After all this Distances on the partly heavy traffic Highways of Alaska it was time for some Adventure. „The Last Frontier“ is the Slogan of the State and I wanted to get close to this. I never have been that far north and on the maps I found a road that could lead me even more north. Exactly up to the Arctic Ocean. The Dalton Highway how it is called is as little highway as the alaskan highways have anything to do with adventure… Originally a haul road for the oil resources in the north it was opened for public traffic around 10 years ago.
You can´t really buy any proper food up there, so it was necessary to carry it for 10 days with me. On my way north Hera from the Netherlands joined me. Originally just to visit the Manley Hotsprings on the way, she decided to come all the way up with me. Julie, my warm showers host in Fairbanks helped us out of our lack of food and brought a lot of it to the Yukon Camp along the Road… Awesome, Julie!!!
Now we were well equipped to do it. Three very rough days are already behind us. Two days later we are ready for a day off. Rolling Hills, more like a Rollercoaster than just hills made us to be dead on one´s feet. In Coldfoot we found the perfect spot for a rest. Camping for free opposite of the restaurant and with a little bit of luck and a little bit of aptness we also got a free shower and even a dinner. The laundry was not really necessary but very nice…
We were recovered and motivated to go on. The only obstacle on the way to the north left was Atigun Pass… and the weather.
A rainy night in the first part served us bad road conditions the next day. Behind the pass it went the same way. Sticky roads with partly loose gravel let us roll very cumbersome. If in addition to that headwind is approaching, making distance is very hard…
So Brians Tip (he took care for the traffic at the construction site on the top of the pass) was exactly the right thing. He advised us to visit the workers camp at the foot of the hill and ask if there is some food left for two tired cyclists… Sunday is prime rib day and so we went there. They couldn´t resist Hera´s smile and so we got an excellent dinner with fully loaded plates. After that they offered us a shower and also some snacks for the way. We ended up in the Recreation Area and watched the Olympic Gymnastics Finals with these 8 bearded guys while they started talking about Pedicure… A very special moment.
Next morning we crawled out of our tents, motivated and ready to go on. Our way now led us through the Tundra down to the Ocean. There was a dense fog and from time to time it started raining. The road got wet and sticky and the surface stuck like bubblegum on our tires. Hard fight. We made the distance and approached another workers camp in the evening. We gave it a try and got fed from the guys there. In the morning we asked for hot water and got a nice breakfast and a even nicer chat with the camps cook.
This day we should arrive at Deadhorse so we started pedaling. We reached the construction site in front of the town and hopped on the Pilots car that brought us all the 60km through the really rough construction site right into the center of town.
So, we reached the northern end of the american continent! Yeah!
To the shore we couldn´t get cause it was private property. The 70$ for the tour there we don´t want to pay. So, after a moment of pause we started going back. The Hotels up there are to expensive (starting with 250$/night for a double) to stay and so we were lucky and directly catched a ride on a truck back to fairbanks. He was traveling without a trailer, so we had to attach the bikes to the back of the cabin. As we took them off in Coldfoot (to put them into the trailer he attached there) they were totally covered in dirt, like a cookie… The rest of the tour was save and so they and also we arrived dirty but safe in Fairbanks…
And so a big adventure ended after 10 days. Wonderful nature, with partly totally empty roads, was a delectation. The road challenged us but also gave a lot back. The change of nature from the arctic Taiga with spruces towards the tree and bush free territory up in the north was impressing. The region up there is a dessert. That everything is covered with water and looks like wetlands is reasoned in the ground underneath. Just a few centimeter under the surface it is frozen, in some parts over 600m deep. No chance for the water to trickle away. That you can see a lot of animals and that they can find enough food up there is totally fascinating..
Till now my absolute Highlight here in Alaska!!