Got up the next morning in much more pleasant weather. Don't get me wrong, it was still gray and drizzling, but the wind had stopped goddamnit. I packed up my stuff, discovering in the meantime that I had pitched camp in one hell of a pile of moose shit. Awesome... I cleaned up the best I could and got my gear together. I was back on the highway before I knew it. The trip into Fairbanks was fairly uneventful. I stopped plenty to do what I do, took my time and just enjoyed the ride. Pulling into town, I headed straight for Alaska Fun Center, one of the few Kawasaki dealers around. I grabbed some carb cleaner and a few other parts for the bike I had broken along the way and crossed the street to some random campsite. Awesome. I would make camp here for the day and tear into the bike. I still had problems with the carb overflowing and was determined to sort it out before attempting the Dalton Highway. With a cheap turkey tin from wally-world, I pulled the carb, disassembled it and gave everything a good hose down with carb cleaner before taking the whole tray back to Alaska Fun Center to get a second opinion. The parts guy looked through the jets, needle, floats, all that crap. What we settled on was a worn float needle, and lucky me, they had one in stock. I grabbed a new needle amongst a few other parts and hiked back to my campsite to get everything back together and go for a test run. So far, so good. On this test run I happened to notice a building under construction just up the road and took the opportunity to dig through their dumpster and stock up on firewood. I had fun flyin down the highway with such a load. Got a roaring fire going, dried out what I could and crashed relatively early that night, determined to get an early start in the morning.
Got up and got out early the next morning, heading north towards the Dalton Highway. The ride north was pretty fun. Lots of twisty roads winding up and into the wilderness. Good views and a glimpse of the pipeline off to the side every now and again. Before long, I passed the massively over-stickered sign to the beginning of the Dalton Highway. The dirt came quick and I flicked over my odo. With a stock tank and a not-so-jetted right carb, I really had to keep track of my fuel on this run. More so now than I ever had before. The road begins with a fairly entertaining ride. It reminded me of a dirt rollercoaster as the path followed the terrain rather than dominating it. At one point I pulled alongside several hunters and picked their brains a bit as far as the fueling situation. Content with the feedback, I continued on. To be honest, there isn't much to talk about. Imagine just a never ending, winding rutted road cutting through the forest with an occasional semi truck hauling by down the center lane. The terrain seemed to switch back and forth between compact dirt, loose gravel, and broken asphalt with no rhyme or reason. I continued on, crossing the Yukon River for my first gas stop and a caffeine fix, then hopping back in the seat to follow the pipeline north. Made a stop at the Arctic Circle for a few photo ops, which seemed a necessity. I made camp that night in Coldfoot, right along the Koyukuk river on the far side of the airfield. Had a mighty tasty rice and sausage dinner and spent the night scavenging driftwood and getting a solid bonfire going.