Monday, January 13, 2014

Day 19 - U-Turn in Deadhorse

This post is a continuation of my Alaska trip in 2012 for anyone reading my blog for the first time.

I am now 5000 miles away from home but in no real hurry to get home.  The scenery is beautiful, the weather is good and the road is in pretty good shape but there's not much to do in Deadhorse, reluctantly we start heading back.   The plan is to make it back to Coldfoot, camp for the night and then make it to Fairbanks the next day.  As we leave Deadhorse I see three huge semi-trailer trucks getting ready to head back empty.  They must have brought big cargo by the size of them.

On the photo below you can see Dave going down the hill and on the next you can see the little black dot on the right of the picture, that's Dave waiting for me.  This gives you an idea of the hill, luckily the road is dry.

We were very lucky with the weather, the road was hard and we could keep a good pace.

I really enjoyed this part of the trip, we stopped a few times for photos and to enjoy the scenery. 

One thing you can't escape is road construction, we had to stop multiple times to allow workers to do their job.  Giant water trucks keep the dust down.

We used the stops to re-hydrate and eat snacks while passing the time chatting with the flag workers.  They were curious as to why we would want to ride all the way to Prudhoe Bay.  Our answer was simple, because it's there and it's a challenge, they just shook their heads.

The bottom of the north slope on the Atigun Pass.   On the two pictures below you can see an RV going up the hill.  Atigun Pass, elevation 4,739 feet, is a high mountain pass across the Brooks Range in Alaska, located at the head of the Dietrich River.

At this point Dave is over the pass already.  At the previous stop he decided to continue non stop to Coldfoot, since he had a tire continuously loosing pressure.  At this point we had already stopped twice to refill his tire.   I wanted to enjoy the trip and take pictures.  I told him to go ahead because even if he had a problem I would eventually catch up to him.

That black spot on the other side is my bike.

I'm now over the pass on the south side.

Once again I pass this beautiful mountain except this time I'm alone and have more time to stop and enjoy the scenery.   I walk down to the river but always keep an eye out for signs of bears.

I had made it from Coldfoot all the way to Deadhorse with one full tank of gas although when I stopped at the pump I put in 5.9 gallons on a 6.3 gallon tank.  It was close but I had made it.
On the way back I was more relaxed about the fuel, I kept riding faster and whenever I had the opportunity to play with the bike on the soft parts of the road I was leaving trails behind me.  I knew I had a Rotopax filled with an extra gallon in the back. I was still 50 miles away from Coldfoot when the reserve light started flashing.  At the stop below I decided to dump the entire Rotopax into the tank.  I knew I wasn't going to need reserve gas after Coldfoot so might as well empty it.

I arrive in Coldfoot and find Dave already setup with his tent.  I set mine up and then head to the restaurant for a sandwich.   As I head back to the tent I see this boat on a nearby lake, it looked so serene, I paused to reflect on my adventure.  

As I get back to the tent I take one last look at my bike and this is what it looked like.  Darth Vader had made it all the way to Prudhoe Bay, he is now a little dirtier but is still on the back of the bike.  Tomorrow he will get a wash in Fairbanks.


  1. Cut it out man, you're driving me crazy! I so wanna come over and do this!

    1. Andrew, come on over and I will go again with you :-)

  2. Oh George this is too gritty Fir the likes of me! I like a hot shower and soft bed at the end of the day, and a big meal. But OH how I envy that scenery!!

    1. Tina, there are times for everything, a soft bed and a hot shower was waiting for me when I returned to Fairbanks. I wanna go back and camp out there again, that's how good it was.

  3. Simply superb photos George, and if your photos are like mine where they don't do the subject justice then the scenery there must be some of the best ever. No doubt about it. Brilliant stuff.

    1. Thanks Chiller :-)
      The scenery is amazing and it's the grandeur that will leave you in awe. The feeling of being there all by yourself or with a friend in such a desolate place is just amazing, something I want to repeat. Now I understand why the truckers enjoy the place even though it's pretty dangerous in winter.