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900 miles through Alaska: Part 1

 

Alaska, the 49th state, is the largest of the states. It is three times the size of Texas, with 57,432,650 acres of wilderness. Most of this great state is not accessible by road. Of the miles accessible by road, our family tackled 900 miles of Alaska pavement and gravel this August.

Riding in Anchorage

Our  family’s journey, from Anchorage to Fairbanks, was truly full of adventure. We zig-zagged across the state from Anchorage to Glennallen, and then up and across the Denali Highway to the great Denali National Park. We ended with 120 miles on the George Parks Highway to Fairbanks.

We spent a great deal of time riding in the rain, yet that didn’t put too much of a damper on our travels. We were fortunate to witness moose, grizzly bear, snowshoe hares, a lynx, and numerous caribou in their natural habitats, on our adventure.

We travelled to Anchorage by plane, after driving to Salt Lake City from our home in Teton Valley, Idaho. Alaska Airlines allows travelers to transport bikes at the same cost as an additional bag. For $25 each we were able to fly with our bikes. April’s Burley worked as a stroller in the airport, with the one-wheel stroller kit.  Alaska Airlines has no stipulations on stroller size, so we transported the Burley for free.

We arrived in Anchorage just before noon on August 3rd. We called the hotel we would stay at to request a shuttle. There was some confusion among drivers though, so it took almost an hour and a half before we were picked up and dropped at the Comfort Suites. We were a bit frazzled when we finally arrived at the Comfort Suites. We had a number of things to do before we pedaled away from Anchorage the next morning.

The bike boxes were a little beat up when we arrived at our hotel, after being shuffled among planes and then placed in the back of the shuttle bus. Our bikes and gear seemed fine though, as Bryon pulled everything out and we got the bikes ready to ride.

Outside of Walmart, waiting for Bryon to get our supplies.

After our bikes were assembled we headed out to explore and shop for the necessities: food, fuel, ammo and a few other miscellaneous things. We were able to get almost everything we needed at the Walmart. Anchorage is busy and Walmart was full of quirky individuals, so April and Becky waited outside with the bikes, while Bryon shopped. We went to Big Ray’s, an Alaskan outdoor store to get bear spray and fuel for our jet boil.

Anchorage is not a small town, it is a full blown city, and we were able to navigate through a great portion of the town from our hotel to Walmart and the tourist areas on the local bike paths.

When we returned to our hotel after shopping we packed the bikes full of our gear, while enjoying pizza. After several hours of travel and preparations we finally went to sleep. We needed the rest, before beginning our excursion. We did not know entirely what was ahead of us, but we were ready to ride in the morning.

After two weeks on the Idaho Hot Springs Route, earlier this summer we had fine tuned our gear list and bike set-ups. Our gear list is below. We packed everything on our list strategically. On this trip we found that all of the gear we packed, was used through out the trip. Our gear and bags worked well, especially when we did endure rain. We honestly cannot think of anything we would have left at home.

We look forward to sharing our journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks, and our review of the Big Iron.

Shared Gear:

Family Cook kit:

MSR Dragonfly stove

1 16 oz Jetboil

2- 20 oz MSR fuel canisters filled with white fuel.

2 small canisters of MSR IsoPro Canister Fuel (We purchased 4 additional canisters throughout the trip)

1-10-inch GSR camp skillet

1-16 oz saucepan- handle has been modified

MSR Ultralight Kitchen Set, that includes spoon, spatula, cutting board, salt and pepper shaker

Extras MSR spice container with garlic salt and Lowry’s.

2 Knives

2 GSR Ultralight Java Drips and 2 Mugs

2 Coghlan’s Egg Holders

Small Dishsoap

First Aid Kit

Sunscreen

Bug Repellant

Foot Powder

1 Camping towel

 

Power and recharge Station:

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel

Venture 30 Recharger

Goal Zero Flip 20 Recharger

Camp Comfort:

Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 mtnGLO tent, rainfly, and footprint

Chairs: 2 Mayfly Camp Chairs

Tarp

 

Becky’s Set-up:

Bike: Why Cycles Big Iron

We both were very fortunate to work with Fat-Bike.com and Why Cycles in testing the Why Cycles Big Iron for our trip. We will be reviewing the bike in the near future. For further information on the Big Iron, at this time, check out the product spotlight at: https://fat-bike.com/2018/07/product-spotlight-why-cycles-big-iron/.

Bags:

2 Revelate Mountain Feedbags

1  FBJ Creations Fuel Tank

2 FBJ Creations Custom Mini Panniers

1 FBJ Creations Custom Frame bag

1 Sea to Summit 14 L Dry Compression Bag

1 15 L OR Dry Compression Bag

1 FBJ Creations Top tube bag

 

Cages and Cradles:

1 Salsa Anything Cage with 2 Voile Straps for holding 2 Liters of Water

1 Water bottle cage for bear spray

1 Anything Cradle

Rack: Salsa Alternator Rack

Becky’s Clothes:

1 pair shorts                         1 pair mountain bike shorts

1 pair Craft pants                1 tank top

1 light weight dress             2 pair extra socks

1 pair underwear                 1 extra chamois

1 extra riding top                 1 pair of sleeves

1 flannel                                 1 White Sierra raincoat

1 pair Gore rain pants         1 puffy jacket

1 swimsuit                             1 buff 

1 bandana                              1 hat

Toms shoes

Becky’s Sleep System:

Big Agnes Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad

North Face Cat’s Meow Sleeping bag

Bryon’s Set-Up:

Bike: Why Cycles Big Iron

Bags:

2 Revelate Mountain Feedbags

1 FBJ Creations Fuel Tank

2 FBJ Creations Custom Mini Panniers

1 FBJ Creations Custom Framebag

1 FBJ Creations Custom Tool Can

1 FBJ Creations Roll Bag

1 15 L OR Dry Compression Bags

Cages and Cradles:

1 Salsa Anything Cage with 2 Titan Straps for holding 2 Liters of Water

1 Water bottle and cage mounted on the right fork for water

1 Anything Cradle

Rack: Salsa Alternator Rack

Bryon’s Clothes:

1 pair shorts                              1 pair riding shorts

1 flannel                                     1 pair Craft pants

1 t-shirt                                      1 tank top

1 underwear                              1 pair extra socks

1 extra chamois                        1 extra jersey

Sleeves                                       1 puffy coat

1 Gore raincoat and pants     1 buff

Swim trunks                             Sanuk shoes/

Bryon’s Sleep System:

Big Agnes Q Core SLX sleeping pad

Big Agnes Lost Ranger sleeping bag

April’s Set-up:

Trailer: Burley Solo

April’s Clothes:

 2 pair shorts.                              1 dress

2 pair pants                                 1 pair pjs

2 t-shirts                                      2 long sleeve shirts

1 light jacket                                1 fleece jacket (We added this in Denali, after several days of rain)

Shoes                                             Swimsuit

Diapers: We carry about 25-30 diapers between resupplies (7 per day). At one point on this trip we carried close to 50 diapers, as we had 8 days before we reached a resupply that would sell diapers.

April’s Sleep System:

Big Agnes Little Red Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad

 

 

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3 Responses to 900 miles through Alaska: Part 1

  1. B Williford September 10, 2018 at 4:34 pm #

    Love this! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Erv Spanks September 11, 2018 at 6:32 am #

    Some awesome reading to look forward to this week!

  3. Hoss Lors September 16, 2018 at 10:40 pm #

    Love love love following along…
    You guys rock! I have a 1 year old…love hearing about the Burley…and diapers
    Hoss