Quotes of the day

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
- Helen Keller

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep.
- Robert Frost

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Prudhoe Bay

Leaving Deadhorse after lunch...

Some of the wildlife seen while I was heading south.

Arctic Ground Squirrels:

Musk Oxen:

And the Infamous Gray Fox:

Actually, I'm more excited about this photo than most that I have taken.
When I first began to dream of this trip, I imagined a photo that I seriuously wanted to capture.
And this was it.
Not because of the bike, or the mud.
I can't explain why, exactly, I just desperately wanted a shot of me and the bike, facing directly into the sunshine.
And that's when this was taken.  :-)
3 miles north of the Arctic Circle (where I was going to set up camp), I waited on the moment to arrive.
One click, and I captured the essence of this entire adventure.
And a single image that I have dreamed about for over a year.
Another reason I'm excited about it is that I wanted to take the shot in Deadhorse, but it was cloudy and foggy when I was there.
I realized I wouldn't get the photo I wanted, and tried to forget it as I headed south.
I thought that since I was a good 3 weeks ahead of the summer solstice, I would need to be a hundred miles north of the circle to actually witness a "midnight sun".
Then, as midnight approached, I began to notice my shadow on the road in front of me and I realized that there was still a possibility.
A dream recaptured and realized.  :-)
Life is good.

Here's a shot of what was behind the camera in the above photo:
It's a bit washed out and looks like the sun is touching the horizon, but there was about 2 sun-diameters of space below the sun at midnight.

Then I continued on the Arctic Circle Wayside and set up camp where I had camped on the way north.
This shows the sun peeking through the trees, and it's 12:45 am.

I slept until nearly 6:30 - the first time since I got to the west coast. 
I found that the Hot Spot, where I had a great burger on the way north, does not offer breakfast, so I continued south and got a delicious breakfast and fuel at the Yukon River camp.

That's where I met a wonderful couple from Australia who came to Fairbanks and rented a BMW 1200GS and were on their way to Deadhorse.

Here they are - Mark and Jo:

We were able to trade information about the road ahead for each of us. The Yukon bridge is where I finally wobbled off the Dalton after nearly dropping the bike in the thick mud soup behind the grader. I'd been dreading going through that again for 3 days now.

When I asked Mark about the road, he said it was like a highway - you could go 80 kph if you wanted.
He was right.
After the big rain storm that came through as I was approaching the Dalton, the grading work finished and the road crews were now nowhere to be found. I couldn't even recognize the area that I had so much trouble with before. Two days of dry weather and trucks compacting the mud into firm smooth dirt had transformed a nightmare section of road into a highway.

I'm still amazed at how this road can change character so quickly depending on the weather.

(I found out that a rider on an ElectraGlide had come into that section just before me, and immediately dropped his bike in the mud. He said his crash bars protected the bike from damage, and he was able to continue his plan to ride to the Arctic Circle before heading home.)


  1. THE picture, u did it old man, CONGAZ!!

  2. I love your picture looking into the midnight sun. I was there in early July. I arrived in Deadhorse a little after midnight and the sun was still 20 degrees above the horizon. I really know what you mean about the road changing conditions. It changed on me in 24 hours. It was not even the same road.