ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-05-2010, 12:07 AM   #1
Alcan Rider OP
Frozen Fossil
 
Alcan Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Just over the rear wheel
Oddometer: 3,840
Another Dalton Tale... With Photos

It had been over a month since my last trip up the Dalton Hwy/Haul Road, so it was time to go again. This one had a real purpose - to get photos for an upcoming article. Not for me, but for my riding partner, Dean. Having some idea where to find the various spots mentioned on the show Ice Road Truckers, I was invited to ride along. Thus it was that Dean and I pulled away from the dorms at UAF fairly early on the morning of Wednesday, June 30 with plans to stop at Hilltop Truckstop just north of Fairbanks for breakfast, then on to Wiseman for a night's rest before continuing on to Deadhorse. We were but two of about 20 or so riders staying in the dorms, with what seemed to be an equal mix of northbound and southbound riders parking their bikes out front.

Having misplaced an earlier photo of this frequently-appearing sign, it was necessary to stop once more, getting another to safely archive somewhere on one of my computers. Trouble is, every time I put something safely where it won't get lost, it seems to disappear.


As we sat eating at Hilltop, a young man came in and sat down at a nearby table. For some reason he looked familiar. It wasn't until I stepped outside and saw his loaded down bike -


that the realization hit me who the young man was. None other than DaBinChe, who was making an epic trip on this little SYM - a 100cc copy of an early Honda. He had already been to the Arctic Circle, having ridden it from San Jose, California to Alaska, and was on his return leg. It was a pleasure to meet this adventurous rider, and to wish him further safe travels. His RR is here: DaBinChe

Finishing our generous helpings of eggs, ham, and home fries, and having taken the two photos above, we headed for Milepost 0 of the Dalton under threatening clouds that occasionally leaked a few smatterings of rain. From about 3 miles distant, the first mile of the Haul Road can be seen climbing away from the end of pavement and the sign (almost totally obliterated by decals) announcing it.


One of the markers called out by truckers on the Haul Road is 25 Mile Corner, a fairly steep, fairly tight, curve above Hess Creek. This is a view from the bottom -


While there was a bit of watering and grading being done by the DOT crew, the road was in relatively good condition and we made good time to the Yukon River bridge -


With the weather now looking good, it was time to hang the camera around my neck and take some on-the-fly shots, a few of which were salvageable. This one is looking upriver from the bridge -


With farther north destinations in mind, we continued on to Hot Spot and pulled in there to get more photos of this highly-recommended grub stop, and to sample their wares.



The Boo-Boo Burger is reported to be colossal, which it should be for $15.95.

An assortment of signs are posted around the place, for the amusement of diners -


With plans to spend the night just up the road at Wiseman, and having arrived at Coldfoot just at supper time, we enjoyed a sumptuous buffet, with a delightful selection of desserts. Sorry, no photos - I was too busy eating. But after finishing the meal, I did grab the camera and wander back to the hallway where numerous captioned photos are displayed. Here are some samples -






Then it was on to our room at Boreal Lodging in Wiseman. But first, a shot toward Wiseman from the east side of the Koyukuk River -
__________________
"I am in the prime of senility." Ben Franklin
I'm so old I remember when the gallons rose faster than the dollars on gas pumps.
The Lure of the Dalton, The Lure of the Dempster, Haul Road Chronicles, My Evening Rides, Alaska Primer
Haul Road Primer

Alcan Rider screwed with this post 07-11-2010 at 09:05 AM Reason: To add link to DaBinChe's RR
Alcan Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 07:38 AM   #2
Alcan Rider OP
Frozen Fossil
 
Alcan Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Just over the rear wheel
Oddometer: 3,840
When we had checked into the lodge Wednesday night there were three bikes parked in front already. The next morning, shortly after we started packing around 4:30 AM, those riders came outside to do the same. By 5:00 AM it was a busy place, with 5 riders getting ready to head north -


Arriving at the beginning of the 2.8 mile side road leading back to Wiseman we had to wait for a northbound pilot car to lead us through the construction, so shot a few photos to kill time -






Twenty-two miles of the Dalton north of Coldfoot, from Mile 175 to Mile 197, are being widened and prepared for paving. Real pavement, not the so-labeled "high float" that much of the road farther north has received. This is expected to be finished in the summer of 2011.

