Ducati 916 - Prudhoe Bay, Deadhorse - Page 3 - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum
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post #21 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 29th, 2017, 12:52 am Thread Starter
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Ride Report Part 1

The first couple days were pretty straight forward. Started in sunny SoCal and had to make it through the scorching desert of Nevada and Utah. It was not too pleasant riding in about 110 degree heat. Lucky there was not much traffic through Las Vegas so we were able to get past that section without burning up. It didn’t start to cool down until we got past St. George in Utah then it became a lot more tolerable. The first day to Salt Lake City would probably be our longest leg at just under 670 miles.

Day 2 was great riding weather as we made our way through Idaho and into Missoula, Montana. Nearly clear skies with patches of cloud and maybe mid 80 temp which was a huge difference than the 110 on the 1st day.

Day 3 destination was Banff, Canada. I have to say I really enjoyed the views and scenery around Banff and Jasper National Park. I am really sad to say I couldn’t take more pictures to do this area justice. We did have a fairly tight schedule so we couldn’t spend as much time as we wanted at various scenic spot. This is one area I would like to revisit and spend more time.

Coming up to Banff along the 93, we got our 1st taste of climatic changes. The 93 from Radium Hot Springs towards Banff were big sweepers, sky were mostly clear and the sun was out. We were having so much fun running this section that I missed a very scenic outlook as we zipped by. As we continued, it got darker, clouds blocked out the sun, and then it let loose on us.

IT was pouring on us to the point we slowed to about 30sih miles. There were a few turns the winds push us both out to the double yellow or edge as we were going through. It was not too cold and our suits did hold up well to the rain. It was not a long section so we were greeted to the sun again after we passed this thunderstorm.

Day 4, we left Banff and headed up to Grand Prairie through Jasper and the Icefield Parkway. I can’t say enough of the views in this place. The Icefield Parkway is a must see.
We did take a slight detour going up at the 93 and 1 split. Didn’t pay attention to the signs so we continued on the 1 till we got to Golden and realized it was the wrong turn. We had to back track and continue. After getting down from Jasper National Park, the weather was not as sunny and clear. We had clouds and encountered on and off rain for about 4 hours. It was not the thunderstorm we had in Banff but it was enough to make it cold and miserable. We got into our hotel late and barely had time to hit the Denny within the hotel before that closed for the night: P.

Along the way to the hotel, we came across a black bear crossing the road and two deers. The black bear was well ahead and we had pretty of time to slow and let it do its thing. The deers were a different story. The mama deer surprised us but we were able to slow down enough to within 15 feet. Then the baby deer decided to rush and catch up. My girlfriend almost slammed into the baby deer. She was leading this section so she came within a few feet of the baby. After this near encounter, we watched our speed on these roads.

Day 5, we left the hotel and had to deal with the rain until we finally made it to Dawson Creek. The start of the Alcan Highway: P. We started our Alcan experience with the sun and clear skies. Roads were still paved and the route is very scenic. As we got closer to our day’s destination, Muncho Lake, we were greeted with a few sections of nice canyon fun. We got into our lodge at a reasonable time (@8pm ish). After a nice meal, we attempted to head to the Liard Hot Springs. To our surprise, about 30 miles of the road to the hot springs was under construction with it mostly been loose gravel and dust. We attempted 20 miles and decided to head back to the lodge to call it a night.

Day 6, the road towards the Liard Hot Springs was a little easier. The gravel was packed more than the night before so riding was not so bad. This time we arrived at the hot spring. After some nudging from my girlfriend, we decide to take the time and waded into the hot spring. It is worth the $5 admission and a must visit. It’s somewhat of a walk from the parking area to the hot spring and there are separate changing room. The room is just an open area with bench along the wall and outside the room are some open storage to house your belongings.

The rest of the way after the hot spring was picturesque forest, mountains, bridge crossing and lakes. I believe it was this section of our trip that we encounter the most wildlife. Saw several black bears and a couple brown bear, a fox, porcupine, moose and bison. Saw a couple of lone male bison along the road. They were big, laying along the side of the road, and did not give a damn.

When we 1st left our lodge and was making our way towards Liard Hot Springs, we did encounter a herd of bison. About nearly a dozen were on the left side of the road, with male, females and young adults. We were advised to stay close like a pack. This was around the road construction section so we were behind vehicles. My girlfriend was near the center and tailgating the vehicle in front. I was on the right-side near the edge of the road and I guess I was not tailgating the vehicle in front enough.

