Thursday, July 28, 2005

The End of the Alaska Highway

I arrived in Dawson Creek after after another day of cold, wet riding. The day had started out with some sun and little sign of rain, but by the afternoon the clouds had rolled in and the rain came with it. I guess Mother Nature had to get her claws into me one last time (she managed to rain on me every day from Anchorage to Dawson Creek). That last day does have some great sights, too, and some stretches of it are amazingly fun to ride.

I was both happy and sad to roll into Dawson Creek. While I knew this would likely mean better roads, better weather, and the ability to pick up a lot more miles in a day, it also was the end of the "adventure" part of the ride. From then on everything would become tamer, both the riding and the scenery. However, I had never ridden across Canada before and was looking forward to seeing the world's second largest country.

So, having ridden the Alaska Highway twice now (technically that's not true - once from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks, which is the more "official route," and once from Anchorage to Dawson Creek), I can say that it truly is a marvel. From an engineering perspective, it is nothing short of amazing. That they were able to carve this road out of some of the remotest places on the continent in a manner of months is staggering. I also think it is a wonderful gift to the people of Canada, the United States, and travelers from around the world who are willing to take the time to traverse it. It is the only land bridge between the last great frontier we have - Alaska - and the mid-continent suburban sprawl that stretches for thousands of miles from Key West to Fort St. John. It is more than that, though - it is a road that leads to adventure. In all my years and my many thousands of miles of riding, it was never with such anticipation that I turned on to a stretch of road and started riding it. It combined technical challenges with spectacular scenery, interesting small towns and microscopic communities and lifestyles, and some of the absolutely best riding I've ever done. I also met more really, really cool bikers than I can recount. I've tried to introduce some of them to you, but there were dozens of others that were great to ride with, to talk bikes with, to share riding stories with, and to just hang out with. There, it seemed like the normal camaraderie that bikers share really did become more of a brotherhood. And I know now that whenever I meet another biker that has also ridden the Alaska Highway, I'll immediately know more about that person than I know about most people.

It is, after all, a very special road.

Ride On!


Post a Comment

<< Home