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Discussion Starter #1
I am starting a thread about riding to Alaska. If you want to ride to Alaska and have any questions please post them up and I will try to help you out. I have lived in Juneau for 40+ years and traveling with motorcycles the whole time. I will add info from time to time

One question that always comes up, will my cell phone work? Maybe :grin2: You need to check with your provider and confirm a couple things. You need to have a plan that covers phone use and coverage with data in Canada. Do you have an unlimited plan? They vary company to company.
Now you have a plan, there will be long stretches, 100's of miles on the Alcan with no coverage. The only places with coverage will be the community's along the route.

Is it paved is another question that comes up. Yes it is paved from one end to the other. I know we all have family and friends with horror story's of the Alcan. I have a few horror story's myself but the last few years it has been in the best shape I have ever seen it. The surface can vary from Asphalt to chipseal. It will not be like riding on the interstates down south but two lane state or county roads. You may encounter some construction. Take your time, look ahead where you want to go, stay in the tire tracks and shift to one gear higher than you would normally be in at any given speed.

Next up will be gas then medical emergency's
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Gas is another question that comes up and rightfully so, your going to ride to the end of the earth :)

At some remote places on the Alcan purchasing fuel can be different from what your used to. It will be an old style pump, no credit card reader, there will be a sign saying to leave a credit card inside before gas can be pumped. I personally don't like doing that. I have offered a 100 dollar bill instead, no deal, arguing has not worked so I always carry an old Visa gift card even if it doesn't have a balance on it. I give it to the clerk, pump my gas and walk in tell them I gave them the wrong card and hand them my normal Visa card and get my gift card back.

Plan on having a max range of 170 miles or so between gas stops in most places there is fuel closer than that but sometimes roadhouses will be closed. I am riding an 1800 wing pulling a RAH camper and I travel these roads without having to use any extra fuel. I carry an MSR 30 oz. fuel bottle (my 10 mile jug)

These are my normal fuel stops:
Dawson Creek, mile 0
Pink Mountain, 140 mi
Fort Nelson, 140 mi
Toad River, 117 mi
Muncho Lake, 32 mi. Home of the most expensive gas, Top off it's 170 miles to Watson Lake. There are stops in between but I don't count on them being open.
Watson Lake 201 mi if you don't top off at Muncho Lake
Teslin, 162 mi
Whitehorse, 110 mi
Haines Junction, 100 mi
Destruction Bay, 66 mi
Beaver Creek, 116 mi.
Tok, 110 mi
Delta Junction, 107 mi
Fairbanks, 95 mi
 

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I NEED this thread! Thank you!

I will be riding up there this year, on a 2018 Goldwing with an Escapade trailer.

I am leaving Kentucky in mid-MAY. Current plan: I will ride to CommieFornia, and then make my way to Washington to cross over into Canada. Gotta get the passport thing worked out first.

The weather. What is the best time slot to ride up and back along the ALCAN? I hate mosquitoes!

Helmet Laws: Canada? Alaska? Are there any issues with helmet headphones, or phones on a visible mount on the dash?

Camping and wildlife: Do I need to keep a six pack of bear spray handy?

Phones: What about a sat phone? Will they work up there?

What about the SPOT communicators, in case of a breakdown?

Does Sirius/XM radio work along the highway?

What are the odds of simply finding an available hotel or motel room without a reservation? Or should I plot my entire round trip up and back, and make paid reservations now?

What about camping along the way? Costs? Rules? Restrictions?

What are the laws about carrying an extra two gallons of gasoline with you, to make sure you get to the next fuel stop? My 2018 with a trailer does not HAVE 170 miles of range. The tank is smaller than previous years, and it doesn't seem to get the MPGs that my 2012 did. I will be worrying about that fuel light!

Why does my government take three %$^& months to identify me when I give them my name, and hand them my birth certificate and driver's license, in order to get a passport .... but they can find me, positively identify me, and plaster my face all over the networks in FIVE MINUTES so the whole country knows my name before sundown, if I walk into a church and shoot up the place?!? (juuuuust kidding!)

Can I reasonably expect to be able to ride from coast to coast across Canada? Route suggestions? Things to see? Places to avoid?

WHY won't Canadians let Americans carry a firearm?!? ( Ignore that one. It is just a sticking point with me :) )

What sort of time frame should I allot for a round trip up and back at a leisurely pace, with perhaps two or three days layover in Alaska?

Soooooo many questions!

Joe

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I like the idea of loading several prepaid VISA and MASTERCARD gift cards to use instead of regular credit cards! I'm going to do that!