Once free of the pilot car and construction, we were able to move along pretty steadily, as the road was in good shape. A few photos were taken at Sukukpak Mt, but with more favorable weather, better ones were shot on the way back so those are the ones I'll post. It didn't take long to get to the climb to Chandalar Shelf, and then to the bottom of the climb to Atigun Pass. This is the valley that leads to the northwest from the turn at the bottom -


A shot looking back down at the Haul Road from about 1/2 a mile up the climb -


The climb itself was easy, but when we stopped for photos mosquitoes bombarded us. Even on the side of the mountain, with excellent drainage, virtually no vegetation, and no standing water, they were thick. Never seen them so bad. Looking down at the shelf on the north side, with fewer of the pests to make stopping miserable -


Another stop, about halfway down the north side, with the Atigun valley and the road below barely visible through the fog -


Further along, with the sun starting to peek over the mountains bordering the broadening Atigun Valley, several photo opportunities presented themselves -


It was about here that our fellow travelers from Wiseman caught up and passed us as they rode steadily toward Deadhorse. But the lighting seemed good for this shot down the Atigun Gorge, where the river turns east to join the Sagavanirktok River, the "Sag" -


And then it became mile after mile of virtually the same thing as we passed Slope Mt -


After leaving the final stretch of pavement behind at Mile 362, we came to some major road maintenance. DOT is adding a thick layer of mixed dirt and gravel to the ball bearing gravel that has plagued riders for years along that stretch. While getting through the area is a pain, the results are worth it, as the last 20 miles in to Deadhorse were the best I have ever experienced up there.


At Deadhorse we rode to the Prudhoe Bay Hotel and got checked in. By sharing a room that had the men's restroom just down the hall, the price was just $110 per person, all you can eat included. A bargain in that remote location.

Next morning, as we were getting ready to make our departure, we found these two riders from Colombia in front, taking photos. So we took some too -


Answers the question "Can I take a Harley to Prudhoe Bay?", doesn't it. They had flown their bikes to Miami, rode down to Key West, then up to Deadhorse. From there, they were going to ride back down through Central America and back to home.
__________________
"I am in the prime of senility." Ben Franklin
I'm so old I remember when the gallons rose faster than the dollars on gas pumps.
The Lure of the Dalton, The Lure of the Dempster, Haul Road Chronicles, My Evening Rides, Alaska Primer
Haul Road Primer
Alcan Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 08:46 AM   #3
wheatwhacker
It's raining here
 
wheatwhacker's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2006
Location: Cork, Ireland
Oddometer: 2,865
Small world. I met the Columbians in Fort Nelson while I was on the way south. Did the lady rider make it also?
__________________
European bike sales and storage.
https://www.facebook.com/motofeirme
wheatwhacker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 10:30 AM   #4
BigChris
Seasick and Loving It
 
BigChris's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ontario,Canada
Oddometer: 254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcan Rider
-


-


And then it became mile after mile of virtually the same thing as we passed Slope Mt -

Beautiful pictures! Is that a UFO or a helicopter in the upper right of the last one?
__________________
"Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." A.Tennyson

"Oops, I did it again!" B.Spears
BigChris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 12:32 PM   #5
dave6253
Dauntless
 
dave6253's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2006
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Oddometer: 2,934
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigChris
Beautiful pictures! Is that a UFO or a helicopter in the upper right of the last one?
+1, and bird? Mosquito?
__________________
dave6253 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 12:51 PM   #6
Alcan Rider OP
Frozen Fossil
 
Alcan Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Just over the rear wheel
Oddometer: 3,840
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigChris
Beautiful pictures! Is that a UFO or a helicopter in the upper right of the last one?
One of our infamous Alaska mosquitoes, but just an infant - not quite capable of picking up my KLR and flying off with it.
__________________
"I am in the prime of senility." Ben Franklin
I'm so old I remember when the gallons rose faster than the dollars on gas pumps.
The Lure of the Dalton, The Lure of the Dempster, Haul Road Chronicles, My Evening Rides, Alaska Primer
Haul Road Primer
Alcan Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 01:17 PM   #7
Abenteuerfahrer
Deaf on Wheels
 
Abenteuerfahrer's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Leland, North Carolina, USA
Oddometer: 2,274
AlcanRider...

You take beautiful pictures and create wonderful write reports. It was you that I followed with all things Alaska last year when I and my wife traversed your State in a 1200GS and dual sport sidecar. We however had to cut things short and we're unable to challenge the Dempster and Dalton due to sidecar wheel problems. We are hoping to come back and make an assault of these 2 roads like you did. I am saving your file for next years hopeful excursion once again to the great White North. Thanks for keeping the inpiration alive...

