Rogue Riders Day 4

Watson Lake, Yukon to Bell 2 Lodge, BC 307 miles

This morning I woke up around 6am and saw a beautiful sunrise, but decided it was too early to get up so I went back to sleep. Sarah and I got up and moving a little after 7am and saw that Dewey had warned “Kathy” that we all would be there for breakfast at 8:30am. Kathy’s was about a block away so after getting ready we rounded up Barry and Jim and headed over there just after 8am. I was still feeling a bit sick so I opted for some plain oatmeal. Eventually the whole group, well most of them showed up and we all enjoyed some food and the poor waitress kept up by herself ragged.

From breakfast we headed back to the hotel and got all the shit loaded on the bikes and as usual, our group was the last to leave. We had to backtrack from Watson to the exit for 37 aka Cassiar Hwy and we needed gas. The first lot we pulled into was the wrong place as they did not have regular gas, but I saw one just up the road so we all filled up. While we were sitting in the parking lot, Sarah asked who was leading…we wanted to go fast, so I led from the parking lot. I knew the Cassiar wasn’t too far from Watson Lake so I assumed in the lead it would be obvious. I saw the sign, but when I saw the road I thought for sure it was a driveway…so I passed it. I turned us all around and Jim took off down the highway and Barry headed to the gas station so Sarah and I sat on the side of the road waiting. Jim finally came back, Barry thought he needed more gas because his gauge wasn’t working, so we waited for him to “refill.” I took the lead again when we left and I was happily surprised by the Cassiar.

Cleanest trip down we’ve ever had so far…

The Cassiar and all of its glory for the first 200 miles has no center line and no shoulder! It was a great road and we all were bombing along taking up the whole road except for when a random vehicle was going the opposite direction. Basically, we rode hard until we caught up with the rest of the group and they pulled into a pull off. I almost blasted by but wasn’t sure why everyone stopped so I followed suit. We pulled into the rest area and it had only been about 40 miles from Watson Lake so as we sat here Sarah and I immediately decided we should just roll out in front of the group and ride our own ride. We threatened to leave Barry and Jim but they got their shit on quickly and we headed out. It was nice to be in front and haul some ass.

We stopped at Dease Lake for gas, so we hung for a minute and the whole group ended up accumulating there. We got some photos and I told Dewey if there were any scenic pullouts to pull over so we could get photos for the blog. Little did we know we wouldn’t have signal for at least 2 days so good luck with photos getting on the blog! After about 10 minutes on the road, Dewey pulled over and we got a photo. The whole group looked annoyed at our antics so I yelled “It’s for the Blog!!” as if that would make it better…well I guess we all want our 10 minutes of fame so they will make it on the blog.

From there a bunch of the pack left quickly while I was still queuing up my audio book (yes I am listening to a book while I ride while there is no signal for my pandora) and putting on my gloves. We got in behind about half the group. The Cassiar is full of hills and curves which makes it so much more fun than the Alcan! There were a few butt puckering moments where I would be hauling ass then would come up on shitty gravel at the top of a hill. It was interesting and kept us o our toes. Eventually, Julie and the first part of the pack pulled off at a rest stop. I initially signaled to turn off with them, but then I changed my mind and re-signaled with my hand to keep going. Unfortunately, Jim didn’t see my second signal so we lost him and Sarah, Barry and I took off like bats out of hell and hauled ass for the next 100 miles..ish.

When we got closer to Bell 2 I saw Dewey pulled off to take a poto but I decided it was too smokey to stop so I waved as I rode by. We had a few gravel patches but nothing like a little challenge to keep it fun. As we approached Bell 2 I saw a sign for a point of interest, so I pulled over. Barry and Sarah were unimpressed with my Telegraph stop, but at the end of the day it is part of the history of this road. So that is that. We made it to the Bell 2 Lodge, I confirmed they had alcohol and we hung in the sun until the restaurant opened. We all enjoyed some food and then afterwards I brought my bottle of wine out to sit in the grass jamming to Sarah’s music while I wrote this blog. Everyone else got in the hot tub…which is where I am going…to be continued tomorrow….