Joe

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Discussion Starter #6
I will be riding up there this year, on a 2018 Goldwing with an Escapade trailer. ///// Good choice :)

I am leaving Kentucky in mid-MAY. Current plan: I will ride to CommieFornia, and then make my way to Washington to cross over into Canada. Gotta get the passport thing worked out first.///// Might I suggest fresh tires by the time you hit Washington state, once you hit the chipseal in Canada your tires will wear faster. I use Everett Powersports, good service dept

The weather. What is the best time slot to ride up and back along the ALCAN? I hate mosquitoes!//// Earlier in the year will have less bugs but colder. Bring a bug head net and bug dope

Helmet Laws: Canada? Alaska? Are there any issues with helmet headphones, or phones on a visible mount on the dash?////// you got me thinking, I always wear a helmet, keeps the bugs outta my teeth :)) Alaska-licensed 18+ year old don't have to wear, all passengers must. Helmets required in Canada. I always use headphones and have handle bar mounted phone and GPS, no issues

Camping and wildlife: Do I need to keep a six pack of bear spray handy?////// I do carry a couple of bear sprays. The only time I have had to use it was doing yard work in my back yard..... it worked.

Phones: What about a sat phone? Will they work up there?////// Yes they work most of the time

What about the SPOT communicators, in case of a breakdown?////// Yes, lots of riders use them, again most of the time they work.

Does Sirius/XM radio work along the highway?///// No, not on my 2010

What are the odds of simply finding an available hotel or motel room without a reservation? Or should I plot my entire round trip up and back, and make paid reservations now?/////// That's a crap shoot, if your not carrying camping gear then yes I would plan it out and make reservations a day or two in advance. If your bringing camping gear as a back up I don't always bother with reservations, you just have to stop earlier

What about camping along the way? Costs? Rules? Restrictions? ////// Lots of nice campgrounds along the way. Provincial campgrounds in BC and the Yukon are inexpensive for the most part. There are private camp grounds, some are nicer RV types and others are rather rustic. The Milepost travel guide is a good source for info

What are the laws about carrying an extra two gallons of gasoline with you, to make sure you get to the next fuel stop? My 2018 with a trailer does not HAVE 170 miles of range. The tank is smaller than previous years, and it doesn't seem to get the MPGs that my 2012 did. I will be worrying about that fuel light!///// No issue with carrying extra gas. There are other places to get fuel on that long 170 mile stretch, Laird River, Coal River both have been open in recent years.

Can I reasonably expect to be able to ride from coast to coast across Canada? Route suggestions? Things to see? Places to avoid?//// Yes you can ride coast to coast in Canada. I have not done that yet but I have ridden Prince Rupert to Sault Ste. Marie several times (grew up in Michigan's UP)
After you tour Alaska I would go down the Cassiar Highway to Hyder or go to Prince Rupert, then run the Yellowhead Hwy 16 to Jasper/Banff where you join the Trans Canada Hwy 1 and keep heading east. Out on the flat prairie in the SE corner of Alberta you will find Cyprus Hills PP. In Ontario the number changes to 17 I believe. Ride the north shore of Lake Superior!

What sort of time frame should I allot for a round trip up and back at a leisurely pace, with perhaps two or three days layover in Alaska?//// Well that is a tough one for me...leisurely pace.... most of my trips have been anything but leisurely. Before I retired we would be riding a 10 thousand mile triangle trip trying to see family and hit a rally or two in a month
 

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Having done Alaska 3x, to us, the best part has been to use the Alaska ferry system on one of the legs of the trip. We like the inside passage (from Prince Rupert) and the schedule allowed us an overnight in Juno, so we could ride up to the glacier and check it out. On one trip, on the return, we were saddle-worn, so we rode the ferry all the way back down to Bellingham. (This refreshed us enough we went ahead and rode hwy 1 all the way to San Diego..). Really enjoyed the camping on the ferry deck, meeting fellow travelers and whale watching... great trip!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes the Alaska ferry is a good alternative. It can be very relaxing, the scenery is amazing if the weather is dry so you see it all. It is expensive. I might suggest you ride to or from Prince Rupert BC its about half the time and half the cost of riding to Bellingham Washington.

