Planing a trip from AZ to AK. On pavement except for the last 500 miles. What is the recommended tires. Is any farkles other than standard highly recommended. Just now in the planning stage. Any suggestions or personal experience appreciated.
Knowing about when and where you are going would help.
If you plan on doing the Dalton, or you are going to Fairbanks, you can do your bike maintenance, change tires, etc at Adventure Cycleworks. They can help you out 24/7. Also sell or recommend which tires that you need for your bike, etc.
If you are on a 650, you should not need to carry gas unless you head up to Deadhorse. If your are on a 1000, a little extra gas may be a good thing to have, but you will not necessarily need it. Ride on the top half of the tank.
Running the Dalton or other dirt would be totally different than just going to Anchorage. So, depending on what you are planning.....
Staying on paved roads - (you will still get into plenty of dirt, gravel) Anakee's worked good for me. I even used them on the MacKenzie and Laird, but had good weather. Dalton or Dempster, I would want a better dirt tire on the front. Will need it if the weather turns bad.
Rain gear - make sure that it is in good condition and that it will keep you dry for days at a time. Also good for an extra layer.
Electrics just in case. I was back by the end of May, but we had many cold days.
Get some Canada currency after crossing the border. Has never been a problem in the past. Most restaurants, motels, and gas stations accept credit cards. The farther north that you go (larger towns an exception) the fewer gas stations that accept credit cards. Usually even with credit cards your have to pay for gas inside. Sometimes "prepay" because it is a US card.
Everything cost more. Plan on $150 - $200 a day while traveling.
Watch out for the frost heaves in the Yukon. They will get you just like the topes in Mexico. Slow down for them.
Road hazards are usually well marked, or over marked. Every little bump in the road is flagged.
Watch for animals on the road, moose, deer, bear, etc.
Go around instead of through Edmonton and Calgary.
DO NOT miss the Ice Fields Parkway (Jasper, Banff) Avoid going through Calgary. Tourist area so do not plan on staying over night unless you like spending lots of money. Go all the way through in one day.
Coastal mountains are the best riding areas. Hyder is a good detour. I stayed in Stewart, BC.
Anything east of the Rockies (Edmonton,Calgary, etc.) is mostly flat and boring. Mainly just travel days. Plan on slowing down when you get into the mountain area.
KNOW where the next gas station is. Check with the locals, DO NOT depend on a map. Daily mileage will depend upon the location of the next gas. Sometimes you can make it, sometimes you need to overnight and start again the next morning. 450 miles is a good day.
Leave early in the morning and stop early in the afternoon. More wild life in the morning. More available motel rooms in the early afternoon.
Don't tease the wildlife. Most will be bigger than you and can do some serious damage.
Last summer I did the Alaska trip from Texas on a Goldwing. The above Post pretty much says it all............I never had problems with gas or hotels. Everything is expensive in BC and the Yukon, Alaska is as pricey as California.
In BC and Yukon you will be riding along nice and happy on the black top and all of a sudden there will be sections of deep gravel..........my buddy on a Wee went down on the gravel, we went to a local clinic to clean some road rash and they warned us the minimum fee was $500.00...........needless to say we went to a truck stop and bought some stuff to clean him up. Coming back through BC on the way back I got busted for having pepper/bear spray I was treated like a criminal so don't take any.........it wasn't that big a deal but it did take some time to get the paper work done for my crime (I am not sure if I can got back to Canada because of this, does anyone know about this kind of crime?).
It was a fun trip, have a blast.
If you ride the Dalton, *take extra gas* no matter what bike you have.
My 650 rolled into Coldfoot with 0.2 gallons remaining (but full fuel can strapped to the back). Sure, there is a gas stop about 160 miles south of it, but don't count on it being there.
Coldfoot to deadhorse, and deadhorse back to coldfoot, and coldfoot back to fairbanks, I was going fast enough that I needed my fuel jug each and every time. You DO NOT want to run out of fuel in BFE just because you thought you could make it. We rented 2gal fuel jugs from Adventure Cycleworks. Strapped mine under my cargo net, no muss no fuss.
