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Dalton Fun Day One

August 12, 2011

I took the Coldfoot Camp shuttle from Fairbanks to Deadhorse.  We left at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 19, 2011.  Barb was the driver.  There were three other passengers: Don, Dale and “Iforget”.  I sat in the suicide seat; I wanted to see the road.  We got up to Deadhorse around 10:00 p.m.  Barb wanted asked if Don and I could share a room because the camp forgot to save a room for her and they were sold out.  (She was not very happy about this!)  We did and Don snored as loud as a chain saw.  After an hour I couldn’t take it, any more and woke him.  He wasn’t too happy about that, but at least I was able to fall asleep.

On Wednesday we took a tour of Prudhoe Bay and I went swimming in the Arctic Ocean.  What the hell, when am I going to get another chance?  The water wasn’t very cold because  it was shallow water and the weather warm.  Originally I wasn’t going to leave until Thursday, but I had nothing better to do so off I went.  Deadhorse is at milepost 414.

On the way to Deadhorse Barb commented about Pingos; large, frozen, sections of tundra theat rose high above the surrounding landscape.  I remembered seeing one 20-30 miles away from Deadhorse and kept looking for it.

The road surface was relatively flat, but extremely rough.  I wondered if the bike could take it.  Pot hole after pot hole, after pothole.  It was tough to average just six mph.  Along the way people traveling via automobile or truck frequently offered water.  After ten hours I made it to a rest stop. (MP 355)  Barb told me she was going to hide a present for me.  I dug through the gravel at the base of a sign post and found my treasure: Trail mix and candy bars.  I scarfed down the trail mix and kept the candy bars for a treat.

There was a couple already camping their, Dick and Mary.  Mary offered me banana nut bread, Dick offered long-johns.  I accepted both.  Dick and Mary were two really nice people; the kind you want to meet on a trip like this.  I made dinner (an MRE) and set up my tent.  We were camping in a rock quarry, so I used rocks to bolster the tent rather than tent pegs.

Dick invited me on a hike.  We walked up to an automated weather station.  As we looked around I realized how beat I was.  I said good night, stumbled down to my tent, and “hit the hay.”  I was asleep in moments.

More to come: Riding the Dalton.


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