Wiseman to Deadhorse part II Dalton Highway (371 KM)


I have read so many ride reports by other motorcyclists and have seen so many pictures of Alaska and some of the places we have been, but to be living and doing it all ourselves is a whole other story.  The vastness of the Alaskan Tundra is almost overwhelming.  We feel so small when riding our bikes through the mountains and plains.  The views are staggering and makes us wonder why anyone would live up here throughout the winters. 

The owner of the Boreal Lodge, Heidi said that her family reside in Wiseman because that is where she was raised.  She said all winter is mainly spent trying to keep everything from freezing and lying low.  It can get to minus 50 or 60 degrees F in Wiseman.  Even colder in Deadhorse.  Deadhorse is an industrial “town” open 365 days a year, 24/7.  Spoke to some guys who work here and they say there are 2 shifts. Winter and Summer.  When I asked if they made a lot of money to be so remote and away from their families, I got a laugh and no answer.

We just decided not to take the Arctic Ocean Tour because (1) costs too much and (2) we made it here and we feel that is good enough.  Since 9/11 the tour is not allowed in any buildings or really near the important stuff when it comes to oil.  We are instead writing our update, gonna eat all the endless food we get with our room and relax.  More about the Prudhoe Bay Hotel in the pictures later in this report.

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The Boreal Lodge is simply an oasis in the middle of nowhere.  I got up early, what else is new and made myself some coffee in the cute kitchen they have for their 4 lodge guests.  Not really good with one of these brewers but it tasted like coffee sort of.

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Cheryl said she wanted breakfast in bed and that is what she got

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judging by her face I guess she was not impressed with my bowl of instant oatmeal.  Winking smile

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Headed out north around 0700 in a little drizzle.  Weather forecast was good for Deadhorse but as we soon found out it must have rained all night on the Dalton.  Good news is that we pretty much stayed dry all day except the important part the road.

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Even though we were surrounded by black clouds it never poured directly on us.

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The road from Wiseman to Deadhorse was a whole other ball of wax as they say then the first portion of the highway.  Again I have seen pictures of all the roads we are riding and to actually experience the terrain and road conditions is something else.

We are not professional off road riders and you certainly learn fast how to sharpen your off road skills when you ride in slippery snot, deep gravel, rocks, newly grated slippery snot and road mulch.  Gives you a good physical work out but also mentally as well.

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Looks are deceiving when you are looking at the pictures of the road.  Anyone who has been up here will tell you the shiny part of the road means greasy and take it easy.

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Doing my one handed on the move shots today again.  Seems to be working well.

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Not much sun today and very cool.  Started out around 6 Celsius and we were plugged in for some heat for the first few hours of the ride.

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The road throws at you many different types of conditions.  Some are wet but not so slick, others are soaked, deep slippery stuff and really need focus.  There are few sections of the second half of the Dalton that tease you with pavement lke about 100 miles outside Deadhorse.  Then about 50 miles from Deadhorse when you are totally beat, they welcome you with a grater making pasty wet stuff for riders to have to get past in order to enter town.  I think this is Deadhorse’s way of saying bikers should not be here Winking smile. To add to the mixture at the end of the day they throw in loose gravel.

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The scenery again is spectacular.

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The above is a good shot of newly grated road and this is not fun to ride in.

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The truckers were nice on this road.  Most of them slowed down for us and seemed mindful not to want to spray us with mud or rocks.

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While passing through Atigun Pass the road was soaked and very slippery throughout the entire climb up and down.

Info thanks to Wikipedia:

Atigun Pass, elevation 4,739 feet (1,444 m), is a high mountain pass across the Brooks Range in Alaska, located at the head of the Dietrich River.[1][2]. It is where the Dalton Highway crosses the Continental Divide (at mile marker 244), and is the highest pass in Alaska that is maintained throughout the year.[1][3] Atigun is the only pass in the Brooks Range that is crossed by a road.[citation needed] The pass has been responsible for taking many drivers off the road and is also home to avalanches during the winter.

