Well this years ride to the Arctic Circle is over and I must say it was totally different than the past seven years. I rode the "lower 48 states" six times and the Great Lakes with the Sioux City Miracle Riders, but the Arctic Circle ride brought on a few different and unique challenges. Of course as we hit each new challenge someone would say "one child at a time" and we would just say "what a great day to ride". To me that would bring home the real reason we were being so hard headed, crazy, full hearted and sometimes just plain stupid. We ride for the children! 
For 21 days straight I got up at 6 a.m. (or earlier), repacked my bag on my bike, got a cup of coffee and breakfast (sometimes) then looked to see what type of jacket I would put on. Rain jacket or cold weather jacket, you see we rode no matter what the weather was like cause we had 500 miles to go (give or take 50 miles) that day. And to be real honest on this year's ride it was 550 miles a day more often than not.
The thing that made this year so different was we knew many miles once in Canada and Alaska would be on dirt or gravel roads. For those of you that don't ride big motorcycles let me reassure you that gravel/dirt and bikes don't mix well. And the further back you are in the pack the more dust you get unless it is raining. If it is raining it just gets slicker. Just to let y'all know I am the last bike. 
Gas stations in Canada were every 100 miles or so and even then they were one pumpers. So gas stops took just a little longer with 16 bikes. And if gas stations were small I want you to just try and imagine what restaurants along the way were like. You got it, "crackers, beef jerky, candy bars and sunflower seeds" were a normal lunch on this years trip. We even had two days of McD which is totally out of our norm. The main stay for supper at nights were chicken wings. Of course I did check out the local adult beverage at night. That part of our trip never changes!!
Guess I would have to say my bike took a beating on this years trip. And of course this 62 year old body took a beating on this years trip. Seems like it gets harder and harder for me to get up and ride 500 plus miles for 21 days in all types of weather on all types of roads each year. Then I look at the needs of the kids around me. Can not wait to see what we do in 2018. Yes I am one of those crazy Miracle Riders that wants to make a difference in one child's life. Sheriff Mike JOLLEY

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