Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Trip - 2012

Earlier this week, I was asked when I was planning on leaving Fairbanks on my road trip. I had a general idea of my route but have never committed it to paper so while sitting in my office in Barrow, it seemed like an opportune time. Please excuse the mess but I just had to switch offices last week.

For those wondering about the lack of dark, I took this photo at 1 in the morning last night looking out over the Arctic Ocean. As you can see, there is some melting near the shore. And the sun was just about as high above the horizon as it was at noon. In case you are wondering what I was doing wandering around at 1 in the morning, it just seemed like a normal thing to do since I had just finished dinner after working until 10pm.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. I have made up a rough schedule for my road trip this summer though I haven't finalized many of the details. The plan is to leave Fairbanks, AK, on July 3rd and arrive in Santa Cruz, CA, on July 14th. Then leave Santa Cruz on the 18th and arrive in Baker City, OR, on the 20th for the IMBC 2012. I'm still not sure of who will actually be there besides Troubadour, Trobairitz and Bobskoot. I wasn't originally planning to take the Cassiar Highway but based on Chris of Everyday Riding's report, I added it to my route on my way down. The daily mileage is generally around 300+ miles. This seems like a fairly modest goal. In other road trips through Canada over the years, I usually averaged closer to 600 miles per day but this is my first extended motorcycle trip. If it turns out that I can easily cover more miles per day, I will and build up a buffer for some additional rest days.

View Larger Map

The route allows me to avoid Seattle and Portland and I don't really hit the Interstate until Medford, OR on the way down. On the way back, the route leaves the Interstate in Sacramento. The only overlapping part of the trip is from Watson Lake, BC, and Fairbanks, AK. There is an alternate route between Watson Lake and Tok that I drove a couple of years ago but I don't care to ride the same route. Way too much dust, gravel and mud. In case you are interested, from Watson Lake head north on the Campbell Highway, then north on the Klondike Highway through Dawson City the the Top of the World Highway into Alaska and down to Tok. It is almost all dirt and mud (not nice smooth gravel).

According to Google Maps, this trip will be 6,587 miles. I plan to camp most of the way through Canada but have found it much more difficult in the lower 48 states. I was originally planning on mailing down my mesh gear and dropping off my camping gear in Oregon but the IMBC 2012 meeting in eastern Oregon makes that impractical. So I guess I carry two sets of riding gear and my camping gear for the whole trip.

Rough Schedule:
  • July 3, 2012 - Fairbanks, AK (A,X) to Beaver Creek, YT (B) - 312 miles
  • July 4, 2012 - Beaver Creek, YT (B) to Whitehorse, YT (C) - 277 miles
  • July 5, 2012 - Whitehorse, YT (C) to Dease Lake, BC (D) - 372 miles
  • July 6, 2012 - Dease Lake, YT (D) to Kitwanga BC (E) - 301 miles
  • July 7, 2012 - Kitwanga, BC (E) to Prince George, BC (F) - 302 miles
  • July 8, 2012 - Prince George, BC (F) to Kamloops, BC (G) - 327 miles
  • July 9, 2012 - Kamloops, BC (G) to Wenatchee, WA (H) - 321 miles
  • July 10, 2012 - Wenatchee, WA (H) to Bend, OR (I) - 324 miles
  • July 11, 2012 - Bend, OR (I) to Medford, OR (J) - 210 miles
  • July 12, 2012 - Rest
  • July 13, 2012 - Medford, OR (J) to Stockton, CA (K) - 355 miles
  • July 14, 2012 - Stockton, CA (K) to Santa Cruz, CA (L) - 107 miles
  • July 15, 2012 - Family Reunion
  • July 16, 2012 - Family Reunion
  • July 17, 2012 - Family Reunion
  • July 18, 2012 - Santa Cruz, CA (L) to Susanville, CA (M) - 336 miles
  • July 19, 2012 - Susanville, CA (M) to Burns, OR (N) - 296 miles
  • July 20, 2012 - Burns, OR (N) to Baker City, OR (O) - 150 miles
  • July 21, 2012 - IMBC 2012, Baker City, OR (O) to Joseph, OR (P) - 114 miles
  • July 22, 2012 - IMBC 2012
  • July 23, 2012 - Joseph, OR (P) to Creston, BC (Q) - 320 miles
  • July 24, 2012 - Creston, BC (Q) to Jasper, AB (R) - 379 miles
  • July 25, 2012 - Jasper, AB (R) to Dawson Creek, BC (S) - 324 miles
  • July 26, 2012 - Dawson Creek, BC (S) to Fort Nelson, BC (T) - 282 miles
  • July 27, 2012 - Fort Nelson, BC (T) to Watson Lake, BC (U) - 319 miles
  • July 28, 2012 - Watson Lake, BC (U) to Haines Junction, YT (V) - 367 miles
  • July 29, 2012 - Haines Junction, YT (V) to Tok, AK (W) - 290 miles
  • July 30, 2012 - Tok, AK (W) to Fairbanks, AK (A,X) - 200 miles
Only a month to get ready!

