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Old 07-19-2008, 10:33 AM   #1
ridingAK OP
On the Road Less Taken...
 
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Location: Spokane, WA
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Prudhoe Bay - The Slow Down Version

We just returned from a ride to Prudhoe Bay. I have read many reports from people who have made the trip, flying up and down the road in only a day or two. Since we live in Anchorage and had a week to play with, we decided to do the Prudhoe Bay run on easy setting.

The ride was epic! We've ridden a lot of roads throughout the United States, but this was the most amazing. Combining difficult road conditions, unbeatable views, and the intoxicating scent of flowers blooming at the roadside made this trip top notch.

We left our home at 8:30 Friday morning eager for the trip to start.



Our first stop was at Anchorage Satellite Phones where we had rented a sat phone as cheap insurance against an emergency somewhere on the road.



The people who run the place are very friendly and will bend over backward to make everything convenient for you. They use Iridium phones and are by far the least expensive place to rent from in Anchorage.



The weather wasn't the greatest leaving Anchorage, but then it has been pretty crummy all summer.



Even in bad weather it is pretty to look at though.



Can't miss the igloo!





Love these roads.





While I was on this bridge my abs light came on. ??? I pulled over to the side of the road and asked my husband what he thought. He said to turn off the bike and restart it. I pushed the start and ... nothing. We figured out pretty quickly that my new auxiliary lights had drained my battery, and that was why my abs light had activated. OOOPS. So we unpacked the bikes to get to the batteries and our jumper cables.



After 30 minutes of charging my battery still wouldn't accept enough charge to start the bike.



So I sat on the side of the road for the next couple hours while my husband rode into Fairbanks to locate a new battery. It wasn't a big deal, but I was annoyed when a state trooper drove by and didn't bother to stop.

Once my husband got back we were able to change batteries in my bike quickly and got back on the road to Fairbanks. No more aux lights for me!
We camped at the River's Edge RV Resort, and ate at their restaurant.







We never saw the guy with bike who camped next to us. We wanted to talk and find out his story, but oh well. We also saw two Veestroms in the camp. Both had damage to their right sides, one had no windshield and the other had a broken windshield. They obviously would have had a story to tell as well, but they must have turned in early.

The next morning a guy driving the haul road in a cage with his girlfriend stopped by to talk and ask questions about the bikes. He was nice enough to take a picture of us just before we headed out for the day.



Just outside of Fairbanks we stopped at an information center about the Alyeska pipeline.







This thing was across the street. I'm not sure what it was.



The Steese Highway foreshadows the beauty to come.



The start of the Dalton Highway!



to be continued...
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridingAK

This thing was across the street. I'm not sure what it was.


Keep it coming!

That dome belongs to one of the guys from the Alaskan Alpine Club

http://www.alaskanalpineclub.org/

Check out the Ice Tower pages on their web site, that location is where they setup the water pipes to build up massive ice structures in the wintertime for ice climbing. Very cool.
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Old 07-19-2008, 11:00 AM   #3
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Nice start!! You should be able to get a boost from your husband's battery and the bike should start right up if you have booster cables.

I'm sending you a PM regarding another matter.

Thanks for the intro, looking forward to your epic journey
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:55 PM   #4
ridingAK OP
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Rather than doing a lot of writing about the Dalton I will mostly just show the pictures and let them speak for themselves.

These signs set the tone.




It is very beautiful.







This grass grows everywhere...


One of our first stops to just look around us.


High viz jackets may not be 'cool' but they certainly increase your visibility.



Not long after starting the road we got caught behind the water/calcium chloride truck.



We learned quickly that asphalt on this road is not necessarily your friend. Not only are there a lot of frost heaves and broken patches, but the transitions between gravel and pavement are extreme and not always visible. That's our excuse for both of us hitting a transition at about 50 mph that caused us both to take quite a bump. My forks bottomed out and caused problems for us for the rest of the trip.

Approaching the Yukon River Crossing.


Yukon River Bridge


Bridge and river from the information center


We had been going to eat at Yukon River, but then found out we were only about 15 miles from the Hot Spot. I've seen it written up here before, but it is even better than we expected.









And the burgers are the BEST!


and as big as my face!




Our bikes out front. About this time my husband noticed that both my fork seals were leaking, not badly, but definitely leaking.


Also had a few things jarred loose by the rough road that we were able to quickly put right.



After lunch we went back to enjoying the road, and a side excursion or two...


In 2004 and 2005 this area was hit by huge forest fires, among the worst and biggest in state history. The Boreal forest was turned to char. Fireweed is one of the first plants to re-inhabit burned areas, so we passed by miles of gorgeous pink flowers covering entire mountain sides.









I'll admit I'm short, but to put it into perspective, some of the fireweed is chest high!



I don't know what this plant is, but the flowers smell like a mix of jasmine and chai tea. Unbelievably beautiful, it puts Chanel #5 to shame.



The temperature had worked its way into the mid to upper 70's, so riding was an absolute pleasure.

The area around finger mountain was breezy and warm.







As I was riding along I knew we were getting close to the Arctic Circle but I was expecting something more than the simple sign with an arrow that directs you to the pullout. I went right past and had to turn around and come back.







