We’re nearing the end of another Alaska riding season, and despite being unsure of what value I could possibly add to the already broad selection of Alaska ride reports, I’ll go ahead and throw my keys in the basket. But first, why would anyone choose to ride to Alaska? It’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s, like, really far. There are blood-sucking mosquitoes, wildfires in all directions, and it’s a toss-up whether you’re more likely to be mauled by a grizzly or shot and set aflame by serial killers. (BTW – I’m terrified of bears.) Not to mention, all of the cool kids are making this trip and, just like eating Tide pods, that alone makes me less interested. But at the end of the day, Alaska holds a certain rite of passage that can’t be ignored. Well, that, and I’ve crossed the continent East/West four times already and it’s getting a bit old hat. I tossed a coin and it came up Mexico but my wife said no way (no bears in Mexico, hun, just sayin’), so northbound it is. I decided to go for Alaska 4 years ago. Between waiting for the Tuk road to open and some major life events sprinkled in, it’s been a long time coming. Turns out the wait is just what I needed. I’d been keeping up on the progress of the Road to Tuk, I’ve been reading ride reports to figure out what to see along the way and how to get there, and I’ve been brushing up on my bear fighting skills. Most importantly, I was stoking my excitement in a way that only rabid consumerism can – new gear, new parts, and a new bike! Now I’m ready… mostly… I think… I decided from the start to be as flexible as possible for this trip, and that means I’m running solo and self-sufficient. It also means I don’t have a single reservation booked anywhere. We’ll see how well that goes… Of course, “as flexible as possible” comes with but a single caveat: I’m a working stiff and will burn up every day of vacation I have to do this trip. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will only be scratching the surface of the places I see given my allotted time frame, but that’s just the sad reality of the gainfully employed. The slow-down-and-smell-the-roses crowd has been heard, but I’m faced with the dilemma of doing this trip in only 3 weeks or not doing it at all. So with that, here’s the plan: Step 1) Ride North until I can’t go any further. Step 2) Ride West until I can’t go any further. Step 3) Ride South until I can’t go any further. Step 4) Go home. Sleep here and there, eat once in a while, take a few photos, don’t get attacked by a bear. All steps are optional and can be completed in any order. Excepting Step 4… and the bear thing. Lift off in a week!