The 2017 trip will be different from 2016 (we went thru Atlanta, Nashville, Minneapolis, Fargo ND, Saskatoon, Lloydminster). Our route will take us thru Alabama (Montgomery and Birmingham) with a stop in Tupelo, Mississippi then thru Memphis. We will then have our 2nd stop in Omaha with the 3rd stop near Sturgis, SD then 4th stop in Shelby, Montana, 5th stop in McBride British Columbia and arrive in Hyder at the end of six days.
Please don't panic when you see the "kickstands up" times posted. You have every right to sleep in and catch up later. Past years bikers made group plans as to departure time. If you do my suggested kickstands up times, that means you are packed, gassed up, ready to go, no stops for breakfast.
I always fill up the night before (more than once, no gas stations open in the morning or power failure causes pumps not to operate, gas stations empty due to late fuel deliveries. I have coffee in my mug the night before (reheat in microwave).
I am perfectly amenable to compromising with group wishes (maybe catch breakfast at the lodging) but I do like to be on the road at sunrise. I've had times when I was glad to have an early start to give me time to arrange for bad weather, breakdowns, scenic side routes, etc.
Lots of miles in six days, I know. That's why I encourage everyone to stay in Stewart/Hyder for three nights. Rest and enjoy the area. You then can plan your own leisurely route home taking your favorite bucket list roads.
There will be no registration. The only involvement I have is to add you to group emails so you can find out who else is going, request room-mates, plan on route past Hyder, plan return route, etc.
The most important thing for you to do is to shoot me an email at DrASL@aol.com and give me a bio on yourself, a picture of you and your bike, and where you plan to join up with me. I will then introduce you to the group. It is of paramount importance for the group to email back and forth with plans, ideas, etc. so a cohesive group chemistry can form early.
We will be leaving St. Augustine, Florida July 1, 2016 at 6 a.m. from Village Inn and arrive in Alaska July 6.
So, what kind of a riding companion is Mike? Keep in mind he's 100% deaf. His speech is rather easy to understand. He likes to just watch all of you have a great time and doesn't talk much at all. Paper and pencil will do wonders! If you think he's a good lipreader --- scientifically, most speech sounds are indistinguishable -- try saying soundlessly: brother/mother; baby/maybe; No new taxes/Go to Texas; few/view; Friday/fried eggs .... you get it now.
He likes to go to his room early (while the bikers chat it up at the local bar) and edit and post the daily YouTube videos and get a good night sleep and be on the road early in the morning! For group chemistry reasons, he is willing to wait until the posted "kickstands up" time but hopes everyone is willing to be on the road at crack of dawn.
Actually, based on past history, some bikers may form an early departure group and the rest the later departure group.
July 1, 2017 -- Day 1 -- St. Augustine, Florida to Tupelo, Mississippi -- 636 miles -- Kickstand up at 6 a.m. from Village Inn on US 1 in St. Augustine.Mike Tuccelli will start. There are three routes, each with pros and cons. I'm taking 10 west then 321 north into Alabama (Montgomery and Birmingham) then I-65 -- of course, Cal and I may change our plans. I will have a SPOT link so you can see where we are in real time. There is a 50-mile twisty segment in Arkansas with some road construction (as of Summer 2016) which will "break you in" for future twisties! I'm staying at Quality Inn (if you use Booking.com, it makes it easy to change and cancel reservations) at 1190 North Gloster Street in Tupelo, MS 38804. Price as of December 7 was posted at $56.
I suggest you book rooms with two beds. It doesn't cost more and you may later want to have a room-mate and save hundreds of dollars. After you find out who else is coming, you can email with others in the group and if you want, make arrangements to share rooms.
Speaking of making lodging reservations ... find an app something like Booking.com and make reservations at places where you can cancel up to 6 p.m. of day of arrival. I'll tell you why (from 15 years of experience): 1. Storm systems -- you may want to stop early and Booking.com has a very easy link to cancel your reservations for that night and to instantly find rooms in your area. You can then get a VERY EARLY start the next day to reach your destination or cancel that one and get one just 500 or so miles down the road. 2. Breakdowns -- you can easily cancel and rebook reservations down the road if you are stuck for days waiting for services or parts. 3. You get sick. Cancel and rebook reservations. 4. On your return trip home you might find yourself making really good time and arrive at your destination at only 2 or 3 p.m. and the weather forecast is great so you can cancel and book something else a couple hundred miles further. 5. Say you had decided to go east tomorrow but the weather forecast is for severe storms in that area. You might want to go Southeast to get around the storm. Easy to cancel and rebook.
July 2, 2017 -- Day 2 -- Tupelo, Mississippi to Omaha, Nebraska -- 749 miles -- Kickstand up at 5:00 from Quality Inn -- this means gassed up and already have had breakfast. Jim Pehler will join me here. Joseph Lee will join us in Kansas City, Missouri at the Flying J truck stop at exit 57 on interstate 435 around 4:30 p.m. or before. See map tracking link. I'm staying at Super 8 Omaha Eppley Airport/Carter Lake -- 3000 Airport Drive, Carter Lake, Omaha, Iowa 51510 -- price quoted December 7 at $54.99.
July 3, 2017 -- Day 3 -- Omaha, Nebraska to Rapid City, South Dakota -- 524 miles -- Kickstand up at 5:30 a.m. at Super 8. We will do I-90 west. In 2016 I took US 275 west but wasn't too happy with it. You can choose that if you like. I'm staying at Motel 6, 620 Latrobe Ave, Rapid City SD 57701.
