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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is a two parter: 1) I have about 5 weeks to go from Calgary to Alaska and back. Booked in Soldantna a week in late July. Loose plan is to head up north first, make my way to Soldantna and return. Where should I go? What should I skip? B) Will my bike make it or should I consider purchasing one with lower mileage? What maintenance should I perform on my bike if I go that route?

I want to add that this is a stock bike. I have very few mods, center stand, bash plate and fork brace among them. Not a trustworthy mechanic in these parts, so I change my own fluids and pads, etc. Have a new battery. As far as the bike is concerned, I am wondering about wheel bearings, triple tree, clutch.

As far as the route, have any of you had top notch experiences up there that you can recommend? I like the idea of a flight over/near Denali. Is the ferry of the Inside Passage worth it? Do I need a reserved ticket?
 

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Sure, why not. My 04 Wee has 100K miles too. I have no reason to doubt it's serviceability. Make sure the chain and sprockets are new and the oil is fresh and the tires are new, carry spare tires or plan ahead accordingly. Maybe just carry a spare rear tire.
 

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A lot of people who do the haul road to dead horse carry a more aggressive rear tire to be put on before hitting the gravel.

Personally I think the average DL650 will go 200,00 miles plus easy. I expect if the bike has been maintained it will be fine. It's just the next 10,000 miles or so on the bike. If it will be due for anything during that period make sure you freshen it up before you leave. Think about all the consumables. Tires should be almost new, with enough miles to know they went on well. Chan and sprocket should have more than enough life left for the trip.

You are likely to suffer more wear than the bike. Make sure everything you touch is comfortable for you. Good grips, gloves, seat, comfortable seating position, good windscreen set up, etc. Feel free to call to discuss ergonomics if you like. The standard V-Strom essentials apply. Fork brace, peg lowering kit, mirror extenders, etc. But on a trip like that think about a back-a-line belt if you ever have lower back pain when riding.
 

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Good advise so far. I would be way more worried about weather than the bike. Plan on snow and ice in the passes. Have heated gear and contingency plans for re- routing if the weather turns.

Mitas E07 + rear will make the whole trip. Maybe the new E07 + front is out now, but there are now real world reviews on it yet.
 

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Mileage isn't an issue although there is a tendency for the engine to use oil when stabbing at higher speeds. Not much of an issue, just check your oil level regularly.

..Tom
 

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That's a very pretty route and so far doesn't look like OP is interested in the haul road at all which I tend to approve of.

OP you do want to head down to Val Dez as part of the trip and take the Lulubelle out for a ride. Was the highlight of our trip.

On the way down the Keyhole Pass and the waterfalls there plus you ride by the Wrangell St Elias range.

https://goo.gl/photos/PMhFM6F9U9PeuihFA

The whole Kenai Penisula is gorgeous and you could take the Inside Passage ferry back south.

Mind your fuel as some stations can be closed so fill up when you can ....in the Cassiar area in particular. The Mitas E07 will be useful in the areas under construction which can be dire ...also Top of the World Highway is slick and squirmy in the wet.

Suggest crash bars and mind the critters ...mountain goats are the same colour as the road and like to stand in it.



A flight over/near Denali would be a good adventure

https://photos.app.goo.gl/87uCjugoptfJD6q56

The area you are going is not rugged as far as roads go. The distances are huge tho.

Fuel up with great coffee at Jeannies when you take the turn down to Valdez.



Good luck with the weather ....
 

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% weeks is lots of time, and the bike will make it just fine. Went from Victoria, BC to Dawson City and back late June early July on my 1500 GW. Two up towing a trailer. Put 7400 Kms on it, used 1/2 quart of oil (changed before we left), and the engine now has some 174K Kms on it. Do as much maintenance as possible before you leave, new tires highly recommended. On the Canadian side, Whitehorse or Grand Prairie are the only two major centres as you go north. Don't pass up a gas stop, good reason to stretch the legs as well.

Take a sat tracker such as a SPOT or Garmin inReach, lots of cell phone dead spots along the route. One with email capability is good, I had a Delorme inReach Explorer.

Roads are pretty good on the Canadian Side.

When you see signs that indicate that there are no services for X number of Kms, it is exactly that. If you go up the number 40 from Hinton, first town is Grand Cache. When you crest the hill top all the amenities including gas will be on your right. Stop when you see them, there's nothing once you start down the other side - BTDT - had to turn around.

