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2010 Deadhorse Alaska Trip

'Tuesday June 1st, 2010 10:00'
This ride is over.

I'm currently in Fairbanks at a motel that has WIFI. I arrived yesterday in the late afternoon. I've been tired these last few days. I had arrived early so I could write but realized I was just stupid tired. I decided to take a day off and just extended my stay here a day. I'll probably hit the road tomorrow.

I've heard from so many people about the blog. It's a bit overwhelming. The idea that so many people are reading what I write and responding with encouragement and, three today, with selfishness. "Yermo, don't feel like you have to write every day", Phil, who I met in Deals' Gap wrote. Today he recanted and wants me to write more. A few others have said the same kind of thing.

One friend who I haven't seen in more than 20 years said she was enjoying the blog but didn't understand all the motorcycling references. I try to write for a diverse audience. I've got the Advrider.com guys. Friends. People I've met along the way. Other motorcyclists. If I write something or make some reference you don't understand and would like to know, please ask! It would help me if you asked. If I can learn to do this well, do this in a more accessible fashion, maybe I can do more of it. So please do feel free to ask questions.

I have to admit I really enjoyed Coldfoot Camp. It has a neat feel to it. It's a working camp. The motel is primarily there for truckers. As you go down the hallway, you'll see signs "Day Sleeper, please be quiet.". Many of these guys work the night shift. Like so many things up here, it all has an industrial, almost military, feel to it. There's dirt and mud everywhere. Huge tractor trailers pull into the muddy open space between the buildings. It can't really be called a parking lot. Truckers come and go. You can watch them as they work on their rigs, adjust and tighten loads.

The entrance to the cafe has huge steel grates for steps so you can shake the mud off your boots.

When I arrived at the motel, some tourists walked out that had just come up on the one of the busses. "Er muss Deutsch sein", I heard one woman say to the other woman. ("He must be German".) "Ja, so mehr oder weniger.", I replied. ("Yea, more or less."). Everyone in the group laughed. A man in the group, I have forgotten his name but hope he contacts me here to remind me, worked for BMW. So we chatted for a bit about the fundamental superiority of BMWs in a tongue in cheek fashion. In German, you often refer to motorcycles, and other transport, as "machines". "That's a superb machine for this kind of travel.", would be how one phrases it.

As has been the case with so many people from as far out as 1500 miles, I would see them again and again on my way up to Deadhorse.

Rob and Wayne, who I met at the Arctic circle, were already there. They had parked their bikes, BMW R1200 GS's, around the side of the motel. They were going to do their run up early the next day. We talked about what we had heard about the road.

In the cafe they had a buffet until 9pm. Unfortunately, because of my crazy restricted diet there was nothing I could eat. They reopened the kitchen at 9pm at which time I could order off the menu. This evening it was mostly tourists. There were alot of riders.

I was standing in the bar waiting for a glass of wine. Yea, beer and wine only and because of my inability to deal with starches I fall back to wine. In a trucker bar. Drinking a glass of wine. Riding a BMW. Maybe I should break out the espresso maker. Yea, I'm from DC. Not the impression I wanted to make. These are no nonsense folks and don't take kindly to no sophistication.

I got to talking to a guy, a rider, named Christopher. He had just come back down from Deadhorse with his two buddy's Mike and Greg. They all rode BMW R1200GS's. I sense a pattern developing. I asked him about the road and conditions still fearing that maybe up ahead I would encounter the hell that everyone had been talking about. He mentioned sections of road and gravel and mud, but nothing awe inspiring. He seemed to think I would make it but suggested that I get my bike power washed as soon as possible. The calcium chloride reacts with metal like road salt does and if you leave it on there your bike will be damaged.

I sat down with him and his buddys and sipped my glass of wine. Christopher is a professional photographer and my impression was that he was probably a very good one. Mike had just retired. Greg worked in business development, but I forget for what company. A good bunch of guys.

One thing I dislike about not writing every day is that I begin to forget names and details of conversations. I was pretty beat that evening, and I guess that affected things.

As we sat there, a group of four KLR riders showed up. "No, that can't be", I said aloud. Sure enough it was the four guys I had met at the Exxon Station some 1500 miles ago. Chris, Mike and Greg got up saying they wanted to get an early start. I figured I would not see them again so I said "see ya". Chris had written down the name, address and number of a shop that has a power washer and offers a service to clean off adventure bikes coming down off the Dalton and left it on the table next to my wine before he left. "Very thoughtful.", I said aloud.

