Alaska. The Final Frontier. The Land of The Midnight Sun. Home to Denali and Mount McKinley, the highest mountain on the continent. A land so vast with so few people that the population density compares to Manhattan; if there were only 30 people living in New York City. Alaska contains more coastline than all the other states combined. At low tide you could cut Alaska in thirds and Texas would be the fourth largest state. Simply put, it's a big place.

Combine Alaska with a motorcycle ride and you've got an interesting proposition. Wide open spaces and majestic views around every turn. Tundra and glaciers and dozens of mountain ranges I've never heard of. Wild rivers flowing through an untouched wilderness, inhabited only by moose, grizzlies, wolves and eagles. While fewer than 900 grizzlies inhabit the lower 48, some 50,000 brown bears live in Canada and Alaska. Adventure abounds on a motorcycle trip to Alaska. There's a sense of uncertainty around the corner, of not knowing what will happen next.

Joining me on this journey will be my friend Chuck Frederick, who will be riding his brand new BMW R1150GS. I'll be aboard a 1998 BMW R1100GS. You may remember Chuck as a riding acquaintance from my last journey, 100 Days 48 States. A recently retired TWA Captain and former naval aviator, Chuck shares my enthusiasm for motorcycling, and BMW motorcycles in particular. It was actually Chuck who told me he was thinking of riding to Alaska, and when a friend of his couldn't make the trip, I suggested we do this together. After all, it's not a ride you would necessarily want to take alone. Say, for example, you have the unfortunate luck of running into some of that abundant wildlife, a moose or a caribou perhaps. And you're lying along the road, unable to ride away. And then a grizzly smells the animal you just ran into and comes by to have some dinner. Suddenly, you give a whole new definition to the term "Meal on Wheels." You have become the meal!

Our route will lead us from Montana, up the Continental Divide and into the Canadian Rockies. In British Columbia, we'll follow the Alaskan Highway from Dawson Creek into the Yukon Territory and its capitol of Whitehorse. Turning north towards Dawson City, we'll cross into Alaska along the "Top-Of-The-World" Highway on July 4th. After touring Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula we'll turn north once again and the real adventure will begin. From Fairbanks we'll travel up the Dalton Highway, past the Artic Circle along the Pipeline Haul Road. If we make it through the 450 miles of gravel, mud, and rocks the size of footballs, we'll reach Prudhoe Bay and the town of Deadhorse, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. This is literally the end of the road, and the northern most road in North America. The last stretch of the Dalton Highway, from Coldfoot to Deadhorse, is 244 miles of nothing. No gas, no food, and no lodging.

I'm only 32 years old but I can say I've already had a very thrilling life. I've traveled the world. I've met many fascinating and famous people. I've seen war and its horrors. I've seen hundreds of oil fields on fire and felt their smoke in my lungs. I've been successful in business. I created something from nothing and then reaped the rewards. I've done all these things, but I'm sure that making this trip to Alaska, riding my motorcycle to the end of the road and the top of North America, will be the most exciting and fascinating experience of my life. It might also be the most difficult.

So, come join the adventure and see what unfolds. We're in for quite a ride.

Sincerely,

Daniel Cohen
June, 2000


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