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Touring Washington to Ketchikan

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Touring Washington to Ketchikan

Old 08-29-10, 01:02 PM
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Touring Washington to Ketchikan

I'm looking for folks who have cycled from Washington up to Ketchikan, Ak.
It's part of an itinerary for me for 2011, and I'd like some ideas, information, suggestions, photos, route help, and gear help.
Thanks.
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Old 08-30-10, 12:55 PM
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Ketchikan is only accessible by boat or plane you can ride north into the Yukon Territory then down to Haines AK and catch the ferry to Ketchikan.

I have never down any riding in the area up there but I know that a couple people on this site have done rides from AK to here. MAaybe they will jump in and help
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Old 08-30-10, 07:30 PM
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Ketchikan is on an island, and is VERY ( VERY) wet. ( did I mention that it is wet) How important to your plans is getting there. There is only one way up from the US, riding the main road to Prince George, and then out to Prince Rupert where you catch the ferry. I've driven it several times, but it has never struck me as the best of rides, nor the safest. There are other rides up here that you might consider if you are open to it. One of the things to remember about riding up here is that the main road are all there is. THere simple are no other choices for the most part.

Last edited by Alaska Tourer; 08-30-10 at 07:32 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-30-10, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Alaska Tourer
Ketchikan is on an island, and is VERY ( VERY) wet. ( did I mention that it is wet) How important to your plans is getting there. There is only one way up from the US, riding the main road to Prince George, and then out to Prince Rupert where you catch the ferry. I've driven it several times, but it has never struck me as the best of rides, nor the safest. There are other rides up here that you might consider if you are open to it. One of the things to remember about riding up here is that the main road are all there is. THere simple are no other choices for the most part.
I grew up in Ketchikan and there are only like 36 miles of paved raods and Alaska Tourer was downplaying how wet it is. It is actually much worse.
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Old 08-30-10, 09:42 PM
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Thanks. My objective is to cycle up to AK from Washington, after crossing the US from Virginia. If not Ketchikan, then where in AK is accessible? I've heard that AK is the 5th most dangerous state for cyclists, so really want to know about road safety also. It's excellent to get this info well in advance. I tend to be hard-headed, and if I had already crossed the entire continent of North America and then realized how difficult it is, I'd have to dig my heels in, and die trying to get there. This way, I have much time to plan and adapt the goal.
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Old 08-31-10, 08:55 PM
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If actually riding to AK with out taking a ferry is you main objective then Hyder is the end of the road as far as Southeast is concerned, or you could ride up the Alcan. We get a fair number of people who start here in Anchorage and ride down the ALCAN to the lower 48, There was at least one death this summer, but that was because of the motorcycle crazies who rode up from the keys more or less nonstop.

