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Stanwood man travels to Arctic Circle via BMW motorcycle

STANWOOD — Traveling 4,000 miles on the road is a tall order in a car, but for Stanwood native Dan Rosman, not only has he traveled to the top of the world, but he has also done it by motorcycle.
Pulling out of his driveway of his Stanwood home with his brother, Andy, on Tuesday, May 30, Rosman traveled between 500 and 600 miles a day on asphalt and cement, and then hundreds of miles of dirt and gravel, to reach his first destination, Tuktoyaktuk, Canada, in the Arctic Circle. So far on the trip the duo has driven over 5,000 miles.
“I’ve always wanted to do this; I’ve talked about it with my wife for 25-30 years. I was talking to my brother two months ago and I mentioned it to him. I said, ‘You know Andy, I’ve always thought about getting a BMW and taking off and driving all the way up to Alaska.’ Instantly he said ‘let’s do it.’ So, like two days later, Nancy and I were in a parking lot in Big Rapids when my phone rang. Andy says, ‘Hey man I just bought a bike.'”
At age 61, and his brother being 67, the duo wanted to make the most of their time. The trip saw them travel through the American Midwest before heading north, using ferries to cross rivers and travelling over 1,000 miles on dirt and gravel roads.
“We were going to go to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, but decided to go to the Northwest Territories and Tuktoyaktuk because you can actually ride your motorcycles right to the water. So, we left Michigan, and it took us about a week. From pavement to Tuktoyaktuk it’s about 530 miles of gravel roads.”
These roads were slow going for the duo, with Rosman having to stay alert to the bike’s every movement on the uneven terrain.
“I guess the mindset was: ‘We’re going to do it. Yeah, we’re half nuts, but we’re going to do it.’ It took us one day about eight hours to do 250 miles and then another day it took us like three to four hours to go 80 miles. You’re seriously concentrating on not losing the bike and just wiping it out because the roads are so rough and loose gravel.”
With some of the challenges though, Rosman saw several amazing sights.
“The Arctic Ocean was cool. It’s still frozen up and the air that comes off the ocean with that ice was still cold. But we camped right on the water. That was cool,” he said. “Then just seeing a lot of animals: caribou, moose, a lot of black bears.
“The coolest thing for us though is to be able to do this as two old men, to go 1,000 miles of gravel roads on these motorcycles. I guess what we’ve been telling each other is that we’re just trying to prove to everybody you can still do it if you put your mind to it.”
Alongside this, Rosman met several different people making similar journeys up to the top of the continent.
“We’ve met people from all over the place. We met a guy from Italy that actually started from Key West, Florida, drove all the way to Tuktoyaktuk and is then leaving to go into Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, before then leaving Alaska and going to Patagonia, Argentina,” Rosman said. “Also met a kid who left the UK (United Kingdom) and was riding a pedal bike from Patagonia. He’s been riding for 18 months by himself.”
The duo has also dodged multiple Canadian wildfires.
“When we first got into British Columbia, the smoke was really bad. And then, actually, when we were coming out the second day out of Tuktoyaktuk there was a forest fire,” he said. “I took a picture of it where you can sort of see it not far from us. It was a big forest fire, and the smoke was starting to roll our way. We went through miles and miles where the fire was at, and it was just black.”
At the time of the interview, Rosman was in Palmer, Alaska, where he and his brother were going to spend a few days exploring the state. He said he and his brother would be using a plane to land on a glacier on Denali, the tallest mountain in North America. After that, the duo will make their trek back to Michigan.

web-interns@dakdan.com

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