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Old 10-07-2013, 08:34 PM   #31
Mcgee
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Nice ride, pic’s and information. I worked on the pipeline in the 70’s and this brings back memories. This ride is on my bucket list. Thank you.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:20 AM   #32
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Nice story and pics Isaac.

I have never seen photos of the pipeline but find it fascinating as well. Back when it was being built my father was a sales rep for Boise Cascade office products in Seattle and Alyeska Pipeline and Alaska Airlines were two of his customers. They bought a LOT of stuff!

For a lot of industry in Alaska, including the fisheries - crabbing, fishing, and canning operations, everything is shipped up from Seattle. Lake Union is a hotbed of industry, boats, and equipment for supporting work and doing work in Alaska.

I was born and raised in the NW, there 35 years and never got to go to Alaska. How sad is that? A lot of kids in school would get jobs on fishing and crabbing boats in Alaska for the summer. They would come back with as much money as a school teacher made in a year. It was pretty amazing, but certainly hard work, dangerous as well.

A lot of people in the area went up there to work on the pipeline. I remember them saying at least one worker had a flask in his pocket, took it out for a swig one night, and the frozen alcohol in the sub-zero temps would freeze their throat shut, killing them instantly.
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:53 PM   #33
txplants
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Along for the ride...

...and enjoying your report!
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:45 PM   #34
RedRockRider
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Excellent report. Great to be riding with your dad!
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:27 PM   #35
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Love the trip so far!! Someday I'd love to ride the Dalton
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Old 10-10-2013, 01:03 AM   #36
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Very good RR!
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:29 AM   #37
Mustang87
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Great RR. Looking forward to the next installment.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:11 PM   #38
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Great report.
Seeing the "radiators" on the pipeline supports brings back a lot of memories.
I helped build many of them that went up to Prudoe Bay to go under buildings. They technically are called Cryo-anchors.
They can be up to 50' long and have a stainless steal mesh inside and are partly filled with liquid ammonia.
The ones on the pipeline were built by McDonnell Douglas.
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Old 10-12-2013, 10:52 PM   #39
rootsy
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Great report and family adventure. The memories will be precious and treasured. Thanks for taking us along!
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:56 PM   #40
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Thanks for all the comments.

Very cool to hear some of you who worked on the pipeline construction, that must have been an interesting experience working on that project.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:19 PM   #41
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Day 11, July 7, 245 miles, Cold Foot Camp AK to Deadhorse AK

The one thing you will notice about being this far up north is that there is very little communication to the rest of the world. No cell phone service (for voice calls, texts, or data). No wifi. Very poor TV, which rounds up to no TV. So what do you do in the evening once you have eaten dinner and prepped the bike? Well you can try to enjoy a drink and chat with other riders, but this usually means losing a pint of blood to the local mosquitoes. So you can do what we did, and be in bed sleeping by 9pm. This does mean you can pretty easily have kickstands up and be rolling on the road by 6:15am while feeling rested, which is what we did. Since we are north of the Arctic Circle, the sun was already up and it felt more like 9am.

Loading up in the morning, we managed to hit the road much earlier than Josh.


Leaving Cold Foot Camp, here is your fuel warning.


The stretch of paved road just north of Cold Foot Camp. Some nice curves and views here. The air looks murky, like a storm is coming in, but it is actually just from the local forest fires. A lot of the smoke gets held in to the south of the Brooks Range, which we would not cross for another few hours.


First construction stop of the day. We caught up to Ollie (the Brit on the 660 Tenere) and Martin (the Aussie on the 1200GS). This was also an omen of the mosquitoes to come. From left to right, the bikes of my Dad, myself, Ollie, and Martin. On these Alaskan construction stops, almost all flaggers/sign holders will tell the motorcyclists to come to the front of the line. Take this advantage. You don’t want to be stuck behind a line of trucks/cars in the dust cloud. You want the clean air and increased view of the road ahead. This rule doesn’t always apply in BC/YT, but it did seem to apply everywhere in Alaska, so remember that.


Riding chase, following the pilot truck.


Josh caught up! Here he is, passing my Dad and I.


My Dad, approaching the Brooks Range and Atigun Pass. I did not research this fact fully, but supposedly the Brooks Range is one of the only mountain ranges in the world that runs east/west.


Part way up Atigun Pass, we pull off for a view. This is looking south.


