Arto Saari’s Alaska Road Trip

Hell For Leather, HFL -


Arto Saari

Arto Saari
Prince George citizens. Still in civilization, following breakfast at the Canadian Church, Tim Horton’s, weary to be back on the road. Laying around motionless on concrete, at that point, was a welcome respite.

Arto Saari
There are no helmet laws in Alaska and during the summer, it is nice to able to cruise the country with out any restriction on your senses of epic vibrations.

Arto Saari
This is Chuck from Alaska Cycle Center in Anchorage. Because the Guzzi was brand new, it was overdue for the first factory tune-up. I thought for sure it was going to go through the ringer, but the filters were surprisingly clean. I rode in with a bolt sticking out of a flat rear tire but beside that, all it needed was an oil change. This bike handled the Alaskan roads like a dream.

Arto Saari
One of the greatest things about riding this far north is that the sun never sets. It’s easy to ride longer and farther without realizing how far you’ve gone or what time it is. This photo was taken at 1am after nine days of nearly constant charging from Los Angeles. There was a lot of stoke in the air and maybe even a little in my face, although it’s hard to see. I was extremely tired and haggard, but mostly, I was just happy to have made it. It was 312 km from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle on a gravel pathway that occasionally resembled a road. If my memory serves me correctly, we got back to Fairbanks at 6am later that morning. It was a 14 hour round trip, all in blazing daylight.

Arto Saari
The bears. They seems like they’re fairly friendly, fluffy creatures but I wouldn’t advise testing that theory. This is a taste of what the Alaskan roadside can look like at any given moment; they’re everywhere.

Arto Saari
The pipes. I don’t think there was a bathroom, ciggy or gas stop without Harvey fixing his pipes. Now that I think of it, I’m not sure if they were ever even welded on in the first place. Some sort of a metal wire jimmy rig going on here. One of any amusing and humbling moments watching Harvey fix his chopper.

Arto Saari
The Guzzi does not have a reverse gear, so I had to put it into manual override for a reverse latte at one of the many caffeine intake fueling stations.

Arto Saari
One of the worst things about riding this far north is that you’re going to be swarmed by mosquitos the moment you stop. Because I wasn’t wearing a helmet, it’s anyone’s guess as to how many I ate. This was taken just after leaving the Arctic Circle, headed back to Fairbanks. The scenery up there reminded me of Lapland in my native Finland. I had been flying a Canadian flag on the back of my bike before losing it somewhere along the road, so I grabbed this birch branch to substitute for a Finnish flag; a little reminder of home.

Arto Saari
Most hours of the day, Harvey was in absolute agony on the hardtail. There were a few moments of stoke and comfort when we would hit a smooth stretch of road, especially when we were nearing the Alaskan boarder. Victory of surviving another unpaved stretch of tarmac.

That’s my epic road trip. What was yours?

  • Jesse

    Props on your for making the trip. Harvey is clearly a younger man than I, for the thought of nine days on a hardtail brings a sympathy tear to my eye.

  • Isambard

    Great stuff. More of this sort of thing, please!

    Arto fans who haven’t seen it should watch the Epicly Later’d documentary on his skate career:

  • Pablo Perez

    A hardtail with an aftermarket springer front-end? Ouch.

  • TP

    Awesome. Reminds me of the Labrador trip. Long live HFL

  • Kevin

    Suffering on a motorcycle is one thing: unnecessary. Get the right gear, no suffering.

    • Piglet2010

      If I ever ride to Deadhorse, it will be in my Roadcrafter. And on a bike with at least 4 inches of suspension travel at each end.

  • Matt Meyerson

    thanks for the great piece on Arto. He is a true renaissance man!

  • Mr.Paynter

    I’d LOVE to see more of these.

    Great travels, awesome photography.

    A definite breath of fresh air in my office!

  • Sentinel

    Awesome! And those guys with you are about as hard core as it gets! :o

  • Fred

    aw man… Arto skating fan here too.

    Love the axe. Here in Brazil, cops would take him away =/