The ferry is a good choice for anyone that wants to ride Alaska but can't enter Canada due to DUI or have second amendment issues with Canada. There is a ferry that runs from Bellingham Washington up the inside passage and only stops in Alaska ports. It will end up in Whittier Alaska.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Let's discuss medical coverage since a bunch of us are old farts and on medicare. If you only have Medicare A&B your not covered in Canada. If you don't have any other coverage you should look into addition coverage.
If you end up in a Canadian village clinic and need to get back south? I recommend some kind of Medivac insurance. My neighbor is an Alaska Airlines pilot but in his prior employment he flew the medivac jets. We discussed cost of getting a medivac from interior Alaska to Seattle, he said they can easily run 70-100k for a flight.
There are a bunch of services that are US/Alaska based but they most likely will not cover you in Canada and the Canadian services may not work for Alaska. Most of these services are what is called gap insurance, it only covers the percentage that your medical insurance doesn't pay. On a 100k flight that could be 20-30k out of your pocket.
For Alaska residents we have several services that 100-125 dollars a year but they don't cover Canada.

There may be others but the only service I am aware of that will cover you in all of North America is https://medjetassist.com/medjethorizon They have a variety of plans including short term and coverage to get your Wing home if your unable to ride.

Disclaimer: I am not connected to any Medivac service, just a rider that has been traveling the Alcan since 1976
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A little more info on the Alaska ferry. When you travel on the ferry you will be paying for the person, the bike and a cabin if it's a longer voyage.

There are several ships ranging from 235 foot dayboat ships to our mainline ferrys up to the 418 foot Columbia.

There are cafeterias/snack bars on all of the Alaska ferry's.

The cabins are optional, you can just sleep in a lounge. They have a variety of lounges on the larger ships with airplane style seats or sofas. You can even lay on your sleeping pad/sleeping bag. There is a solarium on most of them, its outdoors/covered with electric heaters. You can also pitch your freestanding tent at the solarium BUT the wind will blow it off the ship! You must use duct tape to secure it. Myself I get a cabin if it's an overnight voyage. with most cabins you get your own bathroom/shower, towels/bedding, sink, desk and chair. There are electric outlets to charge phones/laptops. They have inside and outside cabins, 2,3,4 berth/bed cabins. The outside cabin has a window that you can sit in your room and watch the beauty go past your window. The inside cabins can be a bit claustrophobic for some folks.

The larger ferry's will have public washrooms with free showers if you don't get a cabin. You can get towers and soap from the pursers counter.

You must tie down your bike on the ferry. We always carry two tie downs each, I think they are about 8 foot. They don't have to be huge ratchet straps like a car hauler would use. The crew members will guide you to a parking spot. Look around for yellow floor monuments and or yellow or white rails along the walls. You can secure to them and your crash bars. It's common for my wife (who rides her own Wing) and I to park side by side. One tie down will go from the ships rail to a crash bar and then one tie down from bike to bike then a third tie down from crash bar to a floor monument.
One note on the hooks on the tie downs make sure the fit over your crash bars :)

In the summer the ferry rides are pretty smooth. There is a few spots coming from Bellingham or Prince Rupert where the ferry is exposed to the ocean swells. It normally not too bad and it's just a short distance and the ferry is back to sheltered waters.

We have a wide range of tides in SE Alaska. That can make a difference on how easy it is to get on and off a ferry. At high tide the ramp can be almost level. At low tide that ramp can look like a mountain and you have to ride an over loaded Wing up it..... The ramps can be wet, it rains a lot. The ramp will have grated areas for the car tires. ride on those grated areas, don't ride in the middle, it's slick. When it's your turn to go line up straight and wait till the vehicle in front of you has cleared the ramp, if they stop 3/4 the way up and your tailgating them in the rain you could be in deep trouble.

If your loading in Skagway there are large timbers that are part of the ramp to the ship. They are slipery when wet to not hit them at an angle.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There is another route that you can take to get to or from the north counrty. It's the Cassiar Highway #37 It is all paved with one short section south of Dease Lake that is still gravel. The last few years it has been in great shape. It reminds me of the way the Alaska Highway used to be before they straightened it out.
Do the Alcan in one direction and the Cassiar in the other direction.

On the Cassiar the gas stops are:
At the south end, Junction with highway 16
Meziadin Junction, 98 mi
Bell 2 Lodge, 58 mi
Dease Lake, 150 mi
Junction 37, 150 mi at this point you join the Alcan about 13 miles west of Watson Lake

Again there are other gas stops but these are the ones I have used on a dozen trips on a Wing.
 

