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Alaska in 2022…Uh, Make that 2023


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Hi, folks. Does anyone here run Alaska motorcycle tours? Looking for someone who packages the whole enchilada…bikes, accommodations, some meals, etc.

Looking at the options from Ayres, Edelweiss and Motoquest, but it’s nice to keep things in the family. 

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I don't have specific knowledge about these offerings, but Motoquest offers tours of AK: https://www.motoquest.com/usa-motorcycle-tours/#.

 

I live in Anchorage (but currently have my RT in New Mexico). If there's anything I can do to help with your planning, let me know.  I also have a couple properties in AK that you may be able to use, if that works out for you.

 

Ken Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is a complete opposite of what you’re asking about but seems like it’d be fun way to get there. Bring your bike and enjoy a little cruise at the same time. :dontknow:

 

 

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szurszewski
34 minutes ago, TEWKS said:

This is a complete opposite of what you’re asking about but seems like it’d be fun way to get there. Bring your bike and enjoy a little cruise at the same time. :dontknow:

 

 


 

I always suggest the ferry as a great one-way option for Alaska trips. It is NOT inexpensive, but there is no other (practical) way to go where it does with the people it carries. 
 

Do NOT book a cabin - they are expensive and you miss all the fun. Either set up your tent on deck or, better, claim a chaise lounge/deck chair in the solarium. Bring a cooler and enjoy the amazing views and your interesting fellow passengers. 

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14 hours ago, Ken S said:

I don't have specific knowledge about these offerings, but Motoquest offers tours of AK: https://www.motoquest.com/usa-motorcycle-tours/#.

 

I live in Anchorage (but currently have my RT in New Mexico). If there's anything I can do to help with your planning, let me know.  I also have a couple properties in AK that you may be able to use, if that works out for you.

 

Ken Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Ken. I’m looking at options from Motoquest, Ayres and Edelweiss. Would you mind PM’ing me regarding your properties. Not asking for any freebies, of course.

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mickeym3

Regarding the ferry, are people allowed to set up tents on the deck and if so how are they anchored such that they don’t get blown around?  Don’t have any interest in doing the Alcan again but don’t mind doing the Cassiar one way and ferrying back.  Tent camped at the Anchorage HD dealership and the Motoquest shop is adjacent, seemed like a nice bunch of guys.  Going to start digging into the advrider trip reports, gotta get back again before I age out.

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Tents are allowed. :thumbsup: Duct Tape or packing tape to secure it to the deck. 

 

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szurszewski
8 hours ago, mickeym3 said:

Regarding the ferry, are people allowed to set up tents on the deck and if so how are they anchored such that they don’t get blown around?  Don’t have any interest in doing the Alcan again but don’t mind doing the Cassiar one way and ferrying back.  Tent camped at the Anchorage HD dealership and the Motoquest shop is adjacent, seemed like a nice bunch of guys.  Going to start digging into the advrider trip reports, gotta get back again before I age out.

 

Having a bunch of stuff in your tent helps too - if the deck is damp, as it often is, the taping doesn’t help all that much…and of course you really need to have a freestanding tent for this to work at all. (For these and other reasons, my suggestion of a chaise lounge in the solarium - they have overhead radiant heat, enclosed on all sides but aft, and even in winter, with the right sleeping bag, are quite cozy.)

 

I rented a bike from moto quest one time years ago and got rear ended, lightly, by someone who forgot to, like, keep their foot on the brake pedal at a red light. The moto quest folks were great about handling that, and just in general seemed like a good bunch of people. That was, as a said, years ago though. 

 

Edit to add:

image.thumb.jpeg.7575071dd707334e785242780881732e.jpeg

 

good pic (stolen from the internet) shot looking aft and showing the solarium in the foreground and then tents aft

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I never gave Alaska much thought because of distance needed to travel. But, getting to Washington state is doable and a nice ferry cruise could be relaxing.

Question

Where is the number one adventure rider destination in Alaska?

 

thanks! 

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szurszewski
1 hour ago, TEWKS said:

I never gave Alaska much thought because of distance needed to travel. But, getting to Washington state is doable and a nice ferry cruise could be relaxing.

Question

Where is the number one adventure rider destination in Alaska?

