by David Samborski
A few years ago when I was planning my own motorcycle journey to Alaska, a young lady asked me “can you do that?” thinking it just may be geographically impossible. Her initial reactions are much the same as many folks who see Alaska as so far off from our lower 48. I did my best to explain it’s just a long ways to ride.
Dr. Gregory Frazier does a far more suberb job than I in his book Alaska by Motorcycle—How to Motorcycle to Alaska, now in its third edition. A renowned professional ‘round-the-world rider, avid writer and occasional speaker, Dr. Frazier is well-suited to present such an inspiring book. Having met him on a couple of occasions, his down-to-earth nature and practicality shine through in his writing. So similar in nature to many of us riders.
An initial fan through the pages reveals page after page of photos. Many photo-only pages make this a quick and easy read. This is not your child’s book, though, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, then one might glean so much more than one can describe through writing. His photos convey actual roads, bridges, riders, bikes, and other vehicles one will actually encounter on the way north. I found myself studying the pictures and reliving the journey as many others had done.
Starting with “What motorcycle to take?”, through “The Bear Facts”, and ending with “Visitor information”, Dr. Frazier lays out in layman’s terms just what one might need to bring and what to expect along the way. I like his style, as nothing is sugar-coated or left to guess about. He suggests what makes a good bike to take, presents lists of things to pack, what to expect at the border crossings, how much money one may need, and shockingly how much things cost, relatively, so far north. Simple maps are presented giving mileage (and kilometers) along the highways that lead into Alaska. His short comical quips hint at his own opinions on various subjects. No, this is no romantic’s story of traveling through the Great White North and into the last frontier. This is exactly, and practically, a primer on how one rides to Alaska. It leads one to declare “I could do that!”
Even though my last ride to and from Alaska was exactly 10 years after this book was first published, I found the contents and the photos to be just like what I experienced. That far north, things don’t change that much. The same few highways that everyone has ridden haven’t changed in years. The costs of course have increased a bit, and the motorcycles taken have been updated as well, making such a journey that much easier. Hmmm … I wonder if I could get a month off work next summer …
Be careful, it just might inspire your own motorcycle trip to Alaska. Recommended!
MMM welcomes your ideas for future book reviews. Send your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please put “Book Review” in the subject heading.