BEGIN THE BEGUINE:
Our fourth day in Canada found my BMW and me in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, at the starting point of the Alaska Highway.
‘Where you going?’ asked the red-haired gent who gassed up our tanks.
‘Up to Alaska,’ I replied and watched his face for expression. He paused for a long moment to look at me from head to toe, frowned, replaced the gas cap, took my money and shook his head. ’Man, you’re CRAZY!" he finally said."
- from "Two Wheels To Adventure:
Alaska to Argentina by Motorcycle" by Danny Liska
Some years ago, when I first started looking for a motorcycle, I came across a book by a fellow who rode his BMW all the way from Alaska to the tip of South America, in the 1960’s. The title of the book, "Two Wheels To Adventure", immediately caught my attention. The thick volume, filled with photographs and illustrations, kept me enthralled for days. The story of this man, Danny Liska, a farmer from Nebraska who left everything behind to seek out adventure, absolutely fascinated me. I dreamt of riding off some day on a motorcycle of my own, racing towards that next hill to discover whatever lay over the horizon. The book sits on my shelf now, a treasured possession. On the inside cover a hand-written inscription reads "With fondest regards and wishing you many Happy Adventures! – Danny Liska."
Liska, a large, hulking man, rode his motorcycle to places no one had ever dreamed of riding to before. At the time he traveled the Pan-American Highway from its northern most point in Arctic Circle City to the southern most tip of South America, much of the road simply didn’t exist. And what often passed for a highway was nothing more than rock and mud. He gathered quite a bit of notoriety for even attempting such a feat. After he returned to the states, BMW gave Danny a brand new motorcycle which he proceeded to ride from North Cape, Norway to the South Cape of Africa. Between the two trips he rode through 69 countries and BMW came out with a series of advertisements celebrating his adventures. One ad featured a picture of Liska on his BMW at the equator in South America next to another picture of him at the equator in Africa. The tag line reads "East Side – West Side. All around the world on a BMW." BMW motorcycles had earned their reputation for reliability, and Liska had become a legend in the process. But it all started with his ride up to Alaska in 1959.
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