Someone from ADV has been here! The back of the sign is covered in graffiti. I had to add one for TwoWheelFemales, also.





We passed a reminder of what happens if you lose your focus on the road...


My husband loved the name...


and had to mark his spot. Boys will be boys.


I was just having fun taking pictures.




Shortly thereafter we hit nice asphalt that took us almost all the way to Coldfoot.





We filled out tanks in Coldfoot, and stopped at the visitor center.


We were glad we had decided not to stay in Coldfoot, however, it is a dirty, scummy looking place and we knew the hotel rooms were two twin beds in a closet. Yuck!

to be continued...
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:00 PM   #5
sweptwingnut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Nice start!! You should be able to get a boost from your husband's battery and the bike should start right up if you have booster cables.

I'm sending you a PM regarding another matter.

Thanks for the intro, looking forward to your epic journey

That is what I thought. Voltmeter reading was 10.4 volts. The max I could get the battery to show after 30 minutes was 11.3.
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Old 07-19-2008, 02:46 PM   #6
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Awesome pics!! - great report
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:47 PM   #7
ridingAK OP
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Instead of stopping in Coldfoot we went on to Wiseman.



We stayed at the Arctic Getaway Bed & Breakfast.



Instead of a closet, for the same price we got a cabin to ourselves, a kitchen, real beds with down comforters, and a yummy sourdough pancake breakfast!





There were a lot of mosquitos, and cottonwood trees,



but our attention was more focussed on my bike that now had fork oil running down almost to the brake. My husband cut strips of microfiber cloth, and between the microfiber and several zip ties, fashioned a fix that at least stopped the oil from getting on the brake and flying back and covering my leg.





At that point we weren't sure whether we'd make it to Deadhorse and back, but we were determined to go on if we could.

After pulling the curtains in the cabin to block the midnight sun, we slept hard.

Breakfast was too good to wait and take pictures of, but we did get a few of the inside of the owner's cabin. We lingered for a while visiting with the other guests and the owners and their kids. The food was great and the coffee was the perfect start to the day.





Finally we pulled back onto the road. Other than a lynx crossing the road in front of me right after the start of the Dalton Highway we hadn't seen any animals. This morning started with a moose crossing in front of me, so we hoped for better luck today.

Again the views were stunning.





The road seems to go on forever,


with great views in front and behind.




Finally the road started up toward Atigun Pass.







Looking back down Atigun Pass to the South about half way to the top


My husband made it to the top!




Looking down the North side of the Brooks Range






What makes you think I'm having fun?








The road would alternate between dry gravel and mud. None of it was difficult riding with the TKC 80's. I think it would be a bit more of a challenge with street tires.



As we got further North the land got flatter and flatter.




The truckers seem to be as polite to you as you are to them...pull over to one side and slow down and they'll do the same.





Uh...




Every once in a while there would be something to remind you where you were.


These lakes are the most intense blue you'll ever see.


My bike was begging to have its picture taken...


150 miles from anywhere...


The sky is huge


Didn't look too soft to me!


About 40 miles from Deadhorse. It was 83 degrees!


The last few miles went on and on. We both made it 250 miles from Coldfoot to Deadhorse on one tank of gas. My F650 got better than 70 mpg. I was putting along at about 40, but still it felt good to know we didn't need the extra fuel we'd brought.

We ate dinner and spent the night at Deadhorse camp.




During the winter when everything is frozen they drag these trailers onto the tundra so they have sleeping quarters near the work sites. These are the runners attached to the trailer we slept in.



Some of the equipment sharing the parking lot...








The wind was blowing and caribou were feeding under the pipeline as we shut the door to our trailer for the night.

to be continued...
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:04 PM   #8
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Magnificent adventure and report.
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Old 07-19-2008, 04:51 PM   #9
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Awesome pictures

What a great ride! You guys look to be having so much fun. Thanks for taking me along. Arent the smells in the air up there great! I think its the best smelling place I have ever been. Keep it coming!
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Old 07-19-2008, 05:22 PM   #10
m0x
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great shots, and for some reason i can't take the burger out of my head.
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Old 07-19-2008, 05:41 PM   #11
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Excellent pictures!
You two did the smart thing and took your time to enjoy the ride!
I too remember thinking about the mailbox in the middle of nowhere:

Standing by for more.
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Old 07-19-2008, 05:50 PM   #12
sandiegoland
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Originally Posted by ridingAK



Great photos. Thanks for sharing those big smiles!!
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Old 07-19-2008, 06:24 PM   #13
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So you guys are pretty much the ideal married couple for many of us here on ADVrider. Perhaps I only speak for myself, but how beautiful it must have been to partake in such an adventure, and do it together!

Good 'on ya both!

(keep up the stunning photos please)
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Old 07-19-2008, 09:00 PM   #14
Katoom119
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Looks like you two are having a great time.

Question: who makes panniers that big?! I could pack for a month with those.
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Old 07-19-2008, 09:15 PM   #15
GalacticGS
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Outstanding report!

Thanks for sharing your adventure! You have some excellent pics...
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