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My wife and I are planning to leave for a ride from Oklahoma City to Alaska on June 2, 2012. Our goal is to make it to the Arctic Circle. We will be riding our GL 1500, pulling our trailer, and planning to camp most of the time.

I am looking for suggestions for stops and routes that are scenic but are two up Wing and trailer friendly.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

We have started a blog about our upcoming trip. There is a ton of prep work going into this trip. It is our first journey of this magnitude. If you are interested in following our progress, here is the link to our blog:

Ed and Devon go to Alaska

The route on the blog is my original route which was going to be a solo run on a KLR 650, I don't think we will take the Wing on some of the roads.

Please share your Alaska ride stories with us, we are very interested to hear them and to learn from your experience.

Thank you,

The Fonz
:15red:
 

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I took a trip to alaska this year and left Oregon on June 3rd. If I were to do it again I would probably delay the departure at least 2 weeks and that is not a weather consideration but rather due to the roads. The roads in Northern British Columbia and Yukon Territory really take a beating during the winter. On the way up we ran into a lot of road construction/repair and there was some really deep gravel on the roads for about 200 plus miles, we also had 20 or 25 miles of washboard. On the return trip south, the gravel had thinned out and it was a lot easier to ride on and most of the washboard was gone.

The thing that really help us was takingtwo 2 gallon gas cans along. There was a couple of 125 mile gaps with no gas stations. A really good planning guide is the Milepost:

http://www.amazon.com/Milepost-2011-Alaska-Travel-Planner/dp/1892154285/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319410783&sr=1-1

If you are planning to take a ferry in or out of Whittier, be advised to investigate the tunnel. It is an old railroad tunnel now used by trains, cars, trucks and motorcycles. It is single lane with the tracks running down the only lane....I had my trailer tires tracking about 8 inches from each steel track. To make it a little more challanging, they have the center section grooved so the motorcycle wig-wags down the center of the lane. This goes on for over 2 miles. I didn't find any fun on that stretch of road but here is the official info:

http://www.dot.state.ak.us/creg/whittiertunnel/virtualdrive.shtml

P.M. me for more info, Steve
 

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Thanks Steve,

I am a little concerned about deep gravel as it could make things a little interesting.

Sounds like you had a great trip, what was the best part of it? What is your recommendation for a must stop and see? How did your Wing handle the beating from the washboard roads?

We do have the Mile Post on order. We can't wait to get it.

Thanks,
The Fonz
 

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My wife and I have been up there twice. 8 years ago in the pickup and camper and this last July on the wing. I would advise going up later on, consider August.

June and July are very rainy months in Alaska .... just see our blog from this last trip.

Our Alaska Trip

There will be road construction all summer long since that is the only time they can do the construction. The roads in the Yukon and Alaska have lots of frost heaves and pot holes that will beat your wing to death if you are not careful. Take it a bit slower and you'll come out alive. There are a lot of animals all over the place including black bear and moose so keep your speed down.


As you can see we went up the Cassiar Hwy and came back down the Alcan Hwy. I recommend you do something similar.

You will miss out on some great areas if you also don't make it to the Kenai Peninsula.

Since you are coming from Oklahoma you might want to take in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, it all depends on how much time you have. If you have an entire summer to do this trip you could end up making it a National Park/Alaska tour.


PM me if you want to discuss some of the routes and cities we visited.


Henry
 

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I would suggest that you put an Austone Taxi tire on the rear of that 1500 before you go.

A lot of the comments on bad tracking will be lessened quite a bit with the wider tread on the taxi tire.

Especially the gravel surfaces.
 

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AZgl1500 brought up tires! I dont know how I let that slip by in my previous comments. Must have been a mental block for the pain and anguish!

When I left on the trip last year I had less than 2500 miles on the front and back tire of the 1800. I had 1 day old tires on the trailer. With all the chip seal roads in Canada and Alaska, I had to replace all 4 tires on the trip. You do not want to buy new tires in Canada. The new back tire in Yukon, a dunlop E-3, was $508 Canadian from the Harley shop. They were the only place with a tire the right size. On the trip I spent over $950 for tires.

Some thoughts:

1.Put new tires on just before you cross into Canada.

2. When you get to a major city in Alaska make a conservative calland buythe newtires there.

3. Be real cautious and pre-ship some tires up to a friend and have them hold the tires till you get there.

YMMV

Justreview this thoughtduring your planning.
 