I went down and greeted the four KLR riders. They've told me their names like 5 times but I have forgotten all of them. Bummer. Really good guys. We ended up having great conversations. They came in to eat. I had already eaten but I sat with them and we chatted for a good while. This was like the third long conversation we had had on our way up this far. They had just returned from Deadhorse and were going to grab a quick bite to eat before heading south to a campsite. Eventually, they asked me, as so many have done, "Why are you doing this long trip?". "I'm out here trying to get Away so I can get my head screwed on straight. I've been through kind of a wringer nightmare these last several years.". Some people leave it at that others ask more. They wanted to know more so I told them a bit about what had happened.

I've been very surprised. Random strangers have been very kind. Not a single person I've met has been accusational, or negative, or anything other than complimentary and supportive. It's a bit unnerving and is messing with my world view a bit. That's good. That's part of why I'm out here. To change the way I think.

The dad in the group, again I've forgotten his name, said he was never able to do what I was doing because of the farm and raising a family. There were always obligations. "8 weeks on a motorcycle does not make up for 17 years", I said. Everyone agreed. "Yea, that would just not be worth it.", one replied."We could trade lives.", I joked. "Yea, no". Good answer. I wouldn't wish my life on any human being except maybe my worst enemies.

It got late. I was tired. The sun was still blazing in the sky. The Alaska sun up North is a bitch. It's like this searing radiation source that burns as soon as it touches you. The light comes in at a crazy low angle. Even at midnight the sun is still seen on the horizon.

The motel was loud. Really loud. Trucks idling in the parking lot, people shouting to one another and paper thin walls conspired to prevent me from sleeping.

6AM rolled around and I still couldn't sleep. "Now this is a recipe for disaster.", I said quietly to myself as I crawled out of bed. I was showered and packed up and at the gas pump by 6:30. Anyone who knows me knows that this is the sign of the end times. I probably got less than 3 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, I had many hundreds of dollars of non-refundable reservations.

As I was walking to the gas pump I noticed something I hadn't seen before. A post office. Mail is delivered every Monday. I have a friend who works as a postal historian and the office there made me think of her. With Jenny in mind, I snapped this photo.


Between Camp Coldfoot and Deadhorse is 240 miles of nothing. It's the longest stretch in the USA without services. My bike can just barely do 240 miles on it's 4.2 gallon tank so I had, as previously mentioned, picked up a 2 gallon gas can. I filled the tank and the gas can and using a better approach than the previous day bungied the thing onto my bike.


This extra weight was the difference between a bike that was heavy and one that was, in my humble opinion, too heavy. Getting this beast up on the center stand on uneven ground turned out to be quite a challenge.

I re-injured my back the first time I did it as I parked my bike in front of the cafe. I had injured my back pretty seriously back in September. Donna, a very close friend who is also a chiropractor, worked on me for ages to fix it. I had been afraid it would cause me problems but until recently it's been fine. Now it hurts again and my heels are all tingly. I considered briefly how an injury could really put me down. It's probably a greater risk than crashing.

I went into the cafe and had breakfast. As I was sipping my coffee Chris, Mike and Greg showed up so I got up, coffee in hand, and sat down with them. I was dead tired, so it was like my fifth cup of coffee. I remember being impressed by the fact that both Chris and Greg got up to stretch. They didn't care at all that they were in a trucker cafe. They just walked over to an empty spot on the floor and did various stretches. Greg had injured his back putting his bike up on the center stand. It's a common affliction. Chris practiced Yoga. He was a tall and muscular man who was also surprisingly flexible. I would guess he was around my age. You might think he was one of those flakey new age yoga types, but this guy had a seriousness to him. A substantive nature. It was as if the calm and peace he exuded was real, not a false affectation.

And, he did ride his R1200GS up and back from Deadhorse.

"Membership.", I thought. Here I was allowing my view of another human being to be expanded because of a single symbol. It's strange how that works, even in me. When you tell someone who hasn't been there yet that you've been up and back to Deadhorse it changes their view of you almost instantaneously. It imbues you with certain meta-data, certain attributes in the listeners mind that may or may not have any basis in reality.

When I'm the subject of that view change, I'm stymied by it. "It's just some road to some arbitrary place in the middle of no where. It's just a destination as an excuse for a journey. I'm just some guy out for a Long Sunday Drive. Infrastructure in this part of the hemisphere is fantastic. The magic of gasoline can be readily found everywhere. This is no big deal.", I would think. But here I was, applying that same view change to another human being and he had "only" ridden up from California. "That's a long serious ride.", I found myself thinking ignoring the ride I've done completely. It's always fascinating to pay attention to how things are different when you see something in someone else and then to compare how that same thing feels when you are the subject.

