Kelly's 2011 Alaska Journey
Acknowledgements, Final Thoughts
Before I wrap up the blog completely, I'd like to address something needing attention. Thanks and Acknowledgements (in no particular order) to:
Ariel and Brenden at AK Rider / MotoQuest, for their tireless patience in answering my interminable questions prior to the trip. Brenden and Dan at AK Rider / MotoQuest for being excellent tour guides. They went above and beyond in making sure we all had a great time. Even with the challenges of mechanical issues, they kept good spirits, and nothing could dampen their enthusiasm and professionalism. Mark at AK Rider / MotoQuest, for making time to take care of many of the issues my bike had from the accident, as well as the rear tire that wore faster than I'd expected.
Pierre at Works Performance, for making my custom shock absorber in record time so it could help the trip. Additionally, he'd set it up with the proper adjustments for the weight of my bike, gear, luggage, and myself. It performed flawlessly.
Marilyn at PlugUp! custom earpieces. Marilyn's dedication to customer service is spectacular. She made some custom earphones with little time in which to do it, and got them to me before I left. I used those earphones daily, and the ride would have been MUCH less enjoyable without them. (They're custom molded to my ears, so not only do they make the stereo easy to hear, but they block out a huge percentage of wind and road noise.) She also made custom earplugs intended for sleeping. These were used on the ferry from Whittier, AK to Bellingham, WA. They made sleeping MUCH more comfortable.
Robert and Jane at Evolution Suspension in San Jose, CA for getting my bike in there in short notice, and installing the aforementioned shock and Progressive fork springs just days before I left. They also cleaned up and lubricated the much ignored linkage for the rear suspension.
Luke and his service team at Mt. Baker Moto-Sports in Bellingham, WA. Without their availability and flexibility, I'd have been stuck in Bellingham for three days or more instead of just one (granted, Bellingham is a charming place, and I'd love to spend more time there, but I had to get home). They're great people, and they really pulled me out of a bind at the end of my journey.
This has been indeed a ride of a lifetime. I say "A" ride not "THE" ride, as I'll no doubt continue with great adventures, and I've already had some pretty spectacular ones before heading to the Arctic Circle. But let me recap the personal milestones achieved on this trip.
For the first time, I have:
Visited and ridden in the Canadian Great White North
- Northwest Territories
- Yukon Territory. Visited Alaska, the only state in which I had not previously been. Ridden in Alaska, the only state in which I had not previously ridden a motorcycle. Visited the furthest north on Earth I have yet been. Ridden a motorcycle into the Arctic Circle. Ridden a motorcycle to the Arctic Sea - Riding the length of the Dalton Highway both ways. Stepped into the Arctic Sea (though just barely). Riding the length of the Denali Highway. Seen humpback whales & bald eagles. Learned that no seafood anywhere can compare to the quality of the fish in Alaska. King Salmon, Coho Salmon, Halibut, etc. It's SO fresh, and the chefs know JUST how to prepare it. I could move to Alaska solely for the fish.
Had a bison steak. (Have previously only had buffalo burgers). Had different kinds of caribou- Steaks, sausage. Taken a multi-day ferry trip. Taken glacier-viewing excursion cruises. Stampeded wild bison (I know, I know! :-)
Have eaten a Klondike Bar IN the Klondike. Eaten ice cream at the Arctic Sea. Been involved in a traffic accident outside my home state (though I could have happily skipped this one).
There are some statistics from the ride:
Number of Days: 30
Number of U.S. States: 4
Number of Canadian Provinces/Territories: 3
Distance Ridden: 7151 mi / 11508 km
Distance on Ferries: 1700 mi / 2735 km
Total Distance: 8851 mi / 14243 km
To read more about the wrap-up go to:
To read the full journey go to: