Chasing Winter
and the Land of the Midnight Sun
A Journey into the Arctic on Motorcycles

Tuesday, January 21, 5:30-8:30pm

The Lounge at Iwan Ries
19 South Wabash

Cocktails at 5:30, presentation 6:00-6:30 followed by discussion and more cocktails.    
$40 includes drinks, two cigars, and food from Italian Village. 
Reservations are required.

In May 2009, two middle-aged dreamers left their workaday world and began to chase winter northward—on motorcycles.  In the end they would chase this season all the way to the frozen Arctic Ocean where they watched it vanish into endless days.  Along the way, they encountered gold miners, arms dealers, herds of caribou, musk oxen, countless bears, snow, sleet, hail rain, sun, unplowed mountain passes, wary buffalo, charging moose, ice floes the size of houses floating up the Arctic rivers, and Chinese investors in small planes seeking mining fortunes. They also met some of the First Nations people—one of whom gave them gifts of tribal pins, a traditional gesture of indigenous hospitality accorded to strangers in a strange land.

Bryan Whitehead writes: "This was no mere vacation: it was a quest.  Our agenda was to try to reach the northernmost point of North America—Prudhoe Bay—by motorcycle during the brief dry season: after most of the snow had melted, but before the quadrillions of mosquitoes hatch on the Arctic Tundra.  We had perhaps a ten- or twenty-day window that met these criteria. As we gained latitude—and altitude—we encountered snow, freezing mud, rain, hail, wind, and snow.  And as we passed the Arctic Circle, 24-hour daylight was the rule.

"The motorcycles were purpose-built and modified for this trip. These machines had not only to vanquish over 2,300 miles of gravel, mud, ice, and snow, but also had to handle 9,000 miles of US and Canadian Highways to get there and back. The fuel stops are farther and farther apart as you go north and they become both unpredictable and unreliable. 350 miles between fuel stops is common, so extra fuel, spare parts, extra tires, tools, water, food, camping gear, and warm clothing had to be packed on these machines—topping 650 pounds of cargo each, plus riders."

Mr. Whitehead, an avid motorcyclist and cigar smoker, will give a slide show and tell stories about what happened along the way.

About the Cigar Society of Chicago

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the city clubs of Chicago is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits.  The Cigar Society of Chicago embraces this tradition and extends it with its Informal Smokers, University Series lectures, and Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the Secretary at