As we were passing this herd, I noticed that a couple young adult bison were on my right. Maybe I was not grouped into the pack of vehicle enough or I decided to look at one bison on my right, but that one bison decided to start pacing me. Haha. That got me kinda freaked at that time. I thought he was going to pace and then charge at me. The bison let off as we moved through the herd though.
Made a stop at Watson Lake for the famous Sign Post Forest before getting into Whitehorse.

Day 7, Started off the day very badly. This was the day an asshole stole the brake hose (from the brake reservoir to master cylinder) off my bike. Spend 2-3 hours scrambling to find a replacement. Had a lunch and went to gas up. This was where I also lost the top to my quick release gas cap which I would not find out till about 2 hours later at our next gas stop.

There was no use attempting to run back to Whitehorse, hope the top was there, and come back again wasting 4 hours. I had to have some type of cover beside the tank bag sitting over the gas tank opening. I went into the store, looked around for idea and guess Coke can came to mind for some reason. It was smaller than the normal size can but the size somewhat match the gas opening. Coke was bought, drank, crushed, and the duct tape over the gas tank :P This would eventually last me all the way up and back to Prudhoe. I had replacement expedited to hotel in Fairbanks.
The road condition from Whitehorse towards Dawson started pretty good then we encountered loose gravels, muddy construction zone, bumpy and uneven surfaces that had us bouncing off our seat at times even though mostly paved roads.

We arrived into Dawson and it was like a scene out of an old spaghetti western movie with time period correct building and unpaved dirt roads. Found a nice little Greek restaurant, Drunken Goat for a nice meal and wine.
It was time to hop over to the Downtown Hotel for the SourToe Cocktail famous in Dawson. It is an actual human toe dehydrated and preserved in salt used in a cocktail of your choice. I chose tequila as my poison. There was a long line for the challenge. I waited my turn, sat down, gave my name (for the certificate), kiss the toe, they dropped into my tequila shot, I took the shot and let the toe touch my lips again. The rule was “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow—but the lips have gotta touch the toe.” This is one of those thing on a trip you had to do just because of the freak factor. We checked out the old time casino and can-can dancers before calling it a night.

Day 8, Dawson was right next to the Yukon River and we had to cross it. It was a very short ferry ride over and then we started our run on the Top of the World Highway. It is roughly 60ish miles from Dawson to the US-Canada border along the Top of the World Highway but would take us close to 4 hours.
This might be consider a Dalton-lite road. The early part of it was paved once you get off the ferry. Then it was mostly unpaved, loose gravel, packed dirt road with some elevation changes. You do get a sense of riding along the top of the mountain ridge with more mountains, clouds, and sky on either side. It was not raining so that was a big plus for us. It was girlfriend 1st time riding her little Ninja 300 on such road conditions. She almost exclaimed that I was trying to get her killed so I could get a new girlfriend. She is a trooper.
The road up to and after the US-Canada border was nicely paved but went back to the unpaved, loose gravel on dirt road and about 6% down grade towards Chicken, AK. Of course, we had to have chicken pot pie and chicken noodle soup at Chicken Alaska haha.

There was construction right next to Chicken so the condition was a little worse than at Top of the World. We also got stuck behind a pilot car and a disabled RV that was been towed out. I forgot how long it took or how many miles but we finally got past that and onto decently paved road. The road reconnected with the Alcan Highway at Tetlin Junction.

This good paved road all the way into Fairbanks. Along the way, we passed by what looked like a dozen adventure riders. It seems it was a group of Polish visitor doing their Alaska run. At the North Pole, we had to stop by and visit Santa. We would not have a chance visit inside the shop as we got there well after it closed (@9:00pm).

After we checked into our hotel, I had to make a call to Dan @ Adventure Cycleworks. I had been communicating with him about our arrival date and requested for oil and chain work. Oil filter, chain and sprockets were ordered and been shipped to Dan prior to us leaving on our trip. He was nice enough to be willing to do the work at that time instead of the following morning.

Dan was not too far from our hotel in Fairbanks. We got there, waited and chatted a bit while he did the work. Dan advised us of the danger of the Dalton and the cost to be rescue via helicopter if disaster should befall us. We were still determined to make the journey. We got back to the hotel again and had to call a night since it was about 1am.
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post #22 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 29th, 2017, 11:56 am
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This is a great write up! Thank you for adding some photos to help with the visualization.

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post #23 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 29th, 2017, 12:28 pm
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Just a couple of comments.

