June 4 2010 by Jason Fogelson
I've got plenty of dream rides on my agenda. One that I'm sure I'll get to soon is to ride the ALCAN Highway.
The Alaska-Canada (ALCAN) Highway was constructed in the 1940s, and ever since then, it has represented a significant challenge to long distance motorcyclists. Though it is open year-round, the wise biker will not attempt to travel the length of the ALCAN Highway in any season other than summer. You may be able to make it from the southern end of the route in Dawson Creek, British Columbia to the northern end near Delta Junction, Alaska, but the trip is sure to be challenging in ways that will not be rewarding.
The ALCAN highway is about 1,600 miles long, and traverses some of the most beautiful scenery that North America has to offer. It also passes through or near some of Canada's great small towns, and gives glimpses of what life might have been like for the early settlers in the area. Unlike many motorcycle trips where I would say that the journey is the point of the adventure, the appeal of the ALCAN Highway for me is the raw accomplishment. I want to be able to say that I have ridden from one end to the other.
And there's the first part of the equation: will I ride from north to south, or from south to north? Or will I do a round trip, starting from one end of the highway and reversing course at the other end? I've thought this one through.
I think that I will ship my bike to Fairbanks, Alaska, which is about 100 miles northwest of Delta Junction. I'll fly in, and stay at the Best Western Chena River Lodge, then start my trip southeast.
I don't know where I'll wind up along the way, but I do know that I'll shoot for the Best Western Gold Rush Inn in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory at the midway point in my ride. Whitehorse is the largest city in the Yukon Territory at 20,000 inhabitants, and I'm very curious to see what life is like in a subarctic climate. I'm guessing that the internet and satellite communications have made life less remote, but the temperatures keep things a bit different.
At the end of the ALCAN Highway, I'll rest up at the Best Western Dawson Creek Inn before having my bike shipped back home. I'll fly home, too, with another story in my pocket and the knowledge that I conquered the ALCAN Highway.
What's your dream ride? When are you going to saddle up and go?