A soft breeze scatters the sun’s light across the deck. My boots are laying beside, and I’m standing bare feet and watch as white mountain peaks fly by in slow motion while the ferry moves through the fjord. It is warm and nice lie it hasn’t been since a long time. It is summer. But my mind is racing back to some colder days. Just a few days and 1000 miles back, when we were “North of Fairbanks”.
So the question was, how far should we go on Dalton Highway. Should we go at all? We decide we will not go to Deadhorse, but if the weather is good, we should go, at least for a while. We weak up and see that the weather is good. This means it is not raining. It is still heavy overcast and is cold. But hey, it is not raining. So we are good to go.
And after a few minutes, things change. To worse. It rains now. But hey, at least we have tarmac in very good condition!
We climb in white clouds and again we change the conditions to… damage road.
With all this changes, we almost totally missed a very important milestone. Gunnar past his 30000 kilometers mark. Uhuuuu celebration!
The scenery remains gloomy, which of course has it’s own appeal.
And then again we “downshift” again to off-road. Well in fact to “off-tarmac” and on wet dirt road.
We lose the tarmac but we find a traveling buddy. In fact the one and only reason this road exists, the pipeline is carrying crude oil from the far North to the town of Valdez, down in the South.
We realize that in Livengood there are no services so no gas for us. So we decide to press on to Yukon River crossing as I remember from advrider.com that there is a gas station there.
In from of us we have this:
And behind us pretty much the same:
Wild, gloomy and endless. Here is a perfect place to feel alone. And you would be wrong. We are not alone!
At least they were speeding on their side of the road. But these guys on the other hand, were coming “full spead ahead” (hehe) on our side of the road. Now that was a sight, seeing me trying to scramble on the opposite lane…
But we find compassion from other 2-wheels travelers
We advance slowly and cautiously. We keep looking ahead expecting to see the big water. Well, we do see water but in a different form. It was not Yukon.
After what seemed like an eternity, we reach the mighty Yukon. Wow, what a sight! The river is truly magnific!
We have fun on the inclined bridge and we fuel up with some very expensive gas. It was almost the same price as in Europe. Sigh!
We have lunch there and think what to do next. Wise would be to return. But also wise would be not to ride again in the rain. And from where we just came, everything was dark and gloomy. Further North though, things were looking better. And the Arctic Circle is only 60 miles away. Let do it!
The decision seems to be a good one. After a while moving North we even see a small wonder!
Like any wonder, it doesn’t last long, but the sky remains OK. We finally reach the Arctic Circle. We are happy like little kids in Christmas Eve.
Yes, I know that I’ve been to the Arctic Circle last year. And even much more to the North. But somehow it doesn’t feel the same. Last year it was tarmac all the way, during a very nice day, and when I got there, I found Santa’s home, Post Office, Souvenir Shops and tons of tourists. Here there is just a sign in the wild, no Santa, no shops, no nothing. Good! It is very good like this.
We take out our national costumes and the flag. They deserve a picture here!
On our return trip, we remember each one of the 180 miles back to Fairbanks.
The most anticipated point from the return trip was the beginning of tarmac.
From now I knew that the most difficult motorcycle ride I ever had so far was going to end OK. From now on, I knew that we will reach home safely.
The alarm sounds sharply and the captain informs us that we are minutes away from our destination. We can already see the big cruise-ships docked in the port. It is time to put my boots back on and go to the car deck where Gunnar awaits. It is time for another ride. But this story will follow in another day.
Next time we pass near the tallest mountain in North America and find out if we have the chance to see it’s peak.
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