Deadhorse or Prudhoe Bay
There are 800 km separating Fairbanks from Deadhorse or Prudhoe Bay (it is known by both names). At first, there is a paved road full of curvy slopes, but the real challenge started on the famous Dalton Highway (the same highway featuring the History Channel Series: Ice Pioneers), one of the most dangerous roads on United States, due to the high amount of accidents relative to the low circulation of vehicles on it.
This time of the year this road is full of potholes, slopes, and extended parts of gravel and mud. I had the opportunity to drive on it during winter and it was one of the most difficult challenges I have met. This time it was a little easier, but just a little because it still presents the driver with obstacles that required high driving skills. The nice part is that you can drive at your own pace, since there are no highway patrols.
The first Amazing thing on this part of the journey was getting to the Arctic Circle. This time of the year, from here on, the day lasts 3 months…yes, it not a typo, 3 MONTHS!!! Something that is easily said but inadvertently affects your senses and your biological clock severely.
Little by little we overcame all the difficulties on the road, including sharing the road with huge trailers that do not slow down or yield as they throw gravel onto your windshield causing cracks. Midway you can find the only place to refuel and buy something to eat: Coldfood, a gas station with a costly bad hotel and a restaurant with super high prices.
After the respective pictures, we continue to our destination. On the way we saw an impressive amount of Caribou. It is incredible how peaceful they seem, eating or simply resting at the side of the road.
Finally at 10:30 “at night” (but always with daylight) we arrived to Deadhorse, we took lots of pictures to show we had arrived to northernmost point on the United States a vehicle can reach. (The real northernmost point is the town of Barrow, but you can only get there by plane). We stopped for a while next to the General Store (the only one in town) and look for a place to camp
This “town” is only inhabited by the petroleum companies’ workers who extract to petroleum and sent it via pipeline to Valdez Port, 1,600 Kilometers away. It difficult living in this desolated place but the pay is good, so many work here for a couple of years and afterwards they go home with a nice capital.
We parked on the hotel’s parking lot and took out my super grill (thanks again Enrique Soto) to eat and celebrate our victory: Starting this expedition on the southernmost point and arriving to the northernmost, encouraged us and gave us the strength to get back to Florida…we have already made half of the way! Let’s Go on!
The temperature was around 0 centigrade degrees (32 degrees Fahrenheit), and making us shiver, but we opened the wine bottle our friends David and Celia gave us in Grand Junction especially for this occasion, this picture is for you! After the barbecue, Yoyo and Sergio went to the SUV to sleep because they were too cold. I, on the other side, slept peacefully on my Anaconda tent.
We woke up at 9 am and got on the road back to Fairbanks. After the mud and gravel part, and once again on the paved part of the road, we noticed a vibration characteristically of the cardan shaft. We stopped to take a look at it and found out the problem was the crosshead, what meant we had to change it as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
After this unforeseen incident, we went back to the hotel in Fairbanks where we literally fell from exhaustion.