Preparations - Who, What, When, Where, and Why
In June 2017 I joined two friends, Mark Bauer and Kip Walker, for a trek to Inuvik, NWT via Dawson City YT, the infamous "Dust-to-Dawson" this-is-not-a-rally, and the sometimes treacherous Dempster Highway.
We made the trip successfully, but just dipped into Alaska briefly visiting Chicken, Tok and Haines AK.
Once home, I realized I wanted to see much more of Alaska and began to think of where and when as well as how.
At the time I owned two motorcycles, A Yamaha FJR Sport-Touring bike; a machine well suited for long journeys but not well suited for gravel or dirt. A Kawasaki KLR 650, the bike I had just ridden the 8,000 miles to Inuvik and back on. A bike admirably suited for the Gravel and Dirt roads but not well suited for the vast distances and speeds to get to where the Gravel and Dirt would be encountered.
I decided to see who else in my FJR community might be interested in going with me, figuring that with the right tires, 50/50 or 80/20 Adventure tires, the FJR would make the trip OK. Both the ALCAN and Cassiar Highways are paved but one does encounter construction and repaving for long stretches along the way.
After advertising my intent on several FJR Forums and on Facebook in late summer 2017 eventually, twenty-five folks claimed an interest in going along for the ride. In my heart I knew not all twenty-five would go, I expected about half to drop out as the trip became real and the requirement to commit money and time to the adventure became necessary.
I decided that I really wanted to return to Dawson City YT for the 2019 Dust-to-Dawson event
then enter Alaska via the Top-of-the-World Highway to Chicken AK. You can read all about what "Dust to Dawson is and is not by clicking on the following https://advrider.com/f/threads/2019-...sting.1359668/
and reading the first post.
The TOTW Highway is not paved for a good portion of the way, it gets slippery when it gets wet, and, it is frequently wet. Some of the FJR folks decided they did not want to try the TOTW Highway and bowed out of the trip.
Over the remainder of 2017 and throughout 2018 I found that I really enjoyed riding the Gravel and Forest Service roads on my KLR. Even after significantly improving my KLR with engine enhancements, a "Big Bore Kit" I knew I didn't want to make another 8,000 miles plus trip on the KLR.
On my way back home from Daytona Beach in October 2018 I stopped to visit a friend in Missouri, we rode together the next morning for several hundred miles and swapped bikes. Skip had a BMW R1200GS, a bike I had not ridden before. After 200 miles on Skips BMW, I knew I wanted one and recognized that the FJR and KLR would have to both go to get the BMW. The plus was that the BMW would do both long distance touring as well as handle all the dirt and gravel this 67-year-old needs to handle.
I began to look for a bike and in December gound "Freya" a 2014 BMW R1200 GS Adventure Model. the Adventure model has a bit bigger gas tank, a little taller suspension, and a little bit more wind protection than the standard GS model bike. Freya came home in early December and the FJR and KLR both left my stable. Over Christmas and through January the UPS Truck was a frequent visitor as more and more "Farkles" piled up in the garage to make "Freya" exactly what I wanted for my ride.
On the Bayou March 2019 - the Shakedown Run
The number of participants having winnowed to a likely eight I booked a block of rooms at the Eldorado Hotel in Dawson City YT for the D2D event. Rooms fill fast during the event so I encouraged my fellow riders to book quickly, all did.
As it stands at this writing the following riders and pillions are making the trip:
BigJohnSD - Me, John Langdell, Spearfish SD-GSA
Festar - Brian Maddy, my frequent riding partner from Taree, Australia-VSTROM 1K
JuniorFJR - Fred Franklin, Wenatchee Washington-Tiger 800
txskiguy - Randy Brazie - Gray Eagle CA-GS
Weluvbikin - Phil and Charlene Lanzaratto, Hayfork CA-GS
Mark Harding - Spearfish SD-TBD
Additionally, there are four crazy Canadians joining us in Dawson City for D2D
Coming from Ontario and Quebec on FJRs I believe
Our schedule is looking like this:
June 10th - Spearfish to Helena MT 8 h 36 min (529 miles)
June 11th – Day at Pterodactyl’s
June 12th - Helena MT to Eureka MT 5h15m 295 miles
June 13 - Eureka MT to Radium Hot Springs BC 3 hours(150 miles) or onto Banff Intentional short day to allow for late arrivals, repairs, maintenance etc.
