Monday, June 17, 2013

DAY Twenty-five: Riding south to Coldfoot

Yesterday awoke to drizzling rain so decided to stay an extra day, do laundry, write emails and work on the blog. Oh, and sit near the pastry cabinet in the lunch room. Great wifi spot. There is a Colombian expression my wife uses: Eat now because later when you ask, there may not be anything. Have lost a good five to eight pounds so far. So can indulge today, tomorrow we ride....

The day is overcast, but not raining. Temperature is 44. Packed n loaded the gear. Out of the hotel by 5 am. Last photo of Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse....


Five miles outside of Deadhorse it starts raining, and raining, and raining, and still more rain, for the next six hours am in a constant drizzle, fog, mist and rain. Never a torrent, just an unending constant shower.

The roads are soupy mud, slippery washboards, loose gravel and a steady cold wind from the west. Stopped to put on my electric jacket and gloves on, in the rain, at a place called Happy Valley. Not sure why anyone would call that site "happy".... no smiles from me.

Did not get clear of the rain until after I crossed Atigun Pass. Once on the other side of the mountains, it was clear, sunny, even warming up. Stopped to inspect Da'mit. a little hard to see what might be loose as everything is covered in mud.

Of course the mud baked onto the headers from the heat. It is more than just mud too. They put large amounts of Calcium Chloride on the road to keep the dust down. Am told that you never get all of it off once it is baked on.

Became concerned when I noticed that the mud had built up and filled the gaps between the cooling fins on the engine. Not good. Had to scrap them clean the best I could with a screw driver. When I get to Fairbanks, Da'mitt will get a good cleaning.


By the time I reached Coldfoot, I removed the electric jacket, electric gloves and the fleece jacket.

Was in Coldfoot gassing up by 1 pm. Make good time, just steady riding. Had planned to spend the night near there, but the minute I removed my gloves to pump gas, the mosquito swarms attacked. Could not envision relaxing the rest of the afternoon fighting off a mosquito onslaught. So I rode on.

Reached the Arctic Circle sign. Spoke with four riders heading north to Prudhoe Bay, one a Colombian from Bogota. The two Parks Service ladies working there were both in shorts and short sleeved shirts. Is warm today.

Removed my last heavy jacket. Rode on. The temperature kept rising, reaching the mid-eighties by the time I arrived in Fairbanks at 10 pm. Went directly to the University to claim a dorm room for the next two nights.

Can't believe I did a one day ride from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks on a Ural. Was not planned nor anticipated, just happened. Of course it was daylight the whole time. In fact, it still is now at 11:45 pm. One needs a sleep mask up here.

Because of the rains, both cameras were safely tucked away in waterproof containers for most of the ride. The final photo of the day is this.... a new Dalton Road sign with Da'mit covered in Dalton Road mud.

Tomorrow Da'mit gets her oil changed, a good washing, then decide what to do with the third tire I shipped up.

The Challenge is complete, but the adventure continues. There is a big chunk of land between here and Texas that must be crossed.

Nite all,



  1. That's a good looking rig in the last photo!


    ps: I'll be interested to hear how difficult it really is to remove the baked on calcium chloride....

  2. You may know this already but Dan has a pressure washer that he makes available to riders to wash off the mud. And the mud is probably a permanent part of your exhaust headers now. But don't leave it on anywhere else as it really does set up like concrete.

    Great write-up. Sorry I missed you when you came through.

  3. Dear Jan, thanks for what you do in sharing the adventure rider life. I can only dream of this type of riding and your upcoming book (I'm sure) will be even better than your blog. What a beautiful part of our world that so few are able to see and/or appreciate. I am one of your biggest fans and am always inspired by your dedication to doing what you love. We are all unique in our own way but you are especially unique in your approach to life.
    My prayers will continue for your ongoing safety and successful completion of this great adventure.
    Walter Barnett
    Friendly Neighborhood Tai Chi Teacher

  4. Dom, most of it comes off, but Da'mit is permanently marked by the Dalton Highway, as is it's rider.

    Richard, swuung by to meet the morning coffee group. Nice guys. Sorry yuou and I missed each other.

    Walter, it is people like you who are committed to something they love that inspires me to do the same.