 

thanks! 


I don’t have an answer for you - despite living in Alaska for ten+ years I didn’t actually ride many places - but I’m wondering if “adventure rider” in this case means just a rider on an adventure, so any place you could ride would fit, or if you specifically are looking for unpaved type adventure destinations. 

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Thanks Josh! :thumbsup:


Yeah, I didn’t know if Prudhoe Bay was the must ride adventure destination or, if spending four or five days exploring out and back from one of the ferry ports would be enough adventure for the average adventure rider. :dontknow:
 

Good, now I have some winter study to do! :yes:

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mickeym3

There are many great ride reports on advrider, you could literally take weeks to just read the ones with a lots of views.  If you go to Washington state (which you could easily spend weeks touring, warning:July-September the prime months) then you’re pretty much obligated to pick up the Icefield Parkway north out of Lake Louise.  Definitely the greatest ride in North America. After that it’s definitely a long ride but there’s lots of great things too see (recommend the Cassiar Hwy over the AlCan) and the D2D in Dawson City Yukon is a hoot, then you catch the little ferry across the river and go on the Top of the World Hwy ( views to make Beartooth seem pastoral) and through the Poker Creek border crossing going on through the bustling communities of Tok and Chicken before regrouping in Fairbanks (decent BMW dealer there plus some other well known places for mounting tires and such). You’ll have many opportunities to ride slick roads but for many Prudhoe Bay is the destination but just suggest again the ride reports, it’s not for everyone. I personally wouldn’t take the time to try Denali unless the weather is exceptional otherwise you’ll probably never see the mountain except for distant glimpses during your travels. I like Whittier, Seward and Homer but when you’re south it gives you the opportunity to catch the ferry back south. Alaska was a bucket list thing for me and it remains one of my greater adventures, unless the DANG border fiasco revisits I hope to make a modified sweep as described above, no way I’m riding both ways again and from my days of riding Puget Sound ferries daily for years I’m a sucker for a good ferry ride. 

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On 1/4/2022 at 12:59 PM, Mike said:

Hi, folks. Does anyone here run Alaska motorcycle tours? Looking for someone who packages the whole enchilada…bikes, accommodations, some meals, etc.

Looking at the options from Ayres, Edelweiss and Motoquest, but it’s nice to keep things in the family. 

 

There was a BMWST member who was a affiliated with Motoquest that I spoke to at the 2013 UnRally.   But I can't remember his name. 

 

One problem with Edelweiss is that they use subcontractors for many of their tours outside their core operations in Europe.  So the experience has, in the past, not been the same as their European trips.  

 

Definitely look at the AdvRider Alaska threads for great advice.  

 

Mike C 

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Thanks for all this info, gang. Prudhoe is something I’d consider if I were on my own, or with others of similar riding experience, but neither of the two other guys on this trip have any significant experience on dicey roads (though they’ve been riding for quite a while). 

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Hosstage
1 hour ago, MikeRC said:

 

There was a BMWST member who was a affiliated with Motoquest that I spoke to at the 2013 UnRally.   But I can't remember his name. 

 

One problem with Edelweiss is that they use subcontractors for many of their tours outside their core operations in Europe.  So the experience has, in the past, not been the same as their European trips.  

 

Definitely look at the AdvRider Alaska threads for great advice.  

 

Mike C 

I did not know that about Edelweiss using subcontractors in the states, good to know.

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I also have known folks who've rented bikes from Motoquest in Anchorage and were happy with the company.  You might also get some info calling the BMW dealer in Anchorage (The Motorcycle Shop) to see if they have recommendations.  They may have connections to local companies.

 

The best time to ride in AK is generally June-July.  Temps are still generally warm in August/September, but in the past those are usually rainy months.  But you never know with climate change and all.  It has definitely been warmer than usual in recent summers.  (And it was -36º F up the road from me in Willow AK this morning.)

 

If you're planning to stay on mostly paved roads, I think there are at least a couple classic trips (with side-trips) I'd recommend: the Kenai Peninsula (Anchorage-Seward-Kenai-Homer) and the Fairbanks loop (Anchorage-Glennallen-Fairbanks-Denali Park-Anchorage). AdvRider has details and other possibilities.