July 4, 2017 -- Day 4 -- Rapid City, South Dakota to Shelby, Montana -- 640 miles. Kickstand up at 5 a.m. at Motel 6.Steve Dahlin, Mary Dahlin and Brian Revels will join us here. Most likely will take Montana 200 but US 212 is also a choice. Only 10 minute difference between them. Hours and hours of twisties from this point on! I'm staying at Comfort Inn, 455 McKinley, Shelby, MT 59474.
July 5, 2017 -- Day 5 -- Shelby, Montana to McBride, British Columbia -- 596 miles. Kickstand up at 5 a.m. from Motel 6. I believe Ray Price will join us here. Reason for early start ... sunrise is earlier up North and the going after Calgary is s-l-o-w .... Icefield Parkway is 40-45 MPH for the most part and there are gawking tourists on the 2-lane parkway. Fuel stops are far apart from this point on ... there is a well marked gas station at Sasketchewan crossing at the beginning of the parkway and when you get to Jasper, you will be shocked at the long lines at the few gas stations! We definitely will stop at Mt Robson rest area ... tallest peak of the Canadian Rockies. The sandwiches and soups are delicious! No premium gas here so that's why you want to fill up at Jasper. UPDATE: I was contacted by Dave Ryckman who has a biker campground and wants to invite us for a pit stop or overnight stay. It is just 21 miles west of Mt. Robson cafe and only about 45 miles before McBride. Dave Rycman, Flathead City Camping, Dunster, BC 11730 Hwy 16 -- I am going to cancel my Bell Mountain Motel but most of you most likely will stay there. If you have camping equipment, you might want to check out his website. In any event, we will all pull in and look over his biker campground. He supports the charity as he said he had a girlfriend years ago who was deaf. I was going to stay at at Bell Mountain Motel, 815 Bridge Road, McBride, British Columbia V0J 2E0.
July 6, 2017 -- Day 6 -- McBride, British Columbia to Hyder Alaska -- 565 miles. Kickstands up at 5 a.m. at Bell Mountain Motel. When you leave McBride, it is a 202-kilometer stretch with no fuel until Prince George! By the way, Prince George has a huge Honda shop. You may want to contact Sam Henderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) at EyeCandy Custom Motorcycles in Smithers, BC and arrange for oil change, etc. If you think you need new tires, you need to let him know months ahead so he can order them and arrange for service. Smithers, BC has the last full service Harley shop and also a Honda shop. If your bike requires premium fuel, be warned the smaller gas stations do not have premium so fill up at Smithers and then at Kitwanga then again at Metzler Junction (37/37A). There is no premium in Stewart/Hyder.
May I suggest Ripley Inn? There is also King Edwards Hotel though you should get the King Edwards motel across the street if you wan to park your bike at your door. The motel is a bit more expensive than the hotel. ACCOMMODATIONS HERE BOOK UP QUICKLY so I recommend you make reservations no later than February 2017.
There's Salmon Glacier Bed and Breakfast. I haven't seen it but the reviews look good.
I'm staying at Ripley Inn which is on the main street ... it is only a few dollars a night more than King Edwards Hotel and IS WORTH THE AMBIENCE!!!
IMHO the king crab leg dinner at the King Edwards hotel isn't worth
it at all. There is a nice bakery (Temptation Bakery) on the street
where you can get a breakfast or lunch or get a picnic to go. May I
recommend Dash Bistro?
May I suggest you go to Temptation Bakery and get a picnic lunch before heading up the mining road to Salmon Glacier? Make sure you write your name on the ceiling (you will find several past years bikers too!)
There are also two grocery stores where you can get deli meals .... may be quite a bit cheaper than eating at King Edward dining room.
July 7-9, 2017 -- chilling out in Stewart BC and Hyder, Alaska! You will want to sleep in with bright sunlight shining in your window at 4:30 a.m. This is a rainforest area so expect rain here and there.
Your return route home is your preference. If you email back and forth with others, you may form a group. For example, Bob Summers and Gus & Lourdes Gar made plans to ride home together in 2016.
I am driving to Delaware going North over Lake Superior to attend a week-long deaf church conference. The map link will show me going to McBride, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Wawa, Buffalo NY and then to Delaware. 1. Alaska to McBride -- 565 miles 2. McBride to Edmonton -- 331 miles (was going to go straight to Saskatoon but it's nice -- from past experience -- to have a couple of short days) 3. Edmonton to Saskatoon -- 327 miles 4. Saskatoon to Winnipeg -- 516 miles 5. Winnipeg to Thunder Bay -- 317 miles 6. Thunder Bay to Wawa -- 407 miles 7. Wawa to Buffalo -- 652 miles 8. Buffalo to Milton, Delaware -- 474 miles
After one week at the deaf church conference, I'll head down I-95 to home.
I MAY -- JUST MAYBE -- CHANGE THE ABOVE AND GO STRAIGHT FROM MCBRIDE TO SAKSKATOON DEPENDING ON HOW I FEEL AND THE WEATHER FORECAST!!
May I suggest making reservations now for at least the first couple of days of your return trip? If you go North on 37, may I suggest Air Force Lodge? If you return the same route, reserve now for McBride. For those going South, Icefield Parkway area is VERY PRICEY so you might want to continue to Calgary ... be warned the topography between Icefield Parkway and Calgary is conductive to pop up rain storms so be prepared!