A pair of Courtenay friends began a ride to the Arctic Circle on Aug. 1, to experience the route to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories on their motorcycles.
Robin Norbury said he is giddy about taking the trip with his 76-year-old friend, who did not wish to be identified by name. The trip will complete a dream that has been on his friend’s bucket list for more than three decades.
“I’m going to help him fulfill that dream, and at the same time fulfill a dream of my own — of freedom and excitement and adventure,” Norbury said.
Norbury’s friend chose the destination because he had experienced it once before, when a friend in the Canadian Forces took him for an airplane ride during the 1980s. Ever since then, he wanted to take his time seeing the region from the ground.
The friends, who began motorbiking approximately a year ago, started their trip with a ferry ride from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert. From there, Norbury and his friend will ride more than 2,500 kilometres, armed with their camping equipment and a flexible plan.
They will figure things out as they go on this first adventure together, but they have been planning and buying the necessary equipment since the beginning of May, Norbury said.
“We both have a zest for living, we love life,” he said. “We have this incredible friendship that is only going to grow over the next two weeks on our way to Tuktoyaktuk and back.”
Norbury described their motorcycles as relatively small adventure bikes. He will ride his CRF 300 Honda Rally while his friend takes his KTM 380.
The two expect the roads will also be busy with fellow travellers enjoying the scenery, so help will never be too far away if things go wrong.
“We’re both rookies, which is very exciting. We’re going to make mistakes, but we’re going to learn from those mistakes and keep going,” Norbury said.
If the northbound roads are flooded with rain, then the motorbiking friends may have to turn back early. However, they want to make the trip, knowing things may not go according to plan. They are determined to enjoy the route with an open mind.
A mutual friend introduced the pair of friends on a ride down to Campbell River roughly a year ago, shortly after they bought their motorbikes.
They got along and began riding together. One day, Norbury’s friend told him this trip to the Arctic Circle was on his bucket list, and he was serious about biking the route.
“I said ‘whoa man, are you really going to go alone?’ He said, ‘yep I’m jumping on my bike and going.’ I said, ‘well I’ll come with you,’ and he said ‘let’s do it,’” Norbury recalled.
The trip also represents a victory lap in a positive stage of life for Norbury, who turned his life around three years ago after battling with a substance use disorder for roughly 20 years.
“It is a story of victory, compassion, love and everything that goes with it,” he said. “This is so exciting for me, this is like a brand-new life I’m living.”
During these past three years of abstaining from substances that harmed him, recovery has turned his life into an amazing thing, he said.
Today, he enjoys being part of his community. He is a ticketed umpire for slo-pitch softball, plays in a 55-plus league, and makes friends with people who share his hobbies.