MotoQuest All Ladies Alaska Tour

Alaska_tour_2Ready for a big motorcycle adventure, but not sure if you want to go it alone?

Join MotoQuest as it takes off again in 2011 with its popular All Ladies Alaska tour – Eight days of girls-only fun! Enjoy all the thrills of touring without the hassle of logisitic planning or the uncertainty of exploring an unfamiliar terrain. An experienced, local guide shows you Alaska as only the residents know it, while you share your passion for riding and travel with like-minded companions.

Alaska_tourThe all-paved itinerary takes riders from costal Alaska to the hinterlands, looping through and over some of the country’s most majestic scenery (snow-capped mountain peaks, natural hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers, fishing towns) and to some of its most legendary “names” in exploration, like Denali, Valdez, Anchorage, and the North Pole! There’ll be ample opportunity for living out great stories to take back home.

If you’re in the Chicago area, stop by the Twisted Throttle display at the Chicago International Motorcycle Show to meet this years’ All Ladies MotoQuest Alaska tour guide, Ariel! Pick up a MotoQuest calendar and ask her your questions. She’ll be there Friday (2/11) from 3pm to 9pm; Saturday (2/12) from 9am to 9pm and Sunday (2/13) from 9am to 5pm.

Prices start at $4,100 for riders, and $2,200 for passengers. Spaces must be booked by May 1, 2011. More information at

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Touring the Alaskan Wilderness: Fairbanks to Tangle River

772070231_x56om-S-5The route for the Best of Alaska turns south after Fairbanks. Goodbye to Gold Rush History and Sourdoughs, hello Santa. Yes, that’s right, Santa. As you head South East out of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway, you pass right by the town of North Pole, and the prodigious roadside attraction of Santa’s House.

Santa’s House at North Pole, Alaska

Now, you may not be into roadside attractions. Nor do you believe in Santa. But let’s face the facts: this is probably one of the most boring sections of highway on the entire Alaska Highway system, so take what you can get. Plus, North Pole does have something about it. It may be the candy cane decorated streetlights, or the 70 foot tall paper macheesque statue of St. Nick himself. Whatever it is, you can feel the excitement. You are in Santa’s front yard, so go in and say “Hi.”

Santa can be found at the back of his house, holding court. He will be happy to take a picture with you, and if your lucky, Mrs. Santa will be there too. Two banger. This is the place that all the children’s letters come to. This is the vortex of Christmas cheer and consumerism. Don’t miss out!

Further down the road, there will be the other roadside attraction worth mentioning. The Knotty Shop has been in existence since anyone can remember, and features two memorable things. The first is amazing ice cream! The second, lawn art made out of wood with large knots in them – hence the name. If you like ice cream and large mosquitoes made of wood, then this is the place for you.

Alaskan Wilderness along the Richardson Highway

It’s rather flat heading out of Fairbanks on the Richardson, but be patient. After an hour, you begin to see the peaks of the fabled Alaska Range. After a little more, you come across Delta Junction, the home to the best lawns in Alaska. After that, you are in riding heaven! The road begins to twist and turn into the mountains.

Glaciers, wild rivers and 15,000 foot mountains peaks surround you as you slip into an Alaskan wonderland. Before long, you are at timber line, and there is nothing but unobstructed wilderness. Keep your eye out for critters, because as you head through Isabel Pass, you have a good chance of seeing them. Moose and Caribou range through this area and are often spotted from the road.

The road plateaus at Summit Lake and skirts it. To your left, Isabel Glacier, to your right, pristine alpine lake….not bad for an afternoon. Summit Lake is the location of the fabled Arctic Man competition, held every winter. This enigmatic challenge couples the disciplines of snowmachine (that’s what Alaskans call Snowmobile) and skiing. I’m a little cloudy on all the rules, but there is a rope pull, speed and jumping involved. During that period, Arctic Man actually becomes Alaska’s third largest town!

Solitude on the Denali Highway

Our ride this day ends big as we turn onto the Denali Highway. This “Highway” starts out as a two-laned paved road, and then turns to a dirt road. It used to be the original entrance road to Denali National Park, but has somehow fell off the radar as a destination.

However, ride the Denali Highway on a good day, and tell me it’s not one of the most scenic rides you have ever done! The road is 120 miles long, and parallels the Alaska Range. Stop your bike, and you will again be overwhelmed with solitude. Look left or right, and no buildings will be seen for miles. The Denali Highway is Alaska in a nutshell: wild, remote, and scenic.

We don’t actually ride the dirt on this day, but stop short and stay at the quaint Tangle River Inn. Nadine has been running this oasis with her husband for over 40 years, and it has been a highlight on MotoQuest’s tour routes for over a decade.

Tangle River Inn is a private landholding in the midst of an ocean of untouched public land. From the dining room, you look out over a wild and scenic river system, framed in by majestic mountains. Walk outside and turn a full circle: not a soul in sight but the beauty of nature. You’ll find the hospitality to be warm and welcoming, the goods to be delicious with generous portions, and the scenery to be hard to beat. Not a bad ending to great day of riding!