What camera and lens are you using??? THanks

Abenteuerfahrer screwed with this post 07-05-2010 at 01:24 PM
Abenteuerfahrer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 01:17 PM   #8
Alcan Rider OP
Frozen Fossil
 
Alcan Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Just over the rear wheel
Oddometer: 3,840
Friday morning, July 2nd: With just 230 miles to ride down to Wiseman, Dean and I didn't rush to get out of Deadhorse Friday morning, finally leaving at 10:30 under a leaden sky with thin fog and a 45F breeze at our backs. Due to the fog, we found it necessary to constantly wipe water droplets from our faceshields. Along the way a small band of muskox was spotted near the Sag River and Dean shot a few photos with my camera and its longer telephoto -


About 40 miles south of Deadhorse we finally got to the edge of the fog and the sun began to warm the surrounding terrain, much to our delight. This occurred just in time to get some shots of the Franklin Bluffs across the river -


Did I mention that the mosquitoes were the worst I had ever seen up there? In an attempt to photograph some, it was only necessary to set the camera lens for close-ups and point it toward the sky -


Having few photos of Happy Valley, and none as viewed from the south, this was a good opportunity to stop and shoot one or two. Happy Valley is aptly named, at least for northbound riders, as this is where the last 28 miles of pavement begins when the destination is Prudhoe Bay -


About 1/4 of a mile from the bottom of Ice Cut a side road runs over to the Sag River, with a boat launch ramp there for Alyeska Pipeline workers to put a boat into the water if they need to lay containment boom if the pipeline should spring a leak upstream -


Farther south, as we neared the Atigun Valley, dark clouds ahead formed an accurate predictor of rain along our route. Sure enough, we hit a brief downpour, and the first mountain on our left had either fresh snow or thick hail on its slopes just 150 to 200 feet above the roadway.


Fortunately, we soon passed through that region. But while we were stopped to zip up all openings, the mosquitoes attacked in relentless squads, so another shot of their vast numbers was in order -


Thankfully, once over Atigun Pass and back in the Dietrich River Valley the sun was shining through a mostly sunny sky, drying the road surface so that we were able to maintain a respectable pace, despite frequent stops for more photos. This is looking south at the two prominent peaks on either side of the Bettles River - Wiehl Mt on the left, and Sukukpak on the right -


A few bends in the road and here we are below Sukukpak, with the sun hitting it just right for a photo -


After that, it was back in to Wiseman for another night's rest before the final push to Fairbanks and home. Since the 4th of July weekend had begun the construction crew was gone for the duration and we didn't need to wait for a pilot car.


Saturday morning, July 3rd: Another lazy morning, with just 260 miles for Dean, and 510 for me, so we took our time at breakfast (a delicious one, since we had stayed at the Arctic Getaway B&B this time), saying good-bye to our fellow travelers, and got on the road just before 9:00 AM with temperature up to 56 as the sun began to warm our surroundings. A few warning signs through the construction area -

...as if we hadn't already noticed.

As we passed Grayling Lake a moose was spotted over on the far side, browsing vegetation off the bottom of the shallow lake -


After a quick turn into the Arctic Circle wayside to see if there were any riders I might know, back out onto the highway and a stop to photograph Beaver Slide off in the distance -


A few miles later, another stop to photograph the seemingly abandoned buildings at Oldman, once the site of someone's dreams -




One final stop on the Haul Road, in the middle of 25 Mile Corner (I listened carefully for the sound of approaching vehicles before pulling out the camera) for a shot across Hess Creek showing the pipeline going underground, with the right-of-way above it clearly visible -


Fueling up at Hilltop, I was impressed with how sparkling clean this Peterbilt tractor was now, knowing how it would look by the time it returned from Deadhorse -


When I stopped at the Livengood pullout to reinflate my tires, Dean continued on to Fairbanks, needing to get his highway tires remounted in place of the TKC80's he had mounted for the Haul Road trip. Once in Fairbanks, it was a quick trip to the car wash where $6 worth of coins enabled getting the top layer of mud off before continuing south on the Richardson Hwy toward Glennallen and home. The 100+ miles of rain, with temperatures dropping to 46 in Isabel Pass, made getting back to somewhere warm and dry very appealing. But just before entering the rain zone, the urge to stop for a quick shot of the 5 mile-long stretch of level, straight pavement across Donnelly Flats was too much to resist -


After that, it was just onward and homeward to finish another Deadhorse ride at 10:00 PM that night. At least I made it home before dark.
__________________
"I am in the prime of senility." Ben Franklin
I'm so old I remember when the gallons rose faster than the dollars on gas pumps.
The Lure of the Dalton, The Lure of the Dempster, Haul Road Chronicles, My Evening Rides, Alaska Primer
Haul Road Primer

Alcan Rider screwed with this post 09-13-2010 at 07:11 PM Reason: Heck, I can't remember..., but it must have been important??
Alcan Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 01:24 PM   #9
Alcan Rider OP
Frozen Fossil
 
Alcan Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Just over the rear wheel
Oddometer: 3,840
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer
AlcanRider...