Atigun is known among bush pilots for the difficulty of crossing the pass with small planes; Anaktuvuk Pass is favored as the safer flying route.[citation needed].

The pass is often shown on the third and fourth seasons of the History Channel reality series Ice Road Truckers, which focuses on the challenges of driving on the Dalton Highway.

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Food breaks were a must today

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More pictures of the pass

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We made it through and the road got a bit better

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I spy some blue sky but never amounted to anything

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The Tigers are really doing great, knock on wood but the Heidenau Tires are really helping the bikes and the riders out famously.

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That orange thing in the above picture is a cyclist we heard who is from Italy and riding from Patagonia to Deadhorse.

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A signal for their road construction

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The mosquitoes were miserable whenever we stopped for a break today.  The construction dudes wore bug shirts too.

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Cheryl and I believe riding miles takes longer then riding in Kilometers.  Smile

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Around every bend the scenery changed it seemed and you could tell that the mountains and hills were getting smaller as we got more north. Even just plain flat.

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Our poor poor bikes.

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The Kriega fork seal protectors ROCK!

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Guess who always is dirtier.

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Gets nicer looking as we “near” Deadhorse.  The last 110 miles seemed like it lasted forever.  I think it had to do with how tough it was getting into town with all the road gravel and grating.

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Looks ocean like eh?

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We had to add a little extra fuel before making it all the way.  The Tiger’s are getting noticebly better gas mileage as they get more KM’s on them.  We are over 6000 KM now and for this trip we averaged 4.9 L/100KM.  Not bad.  Our Beemers get 4.1.

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The above picture is the Franklin Bluffs south of Prudhoe Bay.  Again making you wonder that there might be an ocean around.  We have not seen hardly any wildlife since coming into Alaska.  Seems weird but from what we have been hearing about all the crazy hunting going on maybe this might mean something.

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I think we missed to welcoming sign to Deadhorse???

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According to what we heard today there is a multimillion dollar hotel built here called the Auroa Hotel, supposed to be really nice.  We like our hotel the Prudhoe Bay Hotel.

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Getting closer!

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First sign of Caribou for a very long while.  Nice to see right by the airport.

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We got to the hotel and there are signs all over telling you to wear booties or take your boots off, House Keeping.  So, I wore the booties to check us in.

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We pulled up and this guy Ray was trying to clean his BMW 650 Thumper and right away asked if we had a ride report going on the ADV forum because he said he could tell who we were.  he asked to take out picture for his own report to be done later in time.  Ray is from Arizona.

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the public gas station.  Make sure you use the RED handle one for unleaded nd this is how you pay.

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Funny this is an oil town and they have a crappy “gas station” for the public.

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Our room is like a dorm room

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That is it for now.  We need to chill out and eat again.  Will be heading out early tomorrow to head back to Fairbanks.  We are day 17 into our trip and it seems to be going by too fast all ready.  We are 2 very lucky grrls to be able to take a journey together.  Even though there are times we annoy one another we make a great pair.

4 thoughts on “Wiseman to Deadhorse part II Dalton Highway (371 KM)

  1. I continue to be amazed and full of admiration in respect of the stamina you two girls appear to have. Some great scenery you are managing to share with us – many thanks. Here in Germany, when you see mist coming out of the forest trees we say that the rabbits are making coffee LOL and from what I see in your posted images, there are one hell of a lot of rabbits up North. :-)
    Take care, continue to ride safe and of course – enjoy.
    Regards
    AlanI

    • Thanks Alan. I think we are amazed as well at our own stamina. This is some serious riding and there is nothing one can do to actually prepare for this but just do it. Everyday is a learning experience and one that reminds us to just respect the bikes and the terrain we are riding. We are humbled by the routes we have taken and are grateful we are managing to keep the rubber side down up until now and hopefully the rest of the way!

  2. You are absolutely right I think 100 km is a shorter ride than 60 miles. Don;t know what it is but it just seems that way! Too bad that you had to hit a period with such low weather. They are having one of their “wet” years but looks like you are making the most of it. Hopefully you get a sun break for at least a few days.

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