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Rogue Riders 2018 Day 3

Haines Junction, Yukon to Watson Lake, Yukon 379 miles

This morning Sarah and I woke to a few of our Rogue Riders talking about how cold it was outside our window. But before I get too far into today, as promised, I have to fill you in on the rest of last night. After dinner with a bunch of our group at the hotel restaurant, Sarah and I went back to the room to get the blog posted and photos shared etc.

Once I was done with my part, I walked back over to the bar to flirt with the two cute boys working there. I believe it was Ryan and Josh, one was from New Zealand and a little closer to my age while the other one was from the area on only 18 and about to join the Canadian Military. Sarah joined me for a cup of coffee while I finished my wine, and we plotted to do the only fun thing you can do in Haines Junction…climb the ugly sculpture at the cross roads in town. Obviously, I was not going to climb up there, both bum knee and lack of upper body strength, so I got to hold the camera and get some great video and photos of Sarah. The best part of our mission is that the Mounty’s are literally across the street. Sarah…such a rebel. Watching her get down was more entertaining than climbing up, but she made it unscathed and we didn’t get busted by the Mounty’s.

So, back to this morning…Sarah and I had discussed our plans with Barry and Jim last night but we still were not sure what we were going to do. A bunch of the group was planning on riding to Whitehorse to get breakfast, which was what my first choice was, but Barry and Jim wanted to eat in Haines Junction. So, while we were packing and getting ready, it was decided that we would walk…yep walk…to the bakery up the street. Yay for a bum knee! I woke up not feeling very good, so I assumed it was something I ate. Rather than add more food to the mix, I opted for a San Pellegrino and some probiotics. Sarah and Jim got some light food and Barry got a smoothie. Sarah and I also were able to finally get some espresso. While we were eating and chatting Julie, Chris, Gary, Mike, Glenda and John all showed up. They wandered in and realized there wasn’t giant breakfast options so they headed back out after asking the waitress where a large greasy spoon type of place was.

It was still in the 30’s as we got out bikes loaded the rest of the way up and got ready to hit the road. We were the last ones in our group to leave the hotel.

When we pulled onto the road, I thought we were going to top off with gas, so I didn’t hook up any of my heated gear. Of course, I was mistaken so I spent the first 6 miles trying to hook up my shit while riding. I finally got both gloves plugged into the coat and the coat plugged into the bike so I did a little fist pump in the air in case Sarah was aware of my struggle as she saw me swerving all over the road.

Between Haines Junction and Whitehorse, the road was pretty open and straight. Some big curves but nothing too twisty. At one point we saw that group from the bakery at a truck stop diner, so they clearly got their big greasy breakfast. While we were cruising along I saw a large female moose start to run up toward the road. I wasn’t sure if Jim saw it, but it looked like she might dart behind him and in front of me so I started to slow down. As soon as Sarah and I got closer with our super loud music she turned tail and ran fast back toward the woods she came from. It really is impressive how big and powerful moose are.

As the day kept going my stomach continued to get worse. I was feeling really nauseous and my stomach started to cramp all over. I figured it must have been something I ate and I couldn’t really do anything about it so we kept on. When we got to Whitehorse we stopped and filled up with gas. I sent a message t my friend Lauren whom I met in Ushuaia, Patagonia when I was in Argentina this spring. We happened to be on the same hike with a small group of about 6 of us and immediately hit it off. I had told her I would be riding through her town on this trip and we had hoped to meet up. Unfortunately we were not able to this time around, but we did get a couple messages back and forth. Maybe we will meet up in another adventurous country like Africa, since we both have it on our radar for 2019.

While we were hanging out at the gas station in Whitehorse, Sarah asked Jim why we had been only going 60 the entire day and getting passed by cars. He explained that it was the speed limit and he didn’t want a ticket. Barry, Sarah and I wanted to got about 70 so Jim opted to stay behind us and I would lead. As we headed out, there was a lot of traffic but we finally got out in the wilderness and of course the speed limit was over 70 or 100 kph so Jim ended up keeping up with us anyway. At one point the cars in front of us all stopped so I signaled for everyone to slow, and there in front of us was a doe with her two fawns (I think that is what they are called…aka mommy deer and 2 babies). They darted into he woods like the moose, probably from our loud music.

