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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Planning a trip up North to Tuk although the same question applies to anyone heading up through Alaska.

Question is whether I should make reservations for Motels and Campgrounds in advance or play it by ear and just find spots enroute. If I make reservations in advance then I'd be following a known itinerary, planned out day by day, for the entire trip which is somewhat comforting but also constraining.

Wondering what others have done and what they'd recommend.
 

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I do a substantial amount of travel - go to your favorite travel website and enter the towns you're thinking of overnighting - see how many motels have same day vacancy - you'll get a feel for availability - if plenty of vacancy, feel comfortable making your reservations 'on the fly' - you won't be tied to specific locations and cancellation fees.
 

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We’ve made the trip between the lower 48 and Alaska/Yukon over a dozen times; we lived in Fairbanks for many years. We’ve made reservations well in advance and often had to cancel them. It can put unnecessary stress on you being pressed to stay on a schedule. We’ve traveled without reservations at all and never failed to find a place to sleep, but we stop earlier than normal to get ahead of the crowd. What seems to work best is to make a reservation the day before or early on the day of our stay.
 

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I have zero experience but given the unpredictability of weather I'd plan ahead. Read too many stories of riders that were out longer than they should have and lucky to tell the story.
 

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We left on May 16 or 17 and were gone 5 weeks. We made reservations a day or two ahead as we went and that worked out well. Had a few problems but we were always able to reserve a room. Fyi.. Bring gas in a Rotopax container. The cheap one I had didn't work out well.
We avoided the dusk to dawn group in Dawson city. For that you need to make reservations now. Next time we'll do the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We left on May 16 or 17 and were gone 5 weeks. We made reservations a day or two ahead as we went and that worked out well. Had a few problems but we were always able to reserve a room. Fyi.. Bring gas in a Rotopax container. The cheap one I had didn't work out well.
We avoided the dusk to dawn group in Dawson city. For that you need to make reservations now. Next time we'll do the same thing.
I'm riding a GSA so have a 30 liter tank (50% larger than the GS) which gives me a range of well over 500Km (around 350 miles). I'm thinking that should be more than sufficient for gas range. But good suggestion for folks with a "normal" gas tank :).
 

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Recently returned from a 90 day (30 in AK), 17,500 mile ride grom FL to AK and back. I managed to include two BDRs also. Accommodations included various forms of camping, hotels and hostels. I did a combination of reservations and "winging it". Winging it included, pulling off the trail/pitching tent at a glacier lake, making a reservation in the morning before a day's ride and also stopping at the end of a day to find a place. There were a couple of sketchy nights but always managed to work it out. Both the advanced reservations and winging it enhanced the trip greatly. Some things I considered when choosing which method to use at a particular location were typical weather that time of year, influx of tourists (demand for lodging) and likelihood of internet service/cell service to search for lodging when it wasn't obvious. My trip taught me the term "high speed internet" is relative. In some areas there will be nothing. At one point I went 6 days straight without cell service. It was awesome and BTW, it was in ID. LOL. In the Kenai, (southern AK) there is good cell, towns are close, warmer weather and roads are better so I winged it the whole 10 days. In Deadhorse, (about a far north AK as you can get) I had a reservation because it was cold, and there are few options. The idea of not having a room was not comforting. The temp on our ride in dropped 24°F. Our work camp hotel price in Deadhorse included cafeteria style meals (we had 3) and free laundry so not bad. In Dawson City, I made reservations because camping set up wasn't well suited and when I checked on hotels there were very few left. Fairbanks was similar, although high price as well as demand were factors. Only plug I will make - if in Fairbanks, don't miss out on a chance to stay a Sven's Basecamp (hostel). Awesome, very friendly and great facilities. Even has a latte shop. Adventure riders rule. Bikes park inside the compound, cages outside by the street. We stayed twice - before and after the Deadhorse run. They let us store gear so we were lighter on the Dalton Hwy. Great people. I suggest reservations but I saw folks winging it.

My point is that a lot of this depends on the comfort level and goals of the traveler (s). Advanced reservations and winging it both have advantages and disadvantages. I found the combination was best for me -Reservations gave me comfort in potential sketchy weather, high demand or limited available options and Winging it gave me flexibility. Final thought, don't overlook hostels as they usually have great facilities,including internet and laundry. I met a lot of teleworking/traveling for pleasure IT professionals.

Just my 25 cents. . . Have a great trip.
 

