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Old 08-17-2012, 10:15 PM   #136
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Day 11: Happy Anniversary!






Shortly after midnight I looked at Helen and said, "Happy Anniversary"!





That's right! It's our 18th wedding anniversary today!





What do normal people to for their anniversaries?





We didn't really plan it this way, but we spent ours in the Arctic Circle.







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Old 08-18-2012, 05:10 AM   #137
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Excellent RR

Love the pictures and rolling commentary.

In my opinion the #1 reason for traveling up north is the People.

YK
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:49 AM   #138
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Day 11: Coldfoot

We arrive in Coldfoot around 1 AM.




It was daylight, but felt just like the middle of the night anywhere else. You get the sense everyone else is sleeping.
No sounds except the idling trucks.
It amazes me how so many people can sleep a normal schedule when it's light out.
Magically Light.



I fill up the Safari Tanks for the 240 mile stretch of no fuel.



Helen is inside paying, so I wander around quietly taking pictures.



Coldfoot. The name brings back military memories.
There's not many things worse than really cold feet for days on end.



Most photos I've seen of this place make it look like a cold, wet, muddy, miserable place.

I had no idea it was so beautiful.

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Old 08-18-2012, 09:14 AM   #139
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Day 11:

The road follows the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River through a majestic valley.




We cross many streams, creeks, and rivers.



We finally reach out first major delay. Construction Zone! The flagman tells us the delay may be up to 20 minutes.
He said the construction crews will be leaving soon for the holiday weekend. I had heard of several construction
zones this year with long delays and super-slow pilot cars. Not 2 minutes later our pilot car arrives. Follow me!
Hey. I'm a former infantryman. I can follow. We are the only vehicle being piloted. We flew through the zone at
about 45 mph, only slowing for one short section of deep, rutted, slick mud. Because of the holiday weekend, this
was the only construction delay for our entire time on the Dalton! Our timing is impeccable. It is looking like our
decision to ride all night was great. The weather is perfect and the truck traffic is also very light. We have the
highway nearly to ourselves and are treated to the magical light of a perpetual non-sunset.







It finally gets cool enough to add layers.




Michael from Fairbanks was right. This was the most beautiful ride of my life and I had Helen to share it with on our anniversary!

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Old 08-18-2012, 09:34 AM   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowknife View Post
Love the pictures and rolling commentary.

In my opinion the #1 reason for traveling up north is the People.

YK

Excellent observation yellowknife. The people we met were very nice. I am not very good at photographing people. I told myself I would try to photograph the people we met, but failed miserably. We met some interesting people; motorcyclists, bicyclists, RVers, campers, fellow travelers, border guards, truck drivers, clerks, and of course, the locals. I tried several times to speak with different riders from South America. Either they weren't very friendly, or weren't comfortable speaking English. They seemed indifferent and would almost completely ignore me. Anyway, I'm not the most outgoing people person, Helen is though, so it's not my style to stick the camera in everyone's face. I failed to improve upon this character flaw this trip.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:40 AM   #141
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If you have to inside on a Saturday morning, this is the place to be!
Thanks for the pics and report.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:49 AM   #142
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Day 11: The North Slope


I was awestruck as we rolled over the Atigun Pass and never even stopped for photos.
Oh well, we have to come back this way.





We are now rolling down the North Slope.











As the mountains fade away in the rear view mirrors, the scenery doesn't.





I would be remiss if we didn't discuss the mosquitos. Holy crap! These guys swarm anytime you stop.
When I say swarm, these guys are super aggressive. I grew up in mosquito infested Lousiana.
The lower 48 has nothing like these things.






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Old 08-18-2012, 12:10 PM   #143
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Day 11: Tundra

Rolling hills give way...





to miles and miles of flat tundra.











A bank of ice fog and a drop in temperature indicates we are nearing our destination.


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Old 08-18-2012, 12:21 PM   #144
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We are road weary...







but completely amped up to know we've almost made it!





I don't do drugs, but this must be what it feels like.





We made it to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay at 7:40 AM. Just in time to get fuel and a cup of coffee.





In case anyone else needs to know, it's 725 miles from Tok to Deadhorse.

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Old 08-18-2012, 01:58 PM   #145
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Day 11: Arctic Ocean Tour

Because of security on the oil field you can not ride all the way to the Arctic Ocean by motorcycle.
According to the GPS we rode within 7.5 miles of the Ocean. You must take the tour!


We drive through the forest.




We were pretty worried the adrenaline would wear off and we'd fall asleep on the 90 minute bus ride.




The chilly 40 degree breeze at the Ocean kept us awake. Everyone gets off the bus.




They all go right, so we go left.




The Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska





We get our boots into the Ocean. No way we're going all the way in.


































I realized I had a few more minutes before everyone made it back to the bus...




I see a pile of driftwood on the beach and go check it out.




Who knew such beautiful life could be found here?




Short-lived

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Old 08-18-2012, 02:42 PM   #146
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Day 11: Bus Tour

I've heard mixed reviews about the bus tour. Some say it's only worth it to see the ocean.
We both found it very interesting, even in our exhausted state.
Our guide, Grant, is a Native Alaskan who provided a lot of details about the oil operations and life as a worker up here.

I was surprised to hear they actually get more natural gas out of the ground than crude oil. They use a small amount of the natural gas to generate the electricity then send the rest back into the ground for "storage". Only the crude oil is saved.





I took a few photos from the window of the bus. This is where "contaminated" soil is "cleaned".

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Old 08-18-2012, 02:45 PM   #147
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Taking photos through a reflective window during a bumpy bus ride is difficult.

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Old 08-18-2012, 02:47 PM   #148
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It's so pretty here. Today, anyway.

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Old 08-18-2012, 02:48 PM   #149
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The Drill Rig Repair Shop

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Old 08-18-2012, 02:49 PM   #150
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