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  1. Default NYC to San Diego to Anchorage by motorcycle

    I'm planning on taking a 2 month road trip and while my end goal is to make it up to Alaska, I'm thinking instead of going directly from NY to Seattle / Vancouver and heading up, it would be nice to make a more diagonal trip to San Diego and then make my way up from there. Has anyone done a trip of this magnitude / have any suggestions? I plan on relying on my GPS to help me get where I want to go, but I would love some help mapping out my stops / figuring out where to stay / etc. I will be doing a mix of hotels and camping. I also plan on leaving NY 7/1 and need to be in Anchorage on 7/28 for a tour I've scheduled. Perhaps going to San Diego is a little ambitious given my timing? Appreciate the feedback

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    11,008

    Default on a bike

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You could cover the miles for this trip in the time you've got available, however, there are two really big factors here. The biggest is how much experience do you have in long distance motorcycling? You'll have to average about 250 miles a day, which isn't hard by car, but would be a lot by bike for some people.

    The other is how much do you want to see, relative to the amount you are driving. By car, it would mean roughly one driving day for one day of siteseeing, although it would be slightly tilted to the driving side when you factor the slower pace of the Alaska highway.

    Of course, even Seattle isn't really anywhere close to the direct route to Alaska either. Even that adds about 1000 miles to a more direct route to the Alaska highway, going up through Alberta.

    In any case, you should never rely on a GPS as your primary means of navigation. Paper maps are essential for any trip, and invaluable during the planning stages of your trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    4,485

    Default North to Alaska.

    Thinking of going to Alaska, in two months time? Time now to get The Milepost and start reading. From memory - and I don't have mine at my fingertips - motorcycling is covered in there as well. Furthermore, on my trips to Alaska I have seen many motor cyclists along the way. Most were towing trailers with camping gear. Each night we would meet up in the campgrounds along the way.

    As Michael said, the speed limits are much reduced and enforced along the Alcan, and for that matter, throughout Canada. But I am not sure why you want to go via Seattle. True, the Sea to Sky Highway is spectacular, but it is a long way out of your way.

    By far the prefered route these days for those taking the trek north, is highway 2 across ND and MT, and crossing the border on or near I-15. 89 is a less busy crossing. This will take you through Calgary and Bannf, and along the magnificent Icefields Parkway, and onto the Alcan.

    A month is a nice bit of time for the one way trip, and would give you lots of opportunities to seek out and explore all the great sites along the way. Actually, all the time in the world is not enough to see it all. There is just so much. Going through Seattle will cut this down a bit, but including San Diego will short change you for all the sites of the magnificent trek North.

    Enjoy the trip. By that time, I will be on my way back to the lower 48.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Thank you for the comments, I really appreciate it. I was planning on Seattle / Vancouver solely based on looking at Google Maps and thinking this would be the best way up there. Clearly I still have some homework to do! Given I'm also going to be doing this trip solo, I'm glad to hear the campgrounds should be pretty full. I'm definitely going for a "rustic" trip but I'd prefer not to have to use bear repellant if at all possible.
    Assuming ~200 miles/day, it sounds like leaving NY on 7/1 and making my way North through Montana may be just right for a 28 day trip up to Anchorage, with some stops along the way. I was thinking of heading to California first just because I didn't want to get bored and get up there too early, but seems like this may not be the case.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    4,485

    Default Computers don't go sightseeing.

    Quote Originally Posted by adventureseeker View Post
    I was planning on Seattle / Vancouver solely based on looking at Google Maps
    Problem is, Mr Google hasn't made the trip, nor enjoyed the spectacular scenery along the way, and along all the little side trips.

    This ties in with the warning Michael gives, above. Do not attempt this trip relying solely on your gps. Get good maps. You have seen how limiting technology is for long distance, and especially the more remote, roadtrips. If you are a member of AAA you will be able to get good maps there.

    For a guide of all the routes north - and there are many - and all the sights to see, as well as places to stop, services along the way, and everything else, you need The Milepost. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It really is the bible of those taking the trip North. Especially those doing it for the first time.

    If you stick to the commercial campgrounds along the way, you won't need bear spray. Just make sure you have good mosquito protection. Like the wildlife, they are everywhere. Make sure you keep your speed down. Motorcycle noises often scare the wildlife away from the road long before you can see them. You could miss out on some awesome experiences. And yes, I travel solo as well, camping as I go. You will find lots of friendly folk at campgrounds along the way.

    Lifey

    p.s. you might like to check out page 3 onwards in this thread.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,392

    Default

    A number of years ago, my family went up to Alaska, leaving from San Diego. Basically, we followed I-5 to just north of Seattle. We crossed the border at Sumas, rather than the big crossing on I-5 into Vancouver. At the time (before 9/11), this was a nice easy crossing. We then stayed the night at a lovely RV park in Hope, BC, before venturing up through BC to Dawson Creek.

    Once we left the interstates, though, travel slowed. Our normal 450 miles (RV) a day became <300 most days. Two lane roads slowed us down, as did the magnificent scenery and the continual rainstorms that year. I would imagine that rain for a motorcyclist would be even more of a pain!



    Donna

  7. Default

    After doing some more research it seems like CA is a little ambitious. I will likely head north to Canada from Minnesota and will perhaps head south on my way back. You are certainly correct that biking in the rain is pretty miserable!

  8. Default Anchorage - San Diego

    I'm looking for some advice for my "return" roadtrip from Anchorage to San Diego this August. I'm leaving NYC July 2 heading up to Anchorage going through Alberta (North from Montana) and YT and am planning on leaving Anchorage early August. Does anyone have any suggestions for a recommended return route? I was thinking it would be nice to drive along the coast, which I've read about in my Milepost but would be great to hear from anyone who's done this trip.

    In terms of timing I'm planning on 3 weeks and will be on a motorcycle camping most of the way.

    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about the same trip in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-14-2012 at 09:36 AM. Reason: Merged

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    11,008

    Default

    The only coastal route back from Alaska that I know of would be the Alaska Marine Highway - which is actually a ferry. Its actually the only way, other than plane, to get to most of the Alaskan Panhandle.

    That could be a very nice way to have a completely different look at your trip home, and would set you up quite nicely then to follow the coast south once you get to Washington.

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