June 17, 2011

Once again I apologise for skipping a day. By the time we got in, had dinner, did bike maintenance I was just too tired.  So I'm combining the two days.

The side door of our $220.00 per night humble abode.  Although the outside of buildings in the arctic can look somewhat industrial they may be fine inside.

One side of the room and the other is the same. Nothing else. The coat on the left is hanging beside the door and I'm using a wide angle lens to get it all in. No, there isn't two night stands. Only the one.
The nice thing was that it was available.  Also the food is very good and everything you could imagine is included.  As many meals as you wish, take out sandwiches, fruit, chips, pop, tea of every description, coffee, desserts etc. etc.   It is all good as well.  Not microwave junk.  All like home cooking.

This is just the take out cooler.  Make your own lunch or take one back to the room for a snack.  There is also containers of fresh veggies as well as a whole cooler of fruit.

This is just the dessert snacks.  The cake, pies puddings etc. are in another cooler.  Also in front there is a supply of brown paper bags so if you want a dozen - just fill up the bag.  All made right here.

And EVERYONE has to wear nice little baby blue booties to keep your muddy boots from tracking mud all over.  Everything outside is muddy as there is no pavement or sidewalks.  The dirt is continuously watered down as well to prevent dust.  Thus outside is wall to wall mud.  Charles looked particularly fetching in his little blue booties and a 'doo rag.  Anyone who knows Charles can just imagine !!  I'm sure I also looked fashionable - Deadhorse style.

 We left Prudhoe Bay (Deadhorse) at about 7:00 and having gotten a witness the day before

Charles gets signed out by one of Deadhorse Detachment's finest.
all we had to do was splash enough gas into our already almost full tanks to get the all important start receipt for our ride to Hyder.

The "gas station"  No signage, difficult to find and the payment system is unusual and inside the door.  The good news however is that it is open 24/7 and the receipts are good. Having the location, date, time and fueling info on them.  All required by the IBA certification team.
Although in the high 30s (F) the sun was shining and it looked DRY!!  The road was just about as good as the Dalton ever gets. Or any other high arctic road, for that matter.  The rains from yesterday and the day before had now soaked in and packed down to make a quite firm surface of the previous mud.  Still some small (pea) gravel but otherwise drive able at a more normal speed. A welcome change from our trip up.
   The miles seemed to fly by and soon we could see the mountains of the Brooks Range.  Just before the pass however we were lucky enough to spot a Muskox and her baby.  Got a couple of telephoto shots but she was very timid and ran behind the brow of a hill as soon as we stopped.  Elated by seeing such a unique and rare animal we continued only to be again surprised by more Muskox. This time a full herd of about 15 or 20 including some babies.  These ones seemed less afraid so we stopped and took some photos. 

Like something out of pre-history. This fellow (lady? - it's hard to tell with Muskox) appears to be moulting. Fortunately they were down wind so we couldn't smell them. They apparently are somewhat odoriferous - hence the name
  Next up came Atigun Pass and we got to see all of the great scenery we'd missed on the way up due to the snow.  More good photos.

Generally an uneventful ride to Coldfoot where we stopped for gas.  Charls' bike was having problems as mud from a pull off area had caked under his front fender and was actually burning the tire at anything over about 50 mph.  The nice folks at Coldfoot refused to let him use their hose as they said "not for that".  Seems that even though they remembered us from the trip up they just don't give a damn unless you're staying there at the moment. We ended up using my emergency collapsible water bottle and rolling stones backward through the opening to clear it.  The rest of the way down to Fairbanks was relatively easy although it's a long tiring road nonetheless.
   We finally found the "office of the University of Alaska and checked in to their dorm. At $42.00 it's a bargain.  However their check in process took over 1/2 an hour, the showers and washrooms are down the hall and the room is somewhat spartan to say the least.  Still a good buy however.  We found a coin operated car wash and blew $20.00 in quarters getting the worst of the mud off the bikes.  Both of us had problems on the Dalton with overheating.  99 having her rad plugged up and The Old Girl getting her cooling fins coated.  Off for dinner then sleep.

   This morning seemed to come early.  Of course it did - even Fairbanks has almost no  darkness at this time of year.  Just a bright twilight for a couple of hours.  We were slow leaving then to top it off Chares had a cracked fitting on the gas pump when filling up.  Gas everywhere.  Then their air hose wouldn't work when we tried to top up the tires.  We had let air out of them for the gravel roads.  When we finally got on the road it was 8:00.  The actual ride to Whitehorse, YT was a mixed bag of sunshine and rain.  The nice thing howeve was that it got continuously warmer.  Started the shedding clothes process which will probably continue for the next few days. Actually looking towards getting into warm weather with mixed emotions.  I think it will be hot, hot, hot after being acclimatized to the cold freezing temperatures of the North Slope area.  The only wild life I saw was a mother and daughter moose.  They presented no problems as they were heading fort the bush.  Seeing the size of a full grown lady moose I definitely do not want any physical encounters while aboard 99, or anything else for that matter.
   We arrived at Whitehorse at 8:25 after having lost an hour with the time change exiting Alaska.  Once again bike maintenance, dinner and here I am.
   Tomorrow we are going to try to get the oil changed on the bikes and most importantly get the new tire mounted on the back of 99. The one we bought in Minnesota is now down to the wear bars.  This will be tire number 3!!  I've reverted to a stock Honda rear tire as it is all that was available so I hope it lasts longer than the one I used last year on the coast to coast ride.  It barely made it to San Diego.  We'll see.  Of course it is an unusual size and not available at most bike shops.
    I'm falling asleep at the keyboard so I'll just add some photos to this and then off to sleep.  Thank goodness we can sleep in as none of the Bike shops open until after 9:00 am.
too tired to upload more photos.  I'll put them up with the photos later.

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