Editor’s Note: We learned the Biltwell crew were embarking on what sounded like the most epic journey of all time, dubbed Operation Numbnuts. A trek where a rider could push his or her two-wheeled spirit animal to the brink and really test their mettle. The destination: Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The not-so-trusty steeds taking them there: rigid choppers. From tent camping for days on a ferry just to get to the starting point to living off their own provisions and making plenty of roadside repairs along the way. This 20-30 day excursion separates those who choose to live their lives from those who sit and watch it pass them by. Some things are better told straight from the horse’s mouth, so please enjoy part one of this three-part series.
We’ve been trying to get to Alaska for three years now. Between building the Pig, COVID restrictions, and everything else it has been impossible. Finally, this is the year.
Here’s the breakdown:
- 11 riders
- Two Panheads, three Shovelheads and six Harley Pan Americas
- 4,000 miles
- 20-30 days
- Dispersed camping, some campgrounds, and occasional cabins or hotels
- “The Pig” is our civilianized LMTV chase truck
We are sailing out of Bellingham Washington on a ferry that we can camp on, and land in Whittier, Alaska a few days later. Can’t wait to see the inside passage from this boat. From there we ride up through Anchorage, Denali, and Fairbanks. One night at Chena Hot Springs and then up to Coldfoot where it gets real. The “Haul Road” from there to Deadhorse will be the hardest part, especially on the rigid bikes. Once we see Prudhoe Bay, we turn around and ride that beat-up gravel highway all the way back down. Then over the border into Dawson City which is on another less than ideal highway. From there it’s south to White Horse, maybe Liard Hot Springs, and down the Cassiar HWY through BC to Whistler. We’ve got no reservations other than the ferry so we are mostly camping. We are pretty self-contained in the Pig and have a shit ton of spare parts for old and new bikes, tires, tubes, gallons of oil, and a 30-gallon drum of gasoline, two shotguns, and a bunch of bear spray.
The old bikes are prepped and ready to go and Rob is almost done outfitting the PanAms with new Metzeller tires, Baja Designs lights and tons of official H-D accessories and luggage. Riding these bikes is going to be way different for our crew that’s used to older machines, a total luxury!
There are a lot of unknowns and plenty potential for failure but we’ll just take it day by day and solve problems as they come up. There should be plenty of discomfort, but if there isn’t, are you really on an adventure like Operation Numbnuts or just on vacation?
Please follow along with us on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok where we will post updates from the trip when we have service, and when we get back we’ll start working on a longer format film for YouTube and put that out on multiple episodes.
Thanks to all our friends and sponsors who are along for the ride: