Saturday, March 24, 2012

Five More Weeks, Then Alaska Here I Come

Five weeks from now, I will be making the last minute checks to the bike. Saying goodbye to my wife and rolling away on my SV650. I can hardly believe the departure time is coming so quickly. So much to do! 

The bike has been at the mechanic the last few weeks as he gives it a thorough check and upgrades the aging suspension. He’s also replacing all the wear items I didn’t replace last fall (chain, sprocket, brake lines, brake fluid, etc).

I’ve been reading my two guide books: Guide to the Alaska Highway and The Milepost 2011: Alaska Travel Planner. The two are a good compliment to each other. The first talks about how to get to (and from) the Alaska highway which is more than a thousand mile journey in addition to what to expect when you get to it. The second is supposed to be the “bible” of the Alaska highway. It has some good stuff, but a tad too many ads for me. I like the pull out map it came with. I have it hanging on my wall, so I can stare at it every day. I also like that it has a digital edition which I can put on my netbook.

To break up reading about my trip, I’ve also been reading a couple photography books which will hopefully improve my ability to share some of the great scenery I expect to see. The books are: Within the Frame, Photography Field Guide, and Photographer’s Eye. I really like the first one, and have only scratched the surface of the other two.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trip Announcement: Everyday for 7 Weeks

Everyday for Seven Weeks

Everyday for 7 Weeks – San Diego by way of Alaska.

Where: Minneapolis to Idaho to Fairbanks to Seattle to San Diego and back to Minneapolis. I estimate it will be about 12,000 miles. (see map below)

When: April 28, 2012 to June 17, 2012. 50 days over 7 weeks.

Bike: My 2001 SV650.

Who: Me (and all the cool people I hope to meet along the way).

Blog: I plan to have a SPOT tracker so you can follow my progress, and I plan blogging throughout the trip (when I have Internet).


This trip has been in the works for several months and it feels great to finally post about it. It has taken many unexpected turns along the way. I didn’t originally set out to ride to Alaska, but that is now the plan. It is a bit early in the season to ride to Alaska. I may not make it, but will give it a best effort. I have several motorcycle safety courses I am teaching the rest of the summer, so it is now is the time.

The original idea was to ride out to Seattle, WA where my wife would be meeting me. Then we’d ride together two-up down the Pacific Coast rode to San Diego where she would fly home. She won’t have the vacation time away from work to be with me the entire trip.

As I was making plans on the route to ride west, I started talking to people and was easily persuaded to add Banff to the list. Then Alaska seemed to be reasonably close, so I looked at going to Hyder, AK, then the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks and Anchorage. With seeds planted last year from Gary France and others to not let little things like lack of vacation time get in the way, the trip was born.

The current plan as mentioned above is to ride west to Idaho and then up to Calgary. Then ride to and on the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks and then Anchorage. From AK back down to Vancouver where I will cross back to Seattle. I will meet my wife in Seattle and then we will ride the coast rode down to San Diego where she will fly home. I’ll ride home through Colorado.

I don’t have enough vacation time to cover the entire trip, so I’m taking an unpaid leave for roughly half the trip. I have enough saved up for the coast road part; we’ll see about the rest. I have a feeling I will need to sell my R1150GS to pay for the trip. I plan on camping and staying with friends as much as possible to keep costs down. If you are near the route, I would love to meet up for at least a cup of coffee. Contact me and let me know!

Lastly, I’d like to thank Liz from lilred’s riding blog. She works at RevUp Creative Media and created the fabulous “Everyday for 7 Weeks” above. Thanks Liz! I’ve incorporated the new graphic into a new blog header which will remain until the trip is over.

I am extremely excited about this trip; I don’t expect it to be easy. I’m busy preparing the SV, my gear, and myself for the trip. Stay tuned!

A rough guess of my route:

View Larger Map

YouTube: Everyday for 7 Weeks – San Diego by way of Alaska.