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Tires....very good thought.

I put a Kumho ROF tire on the rear of the 1800 and a Bridgestone Battlx on the front and 2 new tires and bearings on the trailer 1 month before the trip. No flats, and I'm still running the same tires 9,000 miles later with less than 1/3 of the tread worn away.

Make sure you take along a plug kit.

We took 2 1&1/4 gal gas cans along and did not need to use them. We filled up as often as possible. Be prepared to pay as much as $7.95 per gal in the northern Yukon. When you get into the Yukon you will get straight gas, no gasahol mix.

Henry
 

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Thank you Henry,

Your blog is a great read and I learned quite a bit.

I'm glad to see some comments about tires. I have been a little concerned about tires and what to expect. I am planning to put new tires on the Wing and trailer prior to leaving. I had not considered the car tire for the back, but have been curious about them for quite some time. You guys have me thinking and I know I may be opening an can here, but what is the benefit of the car tire over a motorcycle tire?

Is there anyone here in Oklahoma City that has one mounted that I can look at?

John, perhaps we could meet up and I could look at yours.

Thanks,
Ed
 

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The Alcan will be pretty straightforward with some heaves and construction areas, but mainly like riding a 2-lane country road with 150 miles between humans. :D

If you're 2-up, trailering, and loose stuff gives you the shakes DO NOT run the Top of the World "highway" between Dawson and Chicken. It's a converted pack mule trail over the ridge of the northern Rockies. There are sections with incredibly loose and deep sand/rocks.

I, of course, would do it again in a heartbeat, but I'm dumb like that and I would fully expect to mostly write off the bike after the trip due to extreme wear and damage. I spent over $2k just getting my ST1100 mechanically serviceable again when I returned and it never was cosmetically recovered. Busted wheels, shot-blasted lights, suspension completely hammered out, etc.

If you're only going to the Arctic Circle on the Dalton then you'll be fine. If you're thinking about Prudhoe it gets much worse in spots further up. The weather and road conditions are a daily-changing status, and that's the honest truth.

If it were twice as expensive and twice as hard I wouldn't even think twice about doing it again. What you will see is simply breathtaking.
 

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Not trying to change subject but thank you for putting that link Henry. The wife and I have always wanted to go but not in the cards as of yet. Found your Blogto be very enjoyable veiwing for us.
 

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I lived in Fairbanks for 6 years and road a bike most of those 6 years except during the winter. The biggest thing to watch out for is frost heaves, they will sneek up on you like a thief in the night and are typically in the worse place on the hwy. A nice route after you enter Alaska is to take HWY 1 at Tok junction, head south to Glenallen then hwy 4 to Valdez, the trip over Thompson Pass is breath taking. Then back up hwy 4 to hwy 1 south to Palmer and Anchorage, south on the Seward Hwy to Kenai, Homer and points of intrest in between. Once your ready to head out of Alaska then it's up hwy through Denali N.P and into Fairbanks. Theres a number of places to visit around the Fairbanks area that have pretty good roads, Chena hot springs for one. You can take the Dalton hwy up to Coldfoot but I would recommend going any futher than that due to no services for at least 245 miles. Alaska is well worth the trip.
 

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If anyone is interested. I posted a procedure for the replacement of a throttle cable on a Goldwing 1500 on the blog page.

Ed and Devon Go to Alaska

We have also started to post some links to other rider's blogs and ride reports. There is a ton of great information out there and a lot to consider for a trip like this.

Over the next few weeks, we will talk about some of the camping gear that we have purchased for the trip. We hope you are enjoying our posts.

Devon an I reviewed The Milepost last night. There is a ton of information in that book. We are still planning our routes and we appreciate all of the suggestions.

One of the things we are looking into for this trip is heated jacket liners. I've never used them before and am looking for recommendations. I know of Gerbings and Warm and Safe but do not know much about their performance. How warm do these get? Also, what are some good brands and models?

Thanks,
Ed
 

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Thank you to everyone for suggestions about heated gear. We wound up purchasing two First Gear liners and a dual controller last night from Cycle Gear. They were on sale for a great price and best of all, we could try them on to make sure they fit as there is a local Cycle Gear store here in OKC. I will get the controller installed on the Wing within the next few weeks for a test. I really can't wait to do this, but kid obligations are going to come first. I will write up the installation and a review on the blog once I have completed the install and test.

