Friday, August 15, 2008

Losing the plot

After two months on the road, I have finally realized what I am doing. I don't mean where I am going - I know what my itinerary is. What I am finally beginning to realize is that this won't be the walk (ride) in the park that I have been having up to this point. Some of the hardest riding is coming up in the next few weeks. Forget about everywhere I have been up until now. That is easy. Easy to get to, easy to ride, easy to find fuel/food/lodging. Reality is setting in. 

There are plenty of people that come to Alaska on motorcycles. There are some that ride the Alaska Highway others come up on a more populated road from Seattle and link into the Alcan Hwy midway through it. (There are only two overland routes to Alaska from the lower 48 and Canada.) Of those that make it to Alaska, there are only a handful of people that attempt to ride from Fairbanks to Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay. Let me rephrase that. Almost every rider has that as a goal, not everyone is able to do it for various reasons. After talking to 6 other riders on the way back, none of them made it. Steve had a pinched nerve in his back not long after he mounted new tires on in preparation. He and his wife, Kim, were headed back to Toronto after realizing that they couldn't make it this trip. Two guys from Michigan that I road with for a few hours were planning on heading to Deadhorse, but one fell in the gravel in one of the road work sections of the road we were on. As I helped them get their stuff sorted out, I heard them start discussing alternatives. They were on sport bikes, so it probably wasn't a great idea anyway - but they were pretty young... they bounce. 

The traffic becomes a trickle, then a drip, then it is 30 minutes to an hour between seeing anything living other than hawks, deer, bear, bison or ravens. The types of small towns shift from having side streets, to just a frontage road, to a speed limit sign before the town telling you to reduce speed. The Alaska Hwy becomes less of a proper road and more of a service road of gravel, dirt and stone - mostly paved, but with miles of construction breaking up the monotony. Temps are a moderate 78 degrees in Dawson Creek, 70 in Fort Nelson, 64 in Toad River - I am sure that the reader can see where this is taking me...

All of these signs creep into my head and give me doubts about how dedicated I am to getting to certain places on my list. 

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