I ran Anakee 2 to Fairbanks, and Heidenau K60 from fairbanks to .. well, they're still on the bike 6000 miles later. But my buddy did the dalton on street tires on his VFR. Honestly, in the slippery stuff, the more concerning thing was keeping the top-heavy Wee upright, not tire grip.
Good info guys. I'm hoping to do the trip myself in the summer of 2013. I just bought my first 2011 Vstrom (650) and am happily putting miles on it. I'll be sure to follow these threads to glean from your experience. Have a great trip and keep me posted on any tips.
Let's see. My GPS was worthless for fuel stops in remote areas.. It basically told me there was no gas between, oh, I don't know, Fort Nelson, BC and Whitehorse, YT. It was never right. I don't think we ever saw more than 160 miles between stops. But yeah, once you get up north past, say, Price George/Fort St John (BC) area on the Alcan, stop for gas every time you get a shot, more or less. It's easy to feel out. A couple of times we saw "no gas next 140 miles" signs which made us turn around and get gas. Only to find a gas station halfway into that 140. But it's better safe than sorry. Once that happened to us once or twice, we realized it was the time to start filling up at EVERY station. Longest stretch I remember was between somewhere between Watson Lake and Teslin. We were REALLY boogieing, and I limped into Teslin, 160 miles on the odo, with an empty tank.
Other than, of course, on the Dalton, which is another story. There's a stop 10mi north of Fairbanks, another stop near the Yukon river, then Coldfoot, then Deadhorse. But don't count on gas between Fairbanks and Coldfoot or Coldfoot and Deadhorse, as I mentioned earlier, about 250 mi at a stretch.
If the BMW 1200s are Adventures with the massive tanks, just bring a siphon
Bash plate is a great idea. I heard and saw many large stones bounce off of it. Odds are they wouldn't have taken my oil filter off. But maybe they would have. Why risk it? It'll be a REALLY REALLY expensive tow in most places. I had crash bars. Again, cheap protection that I didn't use. Until I dropped the bike in the hotel parking lot 250 miles from home on the return!
We didn't carry bear protection. Not saying that was a good way to go, just saying. If you want to buy bear spray, but it as soon as you cross the border into Canada, that way you know it's the legal stuff. Or just search on the internet for what's legal and what's not. Needs to say bear spray. Can't be something meant for personal defense (against other humans). Even though it's all basically the same stuff. Maybe it's about the specific ingredient. Anyway, kinda weird.
I used very little cash in Canada. Went from SF to most of the way thru BC, with $1 US in my wallet. Also, not something you'd plan on doing, but I did it, so hey. Ended up spending all $100CDN once I took it out though. On the way back thru Canada (Cassier and a trip thru Victoria) I took out $200CDN and used only $60. Oops. But yeah, it's always good to have cash.
People say to go in July or August -- warmer months, fewer bugs.
We went in mid june-early July, yeah there were lots of mosquitos in some places, bring 100% deet, but it was not as bad as I even saw once at Crater Lake. Worst were at Muncho Lake BC, and start of the Dalton. When skeeters are bad, just keep your helmet on and the visor down. Weather was rain all thru BC (but an unseasonably wet summer for the west coast, everyone was complaining it NEVER rains like that in their town at this time of year). Alaska was mostly sunny and warm, hit 90 degrees in Fairbanks. Just read an RR of a guy who saw 42 degrees F near Homer, AK; it was 60 there when we went 6 weeks ago!
So the real story is, conditions are variable, weather is variable. Plan for the worst. You WILL get rained on, all day, at least once. Maybe for many days. Handguards, heated grips, wet weather gear, all a necessity or near-necessity. Heated vest/jacket liner wouldn't be a bad idea, but i did without, even 42 degrees, even in the rain with leaking boots. Yeah, I got cold
May/June sounds really early. I'd worry about snow in the mountains in some places.
I forgot about the flags on the road. Yeah, seriously, especially in Canada. I didn't even FEEL some of the ripples in the road for which they put up warning flags. I have worst divots in my driveway. Jumping off frost heaves is FUN if you're prepared! Trucks are crawling over them, and we're getting airborne blowing by 'em in the opposite lane.
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