He went and got the business card of the shop that had the pressure washer. "Wow. That's very thoughtful.", I said. "Damn thoughtful indeed. Good guy.", I thought to myself.

They needed to get going to get to a three day Ferry. They were going to camp on deck. I wonder how that went.


I sat alone for a little bit. Trucks came and went. Most of the tourists were gone.


I pondered the road to come. I had been told the stretch of the Dalton Highway up to Camp Coldfoot was the easy part and that it got bad going North. "Gravel the size of baseballs. Deep mud. 'horrible!", I had been told by many. Many others would say, "oh, you'll be fine".

The KLR riders had said the mosquitoes were terrible up there. "Like out of National Geographic", one said.

The time came to be gone. so off I went.

Out of the parking lot and onto the Dalton and it was less than 10 yards before I ran into my first contruction section where I had to wait.


Most of the contruction sections on the route from Coldfoot to Deadhorse involve pilot cars. You have to stand and wait. I had been told that the waits are terrible so I was prepared to hang out for a good long while. The Slow/Stop Sign guy waved for me to be up front so I went around the semi and parked next to him.

A few minutes later the pilot car showed up and I was off again. The pilot cars move very slowly and will stop randomly depending on what truckers and construction equipment are doing. I would guess I followed the pilot car for between 5 and 10 miles.

As I think I've mentioned elsewhere, they use calcium chloride, essentially a salt, to bind gravel and dirt together to control the dust. It forms a surface the approximates pavement for a fraction of the cost. In the process of creating the top surface of the road they dump out sections of the stuff. Then graders come to distribute it evenly across the road. Then the water trucks come and wet the stuff down. As it dries it hardens. However, while it is wet it's muck.

This section had been wetted a while ago so it wasn't too bad. It had not yet hardened. The surface was relatively soft with small gravel and stones.


But it wasn't bad. Once the pilot car pulled over I could easily do 45 to 55mph with a wide margin for error.

The surface of the road changes randomly and as I mentioned previously, what makes the Dalton Highway very dangerous is not that it's difficult. It's that it changes without warning.

The beauty of the landscape is also a danger. While it is not difficult, it does take attention to detail to ride this road. Looking around can distract you from potholes and larger bits of gravel, dips, etc. As you ride along you see views like this.


This mountain was impressive. The road here looks good but if you wander too close to the shoulders it becomes very loose and very deep very quickly.

There are bridges. Most have a wooden surface. This one stream was probably the clearest stream I have ever seen. The water was nearly invisible. I stopped on the bridge to try to capture it.


Mike and Greg had been talking about the photos Chris had been taking. He's a professional photographer. I would be curious to see what photos he took. I don't have contact info for them, but I hope they contact me here to let me know where their trip photos will be posted.

Along the Dalton there are countless streams flowing down from mountains and along valleys.


"The worst road in the world?", I thought. "Hmmm. Look. Bridge with guardrail. hmmm".

In places it's hard to tell if the road is actually paved or if it's the calcium chloride hardpack.


Many of the streams here had a skyblue tint to them.


Probably the most famous section of the road is Atigen Pass which is supposed to be crazy steep and just one long slog up and over a mountain. It's supposed to be miles long.

I came upon a pass and wondered if this was it.


There was no sign but I didn't think this was it. It was a long pass but not that long nor that steep. It opened up into this incredible valley.


I had still not run into anything really hard. I had been slightly caught off guard from time to time. Surface changes from pavement to gravel can wake you up. They happen very infrequently though.

After some more miles of uneventful hardpack and gravel road, I came across the Atigen Pass sign.



I had heard that the grade of the pass was something crazy steep. It wasn't. It was just reasonable steep. It was, however, long. The surface was a bit crumbly as if the hardpack was breaking up a bit. There were quite a few places for tractor trailers to pull over, so I had plenty of opportunities to snap photos.


The pass was just beautiful. Maybe it was that it had been hyped up so much or maybe it was that it was in fact that spectacular. It's hard to tell given how subjective these experiences are.

Avalanches are clearly a problem here as the guard rails can attest to.


The worst road in the world has guardrails. Yea.

The surface here was a bit dusty so I would go very slowly as tractor trailers passed. The dust would turn visibility to near zero for a few seconds. Fortunately, there was a strong breeze.