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I'm riding a GSA so have a 30 liter tank (50% larger than the GS) which gives me a range of well over 500Km (around 350 miles). I'm thinking that should be more than sufficient for gas range. But good suggestion for folks with a "normal" gas tank :).
I also have a GSA but learned on my recent AK trip that just because there is a gas station doesn't mean it will have gas or be open. Having the ability to carry extra fuel is like a rain suit - if you put it on you won't need it but . . . LOL 😅
 

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I have over the years watched a few YT videos and only one rider team listed this as their one issue while riding KLR's, You need to keep the radiator free of MUD. The mud is a real threat because it clogs the radiator. Make sure to keep engine clean and radiator free of obstructions.

Scott in Southern Oregon
 

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I have over the years watched a few YT videos and only one rider team listed this as their one issue while riding KLR's, You need to keep the radiator free of MUD. The mud is a real threat because it clogs the radiator. Make sure to keep engine clean and radiator free of obstructions.

Scott in Southern Oregon
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Getting off topic but since we are here, DOT in BC, YK and AK apply calcium chloride to gravel roads and then water. In addition to slick when wet, it hardens on your bike and if not addressed corrodes AL and wiring insulation if left unattended. Much worse than mud because overtime it harden like cement. Dirty looks cool but take steps to pressure wash the bike as often as you can. This is much more than just wash the engine. Pay attention to the up and out of the way places too, especially forks (behind the guards by the seals. BMW has an opposite/inverted fork set up from bikes like the KTM, KLR and Africa Twin. Fork oil reservoir on the bottom with BMW. On my trip, 3 of the non BMW brands had fork seal issues and oil drained out requiring trips the the dealers. Most with multi-day waits for seal to be shipped in. There is a fork cleaning tool available on Amazon that can be used to remove sand and dirt from seals if an issue. Those with with the inverted tube set up especially might want to take a look.
 

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Having lived 72 miles from the start of the Dalton Hwy (Haul Road) for many years and having been on the road several times, I can tell you the absolute fool proof and always effective way to protect your bike from the calcium chloride that is used on the Dalton. Ride your wonderful GS/A to Fairbanks, park it and get a rental. Rent something around 350-600cc that has decent tires, put a dry bag and gallon of fuel on the back and Bob's your uncle. The bike will have more than enough power, will handle better than your GS/A, will be easier to pick-up if needed and your GS/A will not be covered in corrosive crud.
 

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Having lived 72 miles from the start of the Dalton Hwy (Haul Road) for many years and having been on the road several times, I can tell you the absolute fool proof and always effective way to protect your bike from the calcium chloride that is used on the Dalton. Ride your wonderful GS/A to Fairbanks, park it and get a rental. Rent something around 350-600cc that has decent tires, put a dry bag and gallon of fuel on the back and Bob's your uncle. The bike will have more than enough power, will handle better than your GS/A, will be easier to pick-up if needed and your GS/A will not be covered in corrosive crud.
You're right but when back in the lower 48 - some AK'ans referred to as "the states" you won't be able to say your bike went to Deadhorse. LOL 😅

Not saying the previous writer was instilling fear at all because their was accurate information. I came across many on the road that spoke of the Dalton like a fishing tale - "the gravel was so deep . . . " Hooked up with a couple riders and made sure we had a favorable 4-day weather window and went. We did it on KTM 1190, GS 850 and GSA 1200. It was challenging at times but very doable. We did the speed limit-ish on the dirt, gave trucks a wide birth and enjoyed the ride/wildlife. Had great fun. No one went down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I bought my bike to ride it :). Plan to ride it and when I get back I'll wash, detail it. BUT, great information about the Calcium Chloride on the road. Not sure what we get here in AB but it is white, I suspect more Sodium Chloride so in either case it all corrodes bike components if you don't clean it well.
 

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I bought my bike to ride it :). Plan to ride it and when I get back I'll wash, detail it. BUT, great information about the Calcium Chloride on the road. Not sure what we get here in AB but it is white, I suspect more Sodium Chloride so in either case it all corrodes bike components if you don't clean it well.
Spray it down with ACF-50 before the trip. Pay attention to application details to avoid brake disks, etc.
 

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I had to take my pipes off and use 0000 steel wool to get that stuff off. A can of Pig Spit made my engine black again. Jamie must have been in DeadHorse close to the same time I was. Man was it cold. the ocean was frozen.
 
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