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Proposed Alaska trip - input requested

Texas T

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I'll be posting this request here plus on another couple of sites.

First some background for those of you who don't know me. My wife had a debilitating stroke in 2013 and she is permanently disabled. If you see my mileage report in the 2020 Mileage thread you'll note that there is a 3.5 year period in which the bike did not move; that was because she was in rehab/therapy and it wasn't until she said "I want to go for a ride" that we got back on the bike. Prior to the stroke she would do SaddleSore rides with me and she has her own number as a member of the Iron Butt Association. After a stroke, recovery victims do not have the stamina that they once had so she can't do the big rides any longer.

Now, I had planned to do a Hyder to Hyder certified ride in June, but after last weekend's experience riding through the thicket of forest rats in Texas I have decided that I don't want to do that any longer so this will be more of a flower-sniffing ride with very little, if any night time riding. Having a chance encounter with a moose in Alaska at Oh-Dark-Thirty is not on my bucket list.

The attached schedule is completely up in the air but it won't be any sooner than June. If it moves to the middle of June, end of June, into July, it makes no difference to me, and if someone can tell me that July is a better riding month, than I'll certainly consider that as well. I don't want to get into August as I have another large trip planned to New England for September and I will want some down time between the trips. Because of her stamina issues I don't plan to ride any more than 6-8 hours with her at the absolute most.

We will still go to Hyder just so we can set foot into Alaska, and then we want to see the scenery in Jasper and Banff Natl Parks. I've already been told to see the Salmon Glacier near Hyder but it appears that it may be gravel past the Fish Creek Wildlife Observation site. Outside of that I have no other plans, nor am I aware of anything else we "should" see so your input in this area will be appreciated.

I'll be going to Chester SD to visit the last living crewmember (radio operator) from my dad's (electronic counter measures) B-29 bomber crew to share info/photos with him, and then I'll come home from there. I don't need any suggestions for anything once I leave Calgary, just for stuff prior to that.

I am guessing that summer hotel rates in Jasper and Banff are going to be sky-high, so if you have suggestions for areas near there that are less expensive, please share that as well.

Please review the spreadsheet and then give me your thoughts. Thanks a lot!

Alaska trip - Edited.png
 
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Been to Alaska on a motorcycle 3 times Hyder twice. Second week of June had no rain. Second week of July and late August had rain . No much to do in Hyder unless the salmon are running which I think is in July. The glacier on there way to Hyder is a nice stop. Cassiar hi way is a better experience then Hyder.
 

jfink

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Brian, I am sure you will get a lot of advice. My buddy and I have been twice. We had heard that earlier in June for less rain and mosquitoes. But be prepared for weather and cold. Also lots of road construction, and some dirt, where it's torn up. Generally, they let bikes filter to the front.

As Dave mentioned Cassiar is beautiful. Hyder is great, I really enjoyed the ride in. Ask the Canadian border agent what would happen, if they wouldn't let you back into Canada at Stewart. They told me, they would give me a note, then I would have to ride to the nearest Canadian border. I laughed out loud. Those Canadians are so trusting.

Stop at Signpost Village, in Watson Lake, bring a license plate you can leave. Everyone has different memorable experiences. We stayed at Jack's place, I think it's called Double D's gas bar in Muncho Lake, what an experience. But I'm sure it wouldn't be the same again. It may even be for sale.

We really enjoyed staying at the Crossroads resort on the Icefield Parkway. Cook your own steak in the bar, then enjoy it looking out over the Rockies.

So many suggestions, so little space.
 

Texas T

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Been to Alaska on a motorcycle 3 times Hyder twice. Second week of June had no rain. Second week of July and late August had rain . No much to do in Hyder unless the salmon are running which I think is in July. The glacier on there way to Hyder is a nice stop. Cassiar hi way is a better experience then Hyder.
Thank you, Dave. We're not going to Hyder for any reason other than to say we rode to Alaska (well, "I" rode, but she'll have ridden from Seattle). The glacier "on the way" to Hyder? Which one would that be? I was told about the Salmon Glacier north of Hyder but that was all. I'll look at going north on 37 now that you have brought it up.
 

Texas T

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Brian, I am sure you will get a lot of advice.
Surprisingly, not yet until you and Dave posted this morning. I would have thought more folks here would have ridden up that way.

We had heard that earlier in June for less rain and mosquitoes.
I'll have to research this more to try to find a more "possibly" dry time.

But be prepared for weather and cold.
That is my bigger concern. She gets cold easy, even with heated gear, so if a cold snap or snow comes through we might just get stuck at a hotel for a few days to wait it out.

Also lots of road construction, and some dirt, where it's torn up. Generally, they let bikes filter to the front.
You're talking regular paved highway construction and not Dalton Highway type stuff?

Ask the Canadian border agent what would happen, if they wouldn't let you back into Canada at Stewart. They told me, they would give me a note, then I would have to ride to the nearest Canadian border.
My understanding is that they have worked out the financing for the Canadian border station at Stewart and that even if they are closed they have some sort of videophone setup that allows you talk to another station and they handle everything that way. If we don't go north of Hyder, then it's a moot point as we'll cross over into Hyder, get our proof, and then return to Stewart. If the roads are dry, then I might attempt to ride up the gravel road from Hyder to see the bears fishing for salmon, but if it's been raining I'm not even going to attempt it.

