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2010 Deadhorse Alaska Trip

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

I had wanted to make some mileage so I got up relatively early and had breakfast at the adjoining restaurant. My room was on the third floor so getting all my gear back down and on the bike was kind of a pain.


I was trying to make some miles so I didn't stop too often to snap photos. I did notice after a while that the landscape had once again change. Under a layer of vegetation it looked like sand.


I found this rather curious. I wonder if this sand was deposited as a result of the last ice age.

And, of course, there were more beautiful vistas of mountains and trees.


And yet more beautiful lakes.


And even more ...


And strange mountains ...


And due to budget cuts ...


I wonder if Kevin the Mounty needs to worry. :)

Actually, the officer who pulled me over for going to fast has been following the blog and sent me some nice messages through the Contact Yermo link. He said he liked the blog. Amazing. I've been floored at the positive feedback I've gotten about this blog. It makes it so that I want to continue trying to write.


I stopped for gas and lunch in a small town. I have forgotten the name of the place. It was 100 miles or so south of Beaver Creek. I was eating lunch when a guy on a GS rode up. I nodded when he came in and we got to talking.

His name is Gary Wallen. (This one I wrote down.) He had just done the trip up to Prudhoe bay and back again at speed. He had a schedule to keep and had been doing it at around 70mph. Damn that's fast. We talked for quite some time. I got the impression he did not enjoy the run up. At first he said "If I could talk you out of it I would" but after some more conversation he just said to be careful.

He asked me how it was that I was able to do this at such a young age. "I recently completely a rather difficult real-estate transaction." was my answer. He asked why I was doing it so we got into the Nightmare a bit. I told him that I was out here for no particular reason at all. Deadhorse is not a destination, it's an excuse for a journey. My destination is each point along the way. He was waiting for the friends he was travelling with to show up. When I told him I was going very slowly he said "Good for you.".

He went on to say, "You know, for me, it's the autumn of my life. For years I was concerned about raising a family, about work. At this age health becomes an issue. After a few heart attacks ..." and then his friends arrived and he abruptly ended the conversation and left. Too bad. I would like to have heard what he would have said.

Before he left he gave me his contact info. He has a blog about his trip over at blogspot.

I've encountered many people who are envious of this trip of mine. It's primarily the older guys, The ones who are my age and older who get it. The younger ones tend to still be caught up in numbers. In miles.

I hope to hear from Gary again. It was interesting talking to him. He thought the way I was going to do Deadhorse was the right way. Four days. One day to Coldfoot. One Day to Deadhorse. Repeat process on the way back. "The road is miserable", I've heard so often. It's over 200 miles of dirt, mud and rock.

It could be interesting.

I rode on. More beauty.


I came upon an impressive bridge over some kind of river/wash. There was a dirt road down to the water. I stopped to view the scene. The horseflies were oppressive.


I tried my hand at a little more artistic photography. Small vs large.


A couple in a Toyota Fourrunner or similar vehicle showed up and followed the trail down to the water. They got out of the track and I offered, as I usually do, to take a photo of the two of them. They weren't interested so I asked them if they would mind taking one of me.


They had taken their brand new 4x4 up to Prudhoe Bay and back again. They describe the Calcium Chloride and how it bound to their wheels so tightly it caused them to be out of balance. They ended up chipping away at the stuff.


Steve and Phyllis. Steve contacted me here and suggested I take photos of the guardrails at Atigun pass.

"No tagging guard rails.", she said. I have to remember that.

I rode on and encountered even more beautiful lakes.


The 100 miles or so before Beaver Creek are supposed to be Bad(tm). I was told by a number of people just how bad the road is. "Terrible!", one person said. My four adventure riding friends were told not to go on the road because it was so bad.


It was a cakewalk. Yea, there were sections where the frost heaves were large enough that you could catch air if you went too fast. There were places where the road had sunken and deformed.


It's a bit late. I was going to write a treatise on how experts make choices that make their jobs easier on them. I was going to describe a pool match between a master pool player and an upstart. The announcer saying, after the upstart had made a serious of just incredible shots, "this is the difference between a good pool player and a great one. The good one brings out her best shot each and every time, and eventually misses losing the game. The great one makes her own life easy and sets herself up to make the shot.".

If you ride to make it easy on yourself, the Alcan is an easy road. But you do have to pay attention and it is tiring. There are places, rare places, on this road where if you are not paying attention you could easily crash.


In places on the Alcan it's just a mud road.


Along this section I came across what I believe is a coyote. At first I thought it was injured. It just lay there. It looked at me but didn't move much.


But then it got up and, very doglike, just walked over to me.


I assume someone probably fed it and it's started associating humans with food. I left before it got too close.

After some more miles I arrived at the Alaska border!

Yermo at Alaska. Did you know Alaska has it's own time zone? Me neither.

A couple on a Harley took this shot for me.


We had been passing each other all day long. I would stop at a rest stop and they would pass. Eventually I would catch up and pass them. This had been going on all day long.

I was already at the sign when they showed up. In the Yukon and Alaska pavement is rare in parking lots. This area around the sign was on a slope and when he put his foot down he lost footing on some gravel and his Harley dresser went down. I ran over to help. Together with alot of effort we managed the right the bike. A few pieces were a bit bent but the bike seemed to be ok.


They took it all in stride. Nice people. They too were intent on making it up to Deadhorse. On a Harley. With a trailer. Duncan would be envious.

The landscape in Alaska is much as it was in the Yukon.


There was construction and yet another pilot vehicle construction zone. I saw this sticker.


One thing I haven't commented on is the dust. The roads here are dusty. Most parking lots are not paved. Tractor trailers kick up alot of dust.


And so the bike is covered in dust. I expect it'll be alot worse on the Dalton.

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