Published: January 29th 2012January 29th 2012
Top of Beartooth Pass headed to Red Lodge
130 Days until departure! In one way, this sounds like a short period, but then if you think about it, it’s one third of a year away. Depressing to think of it like that. I’m ready to go now. The routing I have worked up for the GPS is more than sufficient to accomplish the trip, but I end up tinkering with it 2 or 3 times a week, just because. I have talked to some extremely knowledgeable people since my last entry. Some I have ridden with, and some I met online doing research.
Tim Yow is a legend in the Long Distance (LD) ridding community. I have ridden with Tim a couple of times, and it is almost as fun as listening to his stories after a day of riding. He has made this trip (although not on his Harley) several times. He did it again this past year as part of his and Alan Leducs’ 23,000 miles in 48 days, circumnavigation of North America. (Alan has a book out about their feat “Passion in the Wind”) I spoke with Tim about various things and just to get a firsthand account of what we can expect to
encounter. The vast majority of Tim’s advice helped put some of my fears to rest. Tim also recommended a couple of other individuals to establish contact with. By the way, Tim is 68 and doing this. I’ll be just a kid at 50.
The Motorcycle Tourer’s Forum (MTF) is a forum that is dedicated to LD riding, the sharing of information, and is a wealth of knowledge. (Alan Leduc is the founder.) Wheeldog and AlcanRider (MTF forum names) both live in Alaska, and offer services from mechanical assistance to sightseeing ideas, and will provide current road conditions to travelers coming their way. Wheeldog also offers a first beer on him to new visitors. I have had contact with both, through the MTF, and as the 130 days gets smaller, I will be talking to them more frequently.
The internet can be a great thing. Type in Alaska by motorcycle, and you will be amazed at the list of entries that comes up. You’d get the idea that it is just another trip. One great report I found fit perfectly for our ride. Shrug (nickname) did the ALCAN and Arctic Circle in 2011, on his Harley. He
has put together a great website with pictures and write up - http://www.alaskapade.com/
. I emailed Shrug, and we have had a couple of phone calls. Again, more fears put to rest.
I don’t come close to matching some of these guys LD ridding accomplishments, but am experienced enough, and comfortable with my capabilities, that for now anyway, don’t have any anxiety about the trip. I am just anxious to get going. I am pretty sure Mike feels the same way, as we both mention the countdown days during the week when we talk via phone. A large part of my comfort and confidence for this trip has come from talking to Tim, Wheeldog, AlcanRider, Shrug, and many others on the MTF and other forums. It never ceases to amaze me, how willing to help, and the amount of good advice is out there in the LD community.
Mike has purchased several new items for this trip that he mention his wife questioned. “ what are you buying electric heated gear for? Your going in June.” To this I have posted a couple of pictures I hope help to justify the purchases. Beartooth Pass, MT, August 08, with Bob
Tough to see depending on quality, but the snow is coming down pretty hard.
Cust (another great trip with good people). You never know when or where it’s going to happen, so be prepared.
Did I mention it is only 130 days!!