In the Arctic Ocean and a Good Day on the Haul Road

June 24, 2012

Today starts with packing the bike them into the café to grab a large  breakfast.  Find our way over to the tour bus. It is 36 F and the ice fog has rolled in.  I got to stand in the Arctic Ocean.  A guy from Texas probably in his late seventies stripped down to his skivvies and dived in.  We all cheered.  The beach was round rocks.  Not far off shore is the ice.  You can see it through the ice fog..  I did not get to see a Polar bear, but they are in the area.  They have polar bear cages around the building and work areas. The cages are for people to get in if a polar bear is in the area and they can’t make it to a truck or building.   The tour guide is a native Indian that is a police officer here.   He was quite interesting to talk with. I was one of the few who found the tour itself interesting, Next we go back to the motel and grab a hot lunch and pack a sack lunch to go.

Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay  is in a arctic desert.  They get less than 10 inches of moisture a year.  There are sand dunes that the bears like to dig in to hibernate for the winter.  But it is also in a swamp, so there is water all over the place.  The tundra moves.  The dirt shifts and turns with the freeze thaw cycle and plants and flowers were everywhere.

On the road back I saw Musk Ox, Fox and Cariboo.  Along with Arctic Goose and many water fowl.

Well it is time to head back down the haul road. I sort of dread it.  The group I am traveling with all agree we should stop at Cold Foot for the night.  So that is our destination.   We take off.  The road is totally different than yesterday.  Many of the potholes have been filled, the wet slimy calcium Nitrate has be crushed in to make a firm smooth bed.  There is still some loose gravel.  The big rocks are crushed down and it is firm over the top of them.  It really wasn’t to bad.  I got to look around at the scenery.  About 30 miles from Cold Foot I run into rain that is really coming down.  Speed slows to 10mph to see the road and stay on it.  The Slick slimy stuff is back.  Only lasts for maybe ½ mile.  Then dry again.  17 miles north of Coldfoot  there is construction.  The semis in front of us pack ruts in the dirt/gravel mix  about 1 ½ foot deep.  Steve and Bill take the high route not in the ruts and sink the bikes about 5 inches, but can power through.  I don’t have dirt tires so I take a rut and get through but have to step down 10 times to balance.  Karen takes a rut and one of her panniers catches the side, this causes the rear tire to climb and over the bike goes at about 20mph.  The only thing broken is a turn signal and she is sore but OK.

We get into Coldfoot and fuel up first thing encase they run out of fuel again.  Steve and I rent a camp site and set up our tents among the mosquitoes. The little device I brought for the bugs works, but it takes about 15 minutes to clear the area of them.  The Storm we went through is catching up.  We hurriedly finish setting camp.  The mosquitos are thick enough to be a cloud.  I set the tent up in full riding gear so no skin is available for them. This is the first tent camp site that offered me towels, shampoo, and soap with the shower.  Karen and Bill rent the cheapest room for $200.  We all meet at the café for a meal and a beer while setting out on the deck and talking about the last couple of days adventures..

It starts raining while we eat and talk.  Around 11pm I head off to the tent.  You can hear the wolves barking, growling and playing in the woods outside camp.  A moose cow and 2 calves wandered thru by the tents.  It is raining and daylight at 11:30pm as I lay down to go to sleep. The mosquitoes are even t in the rain.

For those that are interested, ColdFoot  has no telephone, internet,  or cell reception.  It has a 75KW generator to run all the electrical in the town.  Whiles I was there, it had a population of 210 people and 2 dogs.  Most of the people are road construction workers. These workers have 10 hour days for 14 days then off for 14 days.  The room and board is paid for by the company that hires then.

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3 thoughts on “In the Arctic Ocean and a Good Day on the Haul Road

  1. What was the mosquito device you used to clear the area in 15 minutes????
    Enjoying the journal. Ride safe.
    Kevin

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