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This summer late may/ early june my wife and I are thinking about taking a cruise through alaska. At one of the ports we will stop at there is a motorcycle tour through the back roads. Has anyone ever done one of these tours? What did you like or dislike about the tour.
 

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HOMER PIMPSON said:
This summer late may/ early june my wife and I are thinking about taking a cruise through alaska. At one of the ports we will stop at there is a motorcycle tour through the back roads. Has anyone ever done one of these tours? What did you like or dislike about the tour.
I did see an add for the anchorage harley dealer about getting your bike purchase there, do a tour and ride it home...but that would be difficult to bring it back into CA do to registration of out of state bikes with less than 7500 miles...

toy'd with the idea....would be fun though. 8)
 

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The weather along the coast in Alaska in June is something like the weather along the coast in northern California in March, cold and wet. North away form the coast, the weather was great, but there were places where the mosquitoes were overwhelming. If I ever ride back to Alaska, I will go in July.

I would not ride a belt drive bike on the Alaska Highway or any non-paved road in Alaska. The chip rock on the roads has got to be detrimental to a belt. When we rode to Alaska, there was a Harley on the side of the road with a broken belt west of Whitehorse. It was an Ultra Classic with only 8,000 miles. The rider had to wait three days to have the dealer order a belt and put it on. The estimate was 800 dollars C. or about 500 dollars US.
We did pass one Harley on the way up to Eagle, he was riding much slower than we were on our dual sport bikes.
 

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The weather along the coast in Alaska in June is something like the weather along the coast in northern California in March, cold and wet. North away form the coast, the weather was great, but there were places where the mosquitoes were overwhelming. If I ever ride back to Alaska, I will go in July.
That's interesting. My ride was in early June and it was still cold enough at night to keep the mosquitos down. I thought that they were most numerous in mid-summer, but maybe it depends on the year. But in any case July and August is peak Winnebago season, and for that reason alone I'd want to give that time of year a pass.
I would not ride a belt drive bike on the Alaska Highway or any non-paved road in Alaska. The chip rock on the roads has got to be detrimental to a belt.
Exactly my observation. That stuff turns to concrete when it dries, and it dries quickly. I couldn't get it off the Shadow's frame and radiator even with a high-pressure car wash wand -- and this was the same day I picked up the crap at road paving sites! Any belt drive would quickly become a belt sander. Shaft or well-lubed chain is the only way to go.
 

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I guess I just thought we were there during peak bago season. On our way to Alaska, the road was closed at Fort Nelson, BC. A bridge had collapse 300 miles to the west and they were closing the road to the east as lodging filled up. We had to wait two days while they trucked in a temporary single lane bridge. When the road opened again, we had to stop at a road block about every 30 miles and wait a while. They said it was because of the long line at the temporary bridge and they said there were about 800 vehicles ahead of us, mostly bagos. Passing the bagos seemed fruitless, but we often had to. The “polite” bago drivers would drive to the far right side of the road showering us with rocks.

My greatest disappointment in Alaska was Denali Nation Park. It was wall to wall people. I don’t do crowds well. Our best view of Mt. McKinley was from a road house somewhere south of the park entrance. The meal at the road house was high cost, low quality, most likely because some tour busses were stopping there. Mt. McKinley is not any more impressive than a number of high mountains that we could see from the highway between Tok and Fairbanks.

Road houses were usually good places to eat and get gas. Sometimes they had lodging.

Alaska has great scenery. Some of the best paved roads are to Valdez and Skagway.

I don’t remember exactly when we were in Alaska, but we left Kansas the day after Memorial Day, and were in Dawson City, Yukon June 21 after leaving Alaska.
 

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When I was on my way up in late May there was very moderate traffic on the Alaska Highway and lines of maybe 20-30 cars at troad resurfacing sites in BC and Yukon (usually they waved me to the front of the line, but that was a dubious privilege since that newly-laid chipseal is slicker than camel snot, as you know -- I kept think how glad I was that I wasn't riding the Goldwing.)

But on the way back during the second week of June I could see the endless caravans heading north and thanked my lucky stars that I was going in the opposite direction. Fortunately I cut off near Watson Lake to take the Cassiar Hwy back, and of course there's VERY little traffic on that. Very little gas, too, but fishing camps usually have some to sell.

BTW, if/when I do it again this spring I'll take the Cassiar both ways. The Alaska Hwy has too many long, boring stretches to be worth a second time. The Cassiar has better scenery, more elevation change, and vastly greater numbers of wildlife. Also the side road that cuts off of the Cassiar and runs to Hyder is probably the most spectacular route anywhere up there, with waterfalls running down from mountains on both sides. Hyder is a dump, but the road is worth the detour. Whitehorse to Skagway is very nice, too, but the White Pass can have some pretty severe weather even when the lowlands are pleasant. I did that route in a rented SUV because my Shadow was waiting for a new tire in Whitehorse, and I was glad to have a heater when it started snowing over the pass.

As far as you comments on Alaska itself, if you saw Mt. McKinley at all you were very lucky. It's only visible a few days a year. I think that in the four months or so that I lived in Anchorage working for the NPS I was able to see the mountain only twice. The first time was after about three weeks in Anchorage, as one morning I left the hotel for the office and saw this gigantic white mountain looming huge on the horizon (160 miles away!). Where in the hell did that come from? But it was weeks before it made another appearance. I would generally recommend that anyone skip Denali and concentrate their travels in the Copper River Delta area.
 
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