Going down the other side seemed more challenging than coming up the South side. Down is generally harder than up, but my impression was the grade on the North side of the pass was steeper than the South side. However it was not nearly as steep as some of the dips earlier on. I would be told by a trucker later that some of those dips, several hundred feet deep can reach grades of 12%.

This, however, was not 12%, I don't think.


Of course, the photos does not capture the down grade angle. Let's put it this way, my foot is on the brake to prevent the bike from rolling forward. If you put a bowling ball down here, it would roll away at increasing speed.

As you go through the North side of Atigen Pass, you'll notice critters on the road. On the last trip we called them Kamikazees. They like to run out and try to commit suicide as you pass on the interstate. These ones, truly tired of life and all it's burdens, just lie out in the road by the dozens.


These were seen every few hundred yards for over a hundred miles. I tried my best. I really did not to hit any of them. I try to dodge the butterflies as well. ("He's so sensitive". Yea, whatever.)

I would hit the horn if they didn't scatter. One time one of the little buggers lying in the road got up ran to the left and just as I was approaching made a mad dash for the front wheel. "SHIT!! Oh little guy, I'm so sorry! Shit!" as the little guy sliced himself in half, achieving his warriors dream. I beat myself up about it. I still do. I hate killing critters. ("Oh, he's so sensitive". Yea, whatever.) Cute little critters, albeit somewhat suicidal.

They talk about baseball sized gravel. Yea, there's gravel as you can see in the photo, but it's rare and it's concentrated on the sides of the road. In the traffic lanes, it's pounded down and really isn't all that hard to ride on. You can see the progression of gravel sizes from the lower end of the photo to the upper. The upper is closer to the edge of the road. (These guys weren't entirely in the middle of the road, although most would like out in the traffic lanes, I'm guessing because it's more comfortable.)

As you descend down the Northern side of the pass, it opens up into yet another overwhelmingly beautiful valley. How many dozens of these have I seen so far? I never get tired of them.



Remember the German tourists I met at the Camp Coldfoot motel? I'm pretty sure I saw them in this group as I passed by. Tour busses run this route up to Deadhorse. Run of the mill normal tour busses. I didn't see anything special about them, not even extra mud guards.


As I approached the far end, the mountains opened up into yet another vast rolling plain.


There's a quality to this land that's different. You really do feel far away when you're standing around out here. In many places, as far as the eye can see there's hardly any trace of human presence. Traffic is heavier than I was told. A truck, bus, or RV will go by at least every half hour or so. Often it's more frequent. Strangely I saw very very few motorcycles either up or back. Maybe 3 in total. All of them were adventure bikes. I did not see a single sport touring bike like mine.

I thought back to what Chris and others had told me. Calcium chloride gets all over the bike and it eventually eats into the metal causing pitting. Leave it on there long enough and even stainless steel can be eaten through. I thought about my bike. I had given Duncan and Ian a hard time about their pretty supermodel bikes. I had joked that I would take a Ducati up here, but now, seeing how sticky this calcium chloride muck is, I would think twice. I would at least put some kind of fork slider cover on, like I have on my bike. I think without some kind of cover on the forks, the fork seals and possibly even the tubes would be toast by the end of the ride.


At this point the bike wasn't bad yet, but I did ponder what it would look like before the end of the trip. Duncan had asked if I really wanted to take my pristine looking bike on such a trip. "Of course. That's what it's for. To be ridden.", I replied. He wondered if I shouldn't put a plastic film over all exposed parts of the bike or somehow protect it's appearance.

I can understand that, but it's not me. If I own something, I want to use it. I do not want the ownership of a thing to limit me. A motorcycle is a symbol of freedom. Attempting too much to hold back the hands of time and Use becomes just another cage. Another reason Not To Do A Thing.

I take care of it as evidenced by the fact I've owned it for 18 years and am riding it, so far successfully, across country. But I am not compulsive about it. I do not let it stop me from riding it whereever I want in whatever conditions, whenever. If I crash it and it dies, I am prepared to let it go even though I love my bike and would be very sad to see it go.

The more I ride it the more I love it. This has been going on for years. But I have to ride it. There's no point just leaving it in the garage. I pondered how bad it would look when I was done. What if she really started to look like an 18 year old bike and not near showroom new?

"Just because she's doesn't look as young as she used to, doesn't mean you love her any less.", I mused.

I think I see another parallel to human relationships.

