ABC’s of Touring – To the Edge of Alaska


In the spring of 2002 even as speaking to a number of my riding pals, the situation of the ABC’s of Touring got here up. The ABC’s of Touring is a contest subsidized by HOG, the Harley Owners Group, in which you take pix of your motorcycle in the front of a kingdom or county sign, a HOG rally banner or another event distinctive, all with a modern-day issue of HOG Tales within the picture for evidence.

We pointed out how it might be fine to get into the list of the 10 runners-up due to the fact we did not suppose we may want to truly vicinity in the pinnacle 3 spots; one of the men had met the rider who posted 166 factors a few years earlier, during the Route sixty-six excursion whilst it got here thru metropolis, and that appeared like an unreachable goal at the time.

Someone else referred to that it wasn’t often that everyone was given that many factors, and after checking Hog Tales for the preceding year’s listing we noticed that the runners-up list seemed accessible, so off we went.

My pals and I had several trips planned thru out that year and we figured we might simply start seeing how many points we may want to gather. One journey caused some other and before I knew it I had made it to 47 states and made it into the third area, and my friend Warren got to 7th.

After the list of winners become published in 2003 I concept about how an awful lot fun I’d had seeing the united states and all of the places I’d by no means been, that I decided I become going to make a plan for 2004 and see just how many extra new places I could visit. And being a bit aggressive, I decided to peer if I should match that 166 point general that on the time I idea became excellent that had ever been becoming in. I observed out later that two human beings in the 1990’s became in 172.

I realized that the big distinction between quite a few factors and something virtually magnificent just like the 3-factor totals above, had to be the state HOG rallies. So whilst the January difficulty of Hog Tales came out I sat down and began making plans the entirety around whilst the rallies were. Using Microsoft’s MapPoint software program and the list of rallies from Hog Tales after which coordinating with the rally details inside the HOG participants’ location on the internet site I came up with what gave the look of a workable plan. With four, 5 and six rallies all scheduled at the same weekends I knew it might be a task, but it simply intended there might be some weekends of hard using. From Memorial Day until Sturgis weekend in August there have been over 25 rallies and a whole lot of miles to cover.

My first experience becomes to the Louisiana State HOG Rally on April 1st wherein I took my first photo, what a groovy way to spend April Fools Day. The ultimate image I took changed into in University City, Missouri, actually close to domestic, on the 11th of December, when I realized that via all of the journeys crossing most of North America I hadn’t troubled to prevent and get that U metropolis. Fitting I wager considering that is what they name it inside the St. Louis vicinity.

Eight and a 1/2 months, 66,000 miles, 6 again tires, 7 instances of oil, and a ton of beautiful scenery, and the search changed into completed. There were a few failures alongside the way; I in no way did discover that danged X county, and I did not make it to pretty as many rallies as I planned, and I failed to make it past 166, but getting that word telling me congratulations for the most factors made for a first-rate ending.

I began driving in 1971, and although I didn’t have a Harley on the time, like a number of my buddies, I clearly enjoyed being out inside the wind. Our journeys for more than one hundred miles cannot compare with the hundreds I’ve ridden at the Harley Dyna for the 2002 ABC’s and the 2003 Ultra Classic that saw a maximum of North America in this years ABC’s.

The longest and most adventurous trip this yr was using the Alaska Highway. I left home with numerous tools baggage and a further tire strapped to the top of my excursion %. When I was given home nearly 8,000 miles later the tire become long gone however I had obtained greater gasoline cans.

The plan became to go away St. Louis at the 17th of Sept. And head for the Oregon State Rally before making my way to Alaska. If you ever get to trip US 20 throughout Oregon it is a lovely experience, however, make sure you preserve your tank crowned off, you in no way understand while you’re going to experience into a toddler horse town and be informed they sold out of fuel the day prior to this. Many thanks to the cowboy with a further gasoline can. I made it to the rally in Bend, right before it completed, however, due to the fact that I had to cross some mountain passes I decided to live the night time due to fear of ice on the roads way to an early bloodless snap. Everything went remarkable day after today and I made it part way into British Columbia where I stopped and spoke to a chum who warned me to look at for the bears, moose, and caribou as I headed off for the Alaskan Highway.

The subsequent night right earlier than I made it to the dual carriageway I began seeing snow and I heard on the radio that they had 18 inches within the area simply 48 hours earlier. I talked to a trucker at a gasoline forestall when I got to the dual carriageway and he stated that the roads were clear however that the gasoline stations don’t live open late. He turned into only a little wrong at the gasoline; sometimes they simply near for the season. This made for the second one time I had to beg for gas on this journey so at the following metropolis I sold those 2 gas cans I noted.

They’re persevering with to make the highway higher and higher however fortuitously it wasn’t raining at the same time as I turned into there due to the fact their idea of working on the street is to just tear out all the pavement and begin from scratch; the gentle dirt I street on might had been impassable within the rain. But in spite of all of the creation delays and the begging for gasoline I, in the end, made it to Alaska, but given that I become now over an afternoon and a 1/2 behind schedule all I saw of Alaska in this trip was the state sign after I got to the border. It became pitch black, the temps had been falling and it changed into spitting a light mist so I determined to take my photo and get headed lower back south just in case Mother Nature changed her thoughts and got nasty.

My next little bit of a laugh turned into once I headed up the 60 mile stretch of motorway to get to the Northwest Territory, and with approximately an hour of daylight hours left I notion, I may at least get to look it in the mild. But maps lie; what turned into presupposed to be pavement turning to gravel at the Territory line instead have become gravel, and slender, just 15 miles into the street. So now I’m watching for flora and fauna and trying to make it properly down this much less than the stellar road. I did ultimately get to peer the Moose all people talks about being abundant within the location and luckily he handiest wanted to run alongside side the street and no longer in it. And I additionally was given to peer a bear cub with the aid of the side, however, any other thank you to his mother for now not showing up. Needless to say, I failed to get to look the Territory within the light and the ride returned changed into now compounded via having to journey that amusing street inside the dark, however as a minimum the wildlife stayed away on the ride returned to the primary toll road. In all the lots of miles I’ve ridden, I don’t assume I’ve ever been so glad to look concrete.

The relaxation of the trip, except for the now sparse creation issues was pretty uneventful, however, I did discover that Kansas is not by myself on the subject of huge expanses of not anything to look. Alberta and Saskatchewan bore an atypical resemblance to Dorothy and Toto’s domestic nation.

If you ever need a danger to look an extensive variety of critters on one experience then I might advise riding the Alaskan Highway; I was chased by a coyote, counted 3 bears, 1 moose, four caribous, greater deer than I could rely, and farmer Brown even let his goats and pigs wander out to look me on the highways area, and this does not account for all of those fine sparkling eyes inside the darkish that I couldn’t quite determine what they belonged to. And although I become upset now not to peer any bald eagles while I became crossing the Yukon on the manner to Alaska, I was rewarded right before I crossed back into the states at International Falls Minnesota with an astounding sight; a fairly huge bald eagle launched from a tree very near the motorway and as I handed he turned to appearance and spot what startled him. I bet it becomes just a welcome home look.