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Tour Alaska by Motorcycle

I have been a passenger on a motorcycle for over 25 years and have enjoyed seeing Alaska from a cyclist point of view.  Occasionally, I have clients who have ridden their motorcycles to Alaska [1] or are planning on renting a motorcycle when they are here.  Either way you will find that a motorcycle trip in Alaska is well worth it.  If you’d like to experience Alaska by motorcycle but don’t want to drive the Alaska Highway, you can fly to Anchorage [2] and rent from the House of Harley in Anchorage.  The House of Harley [3] is just minutes away from the airport on Spenard Road. 

I’d suggest staying just down the street from the House of Harley at the Holiday Inn Express [4].  You can take the hotel’s airport shuttle to the hotel,check-in, and then take the short walk up to House of Harley to rent your cycle.  If you want to try out your cycle, take a short ride to Kincaid Park for good views of Anchorage, the Cook Inlet, and perhaps Mt. McKinley on a clear day.  Also near the Holiday Inn Express is a local establishment called Gwinnies’ Alaskan Restaurant; a perfect spot to enjoy your first evening in Alaska for dinner – Real Alaskan atmosphere with lots of good home-style cooking. 

Arise early the next day, take advantage of the Holiday Inn’s complimentary breakfast and then begin your first road trip to Seward [5] via the Turnagain Arm. Seward is about 120 miles south of Anchorage and the ride is on a National Scenic Byway.  It’s beautiful from start to finish! About 50 miles south of Anchorage, just at the south end of the Turnagain Arm, take a break and stretch your legs at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center [6] which works with the Alaska Fish and Game to give a home to animals that have been orphaned or injured.  Then head up to Turnagain Pass and into the Kenai Mountain Range.  For a scenic lunch stop, Summit Lake Lodge is about an hour away from Seward [5].

There are several great Seward hotels [7] to choose from, but as with all hotels in Alaska, you’ll want to reserve them well in advance of your arrival in Alaska.  My favorite restaurant in Seward is Ray’s Restaurant located at the small boat harbor, you can watch boats coming in after a day of fishing or an occasional harbor seal as you enjoy your dinner. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Kenai Fjords National Park by taking a day cruise out of Seward while you are there.  I like the Kenai Fjords National Park [8] with Fox Island Cruise. The cruise will include glaciers and wildlife viewing with a light lunch on board the boat and a grilled salmon buffet dinner at Fox Island [9].  You will get back to the small boat harbor about 6:30pm, the rest of the evening is yours to do what you want, possibly a ride out Nash Road to see the town of Seward from across Resurrection Bay.

If you can afford to spend a few additional days on the Kenai Peninsula, I would recommend going to Homer [10], a town made famous by Tom Bodetts’s tales of the town at the “End of the Road.” The motorcycle ride is about a 4 hour ride from Seward and you’ll be traveling via the Seward Highway and then the Sterling Highway. The ride will follow Kenai Lake and the Kenai River for about half the journey before passing through Soldotna and onward to Homer. Once you get past Soldotna [11], you’ll follow the ocean bluffs which will provide occasional scenic views of the Alaska Range including the volcano’s Mt. Spur and Mt. Redoubt.

If you have time, stay in Homer at least two nights.  I would suggest Land’s End Resort [12] on the Homer Spit if it is available. Nearby on the spit is the Salty Dawg Saloon, an unique Alaskan establishment. Once you have returned to the hotel before retiring check out the Chart Room Restaurant and Lounge located at Land’s End Resort. With your full day in Homer, you may enjoy a water taxi ride over to Seldova, there you can rent mountain bikes, hike, dig for clams, kayak or tour the small town. Seldova has a lot of Russian history with awesome views of Kachemak Bay.

Your return bike trip to Anchorage will take you about five hours along the same highways that you took to Homer.  Have a great ride and I’ll see you down the highway!