Thanks for keeping the inpiration alive...
And thank you for the kind words. It is rewarding to know that my pitiful efforts have not gone unnoticed. Hope your next trip up this way meets with total success. Ride safe.
__________________
"I am in the prime of senility." Ben Franklin
I'm so old I remember when the gallons rose faster than the dollars on gas pumps.
The Lure of the Dalton, The Lure of the Dempster, Haul Road Chronicles, My Evening Rides, Alaska Primer
Haul Road Primer
Alcan Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 03:18 PM   #10
Oisin
Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2008
Oddometer: 85
fantastic!!

well done!!
smashing pictures...
mind if I ask what camera you used?
Oisin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 03:44 PM   #11
Alcan Rider OP
Frozen Fossil
 
Alcan Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Just over the rear wheel
Oddometer: 3,840
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oisin
well done!!
smashing pictures...
mind if I ask what camera you used?
These photos were all taken with a Nikon Coolpix P90. It was a surprise Christmas present to myself last December , picked for the 24x optical zoom. Gives good wide angle, as well as telephoto shots. And this reminds me - I have a few more shots to download off the Sony H1 that I carried along as a spare.
__________________
"I am in the prime of senility." Ben Franklin
I'm so old I remember when the gallons rose faster than the dollars on gas pumps.
The Lure of the Dalton, The Lure of the Dempster, Haul Road Chronicles, My Evening Rides, Alaska Primer
Haul Road Primer
Alcan Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 06:28 PM   #12
GB
Mod Squad
 
GB's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto, ON
Oddometer: 55,243
Gorgeous ride, report and pics! Thanks for the detailed report and gorgeous pics
__________________
ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
GB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 07:59 PM   #13
D-Fuzz
Gnarly Adventurer
 
D-Fuzz's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Oddometer: 477
Alcan, I truly envy you for being able to ride that road as frequently as you do. We just finished it and it really is too much to try and absorb in one go. The highway and the scenary were completely different when traveling south-to-north versus north-to-south. I am also totally amazed at how the conditions of the Dalton change so quickly. Areas that were completely treacherous on the way up to Deadhorse were like a paved sppedway on the way back. On the way up, we rode Oil Spill Hill at about 10mph with our feet dragging on the ground just trying to keep the bikes upright. We blasted through the same area at 50mph on the way back.

Thanks for the photos and the descriptions of these places. It brings back lots of memories already.
__________________
Scott
D-Fuzz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 08:33 PM   #14
idea man
Plate Spinner
 
idea man's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: 101 and 246, CA
Oddometer: 2,513

Pretty good Jack. Pretty gosh-darned good.



Looks like you had some nice weather.


Thanks for sharing these
__________________
"You know sir, there is a fine line between Badass and Dumbass." Medical Records Lady
[*]'06 1150 GSA Thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=375824[*]'06 1150 GSA SE Registry: http://www.ericsyn.com/2006bmwr1150gsadv.html[*]Great Ride North, Alaska/Yukon '09 http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=494846[/LIST]
idea man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2010, 09:26 PM   #15
Alcan Rider OP
Frozen Fossil
 
Alcan Rider's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Just over the rear wheel
Oddometer: 3,840
Quote:
Originally Posted by idea man
Pretty good Jack. Pretty gosh-darned good.


Thanks for sharing these
And Thank You, Dana, for the compliments, sir. Yes, the weather wasn't bad. Of course I say that any time the snow isn't deep enough to stop me. But while it did get uncomfortably hot (for an old-time Alaskan) briefly, it never got terribly chilly either. Nor did we face a lot of rain along the Haul Road. Thankfully, that waited until I was nearer home, on pavement. But by the time I reached Glennallen I was thinking that Southern California might not be so bad after all. Thank goodness I came to my senses after a good night's sleep.
__________________
"I am in the prime of senility." Ben Franklin
I'm so old I remember when the gallons rose faster than the dollars on gas pumps.
The Lure of the Dalton, The Lure of the Dempster, Haul Road Chronicles, My Evening Rides, Alaska Primer
Haul Road Primer
Alcan Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 04:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014