Huh? Love the bad weather on the Alaskan Highway? You're thinking; "This guy is nuts!"... right?
Well, you just might could be right! But, that don't change the fact that if you're intimidated, or depressed, or beaten down by rotten weather... riding a Motorcycle up the Alaskan Highway, just might not be the ride for you.
You've got some 9000 miles to ride, give or take... depending on where you start from. You may get lucky and ride right through a window of sunshine and warm breezes... but ... I'd sure not bank my whole trip on that, unlikely, prospect!
Yup... bad weather on the Alaskan Highway is pretty much part of the deal... So ... How do you handle it? What's the solution?
From where I sit... it's one of those "Zen" kind of things. You have to give yourself over to it... go with it... somehow, learn to embrace the rain... find some 'twisted' way that it can lift you up... rather than beat you down... or ... you're gonna find, as have many, that the bad weather on the Alaskan Highway is gonna ruin the ride you've dreamed of for... How Long?
Are you likely to be able to make the trip again? No? Then you had darn sure better make it work - This Time - lousy weather or not.
I can't count the number of times I've read 'bout a group of riders, starting up the Alcan... getting into the Yukon somewhere, and finding the rain... I don't know if it was one guy, or the whole group together that soured the deal... but eventually, they turned their bikes for the nearest place along the inside passage where they could find a ferry... and rode a boat home!
To me, that's a sad thing... to let a trip, that's been a life long dream, get washed out by bad weather on the Alaskan Highway... That's just wrong, Dad!
So... what did I do? Well... of my 9000 miles in 28 days (yeah I went too fast... but it was all the time I could get) some 3000miles of it from just inside the Alaskan border, clear around through Denali, past Fairbanks, past Tok again... clear back down nearly to Dawson... I rode in the rain.
3000 miles, give or take... of rain... Fun Baby!
I had a motorcycle rain suit from Frogg Togs, that though it wasn't one of the Heavy Duty outfits, it kept me dry, and was tight enough, that with a few layers underneath, I was warm. I had waterproof boots from Bass Pro...
Though, you need to be careful there too... One day, my Frogg Tog rain pants got pulled up, unnoticed, over my chaps far enough that the leather got saturated. That wet my jeans underneath. My jeans wicked the water up my leg and dumped it into the top of my boots... soaking my feet.
I thought the boots had failed... that the bad weather had whupped 'em... took me a little bit to figure out what had happened... and stop it... but...
... It took three days to dry 'em back out, in the bad weather on the Alaskan Highway! :o) What with me sleeping in a tent, in the rain there's really not much in the way of places to "Dry" things... when the rain only lets up long enough to let you set your tent up at night... before it comes pouring back... everything gets to feeling damp!
I got to watching up the road, as close as I could, when there was, bad weather on the Alaskan Highway, for the stretches wherethe chip and seal the pavement. I found they're doing "something" where they use some gravel that still has a lot of the dirt in it. The consequence is, that when you hit a truck coming the other way, the splash he throws up, buries you under this murky, brown haze on your helmet visor... you can't see a damn thing for too many yards! :o)
So... I got to watching, when it was raining... so I could pace my self to hit those patches, as much as possible, between trucks, and NOT get blinded... you take what comes, adjust... and roll on.
Under normal conditions, I don't mind the rain. Hell, I even like it! There's something about the scent of the air, the confronting nature on her turf. But mostly, that's when you're home... you ride for a while, then you get back, go inside and sit dry and warm sippin' a cup of hot coffee.
Goin' up against the bad weather on the Alaskan Highway is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish! You have got to look at it differently.
Rolling a Motorcycle up the Alcan and camping most of the way, there is no Warm and Dry... in a three man tent, in the rain... The humidity just seeps into everything. Everything gets that damp feel to it... So... Dry? not so much... though sitting therein your tent at night, cozied up in your synthetic bag... You are warm... as you listen to the rain rattling on the roof, a few inches over your head...
and maybe THAT, is the key? Your sitting there, in the rain... writing in your journal, listening to your Ipod... sheltered and protected by your equipment, from the weather... so embrace it...
Load your motorcycle in the Morning... and ride off into the bad weather on the Alaskan Highway with a grin on your face! Feel the rain drops on your face... smell the rain freshened air in your helmet as you roll down the road...
Know that YOU are here. YOU are not going to surrender to the bad weather on the Alaskan Highway, but learn how to live with it. You are going to SEE, what so many others quit on, and took the easy boat home... You are going to see, at least a sliver, of the Not So Gentle Alaska... others lacked what it took to see...
Sure, make sure you've got good equipment. Have it set up so you can use it, when you need it. Don't get foolish and stupid... Not if you're going to go up against the bad weather on the Alaskan Highway. Ride within your capability... do the logistical things you need to do to take care of business, but then, reach inside yourself... and Ride!
You can't confront the weather. You're not going to defeat Momma Nature on the Alcan. If you try, she's going to crush you.
What you have to do is, you have to find the rhythm... and roll with it, embrace it, go with it. Find the amount of time you can ride, feeling comfortable... and if you get to feeling stiff and cold... find the place to stop for that day. Boil up your coffee... and "listen to the music of the falling rain!" :o)
Don't fight Nature... find it's pace... and adopt it... set your clock to it... You try and make it adjust to you, and you'll soon be booking passage on a ferry, and the bad weather on the Alaskan Highway, will have won.
What you have to do, is find that place buried deep within you. That place where the true Joy, of just freakin' suckin' in air lives.
You have to tap in to that when you pull into a roadside overlook, in the rain, and climb off your bike all alone. Not a car to be seen for miles in either direction. You step up to the railing, looking out over thousands of square miles of untouched wilderness; and instead of thinking, damn, I'm wet and sick of this F*****g rain and mud... you look around and think... "Damn, that is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen... and here I am... the only one, smart enough to be here and see it!"
If you can find that place inside... rather than standing at that overlook, complaining about the weather, you'll stand there grinning...and thanking God he let you be there, at THAT moment.
Just remember one thing... it's not ALL, bad weather on the Alaskan Highway... some of 'em... just shine like Gold!