Monday, January 25, 2021

Alaskapade 2021 - A Route Change?

I've been planning my return to the Arctic ever since my 2020 Everest trip was scuttled by the China virus.  At 58 years old, I still have a few adventures in me and it's been ten years, so why not return?  On my last Alaska trip in 2011, I rode deep into the Arctic Circle, turning around at Coldfoot Camp due to weather on the north slope.  Although riding to the Arctic Circle sign was my goal, I entertained the idea of riding to Dead Horse and seeing the Arctic Ocean.
I have pics of my riding boots in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico.  Snapping a pic of them in the Arctic Ocean would be cool.  The problem is, in Alaska, vehicles are prohibited to drive past Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay.  If I want to see the water, I'll have to hop on a bus with the other tourists.  But, there is another option.

One of the most scenic roads in Canada is the Dempster (Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk) Highway.  This "road" is primarily gravel crap and there are several ferry crossings, but it will take me all the way to the Arctic shore.  I think it's time to rethink my trip.

Will it still be called the Alaskapade?


As I type this, the more I think about it, the more interested I get in the potential Arctic adventure route change.  As cool as it might be, the reality is the choice might not be mine to make.  Borders around the world are in a state of flux, thanks again to China and the global virus they unleashed.  The Canadian border is no exception, but there are exceptions to the restrictions that will determine my ultimate route.

Currently, US citizens can enter Canada in vehicles with the expressed purpose of traveling straight to Alaska with no "tourist" stops along the way.  Drivers' vehicles are tagged at the Canadian border entry and they are given a specific amount of days to exit Canada at an Alaskan border.  Drivers not exiting within the time limit are fined and/or detained.  This bodes well for me because I can get through Canada in a few days; even at a leisurely pace of 800 miles per day.  Since I'm tugging a trailer and can just pull over and camp, I'll come in contact with even fewer people. I'm hoping the Canadian border officials will appreciate this.  If the current travel restriction is still being enforced when I plan to leave in June, then I will go with my original plan and ride through Fairbanks up to Prudhoe Bay.  If time allows, I might ride south to Anchorage on my way out since I've never ridden there.

If the Canadian border restrictions are relaxed, then I think I'll make the turn to the north outside Dawson City and ride new ground (for me).  I haven't done the research to speculate the amount of time it will take to get to Tuktoyaktuk, but I've read that the roads are mostly unpaved and that there are multiple river crossings where I'll be at the mercy of ferry schedules. I also must remember that this trip will be capped off by riding to Shark Week XI and as such, I have to plan my dates to the greatest extent possible around arriving in Lake Tahoe by June 28th.  People who know me know that I tend to be spontaneous in life...except with my road trips.  There are so many things that could go wrong that I have to plan every detail with backup alternatives because when it comes to achieving personal accomplishments, I don't like leaving things to chance.  That said, there are many uncertainties that I'll just have to face when they happen. That uncertainty is all part of the adventure and I am in real need of adventure!

 Stay tuned!

This is the route I'm considering.