Theme song: I’m gonna hit the highway like a battering ram on my silver black phantom bike. Meat Loaf “Bat Out of Hell”
It’s finally the night before Dad and I are leaving on the Alaska Road Trip. We were originally supposed to leave 1 August, but that got bumped to 8 August when Mom’s health took a nosedive and she spent most of the summer in the hospital. Then we were waiting for one of the insurance cards (we’re still waiting, but we’re going to have the one missing overnighted to us in North Dakota before we cross the border) and Dad found some last minute but much needed repairs to the red trike which had to be done before we can leave.
But at 4 a.m. Tuesday 10 August 2010 we will finally head out. We’ve been planning this road trip since before I went to law school, and it’s a run that Dad’s wanted to make for a long, long time. I’m still sort of in shock that law school is over and my first bar exam is over. I’m hoping that at some point on this road trip, I will feel like I’ve caught up to where my life has gone. I’m also hoping that Dad finally gets to relax. He’s been taking care of Mom nonstop for most of the 2000s and he really needs a break.
Our first big goal is Spearfish, South Dakota to catch part of the Black Hills Trike-In and meet up with some other members of the Brothers of the Third Wheel, a trikers organization. Then we’ll swing by Sturgis because, well, how can we not hit the 70th anniversary? (I never thought I’d be attending Sturgis with my father, but since he’s why I’m a biker in the first place, it’s fitting.)
Then on to Canada.
I’ll be texting Twitter updates along the way marked with ART (Alaska Road Trip, a nice, simple title suggested by my friend Esther when I put out a call for short, catchy titles; she’s right, simple and classic and easily abbreviated is the way to go) and #alaskaroadtrip (though not while I’m driving) and Dad wants to blog at night, so we’ll be doing that, as well. You can follow me on Twitter here: carlamlee.
I have a lot to say about the open road and road trips and driving and using driving to process life events, but I need to grab a nap before we head out, so I’ll save all those thoughts for when we’re in the middle of the wilderness. Hopefully not fending off bears, because I think everyone I know has sent me some article about people getting eaten by bears in Canada and Alaska. I’m starting to think people are taking bets.
Mantra: Do not poke the bear. Do not poke the bear. Do not poke the bear.
This takes on a whole new meaning for my family right now; normally it means don’t pick at Dad when he’s grumpy (he’s frequently grumpy), but now it’s far more literal. After all the articles and warnings, I want to poke a bear.
Do not poke the bear.
Another issue is that officially, I don’t know how to drive a manual transmission. Saturday I had about an hour training on Dad’s trike, and my Honda Shadow is a manual, but shifting is really different on the trike. Why anyone thought it was a good idea to let me drive a manual trike to Alaska, I’m not sure. Here’s hoping I don’t kill it too often when taking off. Once I’m in second, I’m gold, but first is a pain in the butt.
I’ve had some questions about how we’re hauling a month’s worth of supplies on trikes, so here are some pictures Dad snapped after we loaded the trikes tonight.
This is Dad’s trike, Limo. He’s hauling both coolers, obviously, as well as the tents and other camping gear. (We don’t actually plan to camp that much, but want to be prepared.) Dad didn’t build this trike from the ground up, but he’s done a lot of rebuilding on it since he bought it.
This is the trike I’m riding (it actually belongs to my younger brother). It really has no name, but I’ll call it Red for the trip. Even though it actually isn’t red, it’s more purple-red. That’s not the point. In the black trunk on back are my clothes, and I’m carrying all our electronics.
Dad built this one and it’s really pretty awesome.