Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sage Advice from Experienced Alaska Riders & Locals

I've received numerous encouraging emails from people who have made the trip as well as hospitality offerings from some who live up there.  In those messages is some sage advice on how to get around the land of the midnight sun.  Here is a sample of some of the advice I've received with respect to navigating the Dalton highway, aka "the Haul Road".  More to come... 
  1. Truckers rule the road (or at least they think they do)! Being able to communicate with them is a huge help. If your scoot has a CB, use ch19. If you get behind a slow one, let him know you have a radio and he'll let you know when it's safe to pass. If you rip around them unannounced, they get pissed and tell their friends.
  2. When you encounter an oncoming 18 wheeler, slow down and pull over to the side of the road and basically put as much distance between you and them as possible. It'll stop or at least reduce the amount of gravel you will be hit with. In that vein, a full face helmet and quality safety glasses would be a real good idea.
  3. When behind a slow semi, don't tailgate them. Particularly one towing an open trailer/low boy. It's quite common for parts to rattle off their load.
  4. If you see safety cones/flags along the road side, slow down!  That's our DOT's way of marking road hazards like frost heaves, big potholes, etc....They usually only do this on really bad spots, and it pays to head them.
  5. If you're going slower than the normal flow of traffic, pull over and let them by.
  6. Flat repair gear: The only tire service between Livengood and the Arctic Circle is at the Yukon River bridge. I doubt they have bike tires, but don't know that for a fact.
  7. A head net/bug net and or "bug dope". If you have a break down, and conditions are "buggy" they will drive you nuts without some kind of protection. Also, if you get the really good dope that contains DEET, be careful with it around your eats plastic!
  8. There's one place to eat after Livengood. Just past the Yukon, at a place called The Hot Spot. They make a decent burger.
  9. When you cross the Yukon River bridge, take it easy. It's surfaced with wood planking, and can be missing one here and there.  The void could grab a tire.
With the cautionary crap now out of the way, you're going to be awed by the's beautiful up there! Actually, if you go as far as the Circle you're better than halfway to Coldfoot and the road is mostly chip sealed between the two. Coldfoot is a truck stop/hotel. The rooms are pretty humble, and about $150 a night. Food ain't bad. It sits at the start of the Brooks Range and is some of the most beautiful country in AK. An overnight there may be something to consider?

I will DEFINITELY consider that! I want to spend a night at the top of the world.