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Old 01-25-08, 02:17 PM   #1
Leerafel
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Anchorage to Tijuana

Hi, I'm planning a bike tour from Anchorage Alaska to Tijuana Mexico... and maybe the rest of the way down the peninsula. My little brother and I just scheduled to fly to Anchorage on May 23.

I have toured the Washington and Oregon coast in years past, and my Dad (who will be joining me and my little brother in Vancouver) and my little brother rode from Victoria to Tijuana in 2006.

I'm hoping there are some people on this forum who have biked the Anchorage to Vancouver stretch that might have some good advice. ("Don't do it!" although probably good advice, will be disregarded haha.) There is a lot of good info at www.cyclingforacause.com from Mike Brichacek's tour last summer, but there are a lot of things that he didn't talk about in his blogs.

Before the questions, here is some context: Me and my little brother must complete the Anchorage to Vancouver section within about 30 days, (averaging 75 miles per day) in order to meet up with our dad. We will be completely self sustained, and will be camping as much of the time as possible. (Hostels and CouchSurfing when not possible to camp.)

Okay, so here are some questions to start with:

#1. How much money should I budget per day in Alaska and Canada?

#2. Is there a guidebook available for the Alaska to Vancouver section of the ride?

#3. If there isn't a guidebook, would someone please share information about good places to camp, buy food, etc.

I am trying to plan my route and schedule, and I could really use some help here since I don't know the terrain. It is easy to look at "google maps" and say "hey, that looks like it is downhill! I think I'll ride 100 miles that day," but then be completely wrong and end up way behind schedule. Also, I know sometimes in certain areas North of the jet-stream that you can hit some pretty nasty head winds while heading South.

So basically, any info on route ideas and planning (and any other insight) would be very helpful!
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Old 01-25-08, 02:38 PM   #2
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don't use tijuana as a stopping point... just make it san diego... you don't want to finish a tour with hanging out in tijuana getting run over my motorists or finish in Tecate mexico, best burritos i've ever had..
apologies for being unhelpful
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Old 01-25-08, 02:43 PM   #3
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Here is a page from www.biketouringtips.com that has 7 links on bike touring in Alaska. Some of them may be of interest to you.

Ray
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Old 01-25-08, 03:59 PM   #4
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Pick up a copy of "The Milepost" (http://www.themilepost.com) for some of your route questions.
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Old 01-25-08, 04:45 PM   #5
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(averaging 75 miles per day)
Thats a a lot, it's possible, but you won't enjoy it, I would recommend less

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We will be completely self sustained, and will be camping as much of the time as possible. (Hostels and CouchSurfing when not possible to camp.)
For all of Alaska, Yukon, and most of BC you can 'stealth camp' for free. There is so much of nothing that belongs to noone. Granted, you will want to stay at campgrounds every few days since they have showers, laundry, electricity, etc. For a campsite you should budget roughly $10 to $15

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#1. How much money should I budget per day in Alaska and Canada?
That depends if you want to cook your own food or not, and if you do, you'll probably get sick of it soon, but I would say roughly $30 a day or so, which doesn't include bicycle parts or things like that

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#2. Is there a guidebook available for the Alaska to Vancouver section of the ride?
Not that I know of, there really isn't anything there. I would recommend getting very good maps and finding those guidebooks for RVs and things like that. There are towns on the map sometimes on which there isn't much. The Casiar highway is a good example, there was a stretch of about 400 km of 'nothingness', and where there was something it was closed for the season still

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#3. If there isn't a guidebook, would someone please share information about good places to camp, buy food, etc.
If you want to stay at a campground you can find a list of provincial/state campgrounds you can stay at, or if your on a tight budget just walk 100 ft off the side of the road
As for food, the only place your going to find anything is in the cities/towns, there isn't anything in between

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I am trying to plan my route and schedule, and I could really use some help here since I don't know the terrain. It is easy to look at "google maps" and say "hey, that looks like it is downhill! I think I'll ride 100 miles that day," but then be completely wrong and end up way behind schedule. Also, I know sometimes in certain areas North of the jet-stream that you can hit some pretty nasty head winds while heading South.
The winds were very, very bad in some places, I specifically remember a place called 'Destruction Bay'. Your goal of 75 miles per day is doable, but your going to hate life. The Casiar highway is a little slower for biking since the road conditions are poor and the road is gravel in some parts. Additionally, roads in the Yukon are terrible, full of pot holes etc.

