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Alaska Trip


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RTJohn

Now that Canada is considering relaxing their quarantine rules, I;m considering a ride to Alaska.

Fairbanks is the destination going up, riding down to Anchorage after that. Then...?

My question is when is the best time to make such a trip? I know weather in Alaska is pretty unpredictable.

I have an RT so I want to stay on paved roads. Any suggestions?

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szurszewski

I like September. Normally that means not as many tourists - but it’s anybody’s guess what tourism will be like there this summer. 

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freetime2247

Not going to the Artic Circle? I've not seen any videos of RT's to Alaska!

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Hello RTJohn,

I live in Anchorage, and have an RT.  But it hasn't been to AK yet.  I was just in NM, where it's currently stored -- riding for a couple weeks.

 

Have you done the AK trip before?  I've driven the AK Highway several times, but not on a bike yet.  I assume you'll take one of the western routes, like the Cassiar Hwy (37) up thru AB, BC and into YT, where it connects with the AK Hwy.  One of my favorite stops is Liard Hot Springs, which is about 200 km east of where'd you connect with the AK Hwy on that route.  There's a provincial park there, with camping and a beautiful hot spring for taking a dip in after a long day of riding.

 

As far as weather goes, Alaska is generally more rainy after mid-August.  But you never know, and weather has been changing significantly in recent years: generally warmer and drier.  And I'd be a little concerned about snow at higher elevations along the way after September.

 

Let me know if I can help with your planning, info, etc.  I also have a lake house near Big Lake, AK and a wilderness cabin.

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MikeRC

I know you didn't put a timeline on your planning, but it is pretty doubtful that the Canada-US border will open before August 2021 for quarantine-free travel.  The Canadian government has a goal of 75% first dose vaccination and 25% fully vaccinated before seriously considering opening the border.  Given our vaccine delivery & administration schedule that won't happen until mid-late July. 

 

So August this year may be possible.  And the weather in August is pretty nice.  It's usually warm and dry south of the Yukon and damp-wet from the BC coast up (getting damper from mid-August on).  Also consider frost and the occasional light snow at night (particularly at elevation) from mid-August on.  Tourist facilities start to close down mid-September.   I know the BC and Alaska decreased ferry schedules (and stops) & existing bookings make it very difficult to get a ferry either direction this year. 

 

Mike C

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5 hours ago, MikeRC said:

I know you didn't put a timeline on your planning, but it is pretty doubtful that the Canada-US border will open before August 2021 for quarantine-free travel.  The Canadian government has a goal of 75% first dose vaccination and 25% fully vaccinated before seriously considering opening the border.  Given our vaccine delivery & administration schedule that won't happen until mid-late July. 

 

So August this year may be possible.  And the weather in August is pretty nice.  It's usually warm and dry south of the Yukon and damp-wet from the BC coast up (getting damper from mid-August on).  Also consider frost and the occasional light snow at night (particularly at elevation) from mid-August on.  Tourist facilities start to close down mid-September.   I know the BC and Alaska decreased ferry schedules (and stops) & existing bookings make it very difficult to get a ferry either direction this year. 

 

Mike C

Good info. That’s exactly what I’ve seen regarding the border reopening. I don’t get the sense that either head of state is in a big rush to do it, so I’d plan accordingly.

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mickeym3

Based on my experience mid-late June is optimal (hitting the D2D in Dawson either coming or going) so this year is a bust agin IMHO. You could even hit the Dalton with good conditions if you’re lucky. Northern BC on up in mid-August you best have great rain gear. Personally the Top of the World highway between Dawson and and the US entry port at Poker Creek are not to be missed, lots of things to see and great ride reports on advrider. Riding buddy and I have been shut out two years in a row but already planning next year.

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Yeeha Stephen

If Canada doesn't open up, you might try a fly n ride. We did it that way in the month of June and lucked out with almost perfect weather (it snowed on us one day, the rest were sunny!)

We used this place and they are very generous with their information even if you don't take one of their tours.

