GL1800Riders Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A group of us in New Mexico are considering riding to AK next summer, we are getting conflicting informaiton. Can anyone in AK help us out?

What is the best time of the year for such a ride? We are thinking July/Aug?
Is the road thru Canada passable and bike worthy?
Is the trip to Prudhoe Bay worth the drive?

Any info from you locals would be appreciated......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,478 Posts
A group of us in New Mexico are considering riding to AK next summer, we are getting conflicting informaiton. Can anyone in AK help us out?

What is the best time of the year for such a ride? We are thinking July/Aug?
Is the road thru Canada passable and bike worthy?
Is the trip to Prudhoe Bay worth the drive?

Any info from you locals would be appreciated......
You ask for locals and I am not; that said most locals do not ride the ALCAN, they are just that, local. We just got back and prefer the Alaska Marine Hwy..July/August is good, the end of August can get dicy. Sounds like you need to do a lot or digging yet. (Cabins are already selling out for next year on the ferry)

Only you can answer wheather the Haul Road (Dalton Hwy) is for you; there is lots of info if you dig.

The best starting point is "Milepost" take a look; there are a lot of folks on this board that have made the trip more than once and can answer a lot of questions you may have. I fogot....Check out Alaska chapter 'B' GWRRA, there link is at the bottom of the mile post link below.....good folks, good info

http://devmilepost.com/features/motorcycling_the_north/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info, the more I look into this the more it seems like the idea is a good one.....many miles, many bad roads, many other proplems but its fun to check it out and see what the possibilities are anyway.

I appreciate the info and if you need anything in the New Mexico/Santa Fe area let me know and I'll return the favor....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
Most roads in Alaska and Canada are very bike friendly. The Dalton is OK for adventure style bike but can be a challenge for a Goldwing if not equipped with blocked tires suitable for dirt/mud roads. A car tire would be a wise choice if you were to plan a run up the haul road. Many people do it every year but not many on heavy touring bikes. It can snow too at any time up there in the upper elevations. July and August are good but August can be rainy in the alter weeks. This summer was quite rainy after Father's day. It was quite a PITA for riding. Nice days were few and far between.

I would not hesitate for a second to ride a bike from New Mexico to Alaska and back. It would be a ride of a lifetime, especially of you are with a group of friends. The Alaska Marine Highway/ferry is cool and all but you miss the road adventure. On the other hand, you could ride one way and take the ferry the other. Keep in mind though the ferry does not go all the way you may think it does. Look it up to see the routing so you understand what you get out of the ride. You will see things on the ferry you would never see on the road though.

You will not regret the trip either way. Feel free to ask questions if you have any more. I will answer what I can. I have subscribed to this thread. If I can't help out, there are others that watch this thread that will chime in too.

Don't forget, you will need a passport or passport card to get through Canada and guns are a super no-no too even with a CCWP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,323 Posts
Sorry for not being a "local" either, but having BTDT three times, once in a motor home, twice on Goldwings, (once on a 1500, once on an 1800) I thought I would chime in... You can kick me out if you like!

End of July/first week of August are your best times. We have done the Alcan and frankly, don't like the middle, as it gets really long and tiresome. If the weather happens to be bad, the roads are worse! My favorite trip includes a ride up through Glacier, Baanf, then across to Prince Rupert where we take the ferry through the inside passage. You might have an option to schedule an overnight in Juno and see the glaciers there, then back on the Ferry to either Skagway or Haines.

If you really want to ride the Haul road, I would only ride it one way and take the ferry the other. We did Prudhoe Bay on the 1500, but it was worse for the wear when we returned. Would not do that again, just to say we had done it. There was still Alaska dirt packed in nooks and crannies a couple of years later when we sold the 1500. After two weeks in Alaska we were really ready to enjoy the ferry ride back down to Bellingham. (and I'm normally a a 600 mile/day rider on trips) Saw whales, seals, porpoise, otters, bears, eagles, and various other wildlife from the deck of the ship. If you are adventuresome, you can tent on the deck of the ferry, sleep in the lounge chairs, or you can get a berth for an added fee. We opted for a berth. Food was good, but pricey. ('course once you cross the Canadian border EVERYTHING is pricey!)...

As BJ suggested, I have done this trip on a motorcycle tire and on a car tire. There is NO comparison. (car tire wins for durability, stability, traction, and confidence) You DON'T want to have to buy a tire on the trip. If several of you are going, (all 1800's?) I would try to carry a spare set of tires and rims in someone's trailer if possible.

Sorry, this got long. We'll keep watching...

BTW, if you are interested, PM me your address and I will send you my old milepost (it's WAY outdated, but it will give you websites, phone numbers etc. for your research)

Dream it, then DO it! :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
The Milepost is a great resource but is limited to paid advertisers. You can find it online at www.milepost.com

Do searches for others journals or web blogs of others rides on this forum and/or on www.advrider.com

You will find so much more than you ever wanted to know. More than enough to help you :thumbup: and some to scare you :eek:4: .

And just to clarify something and I know revnut didn't mean it, but the way he wrote it sounds like you could, but you can't ride the Haul Rd. up and take the Ferry back. That is just a tad bit impossible as there is no service to interior Alaska.

Here is another good link to work with for Alaska tourism info... http://www.travelalaska.com/Destinations/Regions.aspx
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I appreciate the info and comments from everyone and I will take it all in...I have been checking web sites and obtining as much info as possible during this early planning stage of the ride...This ride is one of the things on my "bucket list" and the summer of 2011 just may be the time to start emptying that bucket......Again, thanks to everybody and if anyone is heading to New Mexico/Santa Fe let me know and I'll repay the favor.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
Lots of good points mentioned above. Rain per month increase from Apr through Sep each month. Early/mid July would be good. Also, the Alcan, although long, is a great, great ride. I not into other means of transport when I'm on the bike. the 'haul road' should be a decision made after you are up here. If the weather forcast is great for that period, can try it, but don't plan on doing it. Also, the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage down to Seward and Homer is awesome. Good luck on your planning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
598 Posts
A group of us in New Mexico are considering riding to AK next summer, we are getting conflicting informaiton. Can anyone in AK help us out?

