Hello Everyone and welcome to my post-trip blog about my recent motorcycle trip to Alaska and back. In order to get things up and going as soon as possible, and to make it a bit easier for you the viewer to digest my presentation, I will break it up into parts. I have decided to try and make the presentation slightly more brief than originally planned. But then again, I thought I would be able to do a lot of “presenting along the way”. Boy was I wrong. So here goes.
The Big Picture
On June 27th, 2013, I left my home in Central Illinois on my 2009 BMW 1200GSA motorcycle for a 30-day trip that would see me travel by road as far north as is possible in North America, then head down to Salem, Oregon to participate in the 41st BMW MOA International Motorcycle Rally. Finally I would travel south along the western coast of the United States down to San Diego, California. After that, it would be off to Alamogordo, New Mexico to say hi to my father. Then on east towards Fayetteville, Arkansas to visit with some relatives before turning north and arriving back home.
Now to be frank, this was a bit ambitious. After all, it had originally been planned as a 60 day trip. 60 days of just me and my BMW, traveling a little over 12,000 miles, taking in the many different sights, smells, and experiences that go along with motorcycle travel. And don’t forget the many different people I would meet along the way
A Little About Me
Before I get into the meat of this trip, the first of many to be undertaken by me, I would like to spend a little time explaining why I chose to travel by motorbike. I apologize in advance if I bore some of you. But many people have asked me why I have chosen to do this. So I will try to be brief.
Motorcycles are not new to me. I first began riding back in 1968. I took my first cross-country tour in 1982. I still own that bike. Actually, as I write this, I now own six motorbikes. Each has a specific purpose in life. Think of them as shoes. How many different types do you wear? So let’s talk about why I want to travel by motorbike.
There simply is no other way to travel if you really want to experience the real world. Yes, you can travel by the plane, train, or automobile. But in doing so, you in fact isolating yourself from the very things that make the travel experience, well, an experience. Someone once said something along the lines of “Travel by car is like watching a movie. Travel by motorcycle is like being in that movie.” When you travel by motorbike, people seem to be drawn to you. They see you as possibly somewhat vulnerable. Maybe you need help figuring out where to go next. Maybe they are locals. Maybe not. Either way, they think they can offer help or information. And so they approach you.
Then of course there is the motorbike. When they see the bike all loaded down, they know you are coming from somewhere and heading somewhere. And while that is true in any mode of travel you may choose, a motorcycle adds a whole new dimension to travel. And people know it. To many, you are an adventurer. Not afraid to take on the elements as you travel around the globe. Someone who will have travel tales to tell. Someone who I living the dream. Maybe someone who is living their dream.
Many people dream about just hopping on a motorbike and heading off on a journey somewhere. But there are hundreds of excuses, oh excuse me, reasons, why they don’t do so. I won’t go into all the reasons. I know many of them myself first hand. So when suddenly you just magically appear, right in front of them, they just have to talk to you. They want to find out where your going, where you’ve been, and what it’s like to be able to just take off and seemingly leave all the troubles of the daily grind behind. Ask any motorbike traveler about something as simple as refueling at a gas station. It’s impossible not to have people approach you if your bike is all loaded down with panniers, bags, spare tyres, etc.
I’m one of those people who decided it was time to get back on the bike and travel. Like I said before, I know of all the excuses why I could not do this. I have a full time job. I have a wife and family at home. I have financial obligations. Where does the money come from to finance such a trip. What if this happens, or maybe that. The list goes on and on.
But the facts are this: I’m not getting any younger. And far too many people I know have suddenly become ill and passed away. If I don’t start traveling now, when will I? Or maybe the question is will I be able to? As far as I know, I only get one shot at life. Maybe it’s time to evaluate my situation in life. If I really want to travel, there’s no time like the present to get going. And my first trip would be to travel to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
Supposedly, Mark Twain once said “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” I have no idea if he really said that, but it sure makes sense to me. I have lots of other sayings I could repeat here. But the bottom line is this: it’s simply time to do it. So let’s get started! There’s no better time than the present. So in my next installment, I will go into the why and how I chose the timing of my trip.