We approached Teslin and I saw the first gas station so I pulled in. As I parked my bike I looked up and I’ll be damned there was our token Canadian Dewey! He had planned on meeting our group in Teslin and I guess I picked the only option. Eventually our entire group got there so we all hung out while they ate ice cream and chatted about the past few days and upcoming adventures. My stomach was in pretty rough shape so I laid on a bench trying to stretch out my stomach. Sarah got some work done and we all enjoyed the beautiful sun. The weather was perfect again today. It was clear and sunny the whole way, just a little cool in the air which is always refreshing. In a few places I could smell smoke, which I assume will only get worse as we get closer to all the fires in B.C. Eventually, everyone was done with their ice cream and catching up, and Dewey wanted to get pictures of all of us coming across the grated bridge. If you are not familiar with these bridges they are an old school metal bridge that feels like your bikes is going to wash out while you ride down it. Dewey crouched at the other end and got a bunch of great photos of all of us riding across. The semi’s started to stack up so I think he may have missed a few people since the truckers were getting impatient with him blocking the bridge. We pulled into a rest area just up the road and waited for him to catch back up. After sitting in the uphill dirt parking lot for awhile we got the train moving. Dewey, Chris, Julie and Gary all took off like bats out of hell so a larger gap developed between John and Glenda Pokrandt and the first pack. I slowed way down so I could create some more distance between all of us so I could set my cruise and not have to yoyo with everyone.

We continued at this pace until we got to Rancheria, which is a small gas station with a restaurant and bar. Last time we came through here, this is where Dewey had met us with us. At this point I was feeling pretty sick so I wandered over to a bench to try and relax. It sounded like everyone was having fun climbing on the log motorcycles and things they had throughout the yard. Eventually we all mounted back on the bikes and headed to Watson Lake and the Sign Post Forrest. Diana Chase had a really cool metal Rogue Rider sign made for us, so after some group photos they found a perfect spot to hang it on one of the new posts that had been put up for more signs. If you have never stopped at the Sign Forest it is really a spectacle and worth taking some time to wander around and see all the amazing signs and license plates from all over the world.

After the Sign Forest we all headed to our respective hotels or camping spots and got our stuff unloaded.

I decided to stay at the hotel and try to relax my stomach. Everyone else went to Dewey’s for some burgers and socializing. Our friend and customer Tom Evans happened to be passing through at the same time on a road trip so he hung out with everyone.

Sarah ran to the store after dinner and picked me up some ginger and got herself a new pair of shades. While I was sitting here writing the blog Barry brought me a milk jug with some whisky in the bottom of it. As long as it isn’t mixed with milk, I think I am going to make a ginger and whisky concoction to kill off this stomach bug once and for all! Tomorrow we will be heading to Bell 2 Lodge on the Cassiar. I am excited for this part of the ride since I have never been on the Cassiar.

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Rogue Riders 2018 Day 2

Tok, AK to Haines Junction, Yukon 295 miles

This morning we woke to some overcast skies and rain. After a quick shower, Jim knocked on our door to inform Sarah and I that our group was doing breakfast at Fast Eddies at 9:00am.

We got packed up and ready and headed over to eat some food. Jim, Barry and Sarah had giant meals and I had a couple eggs and some avocado with toast. Jim miraculously ate his entire meal, Barry made a decent dent and Sarah ate about half of her awesome looking veggie omelet. Hopefully, she will let me post the awesome photo of her with the spouts hanging out of her mouth…

After breakfast we got the rest of our gear on and Jim asked me to predict the weather. I was confident we wouldn’t have anymore rain and the sky was already clearing in Tok. We filled up with gas, I forgot to buy a water bottle again, and hit the road.

The roads were great, I mean there is always the usual frost heaves and chip seal but overall it was a fun twisty ride.

I knew I wouldn’t have signal most of the day so I opted to hook up my 100 song play list my bestie Christy made for me. She put it on an amazing penguin USB that’s head comes off and the USB port is inside! So, I had an awesome list of music that literally lasted me the entire day. It played in alphabetical order, and I was on the Y’s when I pulled into the hotel here at Haines Junction.

