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First Trip to Alaska May '09 Advice needed


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We're heading up to Hyder Alaska the last week in May. We'll be a little early and miss the Hyder-Seek crowd, but need to be back by June 1st.


Starting in Milwaukee, it looks like a couple options are available, i.e. the high road through Canada or the low road across the top of the USA, then up through Vancouver to Hyder on Hwy's 1, 97 and 16


Interstate type travel is preferred, as we're hoping to plan 1000 mile days. I'm most interested in what it's like to travel across Canada on Highway One, the Trans Canadian Highway, in late May...


Is it like the interstates? 24 hour fuel, reasonable distances between services, motels, moose, bears etc.?


I've never been to Canada except Niagara Falls.

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Unless you get lucky, May is a little early. I crossed the border at International Falls, MN, and took the Trans Canada west to Calgary. Unlike American main highways, for the most part it's not divided, although that doesn't much matter. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably go west along the northern tier of the USA, as gasoline was substantially more expensive in Canada in 2006, and I would expect this still to be the case. For a while, the US dollar had weakened considerably vs CDN dollar, but this seems to have reversed recently, and is now worth about $1.22 CDN. Either side of the border, expect long expanses of open space, although the canola fields were gorgeous in July. Narrative

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Ditto on the rain gear. Having done the Hyder-Seek a few times I can say watch out for the animals and have very good tires when you leave. Be aware that they operate on the metric system so if it say's 100 KPH it means 63 MPH + or - .Don't ask me how I know this fact.If you have a gps you could set it to display KMH vs MPH.

A great souce of help/parts is Beaudry Motorsports (BMW dealer)in Post Falls Idaho. I called while in Canada asking for a new rear for my K1200 LT explaning I was "on the road" and they had me out in less than 1 hour. Thats service!!!! :lurk:

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I agree about the early date. I left in end of June and it was still cold. Had Gerbings, jacket and pants.


No worries about gas or hotel in Canada. There are enough. I would go later though.

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+1 on May being too early. It would be at least twice as enjoyable in Jun/Jul. May can still throw a lot of snow surprises so factor that in when calculating 1000 mile days.

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First of all, the winter snow at road level will be gone for the entire route. You will have about a 10% chance of fresh snow holding you up. Although weather may be your biggest problem it is very unlikely to be snow if you go Minneapolis->Minot->Regina->Saskatoon->Edmonton->Prince George->Hyder. Very well traveled roads, 24 hr gas every 50 miles (until Prince George), long days (16 hrs sunlight at the end of May). You may see frost in the morning a couple of days and you will have a day or two of steady rain and it will be cool. The Yellowhead Pass through the Rockies is one of the lowest in elevation and the road is usually snow free from late April on. Most of the section from Minot,ND to Edson,AB will be 100 to 110 kph (62 to 73 mph). Much of it two lane, but most of Hwy 16 in Alberta is 4 lane divided.


The winter sand/gravel will not be cleaned off the roads from Edson to Hyder.


Going the Trans Canada (Hwy 1) would NOT be an advantage for you unless the weather is particularly good and you want to add the Icefields Parkway (Lake Louise to Jasper) to your route. Taking a chance by including the Parkway probably doubles your risk of encountering fresh snow - not a problem if you can wait a day or two for it to melt but it sounds like you are on a tight time line.


So I would plan (in late May) going the shortest route to and from Hyder (as above). If the weather forcast is really good on the way back head south at Jasper to Lake Louise and Banff then east on Hwy 1. Only adds about 2 hours but the Parkway is one of those rides that people come from all over the world to do.


There is really no advantage to going across the US and then north somewhere in Washington/BC - it will add 500 miles and the weather (especially over the mountain passes) is not likely to be any better.


Mike Cassidy

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Two years ago I went to Hyder the last week in May... It was FANTASIC! The bear were just starting to come out from their long winter naps. They could be seen along the highway where the snow had melted enough and fresh dandelions were growing... the bears were eating the dandelions. The weather is what I would call refreshing... I used my heated gear... and it was very damp... melting snow, fog, and at times light drizzle. It ALL added to the charm, mystic, beauty, and wonder of Alaksa. It's not to early at all, to go to Hyder.


I'm afriad I can't be much help on a route. I left Torrey, Utah headed for Seattle and crossed the boarder and headed pretty much North. I will admit the first time I stopped in Cananda for gas I was shocked to see how much that tank cost me. After that inital shock things were find.


I too am headed to Hyder. But I'm going a week later as I am attending Hyder Seek... my second one.


Have a GREAT trip and let us hear all about it. :thumbsup:

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I usually have two months of pretty steady riding in by the last week in May. You can run into snow in the mountains but it never sticks around on the road for more than a few hours. I would far prefer to dress up a little and ride in the forty's than struggle with high temperatures down south in the summer. One man's preference.

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