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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys --

Brand new member of the forum. I took a class, got my license, and bought a 2018 Rebel 300 a few months ago as my first bike. One thing led to another and I decided to take a solo ride from Morro Bay, CA up to Anchorage, Alaska. I crossed the finish line last night.

I took a circuitous route, so my total distance (including a few side trips) was about 4,650 miles in 21 days, with one day off.

In the States, I tried to stick to the 101 up the coast. I crossed the border north of Bellingham, WA. Rode east across Southern Canada to Calgary, backtracked slightly to see Banff and Jasper on my way to the Alaska Highway. Stayed on the Alaska Highway until I veered north to enjoy about 236 km of the legendary Dempster Highway and Tombstone Park, then hit Dawson City and crossed into Alaska via the Top of the World Highway.

As far as modifications to the bike, I added a small windshield, an AirHawk seat, and some saddlebags. I also wore a light backpack the whole way. It wasn't pretty, but I made it.

The Rebel held up more or less perfectly, despite the punishment of bad roads, bad weather, long days, and a rider who was still learning. Vibration knocked the muffler and seat loose eventually, but it was my own rookie mistake in not checking them before the problems became apparent -- and both were easily fixable.

Happy to answer any questions about long-distance riding on a Rebel 300 if anyone's curious. My bottom line is that it was an incredible journey and a pretty big challenge.

 

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Just awesome. Thats one unforgettable ride. You rode solo ? I salute you !!! How do you keep yourself awake ? Post more pics
 

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Great photos . Absolutely great views. You’re one lucky guy . Just wishful thinking on my part. Hopefully one day I may be able to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I did one! It was really just for family and close friends to read along (so I didn't have to call/text them constantly to tell them I was still going). But have at it.

Journey starts here: https://misifecu.blogspot.com/2019/08/lets-ride-motorcycle-to-alaska.html

Main link is here: https://misifecu.blogspot.com

Haven't looked at it myself, so no promises that it will hold your attention. But it does have lots of additional details about the trip. I'd guess it changed in tone as the journey got more challenging. :)
 

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I did one! It was really just for family and close friends to read along (so I didn't have to call/text them constantly to tell them I was still going). But have at it.

Journey starts here: https://misifecu.blogspot.com/2019/08/lets-ride-motorcycle-to-alaska.html

Main link is here: https://misifecu.blogspot.com

Haven't looked at it myself, so no promises that it will hold your attention. But it does have lots of additional details about the trip. I'd guess it changed in tone as the journey got more challenging. :)

Thanks for the link. Awesome read and great pictures . saved the link of your blog on my home screen for easy read. Thanks. Makes me feel like being there myself. You have TALENT and GREAT WRITING SKILLS .

About gas. Do you have to carry extra? You brought along tire puncture kit ? I presume you plan your ride just long enough to have a place to stay for the night right? You just got me hooked on to this lol .
What size is the air hawk seat cushion. . Sorry for all these questions .

EDIT.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks!

The AirHawk seat I got from Amazon. It was called the "R-REVB Cruiser R Large Motorcycle Seat Cushion for Comfortable Travel - Large Size." Like everyone else, I initially inflated it too much, but within a few days I'd adjusted it to my satisfaction, and I believe that it made a huge difference in terms of comfort.

On gas, I generally didn't carry any. My range was (usually) about 160-180 miles, and I got in the habit of filling up any time my tank got below half. Canada usually has nice signs indicating when there wouldn't be a gas station for a long stretch, which helped. I did run out once, about 3km from a gas station in the Yukon on the Alaska Highway. That day I got far worse mileage than I had expected due to hills and possibly poor gas quality, and several gas stations were unexpectedly closed along the way. I was easily able to hitch a ride to town, fill up a jug, and resume my ride. On my more remote rides (e.g. the Dempster highway), I did carry at least a few liters of extra gas.

I had one simple tire repair kit. To my astonishment, I never had to use it. The roads were plenty rough enough in spots that I probably deserved multiple punctures.

On hotels, I generally didn't book ahead. It was late enough in the season that I could always find something, even if it was unpleasant. I tried to book ahead a few times, but I found that my energy for the given day didn't always match up with what I expected. I really, really sucks to have to push forward another hour or two after you're spent. By the same token, it's frustrating to stop early when you're feeling good and want to keep going, all because of a hotel reservation. I think that in July or August, additional crowds in the small towns along the way would make it wiser to book ahead, though.

i could have tried to camp here and there, but I greatly appreciated a restaurant, a cold beer, and a warm bed after a long ride. The logistics of camping (and possibly preparing my own food) would not have been appealing after a day's ride. That's especially the case because the bug situation throughout northern Canada and Alaska is as unpleasant as advertised.
 

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misifecu,

Did you happen to keep a log of your average miles per gallon on the trip?

When I go on a road trip I always figure the mpg at the end. Just for my own knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I didn't keep a detailed and consistent log. But I did pay enough attention throughout the journey to determine some baselines.

I found that on US roads outside of cities (usually cruising at 45-80mph), I could reliably get at least 173 miles per 2.6-gallon tank. That works out to at least 66.5mpg.

If I rode consistently at or below, say, 60mph and didn't do a lot of stopping and starting, I estimated that I could get pretty close to 200 miles per tank -- about 77mpg.

As the hills got more extreme and the gas quality got much more variable, I found that my estimates were too high. The time I ran out of gas, I crapped out at 157 miles -- and I drove nearly half of that tank at extremely conservative speeds to try to squeeze as much range as I could, recognizing that I was likely to run out.

