North to Alaska!

by connal on May 5, 2011


A very rough google-map rendering of our route

EDIT: The trip has been bumped! We started planning only 4 months before our hoped-for departure date in July and knew it was going to be a best-case scenario for us to be able to get out by then. It was not totally unexpected, but some things took longer than we hoped, a few unexpected problems popped up and our window for making it to the Arctic before winter sets in has closed (longer explanation here). The trip will happen, and we’re continuing our prep work, but it will have to wait for next summer.

We can finally announce our next adventure trip! This July, Anjel and I will be riding from the California Bay Area north to the Alaskan Arctic Circle – and we’ll be trying to make the trip entirely on dirt trails.

Instead of taking our usual motorcycles, we’re going to load up our dirt bikes (a ’93 Suzuki DR350 for me and a ’98 Yamaha XT225 for Anjel) with a tent, sleeping bags, cookstove and the usual collection of tools and travel gear and roughly* follow the Pacific Crest Trail as we head through California, Oregon and Washington. (*yes, roughly. We won’t be riding the PCT as it’s not for motorized vehicles, but there are a number of legal, public dirt trails through that land that one can follow.)


Crossing into Canada we’ll travel through British Columbia up into the Yukon before finally re-entering the States and continuing north past the town of Coldfoot, Alaska on our way to 66˚ 33′ 44″ and the Arctic Circle.

Unlike the last trip, we’ll be organizing some outside activities to coincide with this trip. We’re working on partnering with TreadLightly (“a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible outdoor recreation through ethics education and stewardship”), in fact we’ll be attending their Master Tread Trainer course this weekend.

We’ll also be cleaning up the trails as we travel (weighing how much left behind garbage we pick up each day before properly disposing of it), and hopefully meeting up with some local land-use groups as we go.

We’ve already got a couple sponsors lined up to help us out, and are in the process of looking for more.

We’ll be posting a lot more information in the coming weeks – in the meantime we’re expecting a new carburetor to arrive tomorrow so that I can actually get my bike to run.

Ah, adventures.

Connal + Anjel


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marc Fedak May 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Hi Connal and Anjel, excellent blog on your visit to the Soviet video games museum — it’s very immediate (almost as you were writing it as you were discovering the various games in the museum), humourous and very well researched (ie. translating the Russian children’s story, which gives one more insight into the “Turnip Game”). Those Soviet Russians had a great sense of design even in their most dismal Stalinist period, and it’s interesting to see how most of those games were designed to entice Russian kids to a future career in the Red Army.

I had an interesting a couple of unexpected discoveries when I was in Spain a couple of years back. Next to the Roman underground city of Barcelona exhibit was an exhibit about the last Prime Minister of the Spanish Republic, Juan Nagrin, with rooms full of posters from the Spanish Civil War. Oddly enough, no one but me was in that room. Next day, I visited Guernica, and the day after, I happened to be in Madrid, so I got to see Picasso’s “Guernica”. Later, I found out that one of my favourite buildings in Madrid, the neo-gothic post office, was where a lot of anarchist, pro-Stalinist Marxist Leninist, anti-Stalinist Marxist Leninist, Socialist, Christian Democrat…snipers (and maybe even George Orwell) fought Franco’s forces, who were bunkered up in the nearby universidad. Many Spanish prefer not to dreg up memories of the Spanish Civil War, but I had good timing that week and got to see a fair bit of that history lurking in the cities I was in.


2 connal May 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Marc, thanks for the comment. We had a chance to explore Pamplona for a couple of days, but otherwise our time in Spain was short and limited to our walk along the El Camino de Santiago (itself full of history though).

I always love knowing as much as possible about the history of places before we visit (or at least learning about them when we’re there). Putting sites in a historical context, or in the case of the Soviet arcade games, learning about the fairy-tale origins of some of their games, adds so much to the experience.


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