The weather was beautiful all day, blue skies and hardly any clouds! It was still a little cold out so we managed to survive with all our layers on until we got to the boarder where we had to wait about 20 mins. Between inching the bikes forward we all started to peel layers. Past the boarder we went through Beaver Creek and from that point we were in the worst part of the ride. When we got to the construction stop we were behind about 10 rigs, but I could still see the front of the line. The pilot car coming from the other direction, slowed as she past us and told us to go to the front of the line. Thank God!! I love it when the construction folks take into count how much more difficult the construction can be on a bike. We couldn’t pass the line on the left because there were cars coming so we passed on the shoulder on the right. We got to the front and the pilot cat immediately started going forward. I signaled to Sarah and Barry to run in a single file even though we were still on pavement. We had been hearing rumors of what was ahead and I was pretty nervous.

When we got to the dirt part of the road I was hoping for the best. It looked slightly packed, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be too soft. As we got on it I immediately saw Jim’s ass end start to break loose. It wasn’t too deep but it was slick as snot, especially in the wet portions. It was an extremely intense ride that seemed like 100 miles but was probably closer to 15. Every few feet I could feel the rear tire break loose and start to slip. At one point I had to wave Sarah back because I thought for sure Jim or I was gonna go down. By the time I was done all the adrenaline that dumped in my body left me shaking. Despite the odds, we all made it through!

After that rough spot it was just a lot of loose gravel sections. We maintained about 50mph through all of those so they weren’t too bad. It is always good to be challenged on your bike and remember to respect the weight of a big ass Harley-Davidson bagger in these situations. Sarah impressed the hell out of me. She kept up and bumped her bad ass music the whole way like it was just another day.

Sarah and I both needed a pee break so Jim pulled over at a rest stop. It was at a lake and was beautiful but the gravel hill down to the bathroom with the small turn around was a bit daunting so we all parked our bikes on the road and Sarah and I walked down to the outhouse. On our walk a couple in a truck pulling a motorhome slowed to make sure we were ok. While we were walking down the hill, me gimping along and Sarah taking her long strides, she shared with me her fear of a dragon fly hitting her in the face of her ¾ helmet with no shield on. She imagined it getting stuck between her cheek and the helmet and had already planned how she would calmly remove it while riding. It was a good laugh and good for the imagination. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. Right after she told me this story I went into the outhouse and low and behold there is a dragon fly staring at me from the ledge. Thankfully it was dead.

As we walked back up the hill to rejoin Barry and Jim we saw our fellow riders Julie, Chris, Mike, and Gary. We waved them on that we were ok and just taking a break but they all pulled in behind us on the road and parked. We chatted with everyone about the crazy construction and the ride for the day. We all headed out together so our group of 4 doubled. At this point I was starting to get a little worried about the gas. We were going to stop in Beaver Creek but Barry wanted better fuel so we kept going. From that point there pretty much was no gas…anywhere! So we had this group behind us and I was getting low fuel indicators on my bike. I saw a fuel stop just before Destruction Bay but Jim kept on riding. I knew Sarah and Barry had to be low as well, so I rode up next to Jim and told him I needed gas. He signaled that there was gas ahead so I trusted him. As I was panicking about gas, I saw a big brown off to the side of the road. I waved and pointed and made my best bear signal of both hands up in claws like a bear standing on back legs…or at least that’s what I imagined it looked like. I saw the grizzly as he moseyed toward the woods, unfortunately no one else saw him. Meanwhile, Sarah is on “Lo” and no longer getting a mileage reading and I am on 11 miles. Of course, Jim was correct and there was gas just ahead.

So the whole pack pulled in and got gas, ate some snacks, drank some water (except Barry…he had beer) and bullshitted about the day. From there we only had about 60 miles to get to Haines Junction. The road was great and the weather continued to be perfect. We made it to our respective lodging and Sarah and I sat at the bar in the sun on the deck to write this blog. If anything exciting happens, beyond the lady riding by with a cat on her 4wheeler, I will include it in the blog tomorrow

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Rogue Riders 2018 Day 1

Anchorage, AK – Tok, AK 340 miles

I woke up this morning with nervous anticipation. I am usually excited about these epic motorcycle adventures, but this trip is going to be different. The week prior to our ride to Milwaukee the House of Harley-Davidson hosted our 3rd annual Spenard Bike Week, and like all rally’s it was full of parties, memories and some mayhem. One casualty of the event was my right knee. Unfortunately, I do not have some epic motorcycle accident or bear attack to blame…I was two stepping and when my partner went to dip me, my slightly impaired dance skills had my leg in the completely wrong position and POP there went my knee. I completely dislocated it. I am very familiar with this injury, as I had the same injury 3 times on my left knee in high school before I finally got surgery. So, here I was, 6 days before I am supposed to be on the road to Milwaukee with a bum knee. I decided it wasn’t going to stop me so I bought a couple braces and here I am, day 1 complete.