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So basically, any info on route ideas and planning (and any other insight) would be very helpful!
In my journal I usually detailed if I had a rough day or if I came across nothing, my best advice for you is to get good maps
Couchsurfing won't be much help to you apart from the larger cities
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Old 01-26-08, 10:21 AM   #6
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Just back from doing a very similiar, though slightly more circuitous route, and also probably a lot slower.
There is a cycling british columbia book that we picked up though can't recall anymore details at the moment. Had profiles and info for most of the main highways in BC so that might help if someone else can provide the name.
You can see our blog at http://blog.twofortheroad.info/
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Old 01-26-08, 03:52 PM   #7
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For Muttsta: What model Cannondale did you use? And what size and type of tire and wheel did you use? It's seems like it was built to take alot of abuse. Were you happy with your choice of bike? I am the OP's dad.
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Old 01-26-08, 05:25 PM   #8
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you may want to look at these:

http://broughton.ca/bcakfaq.html
http://www.karo-ent.com/cassiarno.htm
http://www.vanc.igs.net/~roughley/bike_bc.html
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=lt&page_id=33977&v=st

http://www.ontheroad.eu.com/

have fun!
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Old 01-26-08, 06:50 PM   #9
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hey big brother i wish you would have talked to me before you bought those plane tickets ha ha just kidding... ya this is the OP's brother that is doing this trip with, and i was just wondering what the stretches are like inbetween cities. and if we should carry more than one days worth of food at a time...
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Old 01-26-08, 07:26 PM   #10
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For Muttsta: What model Cannondale did you use? And what size and type of tire and wheel did you use? It's seems like it was built to take alot of abuse. Were you happy with your choice of bike? I am the OP's dad.
I rode a 2006 Cannondale Cyclocross Disc (http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/06/CUSA/model-6XR1.html) with standard cyclocross gearing, which wasn't a good idea when carrying gear. When I got to Santa Barbara I changed out the cassette to one more suited to my needs, but two chainrings in the front was more than enough for me. I love the bike to death, the thing is built really strong, and the disc brakes are awesome. I didn't break a single spoke, but I did break a three rims, all due to my stupidity though. One I went off a very large step with a full load on the back, which totally warped my wheel. Second I had my wheels trued at a very unreliable bicycle mechanic in Mexico, who overtightened one of my nipples which eventually led to a cracked rim. The third rim broke when a car hit me.

I used 700x35 Marathon Supremes, they were also very good tires with excellent puncture resistance. I would actually recommend getting thinner tires, the 35's were comfortable to ride on but a little too slow for my taste. As for my wheels, the original wheels that came with the bike were perfect, however they all broke, but as I mentioned before, not due to poor quality but my error
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Old 01-26-08, 07:29 PM   #11
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hey big brother i wish you would have talked to me before you bought those plane tickets ha ha just kidding... ya this is the OP's brother that is doing this trip with, and i was just wondering what the stretches are like inbetween cities. and if we should carry more than one days worth of food at a time...
There are some stretches where you have to carry food for a few days just to be safe. The most desolate stretch is the Casiar Highway in Northern British Columbia, at one point you'll need to carry enough food for four/five days. I always carried roughly three days of food to stay on the safe side, but usually it wasn't required. Get a good map of those areas and see what towns are along the way. For the most part all towns will have at least some kind of small shop where you can buy stuff.
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Old 01-26-08, 07:37 PM   #12
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http://www.karo-ent.com/cassiarno.htm
This link that was posted earlier is great, the only down side about some of these places is that they may be a few miles off the road, I remember one time the distance to some lodge was 10 miles along a dirt path, lol
But from that list:
- At the junction of the Alaska highway there is a motel, a small shop, and a great little restaurant with the best cinnamon buns ever, I highly suggest you try them
-At Jade City there wasn't a restaurant, just a shop with a ton of overpriced jade, candy and free coffee, which I really stocked up on
-Dease Lake is a decent sized town with a hardware store, campground, large grocery store, and good restaurant
-Tatooga Lake Resort - there were rooms here and a pay phone, small shop with a bunch of nothingness, didn't see a restaurant or any food here
- Bell II Lodge - Big lodge with restaurant and a small shop with candy and snacks

The rest of the places on there I don't exactly recall, either because they were closed for the season or really far off the road
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Old 01-26-08, 09:14 PM   #13
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I don't know the route you're planning through B.C. but when if you're going through Vancouver, there are a few roads to watch out for. Bikes are not allowed in the Massey Tunnel on Highway 99. There are shuttle services if you need them, but I'd suggest modifying your route in this area. The Trans-Canada Highway from around Abbotsford west is rather hectic. If at all possible, try to use another route.

If you want a slightly different experience, you can take a ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and then cycle south to Victoria. This way, you can bypass Vancouver. From Victoria, there are ferries to get you into Washington State. On the Island Highway, the terrain is mostly rolling and moderate, but there is one big hill at Malahat Pass. This is between Duncan and Victoria. You can bypass this by taking the ferry from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay.

