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Discussion Starter #1
In just over 3 years I have taken my Harley to all 48 states. Next on my list was Alaska. I went to Alaska back when I was a teenager. Riding my Harley there could be my ultimate motorcycle trip. I've been planning the trip for about a year. I used Tyre software on my PC to plan the route. I then transferred the route to my TomTom GPS. I have used this software and my TomTom before but I would have lots of problems with my TomTom on this trip.

Spoiler alert: here's a GPS map of the route I took.
https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=195305b18255025ad5&showInfo=yes&showHome=yes&hoursPast=0&fillFactor=20&zoomLevel=10&showAll=yes
You can zoom in and use the other Google Map features.

I just got back from this Alaska trip late last night. I have a lot of pictures to organize. I won’t do it all at once instead I plan on posting one day of my travels before going on to the next day.

I had three weeks off from work. On Friday June 8th I was able to leave work a little early. I packed up my cycle the night before. From my home in Durango Colorado I headed west then northwest to Moab and on to Salt Lake City. It was in the upper 90's in Utah.



This next picture is Wilson's Arch








I followed I15 into Idaho and through a beautiful valley to Pocatello ID where I stayed the night.

Today I rode 568 miles

To be continued ...
 

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Subscribed. I am SO subscribed. I'll look forward to your update every single day and thanks for the pictures. Glad you're home safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Day 2 Saturday June 9th

I woke up early and had breakfast at a Denny’s. I continued north through eastern Idaho and into Montana. Montana was nice.











Beautiful scenery and I made good time. I am not making many stops in the US. I can get back here easily. I plan on slowing down in Canada.

The interstate has an 80 mph speed limit. I found out that my cruise control will not activate over 90 mph.
I crossed into Canada north of Great Falls MT.

I stop for dinner at an Italian restaurant in Calgary Alberta.
I have not been making my motel reservations in advance. When I try to put on 800 miles in a day it's hard to plan exactly when I might end up stopping for the night. Instead I usually stop for dinner about an hour or two before I get a motel. During dinner I make my motel reservations. I was planning on staying in Banff but I couldn't find anything for less than $200 a night. Instead I stayed at a Comfort Inn in Calgary. It turned out to be very nice.

Today I rode 9 hours 37 minutes and put on 704 miles

To be continued ...
 

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Road Junkie
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Amazing route, Dave. Can’t imagine doing that trip solo and not certain I’d do it on the Harley (adventure bike is perhaps more suited). But you obviously survived!

Can’t wait to see how the adventure unfolds.
 

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Mississippi Cajun
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That is a trip I hope I can get done before Ma Nature declares me ineligible due to excessive age. We've (local group) been talking about doing it within the next year. Keep the pix and story coming, Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Day 3 Sunday June 10th

Today I woke to light rain in Calgary. I usually don't mind riding in rain like this but I was planning on going through Jasper Banff National Park. This is not good sightseeing weather so I stay at my motel for a while. At 10:00 I leave the motel. It rains off and on all day. At the town of Canmore I ride into a huge glacial valley with hanging valleys on the sides. I pay the park fee and ride into Banff National Park.

This is a beautiful place. I don't take many pictures because of the weather.




This is the town of Banff


This is the most beautiful place I've ever been (I used to say that about Yosemite). This is actually two Canadian National Parks. Banff National Park is to the south and Jasper is just to the north.













 

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Discussion Starter #11
Still Day 3 Sunday June 10th

As I ride through Jasper National Park the rain turns to snow. Not much of the snow sticks to the road but the ground is snow covered.
I roll into Jasper and stop at a tavern. I have a steak and then use my phone to find a motel. I save a lot of money by driving on to the town of Hinton and stay at a Days Inn. Staying in Jasper, Banff or anywhere in between is very expensive.







The weather was much different today. No more heat. I was cold and wet instead.

Today I put on 432 miles.
To be continued ...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
GPS and Camera

Great Pic. may I ask what Camera & Tom Tom Gps did you used?
I'm subscribing to this.
Thanks

I used to take all my pictures with a digital SLR (Pentax K7). I have a Pelican case for it and would carry it in my TourPak. When I wanted to take a picture I would pull over and get out my Pentax. That camera case took up a lot of space and time to get it out. Then I bought a Canon G9X. It can be simple point and shoot but it also has good features. This was perfect for motorcycling. I would ride with this around my neck. I could pull over and take a picture or I would just slow down. I can take pictures with less distraction than changing a radio station. Most of the pictures I have posted were taken after I have stopped but some were taken while riding. I keep the camera zoomed way out. I can then crop the image with Photoshop when I get home. I don't even view the display. I just point and shoot. I try to keep it level but even that can be fixed with Photoshop.

I do recommend the Canon G9X for motorcycle photography.

Next question: GPS . . .

I have a TomTom Rider 400 made for motorcycles. This I do NOT recommend. I have had lots of problems with it. There are 3 ways to find your route with this GPS:

1. You can search directly from the GPS but the search feature is very poor.

2. You can use the MyDrive app for smart-phones. This has great search features (I think it uses Google Maps). When you find a destination it will use Bluetooth to send the route to your GPS. I had problems with MyDrive. Even when the smart phone said it was connected to my TomTom 400 AND when the TomTom said it was connected to my iPhone I was unable to send my route to my GPS.