 

A couple folks have mentioned doing a ride-and-fly type trip.  I'd consider buying a mid-size dual-sport bike after you're done with it here in AK -- if that works out for anyone.

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Traveler1

Some years ago a few of us rented bikes from Motoquest (named Alaska Riders at that time).   They laid out a route and made reservations for us at some interesting places which gave us a pretty good overview of riding in Alaska.    The scenery is fantastic.   The riding is good, but not spectacular.   I've included a few pics - one of a small plane which used the road for a landing strip.

 

Day 1              Anchorage to Cantwell

Day 2              Cantwell to Fairbanks

Day 3              Fairbanks to Coldfoot (about ½ way up the Dalton Highway

Day 4              Coldfoot

Day 5              Coldfoot to Manley Hot Springs

Day 6              Manley to Chatanika

Day 7              Chatanika to Chena Hot Springs

Day 8              Chena to Denali Highway,  Denali NationalPark

Day 9              Back track on Denali Hwy to Copper Center on Hwy 4

Day 10            Copper Center to McCarthy

Day 11            McCarthy to Valdez

Day 12            Valdez

Day 13             Valdez to Sheep Mountain Lodge on the Glenn Hwy.

Day 14             Sheep Mountain Lodge to Seward

Day 15             Seward to Anchorage

1397Plane copy 2.jpg

5068Scenic copy 2.jpg

5241Glacier copy 2.jpg

1349ArticGroup copy 2.jpg

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szurszewski

That sounds like a great two weeks - you saw more of the road system in those fifteen days than I probably saw the whole time I was there (but I guess that's what happens when you don't live ON the road system). 

 

And a great "reminder" to those traveling to Alaska that while they may have repealed the statute granting right of way to planes, it's still possible to see them landing and taking off from public roads in "less populated" areas. 

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RandyShields
15 hours ago, TEWKS said:

My last little bit of irrelevant ferry info.

Very informative and picturesque!

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21 hours ago, TEWKS said:

relevant ferry info.

For anyone thinking of taking the ferry to AK, the most direct route is to take the ferry from Bellingham WA up to Haines AK.  You can get off the ferry there and start your ride through some beautiful country in the Yukon Territory of Canada and up toward Fairbanks (650 miles), or Anchorage (750 miles).

 

If you want to go farther by ferry, the closest stop to Anchorage is Whittier, but you have to change to another ferry to get to it.

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That was a question I had, (changing ferries) I called last night but they were out of the office.  Thanks for that info! :thumbsup: 
 

How big of a PITA do you think that is to do?  Hours or a whole day wasted? 
 

Whittier seems to be the point you want to get off the ferry if you’re going north to Denali or Prudhoe.

 

Again, appreciate your insight! :clap:

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Looks like 97 hours from Bellingham to Whittier. Price could make it a nonstarter. :dontknow: Mike, I hope you don’t mind me blabbing in your post. :classic_biggrin:


image.thumb.jpeg.95a060a24f8284f02906716a60049363.jpeg

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szurszewski

I like Haines more than I like Skagway, and I agree that Haines makes for a more direct route, but my preference would be to get off in Skagway because I like the ride up from town, and I really like Whitehorse…but either way is good. 
 

I’ve never taken the cross gulf, and I don’t know what the connections are like. It’s possible that one or both vessels might have late night/early morning departure, which could be considered a hassle, but even if you had to spend a day or so between I wouldn’t consider it wasted -  you could ride and enjoy the views or check out Haines or even shoot a round of golf. Or whatever is people call playing golf. 
 

Remember in the summer you’ll have lots of daylight. I think I read the course (just outside Haines) is open something like 3am-10pm. 

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13 hours ago, TEWKS said:

Looks like 97 hours from Bellingham to Whittier. Price could make it a nonstarter. :dontknow: Mike, I hope you don’t mind me blabbing in your post. :classic_biggrin:


image.thumb.jpeg.95a060a24f8284f02906716a60049363.jpeg

Not at all. It’s pretty interesting. I’d do this if I were on my own, but I’m like 120% sure that it’s a non-starter for my wife. 

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szurszewski
1 hour ago, Mike said:

Not at all. It’s pretty interesting. I’d do this if I were on my own, but I’m like 120% sure that it’s a non-starter for my wife. 