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There are 21 of us, Rogue Rider’s heading to Milwaukee from Alaska. We are a diverse group and I look forward to chatting with everyone about their first day, their motivations for coming on this trip and their plans for Milwaukee. Every time I have done this trip I have made new friends and tons of memories.

Barry (my dad) met me at my house, and I was a little slow to get out the gate trying to get all my gear on with a bum leg! Thank God we had some men’s nylon pants that were waterproof and warm so I could wear leggings and my knee brace under them! We were headed to meet Sarah Coe (Marketing Director for my company and my close friend) as well as Jim Lebiedz (HOG Chapter 66 Director and my close friend) at a Chevron on Muldoon. When Barry and I rolled in a few minutes late, I found Sarah and Jim as well as Levi (Sarah’s significant other) and a good friend and customer Eric Thurston. We all hugged and chatted then Eric (Black Sheep Motorcycle Ministry) prayed for us.

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We got our tunes synced up and hit the road! As we left town the weather was decent and not too cold. We were cruising along with Jim in front, then me, then Sarah and then Barry in the back. Barry came zooming up past me on the right and signaled that he wanted to pull over. We all got behind him and he signaled to take the Old Glenn Hwy exit. I was thinking in my head “well that is a fun road and what is an extra couple miles??” but Jim missed the memo and didn’t exit but Barry, myself and Sarah did. We got to the top and he headed straight for the on-ramp back onto the Glenn (not the Old Glenn) and pulled over and stopped. I hollered “What are you doing?” and he responded “I need to put on my lowers.” So, we sat there as he put on his lowers with Jim gaining more and more distance on us.

It is probably a good thing Barry put his lowers on, because the weather only go worse. As we got out of Palmer and Sutton and climbed elevation the temperature dipped to about 40*s and was wet. We had planned to ride all the way to Glennallen. As we were heading that way I realized that I was literally matching my remaining gas mileage with the distance to Glennallen. So, rather than risk not making it and being the first one to run out of gas, I told Jim we needed to stop at Eureka for me to get some gas and peeJim begrudgingly agreed.

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When we arrived at Eureka, I got gas and we all took a break. We headed into the lodge, used the restroom and started adding layers of gear. We finally got all geared up and by our bikes when I asked the group “are we eating in Glennallen?”. Jim and I both agreed the food at Eureka would be better than Glennallen for food, so we all took off all the layers we had just painstakingly put on and sat down and ate some food.

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As we headed out the clouds had moved on and we managed to not get into anymore rain. We made it to Glennallen and got some gas. Sarah and I switched to our open face helmets with faith that we would not get into anymore rain. Jim looked at me and said “we are going to hit more rain on the way to Tok”

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and I confidently argued “we will hit NO MORE RAIN.”

Guess who was right….

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Me of course! So, I got to rock out to some tunes with my half helmet on and my sweet new Oakleys. So much more comfortable than my full face on my bagger. We had some fun terrain on the road to Tok. Sarah said “I am now sure that my Harley-Davidson is an adventure bike a crotch rocket and it handled that road great!” We all had fun on the challenging road that Gary Delk (one of our Rogue Riders) described as getting him to do some Dukes of Hazzard stunts on his new bike! Along that Tok ride we only stopped one more time at a rest stop and stretched our legs before we finished our last stretch. What an interesting town Tok is…we got to our hotel and checked in. Sarah and I got back on our bikes to find a bar so I could medicate my knee and write my blog. As we headed out of the parking lot I looked to the right and realized that there was one next door, so we parked the bikes 20 ft from our room and we sat at the Bear’s Den to grab a drink and write this blog. From there we met a large part of our group for dinner at Fast Eddies. Everyone had a great day and is ready to get into Canada tomorrow!

