Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Review: The Adventurous Motorcyclist's Guide to Alaska

The Adventurous Motorcyclist's Guide to Alaska  (ISBN 978-0-9829131-2-3, Octane Press, 224 pgs.) puts 20 years of road knowledge together in a beautiful, information-rich travel guide designed for adventure motorcyclists (but happily not only those who ride "ADV" bikes). Created by motorcycle journalist Lee Klancher with expert guidance from Alaska native and motorcycle tour guide Phil Freeman (owner of touring company Motoquest), this comprehensive tour guidebook covers what must amount to nearly every highway in Alaska, pointing out the best riding routes, picture-perfect natural wonders, and offbeat destinations in the state. It also includes suggested itineraries, colorful maps and recommended hotels, as well as cautionary warnings for the unexpected. The book is printed on durable, heavy stock (should hold up well in your tank bag or pannier) and is filled with great photographs and useful charts. 

The writing is focused and engaging; I believe this book would be an essential resource for planning a bike trip to Alaska, and will certainly use it as such when I make my trip some day. Because I've never been to Alaska, I thought it would be prudent to run the book by seriously adventurous riding friends John & Patti Heveron, who have ridden their motorcycles from their home in New York state to Alaska twice in the last three years,  and are planning to do it again in 2013.

Patti & John, pegging my jealously meter.

From Patti:
We are always looking for new sources of info on how to enjoy the Alaska adventure more, including two presentations I went to by Phil Freeman (coincidentally!!).  I've seen him at a couple of rallies, and have been to his shop in Anchorage once, passing by him in Carcross as he was leading a group into the town.We are delighted that he is a part of this book, as he is our inspiration for believing we could actually do this!!!

The first REALLY HANDY part of this book is the description of the three types/sizes of bike you should ride there on, and then tells you in each of his sections of highway descriptions what bikes are best (or not!!!). I love it! Now I know that some of my ideas on where to go next are “a go” and some are NOT!

Breaking down each area or highway like pieces to a giant puzzle…to be researched individually and then pieced together for YOUR perfect trip, is genius…..Where to stay, where to get GAS, what cool stuff to hunt down….everything you need….

As a beginner, those were my highest anxieties….Do we have the right bikes for the roads, and where do we stop for the night and how often can we gas up? Once you research these, the rest is the fun part!!!

Patti astride her GS; the FJR is John's, evidence that you don't have
to ride an adventure-tourer to do Alaska.

From John:
As the primary route-planner…
This book is loaded with tons of useful information. Even riders who have ridden in parts of Alaska will be surprised to learn what was just around the next bend, warmed by reminders of special places like Emerald Lake, and informed by explanations of phenomena like that desert area outside Carcross.

The books appeals to every rider from the adventurous off-road explorer to the pavement seeker. The author creates the perfect recipe by blending awe and wonder with a healthy respect for this special place.

You will want to make notes to design your perfect trip, but bring the book along with you as a reference manual. Its size permits that and is so full of useful information that it will be surely missed if you travel to Alaska without it.

The author makes you chuckle with comments like his description of a densely overgrown off-road route “Call your Mom before you go – You will most likely never see her again.”

Not even the thorough and indispensable Milepost provides such meaningful information about road quality and scenery, much less great brewpubs and where to get your tire changed!

If this doesn't make you want to hop on your bike & ride
to AK, maybe you should take up golf instead.

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Anonymous roadsidewonders said...

No golf for me ... I would definitely rather be motoring my way around Alaska :)

August 22, 2012 at 10:42:00 PM EDT  

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