Alaska: The Last Frontier

(Photo provided by GroudTruthTrekking)

I’ve wanted to ride in Alaska ever since I heard it was possible to do so. I read Against the Wind by Ron Ayers. It never really clicked in my head that there are times of the year where the temperatures were hospitable to motorcycles. Then I read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and it inspired me even more to visit Alaska. I wrote about it in a book review here. The top of the world seems an obvious place to start before I head for the bottom.

The Plan

I would like to spend at least a week in Alaska. The first thing I would do is head up the Dalton Highway otherwise known as the “Haul Road”. The road leads to the northern slope of Alaska to Prudhoe Bay. The Arctic Ocean is technically off limits in Prudhoe Bay unless you are part of a tour group.

The Dalton Highway is 414 miles with the majority of it being gravel. it is primarily used for trucks and there are common reports of huge rocks being flung up by their tires. Truckers often have to negotiate steep grades and may have to speed down one slope in order to make it up the next. That means trucks have the right of way. Gas stations are limited. There is a 250 mile stretch between service stations. I will most likely have to carry auxiliary fuel.

I would also like to make a visit to an abandoned bus near Denali National Park where Chris McCandless died. I talked about his life and journey in a previous post and how it inspired me. It involves an 18 mile hike through some rough terrain from what I hear. Some friends of mine made it about 10 miles in by 4×4 and hiked the rest. They did have the benefit of a guide, and if you know me, then you know I’d rather go it alone. There’s always those pesky bears one has to worry about… I still need to read up on precautions to take while camping in bear country. They say to sing while you hike so they hear you and you don’t end up sneaking up on one and cause them to spook. At least no one will be in earshot to hear my crappy singing.

The only times I can comfortably ride in Alaska is May, June or July. I hear the mosquitoes are unbearable during the summer. Should make camping interesting, along with the 22 hours of daylight!

I always love getting lost in vastly remote areas. Alaska should be perfect for just that. That’s why they call it the “Last Frontier”, right?

  • Bucky

    The publisher of a local motorcycle magazine, Motorcycle Lifestyle spent a couple of weeks there. Read the first of two articles on the website: Look at the Fall 2008 issue. The second article was published this month.

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