In less than three weeks, Bryan McClure will be departing on a nearly 10,000-mile-long adventure to Homer, Alaska.
His mode of transportation? His motorcycle, a 2014 Harley Davidson Street Glide.
The owner of Iron Station Thunder, McClure has spent nearly a decade immersed in the motorcycle business. He opened his first shop in Iron Station back in April 2005, with his Lincolnton location opening in 2012. With his business continuing to gain recognition within the industry, McClure decided to embark on a three-week excursion.
“This is my first time traveling to Alaska,” he said. “I’ve traveled to Canada before, and it’s a pleasure to go up there and see friends. It’s like a playground for us.”
According to McClure, he will spend the first week of the trip traveling to Alaska, going through Chicago to North Dakota, where he and his friend Todd will cross the border into Canada. In order to stay on schedule, the duo will need to travel a minimum of 600 miles per day.
“For the first two days, we’ll drive about 14 hours daily and travel about 2,000 miles,” McClure said. “Then, we’ll travel about 600 miles (per day) once we get into Canada.”
After crossing over the Canadian border, McClure estimates it will take roughly four days to reach Anchorage, Alaska, and from there, Homer.
“I just want to go riding and enjoy the new scenery,” he said. “We have a couple of charter boat (outings) and fly fishing trips planned while we’re there.”
Opting to travel by motorcycle, McClure will bring only five days’ worth of clothes. The rest of his packing space is dedicated to his camping and motorcycle gear, which includes extra fuel.
“The bikes can go between 220-240 miles on a full tank, but in some parts of Canada, the gas stations will be 260-280 miles apart,” he said. “And if your timing is wrong, you’re at their mercy. So we’ll carry extra gas with us. I’ve literally talked to every gas station owner on our route. I’ve laid it out pretty thoroughly. “
While the duo’s planned destination is Homer, McClure said it is important to be flexible.
“Having Homer as our destination is the plan, but we could run into terrible weather,” he said. “Nothing is carved in stone.”
On the return trip, McClure will travel to through Seattle and arrive in South Dakota in time for the 74th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where Iron Station Thunder’s award-winning motorcycle, “The Rusty Runner,” will compete.
“Out of the seven competitions (The Rusty Runner) has competed in, it’s won 1st Place Overall once, 2nd Place Overall twice and 3rd Place Overall twice,” he said.
According to the official Sturgis Motorcycle Rally website, the event, held August 4-10, offers a week of bike competitions, concerts, motorcycle races, and numerous exhibitors from across the country. For many motorcycle enthusiasts, it’s the annual weeklong motorcycle mecca of the Mid-West.
“Hopefully, we’ll bring back a trophy or two,” McClure said.
While McClure is all too eager to embark on his upcoming motorcycle journey, he has received some less-than enthusiastic feedback from some of his friends and family members.
“One out of 100 people will say, ‘have a blast!’” he said. “The other 99 will warn me that the roads up there are terrible, and the weather will be bad. But any reason they list as why I shouldn’t go gives me more of a reason to go. A lot of people don’t ride 10,000 miles in a year. It’s too many miles for most people. It’s an aggressive trip, and it’s not for everybody. I know there will be days when we say ‘Why are we here?,’ but in the end, I know it’s going to be worthwhile.”
After completing this summer’s trip, McClure will be one step closer to completing his bucket list dream: to travel to all four corners of the United States. So far, he has only traveled to Key West in Florida, but within the next few years, McClure hopes to ride to Maine and later, San Diego.
“I’m an avid saltwater fisherman,” he said. “We’ll go fishing, diving, swimming — we’ll make it fun.”
With his itinerary mapped out and both motorcycles ready for travel, McClure is eagerly awaiting his departure.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do — to be able to see the scenery up there is worth it in itself,” he said. “I’m not really worried about anything. The only bad thing about the trip is that I have to wait until the 22nd.”