I once had a discussion a long time ago with a friend, Pilar, who is simply model beautiful. She was telling me about a photo shoot that reminded her of her modelling days when she was "young and beautiful".

I had thought about it long and hard and replied, "What do you mean "when"? There are passing fads in this world. things that in one context are beautiful and when you revisit them some time later they've lost their charm. Then there is that rare kind of enduring beauty. The kind that becomes more meaningful, more engaging, more nuanced the longer you experience it. That kind of beauty can never grow old.".

I think about my bike. I get more compliments from more people about my bike now than I ever have before. My own impression about how good my bike looks has changed, improved, with experience. Even cracked, faded, scratched, dulled, dented and scraped, I love the way my bike looks now more than ever. Each scratch, crack and blemish is a story.

People say that men grow more distinctive with age and women just grow old.


I think that's one of those things, like the Dalton Highway and Atigen Pass, that you just hear so often it colors your experience of it so in your mind, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, you still believe what you were told. I know so many women my age who look so much better, so much more interesting, so much more beautiful than they did when they younger. This applies to the youngin's I've known over the past few years as well. Yes, Rachel K., you too.

Alone, out here in the middle of nowhere, free to think. Free to be open, I began to understand, to experience, what it meant to be Away from the voices of the maddening crowd.

This calcium chloride is much nastier than I thought. This may do my bike in. "How can you do that?!? It's such a nice bike. It'll be a collectors item", they would say. But, alone, here out in the open vastness, I can let my bike grow old, on this ride if it happens. I love my bike and I know it cannot be replaced, but despite that I will not fear the day I lose it, even if that day is today. I will experience it as a moment and enjoy it.

I think there in lies another lesson for me. I do not do the same with people. When it comes to people I care about, my fear of losing them or causing them pain overrides everything else. I become paralyzed. I try so hard. I will not "take them out in the dirt" as it were. If I think I may lose them tomorrow, I pull back, sometimes abruptly. I'm like a parent so afraid of losing a child, I prevent that child from playing in the mud or getting scraped. Without those bumps, those bruises, those stories will that child grow up to be interesting? Interested in the world? Or just afraid?

I think I see now that this fear prevents me from doing many things that I would probably do if I were not Afraid, not afraid of the bumps, scapes, dings and scratches I may cause as we move through life, through this moment together.

It was really peaceful out here in the vast openness.


As I stood there, thinking the road was an easy cakewalk, a watering truck passed by.


"Bummer. More muck.", I thought. "But it's really not that bad. The bike will just get a little dirtier. That's ok."


It doesn't look so bad, and it isn't really. It's just that when wet this stuff turns into a kind of sticky dough that gets sluffed up and covers the bike turning into a kind of cement. You can pick at it with a pocket knife and it's hard and crumbly but sticks tenaciously.

The wet didn't last long. I guess the truck had just started it's run and the construction I thought was going to materialize didn't. Usually they wet the road down just after they put down new surface gravel and calcium chloride, which tends to be alot muckier. More on that later.

I passed one of those mega-oversized-loads. I should have taken more photos. I think there was a setup behind with motors that pushed. This was crazy large.


I was cruising along for some many miles on perfectly smooth hardpack similar to what you see in the photo above. There's usually a small layer of dust and ground up gravel on top so it's not exactly like driving on pavement. The tires tend to wander a bit and you feel that stopping performance won't be nearly as good. But you get used to it. And after many more miles you unconsciously pick up speed.

Then, as I've been saying, the road changes unexpectedly. Sometimes you can't really tell where the transition is until you've passed over it.



I hit it doing about 65 or 70. I got lost in thought and hadn't realized I was going that fast. It was a little squirrelly but not too bad. You don't hit the brakes. You don't grab the bars too tightly. The front wheel will do whatever it's going to do. You let off the throttle slowly, if you can and let the engine slow you down.

It's no problem. You just don't want to make any really sudden changes.

Once I slowed down I was able to cruise along at something like 45mph without a problem.

This gravel, about 80 miles outside of Deadhorse wasn't that bad.

What's interesting is that out here the road is built up in places 16 feet off the permafrost. I was told that they have a layer of styrofoam at the base to further protect the permafrost from melting. Underneath here there is 1500 feet of frozen earth, which is why water pools so readily on the surface. This pooled water is also why there is an amazing mosquito population.


So basically the road is a big mound in the middle of the permafrost. Many of the truck accidents you hear about are truckers tending too close to the edge of the road in the snow and falling over.

The Dalton Highway follows the Alaskan Pipeline. The pipeline is the reason the road even exists.