We also have been securing some camping gear. We are not avid campers, so we are having to do a bunch of research to find what is going to work for us. We will be writing about our gear choices on our blog as well. We were able to test the Marmot tent, sleeping bags, and pads we purchased this weekend. There is currently a review of the tent on the blog and I will be working on the sleeping bags and pads today.

We will also be posting the procedure for changing out brake and clutch fluid as well as how to build a pop can stove over the next few weeks.

Thanks,
Ed
 

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I'm not that familiar with the Marmot line of tents. What I would recommend is that the rain fly on the tent goes all the way to the ground and is tied away from the main body of the tent. Make sure you put a ground cloth under the tent to help keep out water and protect the bottom of the tent. The ground cloth should not stick out the sides, this way it does not funnel water under the tent.

Get a Silicone coated 12x12 nylon tarp and 2 poles so you can set up a cover over your table or tent to keep you dry while you eat/read/plan for the next day. They are absolutely waterproof and stuff down into a really small sack.

You can see the rain fly on our tent here goes all the way to the ground. Also the tarp is covering the table in this case. We should have used it to cover our friends tent, they got a bit wet that night...rained hard!!.
 

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Well the trip is coming up within the next several months. Before you know it, it will be June 2, 2012 and we will be on our way.

This morning, I posted a little red neck engineering on the blog about how to build a pop can stove. These stoves are small, compact, and make an excellent burner for cooking.

This is not the only stove we will be bringing with us, we will be using an Coleman dual fuel dual burner stove as our primary stove.
 

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Gotta go build one of those little stoves that you have on your blog.....really nifty. Thanks, Steve:cool:
 

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Did you ever hear of Murphy's law? Be ready for it! Planning a trip like you're planning to the Artic Circle has a lot to do with "Lady Luck" and common sence. You will need plenty of both. I did the trip with a friend about three years ago in July, Aug. time fram. I'm from eastern Va. and the trip was over 13,000 miles. I went to Ancorage, Fairbands, Homer, and took the ferry down from Haines.(That saved about a 1000 miles of riding)I enjoyed the devil out of the trip, glad I went, maybe even do it again. The roads can get tuff, and the weather turn to sh*t, but I had a blast and the bragging rights. I would suggest a tire patch kit, compressor, and extra gallon of gas. I didn't need any, but was glad to have along with me. As for anything else, clothes for the cold, water, but you can't take all that you will need, even with the trailer, which I would put in a storage area in Fairbanks somewhere. Some places I think the only part of the asphalt that was left, was the holes in the road. You will love it, just keep you mind in a positive direction. One other thing, if you're camping, maybe bear spray!
 

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On the subject of Bear Spray. If you are taking bear spray into Canada it must be labeled as Bear Spray. You are not allowed to take the smaller pocket/purse size pepper spay containers into Canada. (look up the requirements). You must declare it when crossing the border into Canada.

We had two bikes, both with bear spray and had no issues because we declared it and followed the rules.

Enjoy the trip.

Henry

Beautiful downtown Chicken Alaska before the addition of a 10 room motel and a gas station.
 

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I noticed on your blog that your tent is just large enough for the two bags. Make sure when it is raining that your bags do not touch the sides of the tent anywhere the tent is not covered by a rain fly. If they do water will wick inside and wet your bags at those points.

Condensation can be an issue in the tent if you do not have enough ventilation. The water will drip on you when the nights get a bit colder.

Since you will be rolling your bags up every day just as you get up they will not have time to dry out before you roll them up. You will find that your sleeping bags get damp feeling after about a week of this.

Stopping at a laundromat and drying out your bags will make you a lot more comfortable plus it gives you a chance to clean your clothes. This is a great thing especially if you have a fire each night you stop. We camped without the fire to avoid smelling like one while riding down the road.
 

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The thing I noticed was the cost. 2nd nite in canada my 12.50 pancakes were a bit much, no cell service, peopleare rude,nice view, but man the cost was nuts i can feed my family of 5 for a year for a 3 week trip in canada, do mexico it's more user friendly lol just rember if a kid asks you something the answer is always yes and you will never have any problem. great luck on your trip dress in layers like 6 or 7 deep lol :cheesygrin:
 
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