Alaska 2006

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Start date: Friday, July 21, 2006

End date: Sunday, August 06, 2006

Starting point: Franksville, WI, USA

Starting odometer: 69,361

Turn around point: Arctic Circle, North of Fairbanks, Alaska, USA

Ending odometer: 77,174

Destination: Franksville, WI, USA  
 

Gold Wing mileage: 7,813

 

GPS mileage: 7,789

 


Day 5, we reached the beginning of the Alaska Highway

 


Day 9, Our ultimate goal is achieved.

 


Day 17, we return to our original starting point.
(2 out of 7 isn't bad)

 


 

The idea for this trip was first conceived in the fall of 2005. A ride from Wisconsin to Alaska (and back). It would be the trip of a lifetime!

Originally proposed as a one way ride, the trip quickly evolved into an exciting, round trip, cross country, marathon. Our group, all of whom still work full time, decided to plan the trip to fit within a brief two week time span (eventually expanding to 17 days).

 The Group
Bill P.
Gas Man
Speedo
Chief
The Oil Sheik
John
Dave D.
Chemo
Air Wick
Air Wick
Air Wick
Air Wick
Air Wick
Dave E.
Carlton Morningwood III
Moose
Red
EyeGottaGo
PhotoOP
MilkMan
2006 Harley Davidson Springer Classic 2006 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic 2003 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic
     
Gary H.
Milburn
K&G
Cold Fingers
Jeff P.
Winger
Rubber Duck
Big Bird
Fish Finder
Radar
Mike W.
Big Shooter
Wind Breaker
The Salesman
Swamp Donkey
2003 Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide 2003 Honda GoldWing 2005 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic
     
  Bob R.
The One Legged Stalker
Backdoor Bob
Bob BIson
Waldo
Postal
Commando
CB
 
   
  2000 Chevrolet Pickup Truck  

Each of us seems to earn a variety of new nicknames as the trip progresses. We will list them here in the order they are assigned. However, the reasons behind each nickname will forever be a closely guarded secret (what happens on the road, stays on the road).

 

The aggressive schedule did not deter us since we all enjoy sight seeing through the windshield as much as, or more so, than spending hours exploring on foot. A start date was picked and the call went out to let the planning begin.

Step one in the planning process was to acquire a current copy of The MILEPOST.
Step two was to choose a route.

Choosing a route turned out to be the hardest part of the planning process. Even though it was unanimously agreed that our ultimate goal was to ride North out of Fairbanks to the point where the James Dalton Highway crosses the Arctic Circle, there were far too many other incredible places from which to choose. Tough choices had to be made. We actually created 15 different routes before we found one that satisfied our needs for riding and sight seeing, and the demands of our tight schedule.

Our Route

Planned Route

Our route is planned so that we pass through or near many scenic and historic sights as we ride. Some of the highlights include (but are not limited to):

  • Glacier National Park and the Going to the Sun Highway

  • Banff and Jasper National Parks and the Icefield Parkway

  • Dawson Creek, BC, CA

  • ALCAN Highway

  • Signpost Forest

  • Watson Lake, YT, CA

  • Dawson City, YT, CA

  • Top of the World Highway

  • Chicken, Alaska

  • North Pole, Alaska

  • Fairbanks, Alaska

  • Arctic Circle

  • Alaska Pipeline

  • Mt. St. Helens

  • Historic US Route 30

 

Actual Route


 

Once the route was finished, we then needed to determine the availability of basic necessities in the more remote areas of the route. Food, fuel, lodging and emergency services were considered. Here is where The MILEPOST began to live up to its very large reputation. We had used MS Streets and Trips to plan the route, but we quickly learned that its large database does not include all of the available services. Using The MILEPOST, we found that all of the necessary services were readily available on our planned route. As long as we are careful not to skip a few critical stops, we are confident that food, fuel and lodging will not become an issue.

In fact, we decided to create a series of reference pages (services log) to help locate the various services along the way. Here is a sample page that lists the services we might need on one of the segments of our trip. There is a similar page for each of the segments.


