Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 15 to 18 - June 28th thru July 1st, 2010 Fairbanks to Fairbanks, AK

Well finally some decent internet.  Anywhere north of Fairbanks or south of Anchorage or in between seems to rely on dial up internet service only.  Cell phone coverage is nearly non-existent outside major cities as well.

Today Tammy and I did our split.  She remained in Fairbanks at the University dorm's while I headed north on the Dalton Highway, better know locally as the Haul Road. 

Left for Coldfoot/Wiseman from Fairbanks at 9:30 on Monday morning.  Plan was to carry extra gas but also gas up every chance I got.  Longest stretch without gas was 240 plus miles into Prudhoe Bay that would require the extra gas.  It's 70 miles up the Steese Hwy north of Fairbanks to just get to the Dalton, all paved but starting to feel more remote.  Road to Wiseman was a combination of paved, chip seal, gravel, and construction zones. 

Stopped at the Yukon River Crossing bridge, Arctic Circle sign, Finger Mountain, Coldfoot where I had lunch, got gas, and visited with returning riders.  Their ride had included much rain and a lot of muddy roads, not encouraging.  Stayed at the Arctic Getaway Bed and Breakfast in Wiseman.  See Nice family to visit with but kids were home schooled and no other children within 20 miles.  My home for the night:

Day two to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay was uneventful and long.  Saw several herds of caribou and quickly got far enough north to no longer have trees.  Added the extra gas at Antigun Pass because it was cold enough and windy enough to have no annoying mosquitoes.   Weather was perfect but very cool.  Miles and miles of tundra on the north slope and snow on the ridges.  High for the day was probably 45 degrees but NO rain again.  Always had the pipeline parralleling me, either above ground or below but always present and reassuring me I was on the right (and only) road.

Prudhoe Bay was the most industrial/ugly town I've ever been to.  Not scenic and just a destination to check off my bucket list.  Even got a warning from the local cop about how to properly stop at their stop signs.  With a motorcycle, a foot must fully plant on the pavement.   Stayed at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel with hundreds of oil field workers.  Hotel felt like hundreds of house trailers hooked together but clean, warm and dry.  The $150 room included all the food you could eat.  Even made lunch for day 3 on the Haul Road.
I tried to buy the Deadhorse Alaska, End of the Dalton Highway sticker for my bike; Guess what, they were sold out!  Would actually buy one of these at Alaska Leather in Anchorage later.

Day 3 was just a long return trip starting out at 37 degrees and heavy fog.

Saw the now usual caribou plus a herd of musk oxen.  Talk about pre-historic looking. 

Did stop to read a tourist information sign about 70 miles south of Deadhorse and decided to leave a Spot location message.  Put the Spot on top of bike's rear luggage and went to read the sign.  Mosquitoes quickly made me leave and hop on the bike heading south forgetting I had the Spot messenger sitting on back.  By the time I  remembered it and returned, a Haul Road truck had ran over it.  Would replace it Friday morning in Fairbanks.  Stayed in Wiseman again.  Day 2 and 3 had a 20 mile long construction zone between Coldfoot and Wiseman that took forever to get thru.

Got back into Fairbanks about 3 PM on Thursday  and spent $10 at the car wash to get the bike back to a only slightly dirty state.  Only rain I got was the last 20 miles on the Dalton..

Tammy had spent the four days shopping, funding local coffee shops, touring the University museum, taking a river boat tour, and shooting pool at the dorms with the returning Haul Road riders.  Only pictures she took were on the river boat tour.

Sled dogs.

Eskimo ways.

Eskimo fur coat.

Was good to get back to the dorms and back together again.

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