Ride A Motorcycle To Alaska: Are You Nuts!

Posted on June 7, 2010


Mt. McKinley 2005 - A Motorcycle Is Needed In This Shot

Celeste and I spent two weeks in Alaska in 2005, doing the small RV rental thing, and seeing as much of this vast wilderness as we could cram into our vacation schedule. We loved every minute of it and swore we would come back for more if we got the chance.

When Jesse moved to Missoula in 2007 and became an active western mountain person, biking, climbing, camping, fishing, and motorcycling all over the Northwest, we knew we had a partner in the next Alaskan adventure. So in 2008 Rudi proposed an Alaskan motorcycle jaunt with Jesse and our good friend and BMW R1200 GS owner, Chuck, from Nashville, Tennessee. Rudi and Chuck began preparing their GS’s and Jesse started prepping his 2005 Kawasaki KLR650 for the trip.

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But then life interfered. Jesse tore his rotator cuff while hanging from a cliff and needed shoulder surgery, and Chuck developed a bone spur and also needed shoulder surgery, so the trip was scrubbed. Rudi got a consolation prize of a used KLR 650, however, and added it to the GS as a mount for the north Georgia Forest Service roads that are abundant just north of Atlanta.

The dream didn’t die, though. In late 2009 Jesse’s shoulder had healed, and with Angel by his side, he had resumed extensive outdoor activities that included spending a week hiking at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, climbing the Grand Teton, and making a winter ascent of Mt. Hood. Along the way, however, he sold his motorcycle to pay off some debts. Ouch!

But remember Rudi’s consolation prize? His 2006 KLR was available, and with Jesse’s long distance guidance, Rudi became reasonably proficient with the shop tools again and began making the extensive modifications to both bikes that a trip like this one requires. More on that later for the motorcycle gearheads in the crowd.

But none of this answers the big question: Why are you riding a motorcycle to Alaska? This question really has no answer. You either “get it” or you don’t. Why does one person get excited by a round of golf, another by watching exotic birds in the wild, and another by reading the great authors? It’s all about following your dreams, I suppose. If you have a passion, then pursue it! Rudi is lucky because his wife and family not only understand this, they participate in it.

My advice for those who think we are nuts is to find something of their own that they can get nuts about. It makes life a lot more rewarding. Especially if you also have others who share your nuttiness.

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Rudi G  & Jesse