Canada

Alaska Ride – June 13th – Day #19

We did a better job of packing up camp quickly this morning. We were on the road by 8a, our earliest departure yet. The weather was nice and sunny, but there was a bit of wind blowing. Nothing too bad though.

We stopped at the Pickhandle Lake rest area for our first break of the day The weather was still pretty nice. The views along the ride have been very scenic.

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We cleared customs around noon, and promptly gained an hour. We are now on Alaska Time! The customs wait was only about 10 minutes and the customs officer was very nice – he checked both of us out at the same time.

The road in Alaska seems to be in better shape than in Canada, but the weather seems to be a little worse. Rain clouds were closing in, so we pulled over at a wide spot to put on tank bag covers and make sure all our pockets and vents were zipped.IMG_0460

Other riders out there are just awesome. While we were stopped, a guy on a BMW slowed down to make sure we were ok. I gave him a thumbs up so he could continue on. There have been several instances when we’ve been on the side of the road (usually so my dad can strap his helmet on, which he forgets every other time we stop) and people always slow down to check that we are ok.

We did get rained on a bit right before the town ofTok. It actually came down quite hard for a few minutes and then eventually stopped. We had lunch at Fast Eddy’s – club sandwich with chips!IMG_0463

After lunch we fed the bikes as well. While getting ready to leave the pump another BMW pulls in and I chatted with the guy for a bit. He has been putting in 750 mile days…I guess I just have a whimpy butt!

The rain had pretty much stopped while we rode to our campsite for the night at Clearwater State Recreation Area. We have a cool spot tucked into the trees. Just as we got the tarps and tents set up it started to rain. In the picture you can see the dry area underneath my tarp. Gives me just enough room to sit in my chair with my laptop and keep everything dry (note – my bear canister did not spend the night under my tarp).IMG_0464

Dinner was freeze dried teriyaki chicken and hot chocolate. Yum!IMG_0468

Should be a short ride to Fairbanks tomorrow. We are going to try and stay at the University and get some laundry done – we need it, bad!

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Going To Alaska – The Route

One week from today, I start an epic motorcycle ride to Inuvik and Alaska with my dad. We’ve been planning this ride for quite some time, I just haven’t blogged about it to this point. Now it is starting to sink in that we are actually going to do this, I figure it is a good time to get started. This particular entry will go through the route we are planning on using (thus the title).

We’ve divided the route into several stages that don’t totally make sense anymore due to changes in our plans, but I’m going to present them anyhow. We do not have a time limit for the trip, and likely after the first couple of days our plans will change. But at least we can say we thought about it before we left.

Stage 1: Getting There

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When looking at these maps, each color is a riding day. Our goal is to hit 250-300 miles a day, with plenty of stops for pictures, food, and butt rest.

Our original plan for stage 1 was to go to Dawson Creek to take a picture of MP 0 on the Alaska Hwy. Well, we may decide to take the ferry back from Alaska. Should we do this, a couple of our must do sites would be missed, so we re-routed to a western ride. Going this way will let us hit the Frasier River Valley, Bear and Salmon Glaciers near Stewart/Hyder, and the Cassier Hwy.

Stage 2: Staging for Inuvik

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This leg gets us to Dawson City – the location were we get ready to make 500 mile gravel/dirt run up to Inuvik. We’ll stop in Watson Lake to check out the signpost forest. We’ll have a decision on our route – the map above shows us taking the Campbell Highway, which is mostly gravel. We could loop around on the Alaska Highway if we want to keep on the pavement. Once we get to Dawson City, we’ll have to consider the sourtoe cocktail.

Stage 3: Inuvik

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Probably the most adventurous part of the trip. 500ish miles of gravel one way. 260ish mile stretch without fuel. This section of road is the main reason we will be carrying extra fuel containers with us. We will cross the arctic circle during this stage, and the sun will not set while we are up there.

Stage 4: Fairbanks

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This stage will take us over the Top of the World Highway and into Alaska. We will use Fairbanks as a hub for several rides, including a trip to Denali NP. We may decide to head up the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse if the weather looks ok. We’ll try staying in the dorms at the college, should be an interesting experience.

Stage 5: Homer

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Going to head down to Homer to see if we can get on a halibut charter. The ride down should be spectacular. We’ll hit the Denali Highway, which used to be the highway into the National Park. Also, the George Parks Highway will take us the rest of the way to Anchorage.

Stage 7: The Glenn Highway

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Those of you paying attention will notice that there is no stage 6…Our original plan had a stage 6 – Kodiak Island. Well, we didn’t want to be gone the entire summer, and due to having to deal with timing the ferries, we cut this from our list. Perhaps in a future trip.

This stage is the start of the trip home, we’ll backtrack over some ground to Anchorage, and then hit the Glenn Highway back to Tok and the Alaska Highway.

Stage 8: Getting back to the beginning

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This leg is entirely on the Alaska Highway, essentially back to Watson Lake and the Signpost Forest that we hit on the way up. Should we decide to take the ferry all the way back, we’ll drop down to Haines and hitch a ride.

Stage 9: Home

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Last stage! We could just repeat stage two in reverse, but more likely we’ll take the ferry from Prince Rupert to the north end of Vancouver Island. Then we are home!

So, this is our plan. Like I said above, it probably won’t survive the first week of the trip, and we may not do large chunks of it. But it should be fun.