Written by Backroads Team Leader Dave Schifrin on his trip up the Alaskan highway to prepare to lead Alaska based tours.
Day 1: Salt Lake City – Great Falls, Mont.
Returning Leader Training is always fun. I get to meet other Backroads Trip Leaders whom I haven’t met before and re-connect with others whom I haven’t seen for a while. A handful of us reported to the Backroads Operations headquarters in Salt Lake City this past Monday to learn about some new Backroads initiatives (including the new specialized bikes and Backroads cycling jerseys available to guests!). But it was the end of the week that excited me the most… the start of my journey to Alaska for the season where I’ll be leading walking/hiking tours and multisport trips for the summer.
I’m bringing a van and bikes from Salt Lake City to Anchorage, which is the hub for our three different types of trips in Alaska (hiking trips, multisport tours, biking tours). It’s an epic drive from Salt Lake City to Anchorage, and I’m hoping to share some of that crazy experience with you. My journey takes me from Salt Lake City to Canmore, Alberta, Canada, to drop off a trailer and bikes at our Canadian hub. From Canmore I’ll head north across the expanses of Canadian wilderness through northern Alberta and British Columbia and across the corner of Yukon Territory before driving into Alaska in a week or so. Yep… that’s a nine-day solo drive through North American awesomeness. Just another epic Backroads journey…
Day 1 was a drive from Salt Lake City to Great Falls, Mont., for much needed sleep. I left Salt Lake in pouring rain, but the rain subsided as I entered Idaho on I-15. Idaho and Montana are just so beautiful and vast. You can just imagine buffalo herds numbering in the thousands lumbering across the prairies. While the scenery is incredible, I think my favorite part of driving the Backroads van is that everyone who passes is interested in the van and bikes. The stories that are told on the images on the van’s sides (and the bikes racked on the roof) are intriguing to everyone, and I usually get a wave or sometimes a tap of the horn from people who must be thinking something along the lines of “I want to be doing that.”
Day 2 takes me into Canada. I’m really excited to get to Canmore and meet up with some of the Backroads crew there. Hopefully I’ll get to explore Banff National Park a little bit before I continue the journey north. It’s been a must-see for me for a long time. I’ll check in soon. Hopefully with photos and undoubtedly with interesting stories ….