Today we live in a Society where anything you could possibly want is right there at your fingertips. Whatever your heart desires can be accessed with the push of a button or a walk down the block. A convenience store on every corner, any movie you ever wanted to see can be blasted into your home with the push of a button. Games on your TV and face to face conversations via video chat with someone in another country. We really do have it all. If you don’t believe me, I’ll bet you can order a jar of pickles from your phone without ever speaking a word and someone will deliver that to your front door in about an hour.
I found myself wondering if there really was a way to challenge myself. Was there really a true adventure left out there. Was there a location that would really challenge a person? One that would say I mean it. If there was one, would I actually survive it?
I found the Arctic Circle to meet almost all of my goals. I gave up the idea of showing support to the suicide problem by telling everyone I was going to go to Hawaii and walk the beaches to raise money. That did not get a lot of support, especially from my wife.
I settled on the Arctic Circle as it has a lot of common factors. Soldiers feel isolated and alone once they leave the military. The Dalton Highway is 414-mile road. It is one of the most isolated roads in the United States. There are only three towns: Coldfoot (pop 10) at Mile 175, Wiseman (pop 22) at Mile 188, and Deadhorse (25 permanent residents,) at the end of the highway at Mile 414. Fuel is available at the E. L. Patton Yukon River Bridge (Mile 56), as well as Coldfoot and Deadhorse. Two other settlements, Prospect Creek and Galbraith Lake, are uninhabited except for campers and other short-term residents.
The road itself is mostly gravel, very primitive in places, and small vehicle and motorcycle traffic carries significant risk of injury. The nearest medical facilities are in Fairbanks and Deadhorse. Anyone embarking on a journey on the Dalton is encouraged to bring survival gear.
You will not be feeling like you can simply trot to the nearest convenience store. You better bring jugs of fuel along or some serious walking boots.
The Dalton Highway only has 129 miles of pothole ridden pavement, broken up over several sections along its 414-mile stretch. No wonder it was on the first episode of the BBC's World's Most Dangerous Roads. They drove a Ford Super Duty, I’ll be on Kawasaki KLR650, what could possibly go wrong?
Polar bears are known to traverse the Arctic region of Alaska and can be seen wandering the outskirts of Deadhorse on the Dalton Highway.
Danger and isolation. Struggles and discomfort. It isn’t supposed to be easy; it wasn’t easy for them, and it isn’t going to be easy for me. I have chosen to camp and avoid hotels. They slept on the ground, they endured the elements and so will I. THERE WILL BE NO CHASE VEHICLE, no travel trailer or van following along. No tour bus waiting at the next stop just off camera. Just Scott Smith and I, two motorcycles and long johns.
I mean seriously, “look at me I really care” as I check into the Hilton every night?
They feel isolated and they feel alone, I will feel it as well. They were challenged and they met that challenge serving this great nation. I want to raise recognition to the issue of Veterans Suicide, and you don’t do that from the comforts of you couch. If you want to make a difference, please get off the couch, there are people out there who need you.
Most importantly remember, all of your donations are going to an organization for veteran suicide prevention. This adventure is fully funded by caring sponsors who want to make a difference. The donation does not pay for any of this trip or the gear, the sponsors have taken care of that, as well as personal funds.
So why did I choose the Arctic Circle? It was the hardest, most dangerous, most isolated and difficult challenge I could find, that I believed I could actually live through.
I survived in combat back in 1991, trust me I'm not out to get myself killed.
If you don’t feel like this is your cause, please choose some other veteran cause. They need your help.
A Sponsor is one who gives directly to the mission. Their generosity makes it all happen. Without them there would not be a fundraiser. Undisclosed amounts of time and money are donated by sponsors behind the scenes to make sure the mission goes well, and the fund raiser is a success.
Founding Sponsors are the first Sponsors who choose to be a part in the fundraiser. People State Bank is our Platinum Founding Sponsor. They have contributed in many ways to the success of this mission. Without them this mission would not take place.
It is important to point out that Sponsors don't have to be involved. They get involved because they care. I want to thank Peoples State Bank for everything they do to support this countries veterans.
Please support those that support us. Stop in and say hello. Stop by and say Thank You for what they do.