Figure 1: Services Log, Top of the World Highway

 

Our daily itinerary is shown below. Each day is planned to include a rest stop approximately every two hours. It will be interesting to see if we are able to keep up the pace we have planned. Most of us have enough motorcycle road trip experience to know that it is not practical to expect to follow any such plan exactly as created. In anticipation of a few unexpected delays, our route planning included the creation of several contingency routes that will shorten our ride in the event that we are delayed on the way by weather, road conditions, mechanical problems, etc. Safety will be the primary determining factor in all decisions regarding our route and schedule.

Trip Itinerary

(planned)
Day Overnight location

Daily Miles

Total Miles

1 Grand Forks, ND, USA

665

665

2 Havre, MT, USA

635

1,300

3

Banff, AB, CA

536

1,836

4

Dawson Creek, BC, CA

503

2,339

5

Watson Lake, YT, CA

599

2,938

6

Dawson City, YT, CA

605

3,543

7

Fairbanks, AK, USA

384

3,927

8

North Pole, AK, USA

399

4,326

9

Whitehorse, YT, USA

574

4,900

10

Dease Lake, BC, CA

407

5,307

11

Vanderhoof, BC, CA

541

5,848

12

Lynnwood, WA, USA

604

6,452

13

Mountain Home, ID, USA

668

7,120

14

Rawlins, WY, USA

563

7,683

15

Missouri Valley, IA, USA

660

8,343

16

Franksville, WI, USA

515

8,858

17

.

.

.

 

Average miles per day:

554

 

 

Shortest day:

384  
 

Longest day:

668  

Trip Itinerary

(actual)
Day Overnight location

Daily Miles

Total Miles

1 Grand Forks, ND, USA

672

672

2 Havre, MT, USA

651

1,323

3

Banff, AB, CA

535

1,858

4

Grande Prairie, AB, CA

441

2,299

5

Fort Nelson, BC, CA

367

2,666

6

Watson Lake, YT, CA

290

2,956

7

Beaver Creek, BC, CA

550

3,506

8

Fairbanks, AK, USA

317

3,823

9

Fairbanks, AK, USA

403

4,226

10

Chicken, AK, USA

285

4,511

11

Dawson City, YT, CA

105

4,616

12

Watson Lake, YT, CA

603

5,219

13

Sasquatch Crossing, BC, CA

457

5,676

14

.Edmonton, AB, CA

518

6,194

15

.Yorkton, SK, CA

519

6,713

16

.Fergus Falls, MN, USA

556

7,269

17

.end of trip

520

7,789

 

Average miles per day:

458

 

 

Shortest day:

105  
 

Longest day:

672  
   

Navigation

Jeff P. was assigned the role of official trip navigator since he has a Global Positioning System installed on his motorcycle.

Our GPS is a Garmin StreetPilot 2610 with a 2 GB Compact Flash card with the entire North America map set loaded.

 

In the unlikely event that modern technology should fail us in any way, a backup form of navigation is waiting to be called into action.

 

Communication

Various forms of communication were discussed during the planning for the trip. We wanted some way to keep in touch with each other, our families, our friends, and our jobs during the trip.

CB Radio
Four of the motorcycles have CB radios for bike to bike communication.

Cell Phone
Each of us will carry our personal cell phone. There is some concern about the availability of cell phone service in some areas of our route.

Satellite Phone
One of our group discovered a place that rents satellite phones. We decided to rent one for the trip for emergencies.

Email
Since we plan to update the web site as we travel (internet access permitting), a computer will be along for the ride allowing access to our email from the road.

 

Bike Repairs

Day Bike Problem Location
1 Harley Davidson, Ultra Classic Highway peg vibrated loose  
1 Honda, Goldwing Low beam headlight burned out  
2 Harley Davidson, Dyna Wide Glide Tail light lens screw vibrated loose and was lost on the road Grand Forks, ND, USA
2 Harley Davidson, Ultra Classic Shifter linkage vibrated loose Michigan, ND, USA
3 Harley Davidson, Ultra Classic Heal / Toe shifter adjustment Havre, MT, USA
4 Chevy truck Loose tail pipe Hinton, AB, CA

13

Harley Davidson, Ultra Classic Broken drive belt Watson Lake, YT, CA
       
       

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Contact us at: alaska@epilcher.com

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2006, Pilcher & Associates