "planning" (anticipation) is 60% of the fun factor. I put my head on my pillow every night thinking about my June 2020 AK Trip in some way or another.
"I had to do some maintenance in Fort Nelson on the way up. Didn't have all the tools I needed, but the fellow at the ACE hardware store loaned me what I needed so I could be on my way." Had to change a couple of pieces on the trailer hitch.
 

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Don't take a hand gun into Canada.

It is not just another part of the USA as I heard an American claim in discussions with a Canadian Border Service officer. That went down really well. :)
 
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