From Fairbanks itís a 80 mile drive over to the Dalton Highway. This highway travels the length of the Alaksan pipeline and starts at the Arctic Ocean where Prudhoe bay oil drilling area is located. Weíll be headed for Deadhorse, which is the town located next to Prudhoe bay.
The first thing thatís very evident as we start is that were riding through an active forest fire.
All around us is smoldering wood and the stench of burnt wood. At times the thickness of the smoke obliterates the sun and looks like the sky is covered with clouds but itís just the smoke from the forest fire.
I rounded a corner a few miles into the Dalton highway and came across a Cow Moose with calve. As I passed they started to run down the highway and I wasnít sure how to handle it. Iíve heard bad things about cow moose with calves and didnít want to give the cow a chance to turn and charge. I gave the bike the gas and got around them quickly and they continued to run along side me.
I finally got beyond them and they stopped and let me go on.
The riding in wide open spaces is nice but so far the scenery is average and the road isnít very challenging.
We continue down the road, weíve got to go 70 miles from the turnoff until we cross the Yukon river and get gas there.
We arrived at the Yukon river and got our gas and headeddown the highway some more. Our next gas will be at Coldfoot. Coldfoot is a small outpost along the way where workers stop who work along the highway.
Thatís the finger mountain. I took this picture on zoom and didnít bother t walk over there. Hey if I canít ride my bike right up to it, I ainít going to see it. Thatís the way it goes.
This is the second time in a week passing the Arctic Circle. A couple of quick pics and were off.
We started getting into some mountains on the way and were entering some rainy areas along the road. I wasnít exactly sure what to expect up ahead and thereís always the nervousness of ďwhat am I getting myself intoĒ.
We got into Coldfoot and gassed up. When we got there the pumps were being worked on, so we ate dinner and waited for the repairs to be completed. I watched a welder working near the gas tanks and I thought thatís not a job I would like.
The roads were now soaked but amazingly I still had total traction. Riding in this types of weather, for me at least, is the reason we went through the hassle of putting on knobbed tires back in Whitehorse before we started the dirt adventure.
As we head into the brooks range and over the pass, the scenery is amazing and I just kept snapping pictures as fast as I could. It seemed that every corner brought a new reason to take a picture.
Over the Brooks Range we break out onto the tundra and things start to flatten out.
Out on then tundra was dry and dusty. The trucks coming by were moving out and throwing quite a wake of dust in their aftermath. People who have driven this road will know what Iím talking about but you just hang on as they pass and wait until the dust clears and you can see again.
Coming into towards Deadhorse Alaska I saw my first Caribou and was like wow and fired off some pics and was amazed looking at it. This pic is a little funny now because on down the road there were Caribou everywhere and it became no big deal. This was the first though and worthy of posting.
It was nearly midnight now and as we approached Deadhorse an eerie set of clouds began forming, so near to the ground that I felt like I could reach up and touch them and I just figured that near the Arctic Ocean this is how the clouds looked.
When I got into town I realized these werenít clouds but rather steam rising off the water. The temps were near freezing and apparently the water was warmer and producing enough steam to cause a cloud formation over the entire town.
The buildings up here reminded me of freezer boxes, the only difference was they kept the contents warm and the outside was the freezer.
We checked into the Prudhoe bay Hotel for the bargain price of $75 per person. This was dormitory style housing with shared bathrooms and the price of the hotel included all you could eat. Basically I got 3 hotís and a cot, and I never went hungry in this place.