It will be cool, heated gear is a good recommendation, wet gear as well. Gas is a bit pricey - supply and demand.

Nice ride, but lots of the same scenery as you go.

Good luck. Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys. Was wondering which tires, will look into these. Also thought about inside passage, will look more at that. I’ve ridden in some cold stuff here, without heated gear, but will look into that as well. Wheel bearings? Triple tree? I will make sure everything is fresh. Who has my gel seat?
 

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Cold stuff.....??? in July in the area you are riding !!!????- surely you jest ....be concerned about the heat not the cold.

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/tok-ak/99780/july-weather/336774

This was this July for Tok Alaska which you will go through.
There is a really good Thai food truck and some nice cabins to rent just to the west of town
We stayed here twice
https://www.burntpawcabins.com
Biker friendly and all hours snacks and a breakfast,

and a popular campsite just north.
 

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100,000 k Not an issue as long as it has been taken care of.
Tires and repairs: This guy allows you to purchase parts and tires and have them shipped to him Adventure Cycleworks. He did my tire change just before the Dalton with a fresh set of K60's and an oil change and wash on my way back. Open any time.
Weather: Prepare for everything I had it snow on August 18 and 19.
You need to watch you fuel. It is very sparse.
Lastly, Every person I talked to before the trip trying to get information said "Motorcycle in Alaska! I would NEVER do that you will hit a moose!" SO just start to hate the saying now because you will hear it A LOT!
 

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On our trip to Dawson City saw the signs about wildlife being in the north. Didn't see a lot, couple of herds of Bison as we got closer to Dawson City, but not much else. Have fun, safe riding. Cheers
 

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Loads of bears depending on the time of year. We saw dozens in June.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I edited my original post to include the following: I want to add that this is a stock bike. I have very few mods, center stand, bash plate and fork brace among them. Not a trustworthy mechanic in these parts, so I change my own fluids and pads, etc. Have a new battery. As far as the bike is concerned, I am wondering about wheel bearings, triple tree, clutch.

As far as the route, have any of you had top notch experiences up there that you can recommend? I like the idea of a flight over/near Denali. Is the ferry of the Inside Passage worth it? Do I need a reserved ticket?

Also posted here in case those of you who have already responded would see it. Thanks again!
 

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Pretty rarely to need clutch. Cable yes, clutch rarely.

Not uncommon to replace rear wheel bearings so would hurt to do so proactively.

..Tom
 

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Lulubelle in Valdez and the ride down there

As far as the route, have any of you had top notch experiences up there that you can recommend?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Also, although I am not driven to reach any specific destination, I have not ruled anything out. I don't need to run to the Arctic Circle, but have heard the Brooks Range is amazing. Anyone experience it firsthand?
 

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Also, although I am not driven to reach any specific destination, I have not ruled anything out. I don't need to run to the Arctic Circle, but have heard the Brooks Range is amazing. Anyone experience it firsthand?
The Dalton Highway: The good news is you can not get lost. It is an up and back. The Brooks Range is AMAZING. The Arctic Circle is busy. Just know that you are isolated up there. You need to depend on yourself. If you are looking for an adventure then I would consider it. Keep in mind if you headed to the Brooks you are in for a adventure ride. Few people, very little gas, bad roads and truckers who consider you in the way as they are trying to get back to their family. Lots people do the ride, many here on this forum. Most turn around and a few every year don't get off the road in the same condition that they went on it. If you surf the net you can find MANY videos of people doing it. Gas at the river, Cold Foot and Dead Horse. You have a great bike for such a trip (with proper tires) but more important you need to be ready for the isolation long hours and no cell service.

BTW enjoy trip. I enjoy the planning as much as the trip its self then I get excited looking forward to it.

I would plan a night a Laird Hot springs. I would also use GPS not phone as service is spotty.

Happy planning!
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I looked at the Mitas, not sure I am sold on it. I have had very good luck with 90/10 tires. Currently running Metzlers and they performed marvelously off pavement at the eastern VStrom rally last May. But I was thinking about something a bit more aggressive. What say you?
 

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I think you mean off pavement not off road.

90/10 ?? - you'd not catch me with those on Alaska's squirmy construction sites and especially if you are thinking of the Dalton addition.
The Mitas 07 are excellent ...reasonable on pavement ....reasonable off pavement. I like the K60s for wear and off pavement but they can be slippery on pavement with that centre strip.
 
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