Wednesday, May 18, 2011

30 Days and Counting Down!

The last seven months have really flown by.  And now, as I'm sewing up loose ends and trying to remember all I may have forgotten, it really seems to be flying.  June 18th will be here before I know it and I suspect time will blaze by like lightning when actually I'm on the trip.

Back in October when I decided to make the Alaskapade a reality and actually starting working to put it all together, June 18th seemed like an eternity.  I had eight months to pick dates, sort out the logistics, and prepare.  Now, I'm one month out and I think I've covered all the bases.  I've sought out and found the best deals on reliable yet compactable camping gear.  Funny, but as a testament to my being a magnet for quirky situations, the mere act of buying a tent provided fodder for at least two blog articles (1) (2).  I've secured some pretty cool (albeit geeky) tech gear, providing me with navigation, entertainment, communications, and emergency response peace of mind for my family.  I've routed, routed again, and re-calculated my route and with advice from some very helpful people at and, feel pretty confident that the routes I've planned offer a good mix of scenery and interesting terrain.

Martin at Sturgis - 2009
My friend Martin and I talked about making this journey for five years and each year that passed was going to be the one.  Martin is gone now; his life cut short at just 48 years old by a brain aneurism.  When I was considering buying my first Harley, my mother of all people was my biggest cheerleader.  When I commented to her on the economy and made excuses to put it off, mom was the one who said "There's never a good time to frivolously spend money on a toy, but too late will get here before you know it."  Too late arrived too soon for Martin.  As usual, mom was right.

By coincidence, as I'm writing this, "Hold On" by Triumph is playing on the radio. Killer tune; Inspirational and appropriate.

The daily routine takes your soul,
Lost without a trace
It holds you down and turns you 'round
And puts you in your place
Another day, another dollar
Another pretty face
Another chance to lose yourself
In the endless race
Hold on, hold on to your dreams
Hold on, even though it seems
Everyone around you has their little schemes
Listen to your heart and hold on to your dreams

I originally set this blog up to serve as an affirmation to myself - to not let my daily routine take my soul, to not life get in the way and force me to postpone the trip yet another year.  Since then, it has morphed (some may say mutated) into a place on the web for me to vent and as a place for me to satiate my thirst to write.  I've lived a pretty adventurous, albeit whacky life and I have a lot of stories to tell.

"Because it's mine." - Hank Reardon/Ayn Rand
I haven't told many people this, but a few months ago, a producer from the IFC cable channel offered me $15,000 to allow a camera crew to tail me on the Alaskapade and let them produce a "reality-based documentary".  The money looked good, especially given the skyrocketing price of gas.  But in the end, I know that "reality TV" is generally the farthest thing from what reality is and their documentary could easily end up becoming a mockumentary with Hester and I as the butt of the joke.  Martin and I deserve better.  Under the terms of their deal, I would give them exclusive rights to this site, everything I've written, and all video action in perpetuity.  I realized that although my writing is just a semi-passionate hobby, my thoughts are worth more than $15,000 to me and I declined their offer; twice.  I'd rather do it all for free and maintain my independence. It has occurred to me, however, that as our Presidential administration continues to show ZERO leadership with respect to fuel prices, I may be questioning my decision a month from now.  IFC TV aside, the 16,000 site hits I've gathered since October have inspired me to carry on with my writing under another blog after I return from Alaska.  Details on that will follow my return.

I still plan to produce my own video diary of the trip.  Although the movie poster and "theatrical" trailer atop the Alaskapade page are mostly a goof, I'm taking three HD cameras with me and plan to capture as much of the action as possible. One camera will be helmet mounted, one bike mounted, and the third is a handheld. I have a vision of how I want the end product to look and anyone who knows me knows I'm pretty good at chasing down and realizing my visions.  Nevertheless, given the vision I have in my head, the expert editing and creative input I've been receiving, and my propensity to find myself in the middle of stupid situations, the Alaskapade movie should turn out to be pretty entertaining.

I'm sorting through the available technologies to provide timely updates from the road.  I've found a way to link the transmissions from my satellite transponder to this page with Google map updates of my location every ten minutes while I'm moving.  I have over 200 subscribers who will receive the updates on the fly and even a few Twitter followers.  I've had many wishes of good fortune and safe travel as well as numerous expressions of envy and predicted vicarious living through these forthcoming updates.  Rest assured, I don't take all this lightly and will do my best to measure up to your expectations as well as my own.

So join me as I count down these last thirty days and then join me on the road beginning June 18th.  This will be the trip of my lifetime and I'm happy to share the experience.