The more I look at this I think we should move to Banff, rooms likely a bit more expensive but Scenery better,
Shortens next days ride allowing more stopping and posy sniffing along Icefield Parkway, Lake Louise etc.
June 14th – Banff/Radium Hot Springs to Grand Cache AB 6h 54 min (354 Miles) allows for sightseeing; Lake Louise, Icefields Parkway etc.
June 15 - Grand Cache AB to Fort Nelson BC (gain one hour) 8h 17 min (478 miles)
June 16 - Fort Nelson BC to Watson Lake YT Stopping at Liard River Hot Springs for a soak 6h 50 min (319 miles)
June 17 - Watson Lake to Whitehorse YT Short day to allow for Sight Seeing in Whitehorse 5h 11 min (272 Miles)
June 18 - Day Off in Whitehorse
June 19 - Whitehorse to Dawson City YT, 330 miles all paved
June 20-21 Dawson City YT for the 27th Annual Dust to Dawson (D2D) Gathering check it out on Adventure Rider under the Alaska Thread
June 22 - Dawson City to Fairbanks AK via Top of the World Highway and Chicken AK, TOK AK 185 Miles half gravel to Chicken then all paved to Tok and on to Fairbanks AK another 202 paved miles.
? Day(s) in Fairbanks? Maintenance/Tires/Haul Road to the Arctic Circle
Add another day in Denali? Add a day in Anchorage later on?
June 23/27 - Fairbanks to Denali National Park
June 25/28 - at Denali
June 26/29- Denali to Anchorage 4h 15 min (250 miles)
June 27/30 - Anchorage to Homer 4h 15 min (221 Miles) lots of scenery along the way
June 28 or July 1 - Homer to Valdez via Ferry from Whittier to Valdez 3h 15 min 188 miles Homer to Whittier
Departing: Whittier (WTR) Fri, Jun 28 at 1:30 PM or Mon, Jul 1 at 1:30 PM
Arriving: Valdez (VDZ) Fri, Jun 28 at 7:15 PM or Mon, Jul 1 at 7:15 PM
Duration: 5 Hours 45 Minutes
Vessel MV Aurora (AUR) Fares: 7’/8’ Motorcycle $139/$140 / PAX over 65 $61/ Under 65 $81
June29/July 2 - Valdez to Haines Junction YT 10 h ) min (544 Miles) a Long day, but aside from Destruction Bay, not many other good places to stop.
June30/July 3 - Haines Junction, YT to Haines AK 3h 0 min (150 of the most beautiful and spectacular miles you will ever ride in your life)
July 1/July 4 - Haines to Watson Lake or Junction 37 (the start of the Cassiar Highway) 8h 15 min (339 Miles)
July2/July 5 - Watson Lake to Hyder AK. 9h 45 min (410 miles) Probably stay in Stewart BC at King Edward Hotel.
July 3/July 7 - Morning in Hyder looking at the Grizzly Bears and Glaciers
At this point I'm not exactly certain what I'm going to do:
On to Vanderhoof BC. 7h 45 min 375 miles
July 4/8 - Vanderhoof BC to Kelowna BC 8h 30 min 480 miles
July 5/9 - Day off the Bike or optional Day Ride to Nakusp, Revelstoke, Vernon and back to Kelowna 8h 00min (339 Miles)
July 6/10 - Kelowna to Eureka MT 8hr (427 miles)
July 7/11 - Eureka to Helena for a Stop at Pterodactyl's Helena at the Outpost for BBQ, Irish Whiskey, lies, etc...
July 8/12 - Helena to Spearfish via US 12/212.
July 3/7 On to Prince Rupert BC 6 hours (288 miles) via BC-37 S and Yellowhead Hwy W/BC-16 W
July 4/8, Ferry from Prince Rupert BC to Port Hardy BC - Fare last year for a Motorcycle and one passenger was $199 + $176 = $374
Prince Rupert to Port Hardy
July 2019 PR
to PH Ferry " Northern Expedition " Runs on even-numbered days in July 2019
Departs Prince Rupert BC 7:30 AM Arrives Port Hardy BC Victoria Island 11:30 PM
July 5/9 Port Hardy BC to Victoria BC - 309 miles 6 hours
July 6/10 Victoria BC to Port Angeles WA 2 hr Ferry 1030, 1500, 1930 $43 booked online
July 7/11 TBD
July 8/12 TBD
July 9/13 TBD