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Day in Fairbanks: Hot Springs and Gold Nuggets

1156418296_ma2PS-S-1The free day in Fairbanks is not just for the adventure riders. There is plenty to keep you busy without conquering the Arctic Circle. If you want to take it easy in Fairbanks, head down to the Visitors Center located in the old downtown area. There, you can find out about all sorts of activities ranging from gold mine tours to paddle wheel cruises. The Visitors Center is located on the banks of the slow moving Chena River and is a pretty tranquil location in general, even though this is the second largest city in the state.

Golden History of Chatanika, Alaska

Fairbanks started because of gold – big gold. They say the largest deposits of gold of the entire gold rush could be found here. Every direction you take out of town shrouds remnants of this past culture. Rusting dinosaurs of gold rush equipment lie dormant in overgrown thickets here and there, off the main highways.

If you like gold rush history and old machinery, but hate organized tours, get on your bike and go to Chatanika. It’s all paved, all the way. Head north out of town about 7 miles (and don’t worry, since there is only one road out of town, you’ll know you are on it!) until you get to the crossroad gasoline station/town called Fox. You know you are on the right track when you pass a parking lot off to the right where you can walk up and touch the Alaska Pipeline. If you’re interested in this tremendous conduit, stop by and check it out.

At Fox, take a right at the four-way, and you are now on the Steese Highway. Hold on, because here come some of the best paved sweepers in the state of Alaska. When you come back down from the hills, keep your eye out for Chatanika Lodge. Looking at a map, you’ll see the town of Chatanika on some maps in bold block letters. When you pass a lodge with a broad parking lot at road level off to the right side of the road, beware. You are already headed OUT of town!

Visiting Chatanika Lodge

Ronny and Shirley have been running the Chatanika Lodge for years, and when you go in and meet them and see the decorum of the place, you may think that you have gone back in time. And, you may take over an hour just to soak it all in. From a 57 Chevy surrounded by pin-ball machines to an outhouse on skis, this place has it all. The Chatanika Lodge is one of the few places in Alaska that has a stuffed bear on rollers.

Ronny makes a mean omelet, so if you are in the mood, keep some space empty in your gas tank for a generous meal. Across the Steese sits an abandoned dredge – a throw-back from another time. Until 50 years ago, this Goliath dug, washed and dispersed gravel. Three stories high with ability to make its own tools, it was the work horse of the Chatanika River Valley. There are only two dredges of this kind left in the Fairbanks area, and one of them is an official tour.

This one lies completely abandoned, and anyone is welcome to explore around the bowels of it without limit of time or risk. Before you leave Chatanika Lodge, ask Ronnie to play the video about the very dredge that sits across the road. All in all, a pretty fascinating way to spend part of a day.

Chena Hot Springs

There are three natural hot springs that are connected to the highway system in Alaska. If you wake up in Fairbanks, you are 60 miles away from one of them. Chena Hot Springs has been spitting out very hot water from below the earths surface, without a permit, for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years. Lately, humans have found a way to build an out door pool, bar, hotel, camp ground, landing strip and ice bar around it.

Quirky almost nails it, but this oasis offers it all including algae. I say algae, because the moose around there just stroll around the grounds, sucking it out of the warm pools on the property. In Chena, after enjoying your Martini in a glass made of ice, don’t be surprised when a moose walks right through your volleyball game. It’s Alaska, after all.

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MotoQuest’s Alaska Adventure Center

MotoQuest's Alaska Adventure Center

This summer, MotoQuest and Alaska Wildland Adventures are going to offer the motorcyclist and their non-riding companions the opportunity to explore Alaska together. MotoQuest’s Alaska Adventure Center will be located at Alaska Wildland’s Kenai Riverside Lodge in the quaint town of Cooper Landing on the Kenai Peninsula. The lodge is situated on the banks of the wild and scenic Kenai River, and features rustic cabins, home-cooked meals, tranquil mountain scenery and a multitude of fun outdoor activities.

For the non-riding adventurer, the three night, four day package features ground transportation to and from Anchorage (including a ride on the Alaska Railroad), three nights accommodations, all meals, river rafting, hiking and even a glacier cruise of Kenai Fjords National Park.

Riders who take the package enjoy a 20% discount for any motorcycle in MotoQuest’s rental fleet in Anchorage. For an extra cost, riders may also take part in the daily outdoor activities and opt for a glacier cruise or fishing for trophy trout and salmon. The package requires at least one non-riding companion per rider, and starts at $1,475 per person.

The riding? Cooper Landing is located in the heart of the Kenai Peninsula and offers scenic delights in all directions. Riders may enjoy world-class paved highways from Seward to Homer. The Seward Highway is notably one of the best scenic rides in North America and designated a National Forest Scenic Byway.

Finally, there is a place where riding and non-riding friends and family can enjoy the best of wild Alaska together!

MotoQuest Tours & AllAboutBikes Presents… MotoQuest’s Best of Alaska Tour

Turnagain-Arm-Scenic-bywayInterested in touring Alaska by motorcycle yourself? MotoQuest specializes in motorcycle adventure tours in many exotic places and they are giving away a free spot in their Best of Alaska Tour in 2011.

Don’t just stay home this year, try a visit to Alaska! Click to learn more about the Best of Alaska Motorcycle tour from MotoQuest Tours, Twisted Throttle & AllAboutBikes.

Written by Scott Betten, Courtesy of