MotoQuest

 

https://www.motoquest.com/

 

IMG_1825 (1280x640).jpg

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RTJohn

Thanks to all. This is the kind of things I was hoping to hear. My plan was to go through Calgary and hit the AlCan Highway. Then I looked at a map and saw that Yellowknife was due north from the road. I decided to add that to the trip. Fairbanks is almost due west from Yellowknife. Its all just thoughts right now. However, like you've said it'll probably be next year before the trip is actually feasible.

I haven't picked a date yet...

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szurszewski
4 hours ago, RTJohn said:

Fairbanks is almost due west from Yellowknife.

 

This is true kind of the same way that Panama is just north/west of Columbia. You've got to go at least as far south as Ft. Nelson to find a road connecting the two points. I did really enjoy the road up to Yellowknife the one time we went up there, but it wasn't interesting enough to go a second time ;). That trip lives in our memories as having the night of the most mosquitoes we've ever seen (and we've done LOTS of camping all over northern Canada, Alaska, inland Maine and the Everglades - so that's saying something). 

 

We did really enjoy taking the ferry across the Mackenzie river and seeing all the bison/buffalo in the preserve. 

 

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MikeRC
On 5/27/2021 at 6:19 PM, RTJohn said:

Thanks to all. This is the kind of things I was hoping to hear. My plan was to go through Calgary and hit the AlCan Highway. Then I looked at a map and saw that Yellowknife was due north from the road. I decided to add that to the trip. Fairbanks is almost due west from Yellowknife. Its all just thoughts right now. However, like you've said it'll probably be next year before the trip is actually feasible.

I haven't picked a date yet...

 

No ferry across the MacKenzie any more.  It's been replaced by the Deh Cho Bridge.  The road surface from Peace River, AB to Yellowknife is paved, but in a constant state of disrepair.  There was an excellent write-up in Rider Magazine (A Motorcycle Trip to Yellowknife, Canada) and some good threads on Advider (YZF NWT 2019 The Great Canadian North).  You can also get a good report on road conditions at the Northwest Territories Infrastructure website.  Including paved/unpaved (and winter) roads and summer construction/upgrading.  This lady also does a decent website on road travel in the Canadian North: Backcountry Canada Travel.  

 

It wouldn't be at the top of my trip planning agenda, but I've been up there a number of times for work/fishing/sightseeing.  Including driving once.  If you find the vast Canadian Shield driving of Northern Ontario exciting, the trip from High Level, AB to Yellowknife would suit you.  

 

Mike C

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szurszewski
3 hours ago, MikeRC said:

If you find the vast Canadian Shield driving of Northern Ontario exciting, the trip from High Level, AB to Yellowknife would suit you.  


That’s funny :)

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MikeRC
21 hours ago, szurszewski said:


That’s funny :)

 

Thanks Josh :)  

 

Technically it's Boreal Forest from High Level to Rae-Edzo and Canadian Shield for the last hour or so.   But that really just means birch/poplar/aspen and lodgepole pine trees for 7-8 hrs of riding.  And at that northern latitude they top out at 30 feet or so.  So no majestic forest with soaring Douglas Fir/White Pine or Canadian Maple/Oak.  Google Street view gives a great roadside view (although it still shows the ferry across the MacKenzie because some sections date back to 2009).  

 

Mike C

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  • 1 month later...
5 hours ago, MikeRC said:

If you are still considering this, the Canadian border is opening to fully vaccinated US residents August 9th.  You do require a recent negative COVID-19 test and a few other minor details here:  https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html  

 

Mike C

It’s important to note that you must also register and enter your information on the ArriveCAN web portal or app. Some types of tests are not accepted by the Canadian government, so make sure your get an appropriate test, and that the test results document lists the required information. Off the top of my head, that includes full name, date of birth, date/time of test, type of test, and results, but obviously the Canadian website is the best source.

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Although the US just announced an extension to at least August 21st of their Mexico and Canada land border closure  :dontknow:

 

I feel so unwelcome.

 

Mike C

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