Bottom line, I believe my Rebel can comfortably get 55mpg even with poor gas and lots of hills and acceleration. I also know it can approach 80mpg under the best of circumstances.

The Rebel's range is good enough to do the entire journey from CA to Alaska without extra gas, as long as you fill up early and often during the more remote stretches.
 

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Sweet trip!

I'm very curious to know what you've learned spending that much time riding long distances on the bike. What got sore? What would you change about the bike, or yourself, before doing it again? What was the worst part, and what was the one part you would say made all the work worth it?
 

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Great questions.

The biggest thing I learned was how to ride the bike. I was a relative beginner when I started, and now I feel more confident and comfortable operating the bike. The best way I can describe it is that all the basic actions of riding -- turning, shifting, speed and braking -- eventually became more second nature. In other words, over the course of the journey, my brain no longer said "there's a pothole, you need to move to the left because that's a better way forward." Instead I just did things like that automatically, without conscious thought. It was really satisfying to get over that hump, and it freed my mind up to think about other things and enjoy the view while still riding safely.

I didn't listen to music or otherwise have any entertainment other than the scenery. My friends thought I'd be bored, but I thoroughly enjoyed it the whole time, and was a little sad to leave that mental space as I neared the end of the journey. There's so much to take in --between signals from the bike, the scenery, and scanning for hazards -- that I felt fully occupied and engaged at all times. It helped that the scenery was amazing for almost the whole ride. And the possibility of seeing animals (or needing to evade them if they came on the road) kept the adventure/danger/excitement level pretty high.

In terms of soreness, my butt hurt for maybe the first week, but then I got into a groove and never noticed it again. I didn't use cruise control, so I pulled the throttle with my right hand the entire way, every mile. To my surprise, my right arm held up fine. By far the most painful body part was my left trapezius muscle -- kind of my lower left neck. I'm not sure if it was from operating the clutch, or just holding my arm up. But that body part hurt like **** from day 1, and by the end, even with lots of ibuprofen, it was pretty painful to turn my head to the left.

Other soreness issues. Even with good thick winter riding gloves, my hands got numb from the cold very quickly. I eventually wrapped sticky 8-hour footwarmers around both of my handles, and they worked like magic. If I ever failed to zip every garment all the way up, the wind and cold would immediately make my neck uncomfortably cold; I often had to stop and adjust all my zippers to prevent that.

I got rained on a lot. I luckily had a cheap full rain suit (maybe $50 at a bike shop in CA), which covered me from my boots to my helmet, and it worked incredibly well. The Rebel's front tire kicks up a ton of water and mud onto your boots, so unless you have a perfect seal and great waterproof boots, you're probably going to have water sloshing around in them when it rains. That happened to me a few times and it was brutally unpleasant in cold temperatures, but I eventually wrapped plastic bags around my feet under my boots and that helped. In terms of additions to the Rebel, a front-tire rain shield seems like a must for trips like this.

One other factor that really affected my ride was wind. I experienced some very high winds in a few spots, particularly Grand Prarie and about 150 miles outside of Anchorage. That was absolutely brutal, and very scary. The bike was difficult to control and felt unsafe, even when I was way over on the shoulder, going a lot slower than other traffic. By that point, I was wearing pretty much every item of clothing I brought, so I'm sure my body (and my windshield) acted as a sail when the wind hit just right. Consistent wind from one direction isn't so bad -- you can lean into it. But gusty and shifty wind is a nightmare.

The worst part and the best part of the ride are kind of intertwined in my mind. The worst part I'd characterize as the slog. It was the daily grind of getting in the saddle and working really hard for 6, 7, and sometimes 10 hours in a day. The little sorenesses add up, as does the mental toll of staying very alert and on guard every mile of the way -- and the road conditions absolutely required that. Even stopping to pee became a chore when I was fully clothed. I needed to unzip about 5 or 6 layers of clothes to actually do it. Not a big deal at first, but by the third week it really is a slog -- and if you don't do it quickly indoors you start to overheat! Late in the journey, I had to fight with myself to stop and enjoy the sights rather than just putting my head down and charging towards the finish line.

The best part of the ride was the combination of little joys -- seeing bears and bison and unbelievable scenery -- and the deep satisfaction of working hard to accomplish a challenging journey. At no time in the journey did I wish I were anywhere else. Being that present and engaged was a wonderful feeling. It felt good to end each day completely spent, and to know it was in service of a big goal, even if that goal probably wouldn't make sense to a lot of people.

Before doing it again, I'd probably opt for a more powerful bike. The 300 got me there, but I spent a lot of time with the throttle fully twisted back. Given the limitations of the 300, I'd probably only add a rain guard for the front tire. One other thing: I packed extremely light for the ride, and I'm glad I did. It's tough to drag lots of stuff from your saddlebags each evening after a long day.
 

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Hero status is an understatement.
The fact that you rode that distance on a 300, through wind and rain, both day and night, with no cruise control - has basically made you a seasoned rider in 3 weeks. I'm sure I'm not the only envious one reading through your post. I keep imagining Forrest Gump on his jog across the country! LOL...
Man, what an experience you had!
 

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Read almost half of your ride blog. Will finish it tonight. ( finally figured out it’s easier to click Newr post lol to get the chronological order haha. I’m not good at this ) Thanks again for sharing. It’s like I’m there. Final question, did you ride back ?
 
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