|09-20-2012, 10:30 PM||#11|
Joined: Jul 2008
A Day Ride on the Dalton (Pt 3)
My heart sank when I heard the sputter, I was still 70 miles out (112k) and guessed I had 40 in reserve (64k).
This was not good considering my horrid gas mileage up to this point.
I thought ooooohhhhh shit, what did I get myself into.
Needless to say, my moving average was no longer a concern.
There were a few little hills, oil slick hill or some other equally un-imaginative name, I would speed up at the top then kill the engine and coast for as long as I could, almost wanting to push a little with my feet.
All I had was a hope and a prayer, and a windshield washer container full of gas, but I still wasn't out of the woods yet.
I didn't feel like pulling over right away, I just wanted to get to the gas station.
Get to the gas station and keep from freezing my fingers off.
Every moment I felt it get colder as I descended to the northern most point, feeling the bony grip of the Arctic air closing in around me.
I ran into some more construction and had to wait 20 minutes or so for the pilot car to come back and get us, it was a nice chance to get a few cheap passes.
I sat there and chatted with the guy with the stop sign, and asked him if he thought it was possible to make it there and back in a day. He said he thought it would be possible, said he heard of people driving from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back at least. I took the chance to empty the gas into the tank and calculated that I should have about 10 miles to spare, if I didn't rail it. He bid me good luck and God's speed, and I took off at a torturous pace after the pilot car.
I knew I should make it, but I still had the feeling I may have gotten in over my head a little. Especially considering I wasn't yet half way. The "smarter" half kept saying; "see, see, you should have listened, look what you got yourself into now."
I just had to tell the chatterbox to shove it, and rolled on the throttle, while trying to keep feeling in my finger tips.
It is not that easy to throttle with our left hand.
Finally, I started to see something in the distance. Could it be??? Am I really almost there I thought.
By this time there were a few trucks on the road and I decided that passing a bunch on the way in to town might piss some of them off, so I rolled in looking for a big red Conoco sign or something, maybe a convenience store and a coffee?
I thought I was going to run out just driving around looking for the gas. I finally pulled off and went up to some big building with a garage door and a couple workers and asked them to point me in the right direction.
Finally, the sacred nectar was found.
Once the most important task was completed, and I figured out how to use the vending machine gas pump, I decided I might as well check out the downtown scene a little.
Now, I heard that there was some sign of a deceased horse that you are supposed to take a picture of, but I didn't bother trying to find it.
I also heard that you are not supposed to actually see "Prudhoe Bay" from the end of the road either. But if that is the case, I am not sure what you are supposed to call this:
At any rate, maybe I should have stripped down to my boxers and jumped in, but I didn't want to do 500 miles with wet and frozen drawers, and the Halliburton tour was not something I was worried about missing.
So, after a quick jaunt around the destination I dove back into the journey, but only had seven miles until my baby turned 20 at the age of three.
And finally I actually pulled over for a picture.
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