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Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center Selected as 2018 Live Ride Partner

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All funds generated by the 20th annual Live Ride motorcycle raffle & event will be donated to the Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center to further their mission of restoring hope, renewing hearts, and transforming lives.
The House of Harley-Davidson has chosen the Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center (DHC) to receive the funds generated from their 20th annual “Live Ride” event, which will take place on Saturday, July 21, 2018. The 2017 Live Ride event garnered over $37,000, and since its inception, the event has raised over 1 million dollars for charity.

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The fundraiser consists of a raffle drawing for a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle (donated by the House of Harley-Davidson) and a motorcycle ride to a grand finale party. The party is held at Denali Harley-Davidson in Wasilla, where the winner of the motorcycle’s name is drawn. In addition to the drawing for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, riders who go on the annual Live Ride will have access to the party with live music, food and more prize drawings.
Individual raffle tickets are $20 each and the ride is $50 per person which includes 1 raffle ticket. Tickets and rider registration will be available this April at Harley-Davidson locations in Anchorage, Wasilla & Soldotna and at special events thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers within the motorcycle community.

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The DHC mission is to provide a hand up and out of homelessness. “They were chosen because their programs do so much more than feed and shelter the homeless,” says Dia Matteson, Dealer Principal. “They offer their ‘guests’ a safe-haven and home, the opportunity to learn new skills and build their resumes, and, of vital importance, they provide the amenities necessary to prepare for successful job interviews: showers and nice clean clothing.”
Private donations of food and money enable the DHC to meet the needs of their guests. However, they also help themselves by way of their Culinary and Bakery Program and Feed Me Hope Bakery that use catering to help off-set the costs of keeping the Women’s Shelter open year-round.
It is not just the guests who benefit from the DHC’s warm and encouraging atmosphere. All Anchorage homeless who enter their Soup Kitchen receive a meal and a safe place for fellowship or to rest or to listen to music. The DHC has been serving neighbors in need for over 30 years, more than 160 people volunteer weekly, they serve 450 to 600 cups of soup daily and they prepare 142,000 meals annually. For more information on the Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center, email info@downtownhopecenter.org or call 277-4302.

For information on how to get involved or contribute to Live Ride, please contact Sarah Coe email: Marketing@harleyalaska.com phone: (907)248-5300

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Harley-Davidson Invests in Alta Motors; Companies will Collaborate on Future Electronic Motorcycle Product Development

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MILWAUKEE (March 1, 2018) – Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) announced today that it has made an equity investment in Alta Motors, a leader and innovator in lightweight electric vehicles, and that the two companies will collaborate on electric motorcycle technology and new product development.

“Earlier this year, as part of our 10-year strategy, we reiterated our commitment to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders, in part, by aggressively investing in electric vehicle (EV) technology,” said Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich. “Alta has demonstrated innovation and expertise in EV and their objectives align closely with ours. We each have strengths and capabilities that will be mutually beneficial as we work together to develop cutting-edge electric motorcycles.”

Harley-Davidson has already announced the planned launch of its first electric motorcycle, informed by Project LiveWire™. That motorcycle is on track for release in 2019.

 
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Since its inception, Alta Motors has designed and commercialized the world’s most advanced electric motorcycles, enabling everyone from pro riders to new riders to experience “the future of fast.”
“Riders are just beginning to understand the combined benefits of EV today, and our technology continues to progress,” said Alta Motors Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Marc Fenigstein. “We believe electric motorcycles are the future, and that American companies have an opportunity to lead that future. It’s incredibly exciting that Harley-Davidson, synonymous with motorcycle leadership, shares that vision and we’re thrilled to collaborate with them.”
As electric-drive innovation brings new levels of ease, accessibility and control, Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors aim to attract new audiences who are inspired by motorcycles and drawn to the “twist-and-go” ease and exhilaration of an electric motorcycle with no gears or clutch.
“We believe that EV is where global mobility is headed and holds great appeal for existing riders as well as opportunity to bring new riders into the sport,” said Levatich. “We intend to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles and, at the same time, remain true to our gas and oil roots by continuing to produce a broad portfolio of motorcycles that appeal to all types of riders around the world.”

About Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Since 1903, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with cruiser, touring and custom motorcycles, riding experiences and events, and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. For more information, visit http://www.h-d.com.

