Anchorage to Seward trip- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    Anchorage to Seward trip

    I'm planning a trip to Seward and I'm wondering where to camp out about half way (60-70 miles). I looked in my Alaska Atlas & Gazetteer and it shows camping at Granite Creek Guard Station. I also see some gravel pits not too far up the road from there. I haven't been able to find any info online about the Granite Creek site. Does anyone know if it's free camping? Does anyone know if that gravel pit is active?

    Any other recommendations?

  2. #2
    Diaskeuast
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    Granite Creek Campground is on the south side of the highway just after the turnoff to Johnson Pass Trailhead. It's a decent little campground with the usual NFS fee of about $10 per night. There isn't much near it, so the couple of times I've been there, it was easy to find a space.

    I'm not sure about the gravel pit you mentioned, but I think it's a mile or two past the campground. I think the campground would be a more attractive option.
    Enjoying the meaningful pursuit of meaningless fun.

  3. #3
    ABC Rec Div / STA Trails
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    Lots of Options

    Quote Originally Posted by daveIT
    I'm planning a trip to Seward and I'm wondering where to camp out about half way (60-70 miles). I looked in my Alaska Atlas & Gazetteer and it shows camping at Granite Creek Guard Station. I also see some gravel pits not too far up the road from there. I haven't been able to find any info online about the Granite Creek site. Does anyone know if it's free camping? Does anyone know if that gravel pit is active?

    Any other recommendations?
    There are several pullouts along the way that provide opportunities as 'official' camp sites I believe. One near Bertha creek I think is the first (just past the Turnagain Pass parking lot). Then there is the road up to Johnson Pass TH, people camp there all the time. Then there is Granite Creek Campground, and another one right next to Summit Lake Lodge as well as the lake right before Summit Lake.

    The gravel pits are not active though I believe. There are also many gravel pits between the Hope Cutoff and Summit Lake that you will see RVs and other things pulled off in that you can camp in or near.

    If you don't mind a side trip of 16 miles each way, there is also the campground at Hope.

    I road up to just past Summit Lake today (from Hope) and the road was in great shape.

    Christopher

  4. #4
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    Good info, thanks guys!

  5. #5
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    Gravel pits will be in use...

    At least one of the gravel pits in that area will be in use this summer. Not sure which one exactly, but there is a highway repave project planned for this summer from mile 37 to mile 43 of the Seward Highway (from the "Y" north). If you have been down there recently, you will know that it needs it. If you are biking through that area this summer, keep an eye on 511.alaska.gov for construction information.

  6. #6
    Caveman
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    You can camp under the big bridge at the 6-mile river at the Hope cut off. Its Free, no problem, pleanty of flat ground. Just dont tell anyone.

  7. #7
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    Free = more money for beer = happy dave

  8. #8
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    If anyone is interested in tagging along*

    Leaving ANC early Saturday AM - camping Bertha Creek/Granite Creek/somewhere that night
    Arrive Seward Sunday - camp at Air Force/Army Rec Camp Sun, Mon, Tue
    Leave Seward early Wednesday AM - camp as above
    Arrive ANC Thursday

    Hopefully that will work...my longest ride so far has been about 60 miles unloaded. I hope to get some miles in after work a couple days with my full load.

    If anyone has a "bearproof" container I could borrow for a six pack that would be cool, if not I think I can rent one from REI or AMH.




    *preferably somebody who runs slow in case of bear encounters :-)

  9. #9
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    If anyone is interested in tagging along*

    Leaving ANC early Saturday AM - camping Bertha Creek/Granite Creek/somewhere that night
    Arrive Seward Sunday - camp at Air Force/Army Rec Camp Sun, Mon, Tue
    Leave Seward early Wednesday AM - camp as above
    Arrive ANC Thursday

    Hopefully that will work...my longest ride so far has been about 60 miles unloaded. I hope to get some miles in after work a couple days with my full load.

    If anyone has a "bearproof" container I could borrow for a six pack that would be cool, if not I think I can rent one from REI or AMH.




