Day 21 - 7/22/07: Coldfoot, AK to Fairbanks, AK

Day 21 - Coldfoot to Fairbanks
Dirty Bike Dirty Rear Wheel Dirty Bike
     
Dirty Bike Pump Station 5
     
Arctic Circle Sign Me at the Arctic Circle
     
Steep Hill and Dust Trails Completion of the Dalton Hwy New Boots After15 Days

Today started off great. I love waking up when Iím ready, and not to an alarm clock (or Hannah poking me in the foreheadÖ ok so I actually miss that one). I took my time, packed up all my muddy gear and headed over for some gas. Then it was breakfast time. I had the T-Rex this morning, eggs, French toast, and I added a big bowl of cottage cheese (mmmmmm cottage cheese).

 As I was finishing breakfast Scott came over. He told me they got off the Dalton Hwy last night and did some river riding. Jason dropped his bike twice in the river and bent one of his saddle bag mounts. This would explain why he was beating on his bike with a rock while I was eating. After a while Jason came over and we chatted for a few. When I went out to get on the bike a tour group pulled in. They all got out of the van and one guy came over to me. He asked where in TN I was from. I said Nashville. Well guess what, heís from Green Hills! He also has a BMW, but is traveling the world so it has stayed at home. Then it was time for me to hit the road as I wanted to get to Fairbanks by 6:00 to get my room and my laptop back.

 The road was good today, it had dried out from the slight sprinkling of rain we got yesterday. Heading south the pavement started soon after leaving Coldfoot. It was nice to be on pavement for an hour or so. After the pavement ended I noticed that the road was rougher than it was north of Coldfoot. Maybe because there is more traffic on it? Anyway, I wanted some more Arctic Circle pics as my 1st ones were taken facing the sun. I drove right past it! There is just a little green road sign that says ďArctic CircleĒ. So I made the U-turn and went back to the rest stop. I met a Harley rider there. He and another guy took my pic, they came out way better than the 1st try. This was as far north as the Harley rider was going. He just really wanted to cross the Arctic Circle. He was not willing to destroy his bike by going all the way to Deadhorse. Oh yeah, he was from Memphis. What gives with all these Tennesseans up here in Alaska?

 There was lots of construction from the Arctic Circle back to the Yukon River. And did I mention once before that I hate the water trucks? Well guess what, I hate the water trucks. They fill up in a nearby river and just hose down the road. This turns it into a big, muddy, sloppy mess. Now if you hit the road after 2 hours or so after the water dries up, and itís just damp dirt and gravel itís awesome, but until then, mud bog. I can only imagine what it must have been like for the Harley rider with street tires.

 I gassed up at the Yukon River and ran into Mr. Green Hills again. We exchanged email addresses and agreed to go for a ride when we both get back to town. I ran into several people headed north. I let them know about the road conditions and how awesome my trip had been. I said goodbye to Jason and Scott as they were not staying in Fairbanks tonight. After all the chatting I hopped on the bike as I needed to make Fairbanks by 6:00.

 Just past the Yukon River I ran into the same 10 miles of construction, only today all the workers were off. This meant no pilot car, no heavy machinery, no water trucks, etcÖ While you had to slow down due to some deeper gravel and dirt, it was a much nicer ride than the way up. After a while I caught up to some semi trucks, and now I could understand why they wet the road down. It was like riding through a sand storm. Visibility was extremely limited. If the road had been wetted down, there would have been no dust. Oh well, damn if you do and damn if you donít.

 After getting past the trucks I saw my last wildlife of the Dalton Hwy. A big beaver was crossing the road as I came down a hill. I stopped, but was unable to get the camera out in time for a pic. Jason and Scott passed me as I was getting back up to speed. We honked to each other and I didnít bother to chase them down.

 When I got to the Elliot Hwy I stopped to take some pics of the Dalton Hwy and my bike. I was actually sad to be leaving this part of the trip. It was simply fantastic. It was at this sign that I vowed not to make this a once in a lifetime thing. At some point in the future, who knows when, I will be back.

 About 10 minutes into the Elliot Hwy it started to rain. I had rain on the in, and now rain on the way out. Rain is not as big a deal to me as it was the first day out of MN. But this time traffic was oh so slow, and breakfast was starting to weigh me down, and 6:00 was approaching fast.

 I made it to the hotel at 5:45. Luckily they could get to my laptop (it was in a locked closet that only the manager has access to). I showered and did some much needed laundry. I had some pizza and worked on the website. I went to bed around 1:30 or so.

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