If it was me I would hop a ferry in Bellingham Washington, go to Haines ( passing through KTN) and ride to the end of the road at Homer. Strictly speaking the furthest west portion of the North American road system 10 miles out side of Homer but the town is too cool to miss. Google homer spit and look at the photos. You could also take the ferry to Whitter, still make it to the end of the road and save a thousand miles. What time of year might you be up here?
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Old 08-31-10, 10:03 PM
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AT,
Thanks for the info. My husband went to school in Fairbanks, but that's been decades ago, and he isn't as familiar with the roads for cycling.
He, too, recommended the ferry system. It has just been a dream of mine to cycle across the US and up to AK for about 30 years. Perhaps it's just not likely. I'll be passing through Washington State about 8/1 and heading up, with the objective of being back in Washington by 9/1. Believing I'd miss the bad weather if I met those goals.
Again, thanks. I will follow up on the research recommendations.
C
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Old 09-09-10, 10:26 AM
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My bike is a Bianchi Axis, which is a cyclo-cross bike. I'm very comfortable on her, and consider her my cycling partner. Despite this, friends are really counseling me to get a Surly LHT. Because of the comfort of the ride, and the stability of the lower bottom bracket, as well as the durability of the frame. Many cross-country cyclists use this bike, but many folks for decades have used whatever they have. It would be very helpful to know what other touring cyclists feel about this. AND, whether the novara randonee is comparable.
One friend, in particular, said the Randonee is a wonderful bike, well priced, but the gearing isn't a suitable for a true cross-country touring bike. That I would need to get more of a climbing set-up. Whatcha think?
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Old 12-17-10, 01:04 AM
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I bought the LHT and a Nice Rack. working on getting a tubus rear rack.
Have gotten the route planned out, and have expanded the tour. E2W from April 7-July10. Fly home to VA for one month of work and of course to see the Hubster. Fly back in Aug. and cycle for a month, meet the Hubster in AK and cycle to Homer, and back, if it's within his capabilities. Ferry back to Oregon and he will fly home. I will do the Pacific coast route and pick up the Southern Tier route to New Orleans-ish. Then head north to Tenn, where I'll meet my daughter and ride home for Christmas then back with her to Tennessee. From there, I'll cycle home, but don't know the route yet. I'll decide that at some point along the way. I'll have a comp with me, so I'll advertise for companions once I know.
I am looking for companions for individual days along the way and hope some local bike clubs will let their membership know I'd like companionship when I'm in their area.
My budget is about $10/day, so I'm hoping some of you will give me ideas on how to stretch that as much as possible. Companions would be great here, as we can share motel exp. once a week or so.
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Old 12-17-10, 01:05 AM
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Oh, and where the heck are all the female cyclists? Especially touring cyclists:0D
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Old 12-17-10, 09:14 AM
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Check out crazyguyonabike.com if you haven't already. Lots of touring cyclists there that could answer your specific questions.
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Old 12-19-10, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Spokie
AT,
I'll be passing through Washington State about 8/1 and heading up, with the objective of being back in Washington by 9/1. Believing I'd miss the bad weather if I met those goals.
Again, thanks. I will follow up on the research recommendations.
C
You can tell the NorthWetters by the really good GoreTex they wear. That's because the bad weather will find you.

Weather can vary in the NorthWet. Saying: If you don't like the weather, wait a half hour. I once spent a week in late August weathered in at Garden Bay, BC while it blew gales all quadrants and dumped 2" of rain overnight down in Bothell, WA. We did not go any further north that season.

We try to be migrating south by the Autumnal Equinox in September. There is usually a stretch of bad weather around then. This year I was rained off the Palouse and then off the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes by successive fronts, scampered back over the pass as yet another front approached and beat the rain to the boat by 40 minutes. I could see it in the rear view mirror, gaining. In contrast, we had 30 days of sun this July. Our motto is: Summer begins on the 5th of July.

Husband is right: Take the ferry. You can camp out as deck cargo. Bring a half roll of duct tape as tent pegs don't work on steel decks. Try to get tent space under the dining room aft. We rode it from Bellingham to Skagway and back. Fun trip. They move the scenery past you at 18 kts.

Ask husband to explain "Sitka sneakers."

I'd get myself to WA, take a week on the ferry to and fro, then go ride some of our better trails. The Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area is thick with good ones - Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, The Route of the Hiawatha, the Centennial trails in Spokane and CdA, the Fish Lake, etc. You can do a loop of about 175 miles using the TCdA, RH, Old Milwaukee Road, etc. They are working on extending the Hiawatha another 40 miles into Montana.

Check them out on TrailLink.com ...

<https://www.traillink.com/trail/trail-of-the-coeur-dalenes.aspx>
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Old 12-20-10, 04:42 PM
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spokie, check out the touring forum on this website, they may have some non-PacNW tips to share.
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Old 12-21-10, 01:10 AM
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Unless you have a bike rack for your kayak, it is hard to cycle to Ketchikan. But, you can bike to Port Angeles or Anacortes, ferry across to Vancouver Island (join Mtn Equip Coop, Canada's REI, and buy your rain gear in Victoria), then ride up the east side of Vancouver Island to Port Hardy. Ferry north to Prince Rupert (several places to stop off if you wish), then switch to the Alaska Ferry system and go north. Get off in Haines, take the Klondike Highway up to the Alcan, ride west, go on out to Homer. Take the AK ferry home to Bellingham, Washington
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