Twice Sjaak rode into the cold, but the real extreme thing he searched for was not there according to him!
Therefore, together with Doris Wiedemann whom he knew from previous trips, he worked out a winter ride from Key West in Florida, the southernmost point of continental United States, to Alaskan Deadhorse, its northernmost point accessible by road.
The bikes were shipped ahead by MOL-Logistics and on New Year's Day 2009 they flew to New York.
A few days later they were on their way towards Florida.
Sjaak with his Yamaha R1 and Doris with a BMW F800 GS.On the island of Key West the ride got its official start.
Then the couple drove through the Everglades and across the mighty Mississippi towards the (wild) west.
Once they had ‘seen’ the Grand Canyon, they went to California to visit Dave Barr who has travelled around the world on a Harley after both his legs were amputated!After visiting Ted Simon who rounded the earth in the 70’s on a Triumph, they drove through Redwood forests towards Seattle. There they stayed a week at Touratech USA to bring their bikes into winter setting. With that done, they crossed the Canadian border and it was only then that the real adventure started.
The next day the first spikes were screwed into the tyres because of black ice on the road-surface. These brought them safely to Prince George where they encountered their first snow.
They turned more spikes into the tyres and drove to Dawson Creek where the adventurers reached the legendary Alaska Highway.
The temperature plummeted and whiteouts of passing trucks limited their visibility. Nevertheless they made good progress but their aim to overnight in accommodation brought them regularly into the night with temperatures around the -22°F/-30°C The bikes coped well with that, although starting them in the morning was an achievement only possible thanks to the Odyssey batteries.At Watson Lake they visited the Sign Post Forest.
After lots of stunning mountain views and magnificent sights over frozen lakes the couple reached the border with Alaska.
In Fairbanks they accepted the invitation to stay with the motorcycling couple Kevin & Any. Here they took the time to recover their breath. At the same time they prepared themselves for the final stage to Deadhorse. With all unnecessary luggage swopped for extra fuel, they drove
while following the Trans Alaska pipeline on the Dalton Highway towards the north. The Ice Road Truckers gave the duo lots of space and much advice. The weather however did not cooperate. As a result they got, passed the arctic circle, stuck for a few days in a hut due to avalanches en snow blizzards.
Then they climbed the Atigun Pass after which they ended up in a Phase 3, a storm so bad that all workers stop with what they are doing and go indoors.
The road was blocked by snowdrifts and they were welcomed at Chevron USA Franklin Staging Area, where the staff could not believe their eyes.
The next day they reached the end of the Dalton Highway in Deadhorse.
Made it, was Sjaak’s happy thought. But it was still not the frozen coastline from Prudhoe Bay on which he had hoped. The last bit over there is property of the oil companies and is absolutely taboo area. Luckily they got help from Cruz Construction on which they, although without motorcycles, could go to the frozen ocean.
There Sjaak looked at a tempting pristine white plain towards the North Pole.
The next adventure …