1. Awesome you two rock!!!
2. Didn't anyone tell you you cannot put high miles on a Ducati especially a vintage one?
3. Didn't anyone tell you you cannot tour on a sportbike?
4. If they did I am glad you two did not listen.
5. I think you just made a few readers on here Jealous and not just of the trip.
6. Let the GF know that if it does not work out between you two that she can use this trip as a resume item on most any motorcycle forum on the planet that was no ride to the Ice cream shop.
7. Do not sell that 916 make a shrine when you are done riding.

Again thanks for sharing and do not sell your writing skills short it made my day reading this.
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post #24 of 41 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 2017, 11:09 am
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Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this up and posting pictures. I am in awe of your trip, and I hope to do a similar Alaska motorcycle trip sometime. The pictures were wonderful, and a great way to help visualize your experiences. What a wonderful trip, and with your GF, riding bikes most would not consider taking out of town, much less on gravel roads. You took them to the top of the world. Just awesome, and like ducvet, reading this absolutely made my day!

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post #25 of 41 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 9:40 pm Thread Starter
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I definitely will not be selling this 916. It has taken me to some many different adventures that the memories and sentimental value to me is priceless.

Ever since I started riding her, all my friends keep telling me how crazy I am to ride her the distances that I have.

I have had highs and lows with her but it was all worth it still.
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post #26 of 41 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 10:21 pm
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I am jealous. That trip, you guys, are awesome.

97 916/996 "The Time Machine"
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post #27 of 41 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 11:34 pm
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Just fantastic, and thanks for taking the time and effort to share your experience in words and pics. Its this kind of reality check that recalibrates our "doable" trips meter and our bike buying calculus as we fret over "is that new 2018 Farklematic gnarly enough of an ADV machine for my manly adventure Im planning?" Well, a lady just made the run on a mini Ninja!

Your post reminds us that people tour long distance, up-country on bicycles, scooters, what have you, while "developed world" riders think they need 1200cc mega ADVs. That you accomplished that run - not just on a Superbike, but on a high mileage, vintage, 916 - is Legend. I've lived for months and toured on midsize sporty bikes back in the 80s and '92, even rode a 996 from Phuket to Bangkok in 2012, but nothing as out there as what you and your keeper GF managed. All Props to the two of y'all!

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post #28 of 41 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 11:56 pm Thread Starter
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Deadhorse or Bust (Nearly)

Day 9.
Today was the day to start the push for Prudhoe Bay, Deadhorse and taking on the Dalton Highway. We had fresh oil and new chains. It would be a 2-day run to get to Prudhoe even though it was roughly 500 miles from Fairbanks to Prudhoe. The road conditions are such that google calculated it to take about 14 hours and that’s without gas stops, food, rest, or any issues.

Our plan was to stay midway in Wiseman at the Boreal Lodge. Wiseman was only populated with about less than 10 residents. The Boreal lodge did not have any restaurant and their general store consisted mainly of canned good. There is a main lodge that has 4 units that share a common kitchen, living space with a shared bathroom and an additional bathroom outside. They also had a couple cabins which was nicer and had its own bathroom. The morning was spent getting some provision for breakfast for our stay at the lodge.

The morning greeted us with light rain as we started the run. The road was wet but at least paved with a few sections of nice sweepers. The light rain had stopped and the sun was out after a few miles transitioning from the paved to the unpaved section.

The Dalton Highway itself was not affected by the rain so it was the usual dry unpaved, loose gravel, packed dirt road we had been accustomed to from Top of the World highway with the occasional potholes for good measure. I don’t want to take away from the beauty that is Alaska. I took the time to look around and soak in the scenery while been mindful of the road. I didn’t want to take too many stop and go breaks though.

Our 1st gas stop and lunch break was at the Yukon River Camp. It was interesting lining up to get gas. When there is a line of people waiting to get gas, you had to get the name of the person in front of you, go inside the building and leave your card with the cashier letting them know the name of the person ahead of you. This was the stop where we ran into a group of 3 friends from Chicago making a run for Prudhoe on their BMW and a couple riding 2-up on BMW as well.

From Yukon River Camp, we would pass Finger Mountain prior to getting to the Arctic Circle Sign. The sign and road leading to the Arctic Circle Sign can be easily missed if not paying attention. We were going about the speed limit or below (depending on the condition on that section) which is about 50mph but I’m sure other can easily go faster.