Here is where we pulled over. Here is also where we were attached by a mob of mosquitoes that materialized within 2 seconds of stopping.


Heading down the other side of Atigun (the north side).


Atigun ends and we are back on the valley floor.


Here is a little video of coming down Atigun. Nothing to exciting here.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/isaac_eos/9739940151/



We saw some cyclists heading south. These guys have to be mindful of bears, as they cannot outrun them. Our B&B hosts told us a story of some cyclists that had to stop because they could see a polar bear in the distance blocking the road ahead. There was no way they could ride ahead and get around this bear that was probably waiting for them. A trucker stopped and carried them and their bikes past the polar bear to safety.


Riding shot of my Dad.


Somewhere around here, I saw an Arctic Fox run across the road from a distance.

Next construction stop. Once you hit the North Slope, the trees may disappear but the mosquitoes just get bigger and nastier. Here we have the whole crew again, having caught up with Ollie, Martin, and Josh.


Have you ever tried to photograph a flying mosquito? It should take many tries to do this. Here, you will see I didn’t have to try at all. It would be impossible to get a photograph without getting mosquitos. These damn things look like a swarm of birds in the distance, but it’s just the swam of mosquitoes in an arms reach.


I look over at one point to see Ollie running/jumping sideways with a big stream of pee going everywhere. This was a mandatory pee dance, to ensure your goods are not providing a free meal to the mosquitoes. Yes, they will attach any exposed skin that fast. All you can do while stopped on the bike is leave all your gear zipped up, including your collar. Close your face shield, and scrunch your shoulders up to hide your neck. This will keep them out.

I think it was this stop that Josh tried to transfer his gas from his spare can into the bikes tank, to make the 245 mile gap. I can’t imagine trying to pour steady for that long while your hands and face are being eaten alive. We opted to wait before transferring gas. My worst fear out here was having to change a flat tire while being carried away by mosquitos.

Here is little video to give you a better idea of the experience. This mosquito video is worth watching. I can’t figure out how to embed it, so just click the link.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/isaac_eos/9742129974/

On the move again, following the pilot truck.


Josh, behind from transferring his gas, passing us again.


Look at these blood suckers. Glad the temps were cool enough where having all the gear on was still comfortable.


I wonder what happened here.


We noticed the winds off the coast picking up as we crested the tops of hills. This was a good sign. After finding a wide pull off area (very important with the trucks running their loads up at high speed) at the top of the hill, we had a good 20-30 mph breeze which ensured no mosquitoes could bother us. And not one did bother us here due to the nice winds. A great spot to transfer the gas over and have a quick bite to eat. Here we have 70 miles to go before Deadhorse. It is worth snacking so you can make it from Cold Food to Deadhorse without having to stop to each your packed lunch.


One of the pump stations, used to keep the oil flowing south through the pipe line.


Looks smooth, but also slightly slippery since it was just sprayed with water to keep the dust down. It was bit unnerving with the cross winds. It was also a bit wash boarded. If you go fast enough to smoothen out the bumps, the cross winds are more apt to push you/slide you sideways.




As we approach Deadhorse, the oil equipment becomes apparent.


We rode straight to our “hotel”, the Prudhoe Bay Hotel, to check in and get one of the victory shots. A young engineering student who was working for CH2M offered to take our photo. We chatted for a minute, he was a mechanical engineering student from Homer, who works the fields in the summer for money and experience.



Next stop was finding the general store, to get a shot with this famous sign.


A few days ago we booked a Arctic Ocean tour, scheduled for the next morning since we did not know how early we would get into Deadhorse. The last 1-2 miles of road to the shoreline of the Arctic Ocean is private, owned and maintained by the oil companies (BP). You must schedule at least 24 hours in advance, using their website (http://a1rez.com/aos/), and provide your passport #. Since we arrived so early, we called and asked if we could be bumped ahead to the afternoon. Luckily we asked early enough, and they said yes! This would let us get an earlier start the next day. They only run 2 tours per day. A bit touristy, but we came this far and had some time, so might as well see the ocean up close.

We were shown a few sites on the bus ride to the ocean. No trees exist this far north, so Halliburton provide one.


Some stories were told. Deadhorse is a dry town/camp. This rule applies to the tourists too, you are not supposed to bring or consume alcohol. Not even a drop of beer is for sale in any of the hotels. Also, there have been 2 polar bear attacks/deaths here, both with oil field workers.

