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Archive for August 1st, 2009

Day 236 – 1st August 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on August 1, 2009

Saturday – Coldfoot, Alaska

Prudhoe Bay or bust, well as I am here writing about it, I obviously made it there and back 🙂

Well, it was a coolish start to the day and an early one as well, we were wired up and on the road by 7am. The funny thing was it reminded me of home a bit, riding north into the sun, strange place this Arctic Circle!

It was quite cold, so I am glad I had heated gear, the socks were in Anchorage so I made do with a second pair of normal ones 🙂 We had 240 miles to travel and we worked out we could do that within 6 hours there, a few hours turn around then 6 hours back, probably getting back to camp around 7pm or so, or so we believed at the time. The road was great and fast as well, it was fun 🙂 There won’t be much narrative today, mostly pictures. It is all about the ride and the goal.

There were a few of these large loads on the road, most of them were quite considerate and slowed down when they saw oncoming traffic. 🙂

Just up the road from here was some information about the Tundra area, interesting stuff 🙂

As you can see I was rugged up to the max, it was still cold and it got colder the further north we went, but it was worth it just to be able to be here!

There some nice hill climbs as well, so it was never boring 🙂

We had thought we had left the smoke haze behind, but we found it again, yuck!

It is weird how the pipeline and the road runs, here they seem to cross at right angles, yet they go to the same place 🙂

On we went and soon we found the road looked to be a bit damp, it must be road works around and a water truck, the bane of a bike rider! And sure enough, not far up the road we had to follow a pilot car.

We were making good time despite the stoppages and we had revised our arrival time to around 11.30am rather than 12.30pm as originally thought. The road was excellent, still a bit loose occasionally, but having lower tyre pressures made the ride easier. The weather was good, a bit overcast but no rain, the wind was behind us as you can see from my flag in many of the photos, so all in all a great outcome as we eventually found some nice rock formations about 20 mile short of Deadhorse.

Another sloppy bit of road which only made the heart beat faster 🙂

And finally after 4 1/2 hours riding we arrived in Deadhorse, there were a lot of snow machines around and my first view of a Caribou, they have a massive rack of horns, they look deadly too 🙂

The first thing to do was to fuel up, I had used the extra 4lt I brought with me about 100mile back, the fuel was not that expensive really, better than I expected around the $4/G.

Then we went to look for food, the first place was a buffet only for $20, but we did not want a large meal, they said come back after 1pm for soup and sandwiches, that sounded OK. But, we went for a look at the next place just up the road, this also only had an expensive full on buffet menu, a captive audience I guess and the wages up here are high.

While at the Arctic Inn I spoke with the security fella, he is heading to Oz for a trip in a short while so I gave him some pointers. He ended up taking us to where we wanted to get some photos, down near the general store. All the buildings look alike, blocky and built for cold, not much signage on the exterior to identify what is there.

Now, Simon was at the end of his journey, he started in the south and has already been to Tierra del Fuego, so for him well done. I am apparently only at the start of my journey, phew another 17,000km as the crow flies if he had the energy, but it will take me another 40,000+km I think to get there!

So, after buying some stickers and a Tshirt, and a certificate which I hope was sent back home, it was back to the Hotel for a very nice soup lunch and a ham sanger 🙂

This is the Garmin GPS, the black bit at the top of the screen is ocean, as you can see we are a few miles short and no chance of getting there, but there was a lake nearby where I could have gotten wet if I so desired, I did not so desire thank you 🙂

So, after 2 hours at Deadhorse, time to head back, being the US the sign is in miles but make that just a tad over 400km to go. If you are interested in how Deadhorse got its name, you can read a PDF article here,I have a hard copy of it, but I am not writing it all here.

An hour back down the road is one of the pump stations, there are a stack of these between Prudhoe Bay and Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska.

There was some more interesting stuff on how river ice forms, so now I know 🙂

We had a bit of fun on the way back, the weather was clearing and there should be nothing out there to surprise us.

Ooops, I spoke to soon by the looks, a fresh water truck has been through here!

A big load, these trucks have pusher trucks that sit behind them and add power to get them up the hills.

Check out all the dings in the guard rail a few bumps and bruises what!

So we continued on and I have no idea how this happened but the tail wind continues to be happening yet we are going the opposite way, strange things happen up here in tundraland!

We had some better views going back and this made up for the all the potholes in the paved sections, I recall passing some cars and hitting the same pot holes that I hit on the way up 🙂

Up ahead of us was Atigun Pass, there was even an icefield still showing, not a proper glacier I think.

It got a tad cooler up here but I was prepared and had switched the heaters on 🙂

Now we started to get back amongst the trees again, I had planned on stopping at the Arctic Circle again to get a better picture, but as I was amongst traffic and dust I missed the turnoff and did not realise until later when Simon came up behind me, never mind.

And then finally we arrived back in Coldfoot just prior to 7pm, a great day, an excellent result and a great ride all around. Straight to the bar, for a beer for me, well a couple and a feed for Simon.

In the end I did not want a soup dinner nor a big feed like the buffet, but I managed to buy some chicken wings from the buffet menu and that was great, although I do advise not to eat slippery chicken wings near your laptop, my keyboard will never be the same again, smells nice though 🙂

So we had a few beers to celebrate our milestone before heading off to bed around 10 or so. It had been a long but successful day, tomorrow was the ride back to Fairbanks where we could get a shower or 3 as it has been a few days now 🙂

Day 510 miles and 821 km
Trip – 28,877 miles and 46,473 km


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