 

 

image.png.91d915cd3ee3f3efd94469a82ad9d65b.png

 

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In case you’re claustrophobic just beware the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel between Whittier and Anchorage is long and dark where you’re riding in a  railroad bed.  Certainly not the most challenging riding in Alaska but might be a consideration. On the plus side though Whittier is a interesting little fishing town.  We considered taking the ferry out of there but it didn’t work with our timeline. And yes, be prepared when you see the ferry pricing rates, you may become a confirmed landlubber.  The inside passage is pretty spectacular though. If you’re coming through the Puget Sound area you might try taking the WA state ferry out of Anacortes through the San Juan Islands to get a small taste for maritime adventure. 

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My wife claims it's one of her more frightening times riding on the back.

 

It's basically a 3' wide platform with drop-offs on each side.  Car tires are wide enough to bridge the gap and use the whole lane.  Joyce sat still with her eyes closed, I tried to let traffic stay well ahead of us.  Then, I sat still with my eyes closed!!! :)

 

Not as bad as the tunnel of death from back-in-day, but a close 2nd. 

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You don't have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun your partner on the other bike!

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5 hours ago, 3Putt said:

My wife claims it's one of her more frightening times riding on the back.

 

It's basically a 3' wide platform with drop-offs on each side.  Car tires are wide enough to bridge the gap and use the whole lane.  Joyce sat still with her eyes closed, I tried to let traffic stay well ahead of us.  Then, I sat still with my eyes closed!!! :)

 

Not as bad as the tunnel of death from back-in-day, but a close 2nd. 


Explains why there’s also some ferry pictures LOL.  My most frightening ride was on a bicycle no less going through tunnels on the Hiawatha Mountain Bike Trail when my headlight died.  There’s darkness and then there’s a complete absence of light…no comparison.

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Folks, I appreciate all this great info! 

In looking at other commitments and what’s currently available this year, it looks like the plan will be to do this in June of 2023. Two couples on two bikes. 

Not quite sure how we’ll do it…possibly a guided tour, but I’m not terribly daunted by the thought of planning it on our own. I mean, what could go wrong? image.jpeg.62428764f6d2413eaff731b126fa96da.jpeg

It’ll probably be around 10-14 days in Alaska. I may ride from WIsconsin to Anchorage via Canada to meet the others in Anchorage, but it’s a question of the availability of time. We’ve reached out to MotoQuest, Ayres, and Edelweiss. If we do a guided option, the cost per couple (not inclusive of airfare) is going to be in the range of $11,000 to $14,000, with bike upgrades adding to that cost (and conversely, somewhat less if you ride your own bike). I’ll have a better idea within the next couple of weeks.

If you’re seriously interested in joining us, let me know and we can discuss it further. The main criterion for joining us would be that you must be slower than I am…just in case we run into bears. 

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I was finally able to get some information from the Alaska Marine HWY System today. I guess prices run on a sliding scale depending on how full the vessel is. So the prices I got today are ballpark and went like this. Rider $745.00 which isn’t too bad. Bike was anywhere between $1,986 - $2,423 which, is kinda bad. These were dates in June just for something to work with. (Long range plans really) Those were one way prices BTW. :eek:

 

The trip from Bellingham to Whittier takes 5 1/2 days. If you were planning a return trip on the ferry, it returns to Whittier in 4 days for passage back south. Not a long stay. :dontknow: Suppose you could wait for the next time she comes back from Bellingham but that’s a lot of time avoiding brown bears. :classic_biggrin: One good thing, no ferry transfer in between Bellingham and Whittier, same ferry.

 

Sounds fun, sounds pricey, sounds like an adventure. :thumbsup:

 

 

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szurszewski

There aren’t all that many options of places to ride/eat/stay - I don’t think you’d have any trouble putting something together on your own. If you don’t want to do ALL the work, I bet Motoquest has a great info package they could give you, along with the bike rental, of suggested routes, activities and lodging. 
 

Or just get Ken to show you around…

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33 minutes ago, szurszewski said:

There aren’t all that many options of places to ride/eat/stay - I don’t think you’d have any trouble putting something together on your own. If you don’t want to do ALL the work, I bet Motoquest has a great info package they could give you, along with the bike rental, of suggested routes, activities and lodging. 
 

