In the summer of 2014, I was lucky enough to ride my BMW 1150GS from Los Angeles to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, stand on the Arctic Ocean (because it was still frozen over), and then ride back home. I rode up with a buddy who was riding a R1200GS, as well as my girlfriend, who flew in for part of the trip. Here’s the approximate route…
…and here’s the story:
Day 1: Trip Introduction – Los Angeles, CA to Fremont, CA (~355 miles)
Day 2 – Fremont, CA to Fort Bragg, CA, ~215 miles
Day 3 – Fort Bragg, CA to Portland, OR, ~550 miles
Day 4 – Portland, OR, to Pemberton, BC ~410 miles
Day 5 – Pemberton, BC to Vanderhoof, BC ~435 miles
Day 6 – Vanderhoof, BC to Prince Rupert, BC ~385 miles
Day 7 – On the Ferry, 0 road miles
Day 8 – Juneau, AK – 0 road miles
Day 9 – Juneau, AK – 0 road miles
Day 10 – Juneau, AK to Tok, AK ~530 miles
Day 11 – Tok, AK to Anchorage, AK ~320 miles
Day 12 – Anchorage, AK to Fairbanks, AK ~360 miles
Day 13 – Fairbanks, AK to Happy Valley, AK ~410 miles
Day 14, Part 1 – Happy Valley, AK to Prudhoe Bay, AK ~90 miles
Day 14, Part 2 – Prudhoe Bay, AK to Fairbanks, AK ~500 miles
Day 15 – Fairbanks, AK to Tok, AK ~200 miles
Day 16 – Tok, AK to Whitehorse, YT ~385 miles
Day 17 – Whitehorse, AK to Liard Hot Springs, BC ~400 miles
Day 18 – Liard Hot Springs, BC to Pouce Coupe, BC ~480 miles
Day 19 – Pouce Coupe, BC to Banff National Park, AB ~500 miles
Day 20 – Banff National Park, AB to Kalispell, MT ~375 miles
Day 21 – Kalispell, MT to Twin Falls, ID ~575 miles
Day 22 – Twin Falls, ID to Fremont, CA ~690 miles
Day 23 – June 26th, 2014 – Fremont, CA to Los Angeles, CA ~410 miles
Two final thoughts, if you’ll bear with me:
1.) My girlfriend is an avid fan of Lonely Planet. I realize this doesn’t immediately sound like it’s related, but two days after I got back from Alaska, we went to Paris and the first page of her Lonely Planet guide of the city had a quote from co-founder Tony Wheeler:
“All you’ve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over. So go.”
I felt the same way. Unless you’ve got a sugar mama (in which case, congratulations), it’s difficult to get the money for a trip like this. But what I didn’t realize when Bui and I first had the idea for this a year ago is that it’s actually much more difficult to find the time. It can be too easy to ‘wait till next year’, so I urge you to find a way to make it work, even if it means making a sacrifice in something else. It will be worth it.
2.) I’m not going to pretend that I’ll know how this trip will go for you, but I will say this: You’ll never be the same (in a good way). Your bike will also never be the same (in a very bad way). It’s been 5 months since I got back and there’s still dust in parts of my bike that I’m not sure existed. Again, it will be worth it.
Looking towards the future, I’d love to know what you thought of this series. Did you enjoy it, or did you consider it an unnecessary distraction on a site where you’re looking for bikes for sale? This will never become a travel blog, but I’d be open to to writing up some trips I’ve taken/will be taking if this went over well. Update: I wrote up some more trips.
So I guess that sums it up. Thank you so much for following along!