I did not know how central the pipeline and Prudhoe Bay are to the Alaskan economy. I have the feeling the pipeline touches every Alaskan's life in one way or another.

I eventually came upon the big bouncy gravel that everyone said was so hard. "Baseball sized gravel!", they said. "Yea, if you run off the road, maybe.", I thought as I saw this new type of gravel. Yea, this stuff was bouncy. It was uneven, but it was totally doable. You just get rattled a little bit. No where was there anything large enough to cause you a tank slapper or anything that might tip you. The Telluride fire trail up the side of the mountain I tried was orders of magnitude more challenging. This was easy.


It's the same as everywhere else. Don't hit the brakes too hard. Keep your hands loose. Keep the speed to something reasonable. I think I was doing 40mph or so. Don't make any sudden changes. Scan ahead. Watch the ruts. Etc. No problem.

Now if you wander too close to the edges, yes, there are big bits of gravel. So don't do that.

As I got closer to Deadhorse the temperature dropped suddenly. It went down from the mid sixties to the thirties in no time. A strong wind developed. In the distance I saw bluffs that still had snow.


I came upon a hiker who said he saw Muskoxen but unfortunately I did not see any. As a matter of fact, other than the little Kamikazee critters who continued to try to commit ritual suicide under my tires but failed miserably, I didn't see any critters at all.

As I got close to Deadhorse I saw a place a truck ran into the permafrost. It's soft. It sinks. "It would suck if I drove my bike into that.", I thought.


The gravel continued.


From here out it got really cold. I had heard from the KLR riders that it had been really warm in Deadhorse the previous day and that the mosquitoes were fierce. It was in the 30's with a strong wind. There were no mosquitoes and also no rain.

I should have put on the electric vest. It was cold out there. But the fleece jacket thing I had bought in Victoria and was wearing under my Transit Suit was working like a champ. That combined with the heated grips Duncan got me for was enough to keep me just comfortable enough to keep going. I really didn't want to have to take my jacket and fleece liner off in that wind to put the electric vest on. It was foolish. A moments discomfort for hours of warm bliss is a sacrifice I should have made.

There in lies another parallel. Sometimes we endure uncomfortable situations for much longer than we should because we don't want to deal with a short but finite much greater discomfort.

So I froze my ass a bit all the way to Deadhorse. By the time I rolled into town I was really tired and bloody cold. The lack of sleep had caught up to me. I figured I would be on the tour the next day so I could take pictures of Prudhoe Bay and Deadhorse then.

The crazy thing was I made it up to Deadhorse on a single tank of gas. 246 miles indicated after putting around a bit. I only have a 4.2 gallon tank. "Pretty cool.", I thought. My motorcycle, which as I've said I simply love, is also crazy fuel efficient.

I found the Arctic Carribou Inn, checked in, and got myself a cup of coffee to wake up and warm up. The Inn was much like the one at Camp Coldfoot. This one had an even more military barracks feel to it. There were alot of tourists.


As I walked around inside, I ran into the German tourists with the guy that works at BMW. Small world up here. Very small world, in a very big place.

Then I headed over to the General Store, which was a ways away, to take obligatory "I made it to Deadhorse, that's gotta mean something" shot.


Where I ran into Rob and Wayne. They had arrived some hours before and were staying at a different "hotel". There are quite a number of "hotels" up at Deadhorse.


One guy was telling me they get a lot of motorcyclists up there, some from as far away as Argentina.

"How many times have I heard about the 'Tierra Del Fuego' ride on this trip?", I wondered beginning to realize I should not think about that too much. Just a little while ago, just today, before I started writing this entry I ran into three Brazillians who were going up to Prudhoe. The stickers on the one GS they had indicated it had been in most South American countries.

"Oh, this is not good. An Idea is starting to form ...", I began to worry as I thought "I am honestly afraid of South America because of all the stories I've heard .. but fear paralyzes me and keeps me static. If the stories of Deadhorse were so exaggerated could the stories of South America be as well?" I had talked to several people, Tom, Zan, these Brazillian guys. "It's doable. A great trip. People all along the way are wonderful.", they would say. "No Problem".

As I stood here with the Deadhorse sign as a backdrop, I began to ponder ... "How long it would take me to relearn Spanish? Can I do something to train my body to handle starches and sugars again? Could I do a trip like that on a BMW K100RS?".

Today I got an email from some German friends saying there's a guy that's done it on an R1 ...

I wonder ...

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