Monday Afternoon - Just modified the route to include the Icefield Parkway through Banff. And it knocked off 200 miles!


  1. Wow! Now that's one heck of an adventure!! Really wish I could travel with you on that one!

    1. It's much less ambitious than Chris' trip but I'm really looking forward to it. I've driven up and down from Alaska about 18 times so the adventure is that it'll be a motorcycle trip. I've heard somewhere that you may be venturing to North America soon....

  2. Sounds like a great plan. We are aiming to arrive in Joseph on the 21st in time for dinner but since we haven't gotten take-off-approval from our employers just yet, any planning would be futile...

    1. I hope that you will be able to make it down and I'm sure that Roland will want to try out the new Suzuki on a multi-day road trip.

      I wasn't sure after seeing your last email. I'm still trying to find a room in Joseph. The hotel Troubadour recommended never responded to my voicemail nor my email. Maybe it's time to try again...

    2. I think Bob reserved several rooms in Joseph (but I don't know the name of the hotel - I think it is the one Brad gave you Richard). Maybe talk to Bob and see how many rooms he reserved. We still have an extra King room reserved in Baker City for Friday July 20th.

      I hope we haven't waited to long and there are still rooms available. If not we may have to tweak our agenda.

    3. Thank you, I just sent Bob an email. Then again, I can always camp since I'll have all of my gear with me.

      I did get confirmation already from the motel in Baker City.

  3. The trip looks plenty ambitious to me. And, by the way, if my desk ever looked that organized my co-workers would put me on a suicide watch.

    1. My desk in Fairbanks is a real mess compared to this one. But it was still a hassle to move all the accumulated stuff from the other office. I've been in that one since the building first opened about 4 years ago.

      I've made the trip between Alaska and the lower 48 about 18 times so it is pretty routine. This is the first time on a motorcycle though. All the rest were in cars, trucks, truck w/ cabover camper, pulling travel trailers, Suburban, Toyota mini van, Land Cruiser, etc. Lots of trips...

  4. Woohoo! Only one more month. Are you excited yet?

    The one benefit of carrying your camping gear to Santa cruz is that you have the option to camp in lieu of a motel.

    You might want to think about a three season jacket with the panels that zip off to expose mesh. That would save you from carrying two sets of gear. More expensive of course, but convenient. We are looking forward to seeing you and are hoping Sonja & Roland and BeemerGirl & Oilburner will be joining us as well.

    1. Just starting to get excited about going. I think it really started when Chris arrived. That got me moving. When driving, many times I just started packing the morning I was going to leave then took off after lunch. This trip seems to need a bit more planning.

      What I'm thinking of is the mesh jacket with the heated liner and I just picked up a Tourmaster one piece rain suit. And leave my normal riding jacket at home. I'll have to try out the combination when I get home.

      I hadn't heard anything on the email list so I wasn't sure who was going to show up..

  5. Oh, and that is pretty darn cool that that pic was taken at 1 am. It just seems so unreal to me.

    1. I just noticed that it is sunny and clear right now. Maybe I can get an even better midnight picture tonight!

  6. That should be quite the trip Richard....we will of course expect lots of pictures and narrative! :)


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

    1. "Lots of pictures" is more than 2? Part of the problem is that I've taken the trip so many times, the scenery seems a bit routine. I'm usually not sure what to take pictures of.

  7. Oh what a wonderful route! I know you say it is slightly routine to you, but it sure is exciting for us to look at.

    1. On most of my trips, there is usually some time constraint which limits the options. On this one, I need to get to Santa Cruz on a certain date and I couldn't leave until after a certain date. I was thinking of trying to get to Hyder/Stewart on this trip but there just wasn't enough time. The good thing is, there's always the next trip.