    *preferably somebody who runs slow in case of bear encounters :-)

  10. #10
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    Damn you double posting demons!

  11. #11
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    My trip

    WARNING: Long, boring trip report...

    I had a pretty good time on my trip down to Seward. I left the house around 6:00AM rode down Lake Otis to DeArmoun to Old Seward Hwy (no traffic at all, saw a nice moose) to Rabbit Creek to Seward Hwy. I had a nice tailwind all the way down the arm and made really good time. I climbed Turnagain Pass and was at Bertha Creekcampground at 1030. The driveway was blocked off, but I rode in to check out the campground. If anyone was wondering, there are 2 bear-proof tubes. I decided that was way too early to stop so I pushed on.

    I stopped in at Granite Creek campground (also blocked off) few minutes later. Neither place had a handle for their water pumps so I had to get some from a roadside waterfall and treat it with some tablets (which takes 4 friggin hours?!?!!). I continued on down the highway. I was surprised how courteous the drivers were. Most would cross the middle rumble strip when they passed.

    I ended up camping at the Tenderfoot camground right next to the Summit Lake Lodge. I pulled in there around 3:30PM after my 90+ mile day and had a huge bowl of vanilla ice cream and 4 bottles of ice cold water. I called my buddy Scott who wanted to come out and camp. I found a site and took a couple naps until he showed up. He brought a bunch of firewood and some good beers (Stone Arrogant Bastard, Stone IPA, RedHook Longhammer IPA). We drank beers and admired our fire for several hours.

    I woke up around 4 the next morning and had to get up to take a pee. I unzipped my sleeping bag and bivy sack to discover both were covered in ice crystals. Everything was covered in frost and my water bottle was half-frozen. I climbed back in the bag for a couple more hours. We got a fire going and waited for the lodge to open for breakfast. I fueled up on an omelet with sauteed halibut, potatoes and homemade toast. I loaded the bike back up and pushed off.

    The road was great until I got around Moose Pass and the shoulder suddenly narrowed. There was lots of gravel in a washboard pattern that covered half to three-quarters of the narrow shoulder. A couple places where two cars were passing me I was bumping the guardrail with my pannier! It was a bit nerve wracking after 100+ miles of nice wide shoulder. I was pedaling along just on the outskirts of town when I heard a dog barking. It was some stupid small mutt that started running out after me. I just kind of laughed and kept on pedaling and then I heard a much bigger dog. I looked back and some half-chocolate lab/half Cujo dog is hauling ass after me. I threw it in the big ring and humped along. I know the car behind me had to be laughing it ass off. I took a mental note of the location and decided I'd have my bear spray ready when I rode back through! Of course it wouldn't do any good if the winds were as strong as they had been all day. I would have glady repeated my 90 miles the day before than the 40 miles of hardcore headwinds I faced the rest of the way into Seward.

    I stayed at the Army Resort in a yurt, which was my first experience in one of those. I sure beats sleeping in a bivy sack. I did the typical Seward things...strolled along the beach, went to the Sea Life Center, watched some bald eagles and seals and drank a bunch of beer at Ray's and Chinooks. Nothing too exciting!

    In the end I decided to take the train ($77 with bike) back because of the forecasted rain. I went to bed Wednesday night to sprinkling drops on my yurt's skylight and woke up halfway through the night to pouring rain and howling winds. It rained miserably all of Thursday. I was soaked through at least 3 times. I'd just go grab a coffee or something to eat to dry off.

    The train ride was pretty nice although the weather was hiding a lot of the views. I had to use my iPod to tune out a couple groups of annoying tourists who I guess have never seen mountains before and needed to loudly discuss how big the were, whether that was a ski slope, why is the glacier blue, etc... I arrived in Anchorage around 10:30PM, put the bike back together, loaded it up and rode back home.