Here is Pump House #1 on the pipe line, where the oil first enters the pipe line.


I had to get my feet wet in the ocean, so here I am. Cold? Yes, a bit. At first it does not feel too bad. But as you wait 10-20 seconds for someone to take a few photos, it starts feeling very cold. I would say the air temp was in the mid to high 40’s, and very windy.


My dad was very proud of his wimpy-ness and reluctance to get his feet wet, but we still took a shot together on the “beach”.


Panoramic beach view.


Ollie said when he first started his ride last year in at the southern tip of South America, he got a video of himself running into the ocean. He had to do the same up here to properly close off the trip. So here he is running into the water, and sun bathing afterwards to dry off.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/isaac_eos/9739955599/


I was not planning on running in, but Ollie convinced me it would be a good idea. The line that got me? When I am an old man sitting in a chair, I will wish I had done this. Yep, I probably will. So in I ran. And here I am drying off! My Dad told Ollie he is a bad influence, haha!


We boarded the bus again, and grabbed a few more photos. These are the pipes feeding oil from the drilling sites to the pump house.


There are only two gas stations in Deadhorse. Both sell only 87 or diesel. Both are not cheap…you may be right on top of the source, but you are far away from the refinery. This is gas from Nana Corp, around the corner from the Prudhoe Bay Hotel. You go inside to operate the credit card machine, to be protected from the frigid winters. The other gas station is Tesoro.


Back to the hotel for clean up and dinner. Some shots to show current bike conditions.




Chain time. Lots of lube is good, to wash off the dirt and crud. My dad uses “real” chain lube, I still swear by WD40.


The “hotels” may be very basic, but at least at our hotel you eat well. A big buffet dinner was served. All included in the hotel price, you get all meals for free including snacks between normal meal times. This also means you can grab to go food for the road (i.e. a brown bag lunch). At dinner we sat down and ate with a few other riders:
-Peter, riding a 990 solo from Vancouver
-Stephen, on a F650GS rental, from Huntington Beach CA
-George, on a 1200GS, from Huntington Beach as well and riding with Stephen

GPS tracks for the day:


And some good into read in on…..
The Dalton Highway really is a cool story, both from the view of how quickly it was built and how it was not open to 100% public access until 1994. Read the two links for more info and a nice map.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalton_Highway
http://wikitravel.org/en/Dalton_Highway
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:29 AM   #42
nunoajc
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Really enjoy this trip. Never had a change to do a trip with my father, but i have ride many kilometers with him on is Honda cbx (the 6 cilinder in line engine) when i was a boy.
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:43 AM   #43
FLARider1
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Great RR Isaac..............making me want to go back again really bad!!!! Glad to see you had good weather going up the Dalton and I hope to keep reading that you had it going back down. That road is a bear in the rain!!

I am sure you will keep riding so here is a suggestion for the mosquitos.......I can't take credit for the idea, got it from Walter Colebatch of the Sibersky Extreme RRs.
http://www.rei.com/product/799982/se...-insect-shield

This is big enough to go over the visor on my ARAI helmet. You can ride with it on and lets you get plenty of fresh air when you stop and just wanna clear out the helmet.

Anxiously awaiting the next installment!!!
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:03 AM   #44
pwducati
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Hi Isaac:

It is fun to read your ride report and re-live the ride!!
It was a great ride!!
I am glad you are doing the Ride Report.

Dad
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:26 PM   #45
isaac004 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLARider1 View Post
Great RR Isaac..............making me want to go back again really bad!!!! Glad to see you had good weather going up the Dalton and I hope to keep reading that you had it going back down. That road is a bear in the rain!!

I am sure you will keep riding so here is a suggestion for the mosquitos.......I can't take credit for the idea, got it from Walter Colebatch of the Sibersky Extreme RRs.
http://www.rei.com/product/799982/se...-insect-shield

This is big enough to go over the visor on my ARAI helmet. You can ride with it on and lets you get plenty of fresh air when you stop and just wanna clear out the helmet.

Anxiously awaiting the next installment!!!
Good idea, since they fit over the helmet. We had a different version with a built in full rim hat, good only for while off the bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pwducati View Post
Hi Isaac:

It is fun to read your ride report and re-live the ride!!
It was a great ride!!
I am glad you are doing the Ride Report.

Dad
As always, it was a great ride!
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