About Alta Motors

Alta Motors is a global leader in electric motorcycles and lightweight EV drivetrains with a proprietary technology platform that offers new levels of energy density and performance. It leads the industry with a complete portfolio of battery and drivetrain components, a fleet of motorcycles manufactured at its world-class Brisbane, CA facility and a trophy-case of podium finishes. Alta’s award-winning Redshift platform is now available to riders at 44 U.S. dealerships across 19 states. Please visit us at: https://www.altamotors.co/.

 

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Celebrating 40 years of the success of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System| How the TAPS influenced

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High School Graduation – not long before Alaska

I came to Alaska with the Air Force on my 20th birthday in October 1963. I heard there was going to be an earthquake and I wanted to be here for it (HA). I worked in supply primarily with vehicles and aircraft that were out of commission for parts. At my discharge in March of 1967 I went to work as a warehouse and inventory manager for Universal Services – an oil and exploration service provider

In 1971 my ’68 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle was stolen – it was recovered that fall but was pretty much beyond repair. It was nearly impossible to get parts for so I decided to build a “chopper” out of it. I bought a “Chilton’s” repair manual and the few motorcycle magazines that were available at that time. There were ads from various parts suppliers in California and many stated “Dealer inquiries invited”. Upon learning that I could buy parts wholesale if I was a dealer, I wrote to several of the companies. They responded with “send a copy of your business license and pictures of your store with signage”.

 

I sold the Triumph for $250 and bought a heater for my 1-car garage; a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood which I painted with the words “Barry’s Custom Cycle” and nailed it above the door; a $25 business license; and 6 sheets of peg board. I converted the back room of the garage (which was a wood shed) to my show room. I hung the pegboard and painted it red white and blue. I took pictures, had the film developed and sent them off with copies of my license. A few days later I was getting catalogs and price lists in the mail. I still had enough money to put a small ad in the Anchorage Daily News – and Barry’s Custom Cycle was born.

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Also in 1971 the TAPS was moving full steam ahead and Harley-Davidson put an ad in the local paper looking for a dealer for the Anchorage area. I sent HD a letter and they sent a District Manager to interview me. Of course, the response was “we can’t have a dealer in a one car garage in a residential neighborhood. If you get into a commercial building, contact me again”.

 

Through 1972 my part-time business was doing quite well. My boss at Universal Services got wind of it and made me an offer (threat). I stayed with Barry’s Custom Cycle. Of course, my first winter without a job almost put me in bankruptcy.

 

The oil and TAPS booms caused the housing market to explode. I had equity in my house so sold it in 1973 and leased a building in Spenard next to Chilkoot Charlie’s. I converted two back rooms into living quarters for my family.

 work bench

In 1974 I sent another letter to Harley-Davidson. They sent the District Manager back to Anchorage that fall to see my operation. He signed me up as a dealer with our contract starting in 1975.

 

Though my business was doing quite well during the summer months, I could not get through the winter. I took my first job on the pipeline and went to work for Bechtel as a “materials coordinator” at  5-mile camp north of the Yukon River.

 

A biker buddy “Indian Randy” started his own business – Polar Storm Insulation. He got the bid to insulate the water tanks and all the plumbing at the new camp at Valdez. There were not enough union insulators in Alaska to do the job so he was able to get me on as an insulator helper making 3 times as much as I was with Bechtel.

 

In the winter of ’74 – ’75 the owner of Chilkoot Charlie’s made my landlord an offer he couldn’t refuse. I put everything in storage and got back on with TAPS through the Operating Engineers. Between mechanics jobs I leased a building on Chugach Drive just off Spenard Road and hired a friend and his wife to manage it for me while I continued with TAPS. I kept working as a mechanic through June, 1977 when the first barrel of oil made its trip through the 800 mile pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.

 barry's custom cycle

When you walk in the front door of Chilkoot Charlie’s there is a bar on the left and a bar on the right. The one on the right used to be my parts counter – the dance floor was my service area and the bathroom behind the bar used to have a shower and is the one we used while living there.

 Had it not been for TAPS all of this may have just been an unfilled desire to become a Harley-Davidson dealer.

Written by House of Harley-Davidson founder, Barry Matteson

 

 

 

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