Thursday, April 29, 2021

Alternate Itinerary

Well, shit.

The more I thought about it, the more interested I was in a 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 (except for the US southern border) are still 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 I thought would determine my ultimate route.

Until recently, US citizens could 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 boded 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 hoped Canadian border officials would appreciate this, but I honestly don't expect their leadership to act any more rationally than ours.

If the previous travel restrictions were still being enforced when I planned to leave in June, then I would have gone with my original plan and ride through Fairbanks up to Prudhoe Bay.  If time allowed, I might've ridden south to Anchorage on my way out since I've never ridden there.  If the Canadian border restrictions had been relaxed, then I planned to make a turn to the north outside Dawson City and ride new ground (for me) to the Arctic Ocean north of the Dempster Highway.  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 end 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!

Canada has introduced a new economy-crushing initiative that forces travelers to pay a $2,000 fee for the privilege of staying in a pre-selected quarantine hotel for three nights and that must be followed up for an additional eleven days of local quarantine.  Makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

I won't let anyone, much less Canada stop me from making an epic trip.  I rode to Shark Week X in Gettysburg in July during the height of the pandemic nonsense and in one of the most locked-down states in the country.  Our event had a great crowd, went off without a hitch, and those who bailed on it out of fear regretted it from the first days when all the arrival photos started being posted.  We played it safe and acted responsibly.  Not one of the attendees became ill after returning home.

If Trudeau doesn't pull his head out of his ass, my current plan is to make my way through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho to Washington.  Then, I'll follow highway 101 south, hugging the coastline through Washington, Oregon, and into California; camping all the way up and down.  Once in Cali, I'll catch super scenic PC1 and ride it at least as far south as San Luis Obispo.  If time permits, I might ride all the way to San Diego before turning northeast and heading towards Yosemite and on to Lake Tahoe for Shark Week XI.

I mapped out a few potential scenic routes that ought to offer some camping spots along the way.  I'm sure these will change over the next six weeks.  Stay tuned!