By Christie Barlow
After approximately 6,000 miles and 80 hours on his motorcycle, Harlan Hoover felt a rush of satisfaction when he set foot in the Arctic Circle.
After about two weeks of travel, Hoover and his cousin, Jay Hoover, who lives in Tennessee, could say they were one of few who stood at 66° 33’ 39” along the Dalton Highway in Alaska.
Hoover had made the trip to Alaska on his motorcycle before, but never all the way to the Arctic Circle. He stopped in Fairbanks, Alaska about 100 miles short. When his cousin wanted to go, he couldn’t resist the chance to hit the open road again.
“It was just time to go,” Hoover said. “The last time I went was 1982. That’s a long time between trips. The hardest thing for people who work is to put the time aside (to go).”
Hoover, who owns his own business providing PA systems at sporting events, made time to make the trip. On May 30, Hoover and his cousin packed up the bare essentials and hit the road on their motorcycles to make a trip to one of the four corners of the U.S.
“Jay and I both ride almost everyday,” Hoover said. “I enjoy being out on the road. When you’re out on your motorcycle you’re by yourself. You have a destination, but you don’t have to go.”
The duo braved rain, cold weather, storms and rough terrain as they took the scenic route to their final destination.
They made stops at Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and Badlands National Park, among others, but the duo never stopped for long. Most of the day was spent on the road heading for their ultimate destination. There was just as much to see while on the road as there was at Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore.
One of those sights was Beartooth Pass in Montana. “It was like driving through your freezer,” Hoover said. Massive walls of ice box the highway in and made it a chilly, dark trip, he said.
In addition to walls of ice, Hoover came across a lot of other things he wouldn’t find in North Carolina - wild horses, moose, buffalo, bears and prairie dogs.
Although the whole trip was an adventure, the real excitement came when the two men crossed into Alaska. At that point, it was only a short trip to the Arctic Circle. Mud, rocks and warnings from others couldn’t keep them from trying the trip to the Arctic Circle.
“It’s just an accomplishment, you feel like you finally accomplished something,” Hoover said. “Not a lot of people got there.”
While they had reached their goal, turning around and heading back was kind of a let down, Hoover said. The duo started the two-week trip back home, again sticking to the scenic route and trying to hit as many landmarks as they could.
With the Arctic Circle under his belt, Hoover hopes to make trips on his motorcycle to the four corners of the U.S. He’s already started planning his next trip - a ride to Nova Scotia, Canada sometime this summer.
“I’ve got a lot to do, but there’s always time for a motorcycle trip,” Hoover said.
• Contact Christie Barlow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-789-9140.