    Anyway, that is my story and I'm sticking to it. In case you were wondering, my Surly Long Haul Trucker performed admirably. I was a little concerned about the weight balance because I only had rear panniers. I had about 30 lbs of stuff in the rear and about 10 lbs up front with my handlebar bar and small rack mount trunk. I was really flying down a lot of the hills with no shimmy or vibration.

    Here are some photos:
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  12. #12
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    More photos

    More!
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  13. #13
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    And some more

    More!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  14. #14
    mtbr member
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    looks like fun

    great photo's and write up. I'm a displaced alaskan in colorado so the picts and stories from home are much appreciated.

    thanks for the post
    Long Live Vonnegut! K.V. Jr. 1922 - 2007

  15. #15
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    Great stuff

    thanks for sharing - looks like a great trip, and you sure made good time with your loaded bike...you have inspired me to put some pan's on the Cross-Check and head out.

    Great photos - dig the way the sidewalls reflect - what kind of skids are those? great for roadwork, maybe not-so-much for poaching...
    "I get a buzz from being cold and wet ~ the pleasure seems to balance out the pain" - Blue, Red and Grey The Who By Numbers

  16. #16
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    "We drank beers and admired our fire for several hours."
    Great verb: "admired." Why do human beings sit and look into fires whenever we can? I can imagine, thanks to your descriptions and with the help of the photos, spending the days riding where you rode and resting where you rested, and I have to warn you: if you keep it up, I may confirm my sneaking suspicion that I have been an Alaskan who has somehow been displaced his entire life.

  17. #17
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mesotony
    Great photos - dig the way the sidewalls reflect - what kind of skids are those? great for roadwork, maybe not-so-much for poaching...
    The tires are Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x28c. They are supposedly bombproof against glass. I've probably put about 500 miles on them and before my trip I was running over all the glass I could on the paved trails in Anchorage to test them out. I hit a couple metal objects on the hwy too. The rest of that reflective stuff on my fenders and racks is 3M Solas reflective tape. It's the stuff they use on road signs.

  18. #18
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    I need some anto-itch powder

    Man, re-reading this stuff is really giving me the itch...time to start planning another trip! I pull the Soobaroo into the garage every day and see Ol' Impetus just sitting there looking sad.

    *anti-itch powder...who moved my i key?*
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  19. #19

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    That was a fun trip although last year I took my commuter bike (Novara Transfer with bob trailer) This year however I think I'll head down to portage catch a lift on the train to Whittier and then take a ferry and ride the Richardson in my brand spanken new Surly LHT. Sure is a nice ride to Seward wish the highway had a wider shoulder nearing Seward cause your pretty much rubbing the guardrail going into Seward.

    Happy trials all

  20. #20
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    I'm thinking Valdez to FBX or Anc to FBX. My in-laws are coming up this summer, so maybe I'll head out a few days early and meet them up there and catch a ride back.

    I've never been up there so I'm not sure which road would be better. I've been on the road down to Valdez (crewing for a Fireweed 400 rider) and it's pretty nice.

  21. #21

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    Theres a website I forgot the name but google AK biking theres a bike tour company that does a similar Valdez to Fairbanks, I think they take the Richardson highway.
    From what I hear Richardson has nice wide shoulders although Iam not sure about Thompson pass seems like a slow climb fast descent especially when your fully loaded. Is this thought true? BTW for those anti trailer people out there I found this on Youtube

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ND0SERkAAtw

  22. #22
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    Wide shoulders are nice. I loved the Seward trip until Moose Pass. I bumped the guardrail with my panniers 3 or 4 times when 2 big trucks were passing each other.

    I remember watching my buddy going up Thompson Pass during the Fireweed. I bet the climb really sucked the second time on the way back to Sheep Mtn. I didn't feel any pain tucked inside my Honda! You will definately haul ass on the way down with a loaded touring bike...time to test out that high speed shimmy?

  23. #23

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    Damn was afraid of that... well I hit ~50 on the Seward highway so says my GPS my bike handled the Seward highway hills well... but as long as the shoulders are wide enough for me to move around in I should be fine especially if there is no traffic or little traffic.

