The Lone Librarian Rides Again
The Lone Librarian Rides Again
October 20, 2008 - January 30, 2009
I have been riding motorcycles since 1962 and I have never stopped riding. But in 2006 I hadn’t had a long distance adventure in a while, and to celebrate my 60th birthday, I decided to ride to Alaska. On a 12-year old motorcycle.
From Georgia. Solo.
Why? It certainly was not for the comfort. On a motorcycle you have little opportunity to change position, and you are almost always too hot or too cold or too wet. Nor for the excitement — long distance motorcycle riding involves long periods of intense boredom. But still I do it, and I had one of the great adventures of my life riding 11,000 miles during the months of July and August 2006.
One doesn’t undertake a trip like this lightly. I resolved to make this trip around the time that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman were finishing up their Long Way Round ride from London to New York. I didn’t have two backup vehicles, a multi-million dollar budget, and a cameraman, but I also wasn’t riding through Kazakhstan, Mongolia, or Siberia’s Road of Bones. Traveling in July and August, I was more worried about heat than cold — let alone bandits, gangsters, and unfriendly border control agents.
My 1994 Honda Pacific Coast started the trip with a little over 51,000 miles on the odometer — just broken in. For my purposes the PC had no major faults, and was blessed with tremendous carrying capacity; instead of saddlebags, it had a unique trunk that held lots of gear.
Although I planned to split my time between camping and staying at motels or with friends, on the road I was continually tempted by pleasant places to stay, so only four nights were actually spent sleeping on the ground in a tent.
During the trip, I maintained a web site that was updated with text and photos almost daily. Internet access points were far more available than I hoped for, even in some very remote areas, such as the Yukon Territory. The web site was primarily for my own benefit, although I received many e-mails while on the road from people for whom this trip rekindled their own memories of travels through this area. Details of many previous trips have faded with time, and I have thousands of slides and photos of places that I can barely, if at all, remember. By forcing myself to maintain a daily record, I hoped to create something of more lasting permanence than my fleeting memories.
Most of these photos are on the web site, but some are not. All photos were taken with a consumer-grade, point and shoot Nikon Coolpix S1. For my purposes, its greatest assets were its extremely small size, lack of any protrusions, metal case, and a wide variety of image presets, which worked very well. For the motorcycle traveler or back packer, size counts, and if a camera isn’t immediately at hand, more often than not the picture doesn’t get taken. All photos were taken at maximum resolution (5 megapixels, fine), and saved as JPEGs of 2592 x 1944 pixels.
Selden Deemer, Atlanta, October 2008
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”