There's a lot of good information on touring B.C., Alaska and the Yukon at http://broughton.ca/bcakfaq.html
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Old 01-26-08, 09:46 PM   #14
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Also how warm of clothing will be needed throughout Alaska and British columbia?
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Old 01-26-08, 09:58 PM   #15
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Also how warm of clothing will be needed throughout Alaska and British columbia?
I had Underarmour cold gear (long sleeve shirt and nickers), a pair of hospital scrubs, a short-sleeve t-shirt, a rain jacket, and rain pants
There were days when I was cold, also be sure to get closed finger gloves as your hands are going to freeze otherwise like mine did
Be aware that it gets very, very, very damn cold at night, so make sure to have a good sleeping bag, I carried an REI SubKilo down bag
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Old 01-27-08, 06:20 PM   #16
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Hey Muttsta thank for all your help, you were kinda the inspiration that started this crazy idea On these long stretches did you have cell phone service? And is it at all realistic to rent a satellite phone?
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Old 01-27-08, 08:17 PM   #17
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Hey Muttsta thank for all your help, you were kinda the inspiration that started this crazy idea On these long stretches did you have cell phone service? And is it at all realistic to rent a satellite phone?
Actually, I didn't get cell phone service almost anywhere
My phone, which is from a Canadian company, didn't work in Alaska, Yukon, or Northern BC, even though I told my cell phone company before and during my trip about 5 times to turn on international roaming

There was also the time I saw this sign, but I didn't really mind since my phone didn't work anyway
http://cyclingforacause.com/album/ma...107.jpg&var2=2

My phone began working again in southern BC and in the states
I personally wouldn't worry about getting a satellite phone, I only brought a phone so that I could text people back home, which proved to be impossible since you need digital service for that anyway and everywhere up there it's analog
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Old 01-27-08, 08:32 PM   #18
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Also how warm of clothing will be needed throughout Alaska and British columbia?
In late May and June, northern B.C. and Alaska will get cold at night, The B.C. south coast, around Vancouver and Victoria, is mild. Nights don't cool down too much and days don't get too hot. The B.C. coast gets a lot of rain. That's more of a problem than the cold. If you go through the southern interior of B.C., through places like Kamloops and Kelowna, days can get hot and the nights will be pleasantly cool. The B.C. Interior is quite dry, more noticeably so the farther south one goes.

Environment Canada has some good information on past weather at http://www.climate.weatheroffice.ec....s/index_e.html.
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Old 01-28-08, 02:38 PM   #19
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I had Underarmour cold gear (long sleeve shirt and nickers), a pair of hospital scrubs, a short-sleeve t-shirt, a rain jacket, and rain pants
There were days when I was cold, also be sure to get closed finger gloves as your hands are going to freeze otherwise like mine did
Be aware that it gets very, very, very damn cold at night, so make sure to have a good sleeping bag, I carried an REI SubKilo down bag
That is good to hear. UnderArmor cold gear was already on my list along with rain jacket/pants.

Mark, we also ought to consider getting those mummy bag liners that we looked at up at REI. My bag was always a little overkill on the Washington/Oregon stretch, but with those heavy duty liners in our bags, (the ones that were like lite summer mummy bags) should be just perfect for the Alaska/Canada stretch.

I have plotted our route and food plan from Anchorage down to the start of the Cassiar, but I stopped there for now. I need to gather more info from those links.
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Old 02-02-08, 02:17 PM   #20
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Also i was wondering if there is a big possibilitie of problems with bears that time of year.
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Old 02-03-08, 01:56 AM   #21
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Also i was wondering if there is a big possibilitie of problems with bears that time of year.
Only if you can't bike faster than your brother.
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Old 02-03-08, 09:58 AM   #22
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Also i was wondering if there is a big possibilitie of problems with bears that time of year.
Yes, I didn't see any bears in Alaska or the Yukon, but I saw 21 of them in British Columbia, mostly along the Casiar highway
I carried a can of bear spray to be safe, but I didn't have any problems
I'd just have my hands around and yell then slowly roll past them
And of course when your camping you have to hang all your food and anything that gives off a scent (toothpaste, deodorant, cookware, etc.) away from your camp unless you want a bear to come peeking into your tent at night
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Old 02-03-08, 10:11 AM   #23
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Hi, I'm planning a bike tour from Anchorage Alaska to Tijuana Mexico... and maybe the rest of the way down the peninsula. My little brother and I just scheduled to fly to Anchorage on May 23.
This family is planning to go from Alaska to Argentina in June (below):

http://familyonbikes.org/blog/?page_id=10

Why not delay your trip and perhaps be able to provide each other with support?
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Old 02-04-08, 05:02 PM   #24
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Hi
If you want any information about riding here in Anchorage let me know. If nothing else I could give you detailed directions on how to get to the trail system that leads out of the city. In the summer I see a lot of long distance riders who get stuck on the 6 lane Glenn HWY for their first leg instead of finding the rather nice bike trail that follows it. The bike trail system here is great if you can find it. Let me know
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Old 02-05-08, 02:40 PM   #25
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Oh yeah Alaska Tourer! I could definitely use some good directions. I was planning on just winging it when I got there haha. How are those trails? What kind of grade and conditions can we expect?
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