Or just get Ken to show you around…

Yep, I put the deposit down on my rental of an R1250 GS today, for next June. We’re going to figure out the routing and accommodations on our own, with MotoQuest’s expert guidance, of course. 

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20 hours ago, Mike said:

Yep, I put the deposit down on my rental of an R1250 GS today, for next June. We’re going to figure out the routing and accommodations on our own, with MotoQuest’s expert guidance, of course. 

Hey Mike, is that June '23?  Let me know if you want help with logistics, etc.  If I bring my RT to Alaska, or buy a bike here, my wife, Lisa, and I may check on riding with you some.  As I mentioned, I'd suggest at least doing the Kenai Peninsula and maybe a loop north through Fairbanks.  But there are plenty of side trips that could be interesting.

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23 hours ago, TEWKS said:

Sounds fun, sounds pricey, sounds like an adventure. :thumbsup:

Hey Pat, it's been several years since I've ridden an Alaska ferry.  It used to be that if you paid for a vehicle, the driver rode free.  That's apparently changed, as have the routes.  I know that the ferry system will be receiving a huge amount of $ from the infrastructure bill and they will replace some old ferries -- and hopefully lower prices again.

 

Another option may be shipping a bike on Alaska Airlines.  A friend bought a Gold Wing in WA a few months back and was surprised to find the cheapest way to get it to AK was to ship in an airline container from Seattle.  I think it was ~$1400.  They may also ship from other locations, but it has to be a freighter flight.

 

I, personally, would have to make it a longer trip.  I think you need at least 10 days to recover from jet-lag and see and get a feel for the place.  I have a house in Anchorage and one near the community of Big Lake, AK that could be a good base for adventures, if needed.  I also have a remote cabin near the village of Skwentna, but it takes some time and effort to get to: by boat, snow machine or small plane.

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  • Mike changed the title to Alaska in 2022…Uh, Make that 2023
1 hour ago, Ken S said:

Hey Mike, is that June '23?  Let me know if you want help with logistics, etc.  If I bring my RT to Alaska, or buy a bike here, my wife, Lisa, and I may check on riding with you some.  As I mentioned, I'd suggest at least doing the Kenai Peninsula and maybe a loop north through Fairbanks.  But there are plenty of side trips that could be interesting.

Yes…We’ve blocked out June 1-17, 2023. Thank you…I’ll be in touch. I’m renting a GS from MotoQuest. Our friends are H-D types, so I think they may opt for something from EagleRider. 

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Yeeha Stephen
On 1/14/2022 at 4:58 PM, Mike said:

We’re going to figure out the routing and accommodations on our own, with MotoQuest’s expert guidance, of course. 

 Some buddies and I rented bikes from MotoQuest.... Few in to Anchorage , kept the bikes for 2 weeks, did our own thing, and had beautiful weather. 

Our ladies flew in at the end and we all did a 10 day cruise back down the inside passage.

MotoQuest is VERY generous with their knowledge and helped tremendously. It was a perfect trip. 

 

SS

AK 42.JPG

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szurszewski
On 1/15/2022 at 12:04 PM, Ken S said:

Hey Pat, it's been several years since I've ridden an Alaska ferry.  It used to be that if you paid for a vehicle, the driver rode free. 

It’s been almost twenty years for me, but  at that time (all through the 90s and into the 2000s) that was true in the winter but not in the summer. In ‘99 for instance it was cheaper for me to ride my bike onto the ferry Sitka—> Bellingham than it would have been to walk on. (Walk on passenger was $230ish, but the bike was only $185ish. In the summer the rates were the same but no free driver, so it was $415 for the same trip.)

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  • 1 month later...

The Alaska Marine Highway (Alaska ferry) System recently announced resumption of the ferry between Ketchikan and Prince Rupert BC.  If anyone wants to ride that far north and take the ferry to AK, this would be a good way to get in a ride of the Icefields Parkway in Alberta -- one of the nicest rides on this planet.

 

Details of the schedule haven't been announced, but you'd probably have to change ferries in Ketchikan.

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