Good news for you ride report fans, we took the 'smell the roses' approach up and down the Dalton, which meant overnight stays at Coldfoot in each direction. No up-and-back 500 mile days for us, we preferred to dawdle and be eaten by carnivorous mosquitos along the side of the road while we paused for photos and breaks. We timed our trip to perfectly align with the skeeter mating season so we could join their block party.
"Hey, bartender! Bloody Mary, O-positive. " -- A Bug's Life
And they loved my O-positive blood. Two thumbs up for the bug hat net from Outdoors Research. No issues, of course, while bike was in motion, the fun would start about 20 seconds after a stop, and the swarm would descend.
Back to more practical matters: the ride experience on the Dalton has direct relationship with the weather. During our four days up and back, the weather pattern was typically sunny mornings with afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains. Conditions were manageable, and we kept it slow in the slick wet stuff, of which there was plenty.
Here's a quick 3 minute video showing highlights on the way up...
And among all the videos I created along the trip, this one was probably my second most favorite, as I was able to share footage with James and show off different perspectives. My own self top rated comes with the southbound journey, which you'll see in a couple of posts ahead.
Smooth riding on the hardened calcium chloride roadtop
Great burgers at Hot Spot
Rest stop on the Dalton
Finger Mountain rest stop
Craig at the Arctic Circle
Brady at the Arctic Circle
Alaska pipeline beside the Dalton
Marion Creek campground outside Coldfoot
A few roadie insights along the way up...
- My 1200GS needed an extra 1.5 gallons to make the 250-ish miles between Coldfoot and Deadhorse. Brady made it on a single tank on his F650.
- Road conditions during the construction segments tended to have the worst surfaces...slippery, deep muddy gunk or gravel, and typically surrounded by trunks bigger than us.
- My GPS mount rattled off just past Atigun Pass, as the bikes were bouncing off large gravel stones and giving everyone a good vibration shake down. This was the beginning of the end for the GPS on this trip.
- Coldfoot has an awesome all-you-can-eat buffet, as well as bar. It's also the last stop for any alcohol going north, as it's not allowed at all in Deadhorse. Handy to know if the skies are wet and you're not looking forward to camping & eating in the rain.
- After hearing so many horror stories about road conditions and hearing various injury reports, we were surprised to see spanking new blacktop pavement around the Coldfoot area, it's like an oasis for the tires, and soon disappears without rhyme or reason