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Old 11-19-2009   #1
witttom
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Question Arctic Circle via Alaska

Spoke with RK a bit this evening concerning this trip. Figured I aughta post something up here.

I'm looking for a travel buddy (or buddies). This isn't an open invitation, as spending weeks with an individual on the road is not an easy thing to do, and I'm not exactly the easiest person to get along with (some might even consider me an a$höle, yes I know hard to believe), nor are many of my travel habits "compatible" with everyone. I'm just trying to get a feel for if anyone even has any interest.

Back in the Fall/Winter of 2004, I got a crazy hair up my å$s and decided that I wanted to ride North of the Arctic Circle on a motorcycle. It was originally my intent to do this through Nunavut Canada as I felt this was the shortest distance to accomplish the task. After doing some research though, I quickly discovered that this was not a good idea as the roads virtually melt away in the Spring. So, the only real way to ride North of the Arctic Circle, is through Alaska. The only trouble with that, is that it's an 8000 mile round trip and that's if you make a bee-line across Canada there and back (but who is gonna do that?). Realistically, if you're doing any real travels, it's more like a 10k trip or more. I mentioned this trip to a few of my travel buddies. They all thought I was insane.

So in 2005, I tried to make it happen but it just didn't work out. I honestly thought that I could do it in 17 days (two weeks, three weekends, and the July 4th holiday). The more planning I did and the closer time came, the more I realized that I was going to need more time. Not to mention that the trip was becoming more and more complex (ie: a set of tires would not make it though the whole trip), and I could not convince any of my friends into making the trip with me.

In 2006, I decided to take my employer up on an offer they had been extending to me for several years, that if I ever needed more time than what I had in vacation, that I could take it off without pay. I asked, and it was approved. I began planning my trip, again. Then my employer caught wind of what I was planning to do on my time off. I was called into a meeting and informed that a "Motorcycle Trip" was not what they had intended, and I was denied the time. So another year, down the drain. None of my friends wanted to go with me anyway.

In 2007, I looked into making this trip again using what vacation time I had available to me. It was my plan to strategically take vacation time around the 4th of July holiday, to stretch out the time I needed. It was also my plan to call in to my employer if I was unable to make it back within the time that I had. Another employee had done it recently while on vacation, so I figured I could get away with it too (better to ask for forgiveness than permission, right?). In the end, I decided against it. I decided to play ball, walk the straight line, and wait until my 10th Anniversary with my employer so that I could obtain an extra week of vacation. I knew that it would not happen before that.

In 2008, I found myself without a job. Now I had all the time in the world, but without a steady income and a host of other uncertainties, I was very reserved with any attempts in making the trip. I was was still open to the possibility though, and even bought a 2008 edition of "The Milepost" (Alaskan travel guide). I had a couple travel companions lined up, but as time approached, no one was willing to go through with it. Probably just as well. The lack of income, not to mention that fuel was $4/gal, would not have been a wise "Investment" of my time. Another year, gone.

The Spring of 2009, I said "Why bother?". In fact, I pretty much decided that this trip just wasn't going to happen. Ever. Too complex, too expensive, and quite frankly... I just wasn't sure if I was even up to it myself anymore. I didn't even bother trying to recruit friends to go. As the window of opportunity came and went this past Summer, I vaguely looked at the possibility but made no sincere attempts at it. I was just too busy with family activities anyway.

Five years after I originally said I wanted to make this trip and I'm nowhere closer to making it than what I was in 2004. So this came up in conversation with the wife a few weeks ago. We were talking about the fact that I'm turning 40 later this month (she likes to continually remind me of this). I had mentioned that I had hoped (and expected) to make it to Alaska (and the Arctic Circle) before this event, but now found it very unlikely that I would ever make it. She disagreed, and suggested that I take all of July and just do it.

