Setting A Goal:
Ride to Alaska
I knew I wasn’t ready to make the journey, but I was ready to start planning and preparing. Pittsburgh to Fairbanks is 4000 miles. An 8000 mile round trip would take a minimum of 16 days riding at the pace of the USA4C trip. Adding time for some sight-seeing and a possible breakdown, I’d need at least 22 days. That meant I’d have to take 3 weeks of vacation, which was manageable.
I learned a lot by reading several accounts of riders who made the trip. Several people recommended “The Milepost,” so I bought a copy. The maps and route descriptions very helpful in sorting out where each of the named routes are. The lodging entries made it clear there were plenty of hotels and places to camp. I knew that lodging would be prohibitively expensive for me, so I would have to camp and buy the appropriate camping gear.
While my Super Glide could easily make the trip, I felt it wasn’t equipped to carry everything I needed to take. It didn’t have the appropriate top and side cases that touring bikes have. It seemed I’d have to upgrade to a bigger bike. Our sons were in college at the time, so getting a new bike was a bit outside the budget.
New Job, New Bike
Fast-forward a few years. My sons were graduated from college and out on their own and I took a new job in Florida. Harley-Davidson was having a year-end special, offering $1000 in accessories or a 5-year extended warranty. The price was right and the budget could afford it, so I bought a Road Glide.
The move to Florida put a wrinkle in my plan to ride to Alaska – the round-trip distance from Saint Petersburg was 9300 miles. The extra distance added at least three days to the trip. The new job did not provide enough vacation days to accommodate the adventure.
Fast-forward another five years. I retired, allowing me enough time to make the journey, but the ideal circumstances were not in place. I kept the plan on hold for a couple of years until the time was right. My wife’s Motor Maids convention was going to be in Santa Fe, NM and the national Road Glide meetup (Shark Week) was going to be in Canmore, AB. The timing was just right to go to Santa Fe then on to Alaska, back to Canmore, and then home.
This journal is my account of the Alaska portion of the trip. The accounts of the Motor Maids 2016 convention and Shark Week VI can be found in the Adventures section of this website.