Oddly, riding the ALCAN to Alaska has been on my bucket list for years; however, it is not everyone’s cup of tea and it is not necessarily an endeavor to be attempted alone. Plus it’ll take 3-4 weeks at a minimum, and as much as I’d like to take a month off of work… oh, and let’s not forget familial obligations, what with a wife and two kids and a month’s worth of PTA meetings, soccer practices, soccer games, birthday parties, sleepovers, parent teacher conferences and the minutia of a daily life. So there’s that.
Sounds like an almost undoable task for a gainfully employed family man with day to day responsibilities, huh? Well allow me to tell you a tale…
Last September I was asked to serve as the officiant at a friend’s wedding… quick sidebar – I am not licensed to perform weddings but in both Montana and Colorado, any schlub can marry two willing people. It’s a throwback to the frontier days. Okay, back to the story…
That’s me in the black, officiating. I won’t bore you with the details, but people laughed in the proper places, cried at the right times and the correct two people tied the knot. At the reception party – held in the same location as the wedding, a beautiful home high in the mountains just off Lift #7 in Breckenridge, CO – I got to talking motorcycles with a co-worker’s husband – her retired husband – and this lead to discussions of an ALCAN trip.
I was shocked to hear that he, too, thought of the trip as a bucket list item. As the night continued and the liquor flowed, we discussed that next summer would be a perfect time to ride the ALCAN Highway. We exclaimed that we would absolutely do it, that we were not making half-drunk promises that would be forgotten with the light of the new day.
Fast forward six-ish months.
I ran into my co-worker’s husband, Russ, at the office. We exchanged pleasantries and he said we should start planning the trip if we were going to get it in this summer. Now I will tell you truthfully, dear reader, that I had not ‘forgotten’ the trip, per se; but shortly after the wedding, the thoughts of work/family/life brought me back to the busy-ness of my world and the thought of dropping out of it for nearly a month seemed a very remote chance indeed.
But my interest was again piqued when Russ mentioned that rather than riding to Alaska and back the same way, there is a car – and motorcycle – toting ferry that runs from Alaska to Washington state. The ferry ride is five days, then a final three or four day run back to Denver. Wow, who could resist that?!?
To help shorten this post, I will give a quick wrap up since telling this story is a little anti-climactic, since you already know that I am going; basically I’ve been filling three fulltime roles at my job and I have a ton of PTO, since I rarely take time off. It took very little coercing to get my job to let me take the time off (the funny thing is, after taking a month off, I will still have two weeks of PTO left!).
My wife agreed that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I could repay her some other time. Of course I will be paying that back in spades, but I think it will be worth it.