What is the best time of the year for such a ride? We are thinking July/Aug?
In some parts of Alaska July & August are the warmest months. But in other parts, and in other years, they can be the wettest. And wet almost always means cool, as well. This past summer late May - early June was about the hottest, and after that it turned cooler and wetter, but not all over the state.

You have to be aware that Alaska stretches across a large part of the continent. Just because the weather in Homer is nice doesn't mean it will be in Fairbanks, any more than having it hot and dry in Albuquerque doesn't mean it won't be chilly and raining in Minneapolis.

JGaherty said:
Is the road thru Canada passable and bike worthy?
Has been for over 50 years. And for the past 30 years it has almost all been paved - to some degree. That doesn't mean you won't run into gravel along the way, there is always construction and repair going on in the summer.

I've been up and down the Alcan and Cassiar numerous times on my '82 Suzuki, '94 Concours, and my Wing with no problems except getting a little muddy if rain and construction coincide.


JGaherty said:
Is the trip to Prudhoe Bay worth the drive?
It can be beautiful, especially if the weather cooperates. While I have only taken my Wing as far as the Arctic Circle, on one of my fairly frequent trips to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay I accompanied a rider on a GL1800 who towed a trailer as far as Wiseman (about 15 miles north of Coldfoot) then dropped it and continued on to Deadhorse. Up and back with no problems, other than a speeding ticket (the only one I've seen handed out on that highway) after he got over his nervousness riding on gravel.

JGaherty said:
Any info from you locals would be appreciated......
While I recommend coming north after the full onset of spring in order to see Alaska with all its foliage in full leaf, just about any time can be good. Regardless how much time you allot for the tour, you will likely wish you had at least another month.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,988 Posts
I have to agree with AKLDRIDER. I live in Alaska from 1951 to 2002, and have driven (not ridden) the Alaska Hwy numerous times. Currently it is entirely passable for motorcycles--good, high speed, paved highway for the most part. Following Spring breakup, there are always areas where frostheaving occurs and they have to repair the damage.

We drove up in June of this year, from Idaho, and except for the portion of road between Kluane Lake and the Alaska border, the road was good. That portion of road was the worst road I've ever driven on, due to frost heaves and broken pavement, however a 2-wheeler would have no difficulty dodging the frost heaves and cracks in the pavement.

I have to say that June is probably the best time of year to visit Alaska. The weather is generally better, with less rain than July and August, with August being the worst for rain and generally poor weather. But then again, you just never know. Weather is pretty unpredictable in Alaska.

As for riding to Prudhoe Bay, I really can't recommend doing that with a big touring bike like a Gold Wing. The road is rough and is very hard on a bike. If you have to do that, park the Wing for a few days and rent an adventure touring bike such as a BMW GS or similar.

If you have enough time, be sure to take in all of Alaska that can be ridden, which includes the interior, southcentral Alaska, and the Kenai Peninsula. Great stuff.

The Alaska Hwy is great riding save for the stretch between Ft. St. John and Ft. Nelson, which is 300 miles of boring riding. I like to recommend riding the Alcan one way, and taking the ferry the other way. You get the best of both worlds that way.

But to answer your question, yes, the Alaska Hwy is just fine for motorcycling. There is gas and lodging all along the way, but make your reservations well in advance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,955 Posts
http://gl1800riders.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158186&highlight=alaska+bust

we did Alaska in June of 2007, it was the best trip i was ever on ! :thumbup:

we had about 600 miles of rain during the 10,000 mile trip, it was very easy rain to ride in, we didn't have any rain in Alaska :thumbup:

the Alcan hwy was mostly in pretty good condition, yes there were a few long stretches of road construction where u had to ride on gravel but believe it or not it was very easy to ride on even when it was raining so don't let the horror stories scare you, at the start of the Alcan hwy there is a tourist information center, be sure to stop there and pickup the free tourist guide about the Alcan, it tells by mile marker exactly where all the services are along the way, that pretty much eliminates worrying about gas-food-lodging :thumbup:

we did the Haul Road up to the Artic Circle, yes it was rough but forsure rideable with a wing as long as its dry, my advice would b if they are predicting rain forget about riding the Haul Road, if its dry take your time and enjoy :thumbup:

we mostly camped but never had any trouble finding a reasonable motel when we wanted one, our trip was 18 days and we stayed in 5 motels :thumbup:

gas and food was a lot more expensive in Canada but Alaska was only slightly more than here in Wisconsin

one thing that really surprised me was how many bears we saw, must have seen 30 or more in Canada, we have lots of bear here in wisconsin but its pretty rare to actually see them

enjoy your trip ! :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
Alaska 2012

I too, am planning a trip to Alaska in July, 2012. I'm in the process of deciding whether to pull a trailer or get a PakitRak. I plan on departing the Atlanta area around the 20th of July and heading toward Montana to cross over and head up through the Jasper National Forest. It would be nice to hook up with other Goldwingers who are heading that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
598 Posts
I too, am planning a trip to Alaska in July, 2012. I'm in the process of deciding whether to pull a trailer or get a PakitRak.
Considering that our northern roads can severely test the suspension of any loaded bike, adding more weight - especially behind the rear wheel - is best avoided if at all possible. Every summer I see many GL1800's come through pulling trailers, and have yet to hear any of them voice a complaint regarding having the trailer behind them.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top