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BIG Uns

And ......slow down and watch that moose on the side of the road closely as you approach .......:coffee1:
True, you don't want to hit a moose -




But you REALLY don't want to hit one of the BIG animals -



:surprise:
 

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There is another route that you can take to get to or from the north counrty. It's the Cassiar Highway #37 It is all paved with one short section south of Dease Lake that is still gravel. The last few years it has been in great shape. It reminds me of the way the Alaska Highway used to be before they straightened it out.
Do the Alcan in one direction and the Cassiar in the other direction.
Excellent advice! :thumbup:


And if you follow it, consider taking the side trip out to Stewart & Hyder - under 40 miles each way. A beautiful trip, with a good chance you'll get to see some wildlife along the way.
 

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Good information BigBob1! As you are aware I rode up to Alaska in 2009, 2015 and 2016, and each time we saw improvement in the Alcan Highway.In 2009 Destruction Bay was a horrible and full of frost heaves and big holes, but in 2015 it was totally reconstructed. In 2015 and 2016 for about 50 mile south of the Alaska border the road was being reconstructed. That section had a lot of pea gravel chips and Dust and one lane road where you wait on the pilot vehicle. Also in 2016 they we reconstructing and straightening the road through Stone Mountain area. That section was softball size rocks and mud. On the 2009 and 2015 trips I carried two 1 gallon gas cans on the rear foot boards, The only time I used the gas from one the cans was in 2015 was in Northwest Territories, when we rode across the Liard Trail from Fort Providence Northwest Territories to Fort Liard. We took the Liard Trail rather than backtracking down to Grimshaw Alberta, in route to FT Nelson. In 2016 I took my wife and no extra gas cans. If you are down to a half tank and a as station, fill the tank. As other mentioned the Ferry between Prince Rupert BC and Haines Alaska is very scenic and worthwhile Also there are some long sections between gas stations riding the Trans Canada Highway. Lyle
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Lyle, Last year Karie and I rode the northern section on our 650's. After getting rained out on a Dempster Highway ride we headed up the Dalton to Deadhorse again. The section near Destruction Bay to Beaver Creek was finally paved. After returning home for a few days I hopped on my Wing and rode the southern part of the Alcan on my way to do an Ironbutt ride around Lake Erie and Ontario. Anyhow the Alcan was paved from one end to the other!
 

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Do not scare baby bears. Momma bears do NOT appreciate it.... at all.

Experience speaks!

:thumbup:
 

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I NEED this thread!

Camping and wildlife: Do I need to keep a six pack of bear spray handy?

WHY won't Canadians let Americans carry a firearm?!? ( Ignore that one. It is just a sticking point with me :) )
Joe

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Joe, crossing a border into Canada with bear spray is a no-no. It will be confiscated.
I can't confirm the laws regarding crossing into the USA (from Canada to Alaska) with bear spray, but wouldn't be surprised if that was a no-no too. I'll just have to watch more episodes of Border Security.

And we don't deal in pennies up here anymore. They've gone the way of the dodo bird. So along with not bringing firearms, don't bring your pennies.

Btw, your pennies won't be confiscated, but you may be laughed at. :wink2: (just kidding).
And one more thing, the highway in question, from Dawson Creek to the Alaska border, we in Canada call it the ALASKA HIGHWAY.
You may want to remember that to avoid any confusion.


Al

 

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Discussion Starter #19
@BlueBlazer49 Has the rule changed recently about the bear spray?
I have been carrying it on dozens of border crossing for years. As recently as last August I had it strapped to my handlebars. When Canadian customs asked me if I had any weapons I pointed to the bear spray. It must be labeled as Bear Spray, not pepper spray.
 

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This thread is awesome! So much good information, and straight answers.

Should I carry wads of cash in small denominations, or load up prepaid debit cards? Or Both?

I am not planning on a ferry, but I will bring tie-downs.

The medical issue is a concern. I will call my State Farm agent and make sure I am covered for a costly air evac and other issues. I will also check out that other link for MedJetHorizon

No XM radio?!? The world is coming to an end! :surprise: What if I use a trucker's external mast antenna?

I am thinking about setting up a sat phone, just in case. Buy, or rent? A big expense, but less costly than having nothing at all in an emergency.

My bike doesn't have a CB radio. Are they worth the effort to install them now? Do people use them, or are they basically a joke these days?

So ... if I cannot carry bear spray across the line, do I then buy it at three times the price on the Canadian side?

Canada really should get with the 21st Century and realize that free citizens carry firearms for self-defense. Viewing any person with a gun as a "criminal" is really small thinking. I am not Rambo. I am not Chuck Norris.

My experience in dealing with Canada on the Alaskan Highway will determine whether or not I move forward with my plan to cross Canada from coast to coast. If things don't go smoothly, I will drop back into the USA and never set foot in Canada again.

Joe

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