Alaska Motorcycle Trip

Last year I bought my dream motorcycle, a BMW F800GS.

While I was growing up my father occasionally spoke of wanting to go to Alaska some day. He rarely had a lot to say, so this stuck with me. As I grew older, his health continued to deteriorate, primarily due to smoking, drinking, and a lack of getting out. By my twenties he was out of work on long-term medical disability and didn’t leave the house much.

Two months ago he passed away, at only 58.

So I leave today for a three week self-supported motorcycle trip to Canada and Alaska from Seattle, Washington. There is never going to be a better time to achieve your goals then the present.

I believe the F800GS to be the ideal blend of existing BMW Adventure motorcycles; bikes designed to get off the beaten path anywhere in the world. It lies between their smaller single cylinder “thumpers” like the original F650GS and the larger two cylinder “boxers” such as the R1200GS that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman ride in the Long Way Around TV series and sequels.

My plan is to take the Alcan highway up. Once in Alaska I will ride the Dalton Highway north past the Arctic Circle to Deadhorse. The Dalton connects the oil industry in Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to the rest of Alaska. Over four hundred miles of dirt road with only a couple stops with services (with populations of 25 and under), the route is remote.

I have left the middle of my trip open. By the time I will have returned to Fairbanks I will have ridden over 3000 miles and I will evaluate then what is next then. Obviously I may be tired of riding, but once out in the great expanse I may just want to sit for a spell. Growing up I used to spend a lot of time at cabins in the North Maine Woods, mostly just sitting. One option is to ride back over to the Yukon Territories and ride Canadas sister route, the Dempster Highway. If I don’t feel like riding as much, I may get a charter plane into the trail-less and road-less Gates of The Arctic National Park. Time will tell.

Towards the end of my journey I plan to meet up with 175+ motorcycles in Dawson City, Yukon for the annual Dust To Dawson motorcycle gathering. Then 2000 miles home to Seattle.

I’m carrying all the typical supplies for backpacking. I have a change of tires as well. Not spare tires mind you, I’m doing so many miles I’ll need to change them. Besides, the bike currently rides on tires primarily meant for the street. Before the Dalton Highway, I’ll swap on a set of knobby tires for the dirt roads. Because it can be hundreds of miles between service stations on some of the routes I will be traveling, I’m carrying a 2 gallon Rotopax fuel tank. I will also be camping in remote wilderness, so I’m bringing along a 12 gauge shotgun.

I have a Spot GPS Tracker, so you can monitor my progress either on the Spot Adventures or directly on the Spot Website. When possible, there will be updates on Twitter, photos on Flickr, and posts here.

5 thoughts on “Alaska Motorcycle Trip

  1. Brett jones

    I spent a summer as a kid in the Delta Junction/Fairbanks area. It’s beautiful up the you’re going to love it.

    Have fun, be safe and watch out for moose on the roads.

    Post lots of pictures when you can.

  2. Sterling Noren

    My dad moved to Alaska to work on the pipeline in the early 70’s. When I was in college in the late 80’s I went up there quite often for several summers to live and work with him side by side, as a carpenter. He passed away in 1998, at the age of 58, after a not too healthy lifestyle. I had an old BMW motorcycle at the time. Riding was good solace to me. I always dreamed of riding to Alaska. Still do… might do it sometime. Anyways I now have an F800 GS as well and live in Seattle. My friend Jim pointed out your blog to me. Have a safe and enjoyable ride.

  3. Ed

    My son and I made the trip in 2010 on KLR650s, traveling from Montana up and back. It was a great trip to say the least and we are planning on doing it again in 2012. Sometimes you just have to go do it!!

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