The next stop and last gas/food stop was Coldfoot. It was off the main road as well. They did have an “inn” here as it caters to mainly truckers but a few tourists taking tour to Prudhoe stayed at that Inn. We ran into our group of 3 Chicago friends and a couple other adventure riders. One South American rider (Rudy) had just came back from Prudhoe and we chatted about the road condition. He had asked to take pictures of our bikes as he was surprised to see us making it that far on sport bikes. It felt good to be acknowledged by fellow riders for what we attempting to accomplish. There was another older rider (Vincent) who was attempting to make his North/South run with Prudhoe his northern start point.
Vincent is about 65, retired and had made it to Coldfoot by himself. He chatted with Rudy about the roads down in South America and got tips and advice. We would later find out from one of our 3 Chicago friend (Andy) that Vincent only made the Prudhoe run because he rode with them. Vincent would drop his bike about 3 times on that run. He was lucky and wise to hook up with Andy and company otherwise I don’t think he would have attempted it by himself. We would run into him again at our hotel in Prudhoe. Glad he made it safely.

We had dinner and headed up to Wiseman to check into our lodge. It was maybe 15 miles but Wiseman can be a little tricky to find. There was a sign stating Wiseman coming up, you would come to a left turn then a right turn into a straight. It was at this change from left to right that the entrance to Wiseman lay. I had realized it after we passed the entrance. The road a few miles up to Coldfoot and Wiseman and a few miles after were nicely paved so it was easy to turn around back to the entrance. From there, the road was unpaved leading into the lodge. We had a unit with (2) twin beds. It was clean and provided good rest for the night. We would be staying here again on our way back from Deadhorse but we would be staying in one of the cabin.

Day 10.
Ahhh, the day of reckoning. I had been constantly watching the weather for Prudhoe and it was promising, partly cloudy with no rain and supposed to be low 40s. We set off enjoying a brisk run on the paved section leaving Wiseman and the awesome views of the mountain ranges ahead.

Paved became the usual unpaved as we enter the North Slope Borough. It was only about 60 miles but 2 hours later we started the ascend of Atigun Pass. It was looking ominous as cloud set in and covered the whole of the pass.

We took the run up slow and cautious as the road condition was also wet and muddy at times. The cloud did not help too much with visibility as well. As has been mentioned by most site in regards to the Dalton Highway (Haul road to the locals), trucks are zipping by at a good pace taking their supplies up to Deadhorse. They have a job and they pretty much own the road.

That was kept in mind and we were always courteous, made way for them, moved to the side and did what we could to stay out of their way without getting into trouble sliding out on the soft muddy shoulder. The trucks we passed or were passed were appreciative and gave us a gesture in kind.

We were not greeted with a spectacular view of valley and the road below after we crested Atigun Pass. It was a great view none the less regardless of the rain clouds and no visible sun. From here on out to Deadhorse was flat roads with some small hills.

There were rain clouds but it was not raining as we left Atigun Pass. That would not be the case as we progressed. It was a slow progression as we had to be extra careful cause of the road condition and the remoteness of our location. There was absolutely no cell signal and that feeling of remoteness, far from civilization was setting in.

Back in Fairbanks, I made arrangement to rent a satellite phone for the 4 days running up to and back from Deadhorse. The satellite phone was just insurance. Calling for tow service from either Deadhorse or Fairbanks could easily translate into 5 hours wait time minimum in the environment with no cover. A gun or bear spray and camping gear and survival kit/skills was highly advised by most sites. If an accident would befall one of us, a call for emergency service could easily cost $20k+ for helicopter ride out of there as advised by Dan from Adventure Cycleworks.

I had bear spray and we had base, mid-layers, our riding suit, and rain suit. No camping gears. As we progressed and it started to sprinkle, fear and anxiety started to creep in. It made the road muddier and filling in the occasional potholes with water. The rain was not pouring but sprinkle enough to mud up the road and load up the visor with droplets that did not wipe cleanly. I had to peer out the one spot that was not affected by the droplets or my attempt to wipe it clear with my glove.

Coupled with the rain, the muddy road and dark clouds, I was thinking “WTF did I get myself and her into?” I was fearful it would be like all the way. Had to calm myself down, suck it up and keep riding. We were at the point of no return. She didn’t complain but was annoyed with the rain and mud, and she was riding with tinted visor.

It must have been an hour or 2 before we finally passed the rain clouds and saw the sun. All that fear and anxiety went away as we rode with mostly clear sky and sun. There were clouds but no more rain to deal with.