3. You can use Tyre GPS software on your home PC. There is other software but this came free with my TomTom. To tour with a cycle software such as this is a must. Unless you only care about getting to Fairbanks and home and don't care about the route you need software that you can use in advance to plan your vacation. I spent a lot of time planning this route on my home PC. Then an hour from my home my GPS was sending me east. East is not the route I mapped out and is certainly not the way to Alaska. I knew I had to go through Dove Creek Colorado so I turned around. I never had this specific problem before and I think my GPS file may have been corrupt. There were many other times during this trip when my GPS would hang and then say it was reloading my GPS file. After several minutes it would start all over and take a few minutes to figure out where I was and where to go.

This TomTom was always telling me to turn around. I think some of the waypoints I plotted on my PC were misinterpreted to be points off the road in a field. The GPS would then tell me to turn around as if I wanted to go ride through the empty field that I passed a few miles back. This was so frustrating that I almost never used the GPS file that I took so much time to plot out on my home PC. Instead I kept using the search feature of the TomTom to find a town I wanted to ride to. This meant I would often pull over to look at a paper map to figure out what town to head to.
 

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Interesting (but scary) about the issues with the 400. I've just bought and installed a TomTom Rider 550, though except for around town I've only used it on one 400 mile round-trip weekend. I'm hoping to rely on it to get me across North America starting in August. My plan is to use mydrive to map out each day's waypoints, sync it to the 550, and then use the TomTom to guide me.

Did you try to see whether the GPS was trying to coerce you onto a different route to the same destination? I like to avoid interstates and prefer backroads. Planning these kind of routes on google maps can be frustrating because it's always trying to route you onto to the slab, which it judges to be more efficient. So far, mydrive seems to accommodate my personal style if I simply include enough waypoints to specify my intende route. I guess I'm hoping that the 400 has some issues that the 550 has solved, but I'm worried that you've had experience with some bug that I won't discover until I'm far from home.

As others have said, your pictures and description are fantastic. I'm about to pee my pants waiting for the bit between Fairbanks and Pruidhoe Bay.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Day 4 - Monday June 11th

After breakfast I head out of Hinton. It’s another cool day. That’s okay. I’m prepared for Alaska. I don’t mind cool weather. I like riding when it’s cool enough to wear all my leather.
I head out on highway 40. I like this. It’s a smaller highway with little traffic. The highway runs through a forest of spruce and fir.



After the town of Grande Prairie Alberta I cross this bridge that has wood planks for the roadway.



I come to realize almost all the bridges from here on out are old truss bridges (built with beams that form a triangulation above and around the roadway). Some of these bridges have had a concrete roadway retrofitted to them but a lot still have boards or a steel meshwork that the vehicles drive on.

I fill up with gas and before I even use a quarter of a tank I pass by another gas station. No need to top off my tank, or so I think. Later on I see a sign that Fort Nelson is 250 kilometers. That’s 150 miles and 20 miles farther than my Harley says I can go before I’m out. I am carrying a gas can for this specific reason. Gas stations are few and far between up here. I don’t want to completely run out. I plan on adding my gas when I have 10 miles of gas. At that time I see signs advertising about motels and other businesses in Fort Nelson. I keep riding and get to a gas station before I have to add my spare gas. I have 4 miles yet to go when I get to a gas station at the edge of town in Fort Nelson.

Notice my range says "Lo". This comes on when you have less than ten miles before running out. I have seen this 4 times on this ride to Alaska.


2006 miles after leaving home I arrive in Dawson Creek British Columbia. This is the beginning of the Alaskan Highway.



I roll into Fort Nelson and eat at a Boston Pizza restaurant. This is where I will stay for the night so I check into a Motel 6.

Today I put on 582 miles. My GPS said I rode for 9 and a half hour.
To be continued ...
 

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Your ride is awesome! Most folks I know don't trust their gas gauge and use their odometer instead. Also, where’s all your extra crap strapped all over your bike?

Again, I’m jealous. I lived in Fairbanks when I was young; my dad taught at the University of Alaska. Would like to go back and see the area again sometime

Doc
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Most folks I know don't trust their gas gauge and use their odometer instead. Also, where’s all your extra crap strapped all over your bike?
Doc
When the gas gauge reads half a tank is it really half full? No, I don't think the gauge is all that accurate but the computer is. I don't know how those trip computers can calculate the fuel more accurately than the gauge but I think they can. It must be an issue with the gauge displaying the exact amount of gas.
When the computer says "Lo" I switch to the odometer to see how far I have to go.
Going into Delta Junction I went 2 miles further than my computer said I would run out. I put 5.508 gallons into my 5.5 gallon tank and filled it to the rim. I now know I must have hit "Lo" at least 5 times. It wasn't a worry for me on this trip since I was carrying extra gas. I never ran till I was completely out of gas.

Oh, and I travel light! :grin
 
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