Friday, August 28, 2009

We added a third rider to the trip today, Eric P., who is another APD officer. We also have decided to turn this ride into a charity event.

Back in July 2001, APD Officer Justin Wollam was killed by a drunk teen during a pursuit on the Glenn hwy. Initially there was talk of putting up a permanent memorial for Justin and the 3 teens who were also killed at the crash site. There was to be a large boulder with a plaque and a park bench along the bike trail just off the highway. This plan lost momentum when the funding wasn't available. We have decided to make this motorcycle trip a fundraiser/charity event to raise money for the memorial as we were all friends of Justins. I happened to be in the pursuit that somber night and observed the crash.

Our starting point will be Danbury, TX which was Justin's home town. The trip will encompass approximately 5500 miles through the mid-west US on our way back to Alaska. We are hoping to get some local participation from law enforcement agencies as we pass through. It would be pretty amazing to have local PD officers on bikes travel with us for a few miles occasionally.

Putting Justin's name on this ride makes it feel like something we have to do rather than simply want to.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Setting the stage...

So, we (fellow APD officer Gary W. and I) have decided to take a motorcycle trip next May/June (2010) in celebration of our upcoming mid life crisis. The plan is to fly south (AZ, CO, TX, NM....) and buy motorcycles then head back up to Alaska. At this point we are planning on a 14-16 day trip to allow us to see some of the sights and visit family on the way back.

We are still in the infancy of the planning at this point, but we have been able to come up with a bike preference. We will be looking for gently used BMW 1200 GS motorcycles outfitted with paniers. The thought here was looking ahead at some dirt road adventures when we get back to Alaska. Originally I was sold on the Goldwing for all of it's creature comforts, but Gary talked some sense into me and my mind has been changed.

Earlier this summer when the plan was just starting to solidify, Gary and I took a fairly major step and took the MSF ABATE class (motorcycle safety) and got our motorcycle license. I say a "fairly major" step because neither of us have a motorcycle at this point.... I rode for a few years when I was just out of high school but never bothered to get my endorsement. Now, we are both legal! I'm thinking of buying a cheap bike to have up here to get some mileage on both this fall and in the spring before the "trip". Jumping on to a bike and going 4500 miles without some prep time would be a recipe for disaster.

It is going to be a long winter....