Road were not much better. It just was not raining and we eventually encounter drier conditions. A few sections we started to run into more loose gravel roads. We attempted to follow the path laid down by prior vehicles on these gravely roads. There were times these paths criss-crossed leaving little berm of gravel that we had to cross. There were quite a few times I thought I lost the front end.

One of these gravel crossing did not go so well and one of my fear came true. I was following the path, saw the berm, try to cross it slowly, the front end swung back and forth nearly causing me to lose it. I looked in my mirror and saw her front-end swing but she didn’t make it. Her bike went down on the left side. A motorist was passing on the opposite direction just as she laid it down. He helped us bring the bike back up as this took place on a slight uphill climb.

Visible damages where to the frame sliders and the shifter. The shifter was bend out of shape but still worked. It was not until later we found out the luggage rack attached to the rear seat holding one of the extra fuel container had fractured and became useless. I had to put that fuel container on top of my tank bag and we strapped the other fuel container onto her rear seat. I was relieved she was not hurt and the bike was still ride-able. Obviously, she was upset so we took some time to collect ourselves before we continued.

The last 50 miles before Deadhorse was brutal. During last winter, I guess that section got flooded so re-construction to rebuild and raise it another 4 foot was taking place. Rudy from Coldfoot had mentioned there was construction and the road condition worse than the rest of the Dalton with some parts that had almost egg size gravel.

We had to wait on and follow pilot cars through 3 construction sections. The longest section was about 30-minute wait. It was very challenging at times and the front wanting to wash out on me a few times. My girlfriend had been wary after her low side and went just fast enough to be comfortable. At times, we both had our feet out just in case and she had to ride as slow as 10 mph causing the pilot car to wait for us. She felt a little discouraged at falling behind at times but I told her if she is moving it was fine.

We took frequent break in between the constructions zone due to our bikes running super-hot with all the mud splattered all over the radiator and pretty much everywhere else. My duc was pegged at the 225 mark for some reason and her ninja had the overheat idiot light come on for the 1st time. The break was good to cool the bike down and rest our wrists as well. We also used the time to take in the vastness of the area and munch on what we had brought.

It is joked that Alaska state bird is the mosquito and probably for good reason. Keep your helmet on and visor down, or bring a cap/hat with a mosquito net to cover the face and neck otherwise. We were literally swarmed with them when we came to a stop. My neck still had a few love bites from those that made it through the neck somehow.

It would take us about 4 hours but we finally made it past the last 50 miles. We could see trailers, building, pump station, oil drills, etc. We had finally made it without further incidents. It was sunny with a few clouds and was not too cold at all.

We went looking for fuel as I felt I was at the limit of my tank capacity even after refueling from the container we were carrying. Passing the Aurora Hotel, we saw our Chicago friends bike parked outside. After gassing up the bike, we headed to our hotel, Prudhoe Bay Hotel.

The staff assisting us was very nice to notify us to go directly into the cafeteria area to get some dinner while he checked us in. It was close to 8pm and the kitchen was closing the dinner shift. Meals are included in the price of the hotel but this was not 24/7 like the other hotel.
We dropped our gear in front of the staff counter and walked directly into the cafeteria. All the main entrée was empty so only sides dishes, appetizers, deserts, fruits, sweets, and items you can take as to go were left. The kitchen staff saw us looking around and gave us 2 box entrées from the back that was still warm. The food is good and unexpected for the remote area we were at. After the meal, we checked into our room which was one of the nicer one with its own private bathroom.

Most of the pictures was snapshot from the gopro videos so quality is little lower than from my Samsung cellphone.
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Last edited by fanj400; Aug 3rd, 2017 at 1:23 pm.
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post #29 of 41 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 12:52 am
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What tires did you run?

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post #30 of 41 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2017, 11:40 am Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dmitry View Post
My friend Steph recently attempted the Dalton, didn't end too well with her injured and bike stranded in AK, but she did cover 62,000 miles in 3 years on a VESPA! Currently collecting funds to get her bike shipped home while healing broken bones.

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I applaud her for doing her travel on a VESPA. Hope she gets it back in shape and makes another run at Prudhoe.
I am jealous she can take the time and just travel like she is doing.
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95 Ducati 916 P8 need part numbers AshleySurfs Superbikes 7 Oct 20th, 2016 4:32 am
1997 Ducati 916. DC Area. Survivor quality, excellent condition with records. TheVanillaThrilla Bikes 29 Feb 18th, 2016 7:23 pm

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