  24. #24
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    How did you end up setting up your LHT? Got any pics?

  25. #25

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    No pictures yet it pains me to see my half built bike sitting in the garage but Iam waiting for the parts impatiently. Run dow

    DT Swiss 32 hole front rim with DT Swiss Alpine 3 spokes (Brass nipple I believe)
    Shimano dyno hub 6V 3 W
    Surly Nice Racks (front rear)
    FSA headset
    Profile design 26 mm handle bars with Shimano Dura Ace bar end shifters, Shimano road brakes.
    Shimano Altus Canti-lever (Front, Rear)
    Shimano XT Hollowtech Crankset
    Sram 9 speed chain
    Lumotec Primary and an E6 secondary headlamp (I may stick with my Shimano LP-600 rated @ 9V 6W depending on how much time my tour takes this year I'll be able to figure out if the the scondary is necessary)...
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Rear
    DT Swiss 36 hole DT straight gauge spokes Shimano Hub Shimano 9speed cassette
    Shimano XT rear derailluer.....
    dual kickstand
    Schwalbe Marathon Plus (not sure on tubes I'll use)
    I think thats it.... pedals Iam going with road spd. Thats about it....
    the color is blue my grip tape is red and I don't think I'll add fenders
    Some parts may change to Philwood later on... (oh yea thats why it's in the garage also!!!)

  26. #26
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    I picked up a pair of Nokian Hakkapeliitta W240 (700x40c) today at the Bicycle Shop. For future reference, they will fit even with a pair of Planet Bike Cascadia fenders...

    The kickstand on mine is an ESGE. It's heavy, but it doubles as a bike repair stand and is really stable when the bike is loaded. I forget where I got it (it's probably in one of my other posts), but here's some info: http://www.phred.org/~josh/bike/esge2leg.html

    Those Marathon Plus tires are sweet. I got the 28c ones and they ride like a Cadillac.

    I plan to get a heavier duty wheelset down the road...Phils would be awesome.

    Build list:
    Surly LHT 56cm
    Chris King Headset
    Nitto Randonneur Bar
    Thomson Stem 100mm 25.4 clamp (changing in future to something with
    more rise)
    Cinelli Tape / Bar Plugs
    Planet X Seatpost (heavy, lot longer than I need--might replace)
    Surly Constrictor Clamp
    Brooks B-17 on the way
    Time ATAC Z
    XT cranks 22/32/44 175mm
    ES-71 Bottom Bracket 68x118
    XT Chain
    XT Cassette 11-34
    Shimano Dura-Ace 9 spd downtube shifters
    XT front dérailleur (top swing bottom pull)
    XT rear dérailleur
    Avid SD7 V-Brakes
    DiaCompe 287-V levers
    SKS/ESGE Pletscher Double Leg Kickstand
    Surly Nice Racks front and rear
    36H Velocity Dyad laced to LX hubs with Wheelsmith butted spokes,
    brass nips
    LX skewers
    Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x28c
    Planet Bike Cascadia Hybrid/Touring Fenders
    Ortlieb Ultimate 5 Plus Handlebar bag
    Ortlieb Backpacker Plus rear panniers
    Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus front panniers

  27. #27

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    Well the kickstand is heavy but at least it's more sturdy than leaning a bike against the kickstand and having a fart knock it over. Thats not to say the same thing of the two leg kickstand it just feels alot better. Why the Nokians?
    (I now realize Chris King makes a headset but oh well Iam not going to change it unless my FSA breaks.)
    my seatpost is Cane Creek Suspension its heavy but suspension is nice to have when your on the road pulling centuries


    (BTW did you notice the slot near the rear wheel on the opposite side of the dérailleur? my guess is it's for a roller brake but was unsure but roller brake would be nice to add if your going down the rockies in addition to rim brakes.) Well Looks like you did quite a setup on the LHT Iam amazed at how the bike can be set up just about any way you want.

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