BEGIN THE BEGUINE:
Getting Ready


SO, YOU WANT TO GO TO ALASKA?

Flash-forward to March 2000 and I find myself in Daytona, Florida, for the annual Bike Week. I rode down from New York to check out what all the fuss is about and find out why hundreds of thousands of bikers converge on the coastal town every Spring. My friend Chuck Frederick invited me to join him and some biker buddies for the festivities. I met Chuck last year at our BMW motorcycle dealership in New Canaan, Connecticut Ė Lindner Cycle Shop. Although he is twice my age, that bond of motorcycle kinship instantly spanned the generation gap.

Chuck supplemented his motorcycle collection over the New Year and bought himself a brand new Harley Davidson. His friends Greg Yancy and Mike Hamilton have ones just like it. And these arenít just any old Harleys. Theyíre custom made, limited edition, special order motorcycles made especially for them and their group of Jesters on Wheels. Well, if you donít know what a Jester is then just think about the Masons and the Shriners and youíll be close.

So there we are in sunny Florida talking about our motorcycle adventures. Chuck toured around the lower 48 on his BMW K1200LT last year while I was doing my 100 Day ride. We rode together in Colorado and Utah, and then again to Key West when I reached Florida in November. So whatís next, we ask ourselves. Where else can we ride to?

Chuckís been thinking about going to Alaska for a Jester function in July. His buddy Crazy George (another Jester and former California Highway Patrol Officer) was thinking about riding up there, but now it looks like George canít make it. Maybe Iíd be interested? We surmise itís probably too dangerous to do alone. Too many things to run into on the road, too many miles away from any help. And too many grizzly bears.

I start to think about it. And then itís all Iím thinking about. I take a nice, leisurely week to get back home to New York, with lots of time on the bike to think about what I want to do with myself next. Take a regular job again? Settle down? Nope, not for me. By the time I get home, Iíve sold myself on the idea. Iím going to ride my motorcycle to Alaska. This is a done deal. As Chuck is fond of saying, you only live once.

 


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