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apbsmith 24 Nov 2012 23:45

Gas (petrol) stations in Alaska and Canada

Does anyone have knowledge of how far it is between fueling places (gas stations etc) in Alaska and Canada.... I'm planning to ride from Miami to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, and then across Canada to Novia Scotia. I will be riding a Triumph Bonneville with a fuel range of 100 miles. I am concerned that I won't be able to make the distance between fuel stops. I may be able to take an extra 2 gallons of fuel, so my mileage on a tank of gas would be somewhere between 100 and 160 miles. Anyone? Any wise words of experience would be greatly appreciated.

- Andrew

Scrabblebiker 25 Nov 2012 17:20

Go to "maps.google.com" and get directions for a segment of your trip. In the search box type in "fuel stations" or "gas stations". I wouldn't rely on this 100% since businesses come and go, but it should give you an idea of what you can expect on a certain route. If you don't see a fueling station on the map, zoom in and sometimes a few more will show up.

Southern Canada shouldn't be to much of a problem with the extra 2 gallons. Northern parts could be a problem. Also keep in mind that BC is mountainous, especially in the south, and your fuel consumption will go up compared to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. But it should still be OK as long as you don't pass up fueling opportunities.

There are a few longer stretches in the prairies and along Lake Superior in Ontario where you may have to be extra vigilant for fueling opportunities. Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec are relatively densely populated and fuel shouldn't be an issue.


MountainMan 27 Nov 2012 00:43

Ditto for Michelle's suggestion to use google maps to plan. What you won't know until you get to northern BC, Yukon and Alaska is which fuel stations are open for the season, some of the smaller ones can come and go as economic conditions change.

You'll also want to make sure that you are travelling during tourist season as most will be open as opposed to shoulder season when many that are not in a town or village can also close down due to the lack of traffic in non peak times.

In short, when up north, you'll definitely want to have your spare fuel container, keep it full and try not to ride past too many gas stations. You'll be fine, but since many gaps will at the outer limit of your fuel range, you won't have much flexibility if they are closed for the night, etc. There are a couple of hops were you'll have to carry more than your standard spare fuel. An example of this would be the ride up to Prudoe, if you plan on going up there.

Anyways, the northern distances can be somewhat large at times, so if you are a person who can ride and not be preoccupied by constant fretting over fuel, then all will be good. If the fuel thing might get to be a bother for you, then you could commit to hauling extra just for peace of mind, or worse, get a bike with a big ol' fuel tank:)

Genghis9021 27 Nov 2012 02:11

As you ride the AlCan I don't think you'll have any issues as long as you don't FORGET to refuel.

The more interesting parts . . . YellowKnife Hwy, Dempster, Canol, Campbell . . . all require 200 mile range or a bit more.

Southern CA won't be a problem unless northern BC is "southern Canada". The Cassiar is well worth a ride to intersect with Watson Lake and the AlCan but you'll need to add capacity.

FWIW - search on comparisons of the Dalton ("haul road") vs the Dempster. The latter, in the Yukon is truly remarkable.

You've got little issue running with tourist season. If you schedule it so you arrive in the far north in mid-August you might miss out on the mosquito plague given a good frost. Then again . . . that'll make a dash to Nova Scotia almost surely a bit cool, especially for someone from south Florida.

It's alot of miles on a Bonnie. Consider tire usage/availability, too, at least in the BC/Yukon/Alaska area. You might want to call ahead and make sure dealers in Anchorage can "hold one" for you. By the end of the summer, stock is pretty lean there.

apbsmith 27 Nov 2012 05:24

Scrabblebiker, MountainMan, Genghis9021... this is all invaluable information, thank you. This is all very helpful. It seems in Northern Canada and Alaska I'm going to need more than an extra 2 gallons. If I can take 4 gallons I should be in good shape and not have a problem, as long as I don't pass up gas stations. I do hope to get to Prudhoe and maybe Inuvik. I'd love to do the Dempster, it sounds great. I'll constantly have to have extra fuel with me. I'll be going in tourist season... mid July 2013 to mid August 2013. Great advice about ordering a set of tires for Anchorage. I'll get a fresh set in Vancouver also, before heading north, and a fresh set in Calgary or somewhere before heading west. I reckon it will be about a 14,000 mile trip in 90 days. Yes, the butt is going to hurt (I'll get an Alaska Leather pad) but in 2009 I did 14,000 miles throughout the USA in 61 days, so I know I can do it. Apart from gas my main concern is the cold... how a guy from Miami will deal with the northern temperatures. We'll see! Thanks again for the tips... really helpful!

MountainMan 27 Nov 2012 16:42

Mate, sounds like quite a trip. In regards to tires, you can also consider Fairbanks as a point to have tires shipped or pre-ordered.

On the way up and the way east, I'm located halfway between Vancouver and Calgary so you are welcome to ship tires here and/or switch here on the way up or east if that works for you.

Depends on the tires but you may want to consider buying online as prices here in Canada are higher than the US. Another option if the price differential is material to you is to pre-order and have a set or two shippped to a US border town (eg. Blaine, WA), cross, switch a pair at a convenient place or anywhere it makes sense (eg. Vancouver). There are other border options as well but it depends on your desired routing.

Re: Prudoe and Inuvik, they are both interesting in the their own way. If you think you will be pressed for time, you could consider the ferry up to Alaska and then take your time and visit all the intersting side roads as you work your way down. It is nice to ride up and back as you can do roads that you'd have to cover too much ground to do in a single direction but it's an option. Ride safe and if you should plan on swinging by for a cold beer either way.

apbsmith 5 Dec 2012 03:30

Thanks again MountainMan. Maybe we will take in that beer. I'm sure to be swinging by your way. I am considering the Alaska ferry. Good suggestion. Might be a good and needed break from the bike. I like the idea a lot. All details will become more clear in the next 6 months as I plan more. I have a blog (not all motorcycle stuff on there) that I will update with planning, info, and posts from the trip itself next year... BRAND NEW MINDS | A place to refresh your mind with new ideas

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