So here I am. It is still a complicated and potentially expensive trip, but with the wife's encouragement, I'm considering it again. I believe that I can do this trip in 3 weeks, but am leaving the 4th week open as a possibility (willing to take the whole month of July) if needed. My friends still think I'm insane. Many of my riding friends do not believe it can be done in three weeks and most say that they just can't be gone that long. Thom Boles wants to do a West Coast trip and ride the PCH. If I can't do Alaska, I'll do that with him instead.

I would need to change tires somewhere along the way. I have connections in Edson, Alberta (tools, garage, a meal and place to sleep) which I would probably use on my return route. I would want to camp as much as I could (or sleep on a Rest Area bench, or whatever I need to do) in order to keep lodging expenses to a minimum (every night in a hotel would be very expensive). Would still need to get a cheap hotel periodically though, as I just don't think I could camp every night.

Is there anyone here who has an interest in such a trip?
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Old 11-20-2009   #2
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

I still think you're crazy.
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Old 11-20-2009   #3
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

not with you a$$hole


sounds like a great adventure and i really hope it works out this time around! one day i will do it or something similar but im way too new at my job to have that much time off as far as i can see.
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Old 11-20-2009   #4
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

If we could find a way to do it in December I am game.....

I have a hard time leaving the business for a month in our busiest month of July.

**** I hate work.....
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Old 11-20-2009   #5
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

I have a friend north of Seattle, trailering to there would make this something I'd consider more seriously. What are you going to ride?
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Old 11-20-2009   #6
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

If I could afford it... I would go with my jeep as the pack mule.
I could carry the gear, tires and video you falling...
Sounds like the trip of a life time.

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Old 11-20-2009   #7
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

A trailer across the "wastelands" would add some maybe to this for me. You know going through anything like Kansas or Nebraska is not on my list of "I've got to do that again".

I think making it a shorter trip would be better too. Can John trailer our bikes to Seattle, we fly in and then ride then fly home while he brings them back?
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Old 11-20-2009   #8
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

Uh, I have already done half of that when Bill was living out his MotoCross fantasy and busted some ribs and punctured a lung in Colorado. BTW doing such a trip is safest in a group of 3 or more.
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Old 11-21-2009   #9
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by thom_boles View Post
I still think you're crazy.
For wanting to do this ride, or for some other reason(s)?
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Old 11-21-2009   #10
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benny View Post
If I could afford it... I would go with my jeep as the pack mule.
I could carry the gear, tires and video you falling...
Sounds like the trip of a life time.
Hmmm... having the Popemobile follow us around with a tire changing machine in the back, stocked with our favorite brands, a pet gorilla to muscle them onto our rims, and the opportunity to have our bikes blessed every few days. There's a certain appeal to that. Hehe... with the 3% profit you make from the tire sales and the $5 we'll pay you for each tire mounted, that aughta be enough to offset your fuel costs, right?
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Old 11-21-2009   #11
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by witttom View Post
Hmmm... having the Popemobile follow us around with a tire changing machine in the back, stocked with our favorite brands, a pet gorilla to muscle them onto our rims, and the opportunity to have our bikes blessed every few days. There's a certain appeal to that. Hehe... with the 3% profit you make from the tire sales and the $5 we'll pay you for each tire mounted, that aughta be enough to offset your fuel costs, right?
We'll if it wasn't my best time of the year for shop work... I'd be all over it.
A trip like that would be a blast.

So, I'm a pet gorilla that works for free,
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Old 11-21-2009   #12
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

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So, I'm a pet gorilla that works for free,
No, no... I'm saying you (Benny) has a pet gorilla. You should hire some summer interns to work cheap while you're away.
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Old 11-21-2009   #13
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by RENCRN8 View Post
If we could find a way to do it in December I am game.....
If you want to do it in December, I suggest an electric vest.
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Old 11-21-2009   #14
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by witttom View Post
If you want to do it in December, I suggest an electric vest.
got it, lets rolllllll
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Old 11-22-2009   #15
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Re: Arctic Circle via Alaska

Tom, I'm dumb enough to try it.
Keep me in mind.
I think my bike will make it.
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