Stop at Signpost Village, in Watson Lake, bring a license plate you can leave. Everyone has different memorable experiences. We stayed at Jack's place, I think it's called Double D's gas bar in Muncho Lake, what an experience.
We'd probably need to stop at the lodge in Tatogga and then head up to Watson Lake the next day. Then we could probably make Ft Nelson the following day, but that's taking us way further north than I had expected. If it was just me, no problem, but I have to consider her lack of multi-day endurance, and there's not a lot medical facilities up that way.

So many suggestions, so little space.
Oh, please, avail yourself of all the space you need, but just keep in mind that we are most likely NOT going further north than Hyder.
 
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Looks like you have a plan. My wife and I rode to AK in 2012 on separate bikes, and went to the Dust to Dawson 20th anniversary party. We did BC many times in the previous 20 years. Banff and Jasper parks were an annual ride if not twice yearly. Looks like you have it figured out. Crossroads hotel on the Icefields highway did not want to rent a room to BMW riders due to leathers one year. Were we scary? Sheesh, we are adventure riders bro, not derelict bikers coming to tear up your rooms. It was my one experience of biker prejudice ever. Its a beautiful spot and I still stop for gas, out of necessity, but I'll camp out in snow before I'll stay with them again. Cassiar highway is great. The forest rats up there are mainly bears and some elk. Seriously. Only saw a few moose, but I rode only in the day. Riding at night in heavy animal populations is just plain asking for trouble, plus I have discovered that you see nothing of the landscape ;-) The Yukon and AK up north lack much in the way of scenery relative to BC riding. I feel no need to go back up really, as there is much nicer riding in the NW states and in BC. We had 41 or 47 days we rode that included some level of rain in June and July, but it is still the time to go. You need to be prepared to hole up in the big rains, perhaps a few days few a major storm, but that tosses a wrench in the wheel of hotel reservations big time. There are not a lot of hotels up there and they can easily be booked solid for events. Really good to have backup camp gear if you have room to carry it. There were a few rainy days I would have paid anything for a motel but could not get one and had to set up in the rain.
 
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jfink

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Salmon Glacier is up a dirt road for a ways from Hyder. You may find this very challenging if it's wet. When we went to Hyder, we were on Adventure bikes and it was raining. It got pretty hairy, I would not have done it on a Goldwing. There are some absolutely stunning glaciers and views riding into Stewart/Hyder. They are across the river, so I am not sure if there are tours or anything to visit them. I have say, I was more impressed with the views going into Hyder than on Icefield Parkway. May be been the quantity of tourists??? But everything just seems so much closer.

You have to be prepared for anything when it comes to road construction. I read somewhere that due to winter weather, permafrost and road heaves, the roads have to be replaced every seven years. If that is true, that means that 1/7 of the roads traveled are torn up each year, during the summer. There a so many different little construction companies that each have their own methods for rebuilding the roads. Most do a great job providing for motorcycles, but a few don't give a flip. I don't want to scare you away from doing this, but some just put down 3 or 4 inches of pea gravel, or those big gravel rocks, and it gets a little hairy. Honestly, I didn't find the haul road to Prudhoe that challenging. I think we may have just caught it at the right time.

If you aren't going further than Hyder, your chances of challenging road construction is probably somewhat diminished. But, Watson Lake is at the north end of the Cassair Highway. And the ride up through that forest, on the Cassair, is absolutely gorgeous. Lot's of wildlife and many scenic views. I had a full grown bald eagle nearly land on me. Until you meet one up close and personal, you don't know how HUGE they are! Traveling east from Watson Lake to Jasper is less scenic and in the three times I have been on that highway, between those two cities, the weather was NEVER good. Cold and Rain.
 
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Bear Glacier is the glacier you pass going into Hyder.

253986


The road between Mezidian Junction and Hyder is amazing as long as its clear

253989


Just watch out for the bears. They're like deer in the hill country, well maybe not that bad but I still wouldn't wana hit one.

253990


37 north from Mezidin is also a great ride. I went to Tuk this past July and they had some bad fires right before you get to the Alaska Highway so alot of it was burned up but still real nice up till then.
 

Texas T

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You need to be prepared to hole up in the big rains, perhaps a few days few a major storm, but that tosses a wrench in the wheel of hotel reservations big time. There are not a lot of hotels up there and they can easily be booked solid for events. Really good to have backup camp gear if you have room to carry it. There were a few rainy days I would have paid anything for a motel but could not get one and had to set up in the rain.
Thank you Ed. She's unable to camp so this is a concern, but we'll have to play it by ear.
 
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I rode to Alaska twice; in 2011 and again last year, 2019. Here's a link to my blog from last years trip. Buds Latest Adventure The Alcan was in great condition compared to my experience in 2011. Minimal gravel and no events from the muddy chipshield. As previously mentioned, hotels are far apart, but when it's 41F and raining, I'll pay any amount. Problem is in the parks they are booked. I believe the 2011 trip is in my signature line.

Best of Luck on your adventure. If you would like to discuss, PM me and I'll call you. I love to talk about my trips.

Later, Bud...
 
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Get gas in Meziadin Junction on your way to Hyder/Stewart. Its 40 miles and no services . Last time I was there a sewer lift station blew up and knocked the towns power out till the next day . We had fueled up at the junction on the way in and were able to leave and continue our trip before power was restored.
 
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