Friday, May 29, 2009

Prudhoe Bay Trip - Day 2 continued

...We had planned to eat lunch at Yukon River crossing, but after talking to the people in the visitor center decided to go a little further and eat at the Hot Spot, instead. I had heard of the Hot Spot, but didn't realize where it was. We drove about 15 miles North of Yukon River crossing when we saw the sign. What a cool place! Anyone who misses this spot has missed a major high point of the ride. I'll let a few pics tell the story why.

The burger is as big as my head!

After we ate Bobby looked more closely at my bike's fork seals. He did not like what he saw. He tried to downplay his concern, I think. But I could tell from his face that the rest of our trip was in jeopardy. Nonetheless, after we ate we got back on the bikes and continued North.

Bobby decided that the main road was too easy. Let's try this, Karen!

Back in 2004, this region was hit by one of the worst fires in Alaska history. 706 fires burned a total of 6.6 million acres. In 2005, another 4.6 million acres burned. The trees of the taiga were reduced to ash with only a few charred poles remaining of what had been the boreal forest. Jump ahead to this summer. Fireweed is a flower seen everywhere in Alaska, but it gets its name from being one of the first plants to grow in areas that have been burned by forest fire. We timed it so that vast mountain sides were covered in the pinkish purple blooms of this beautiful flower.

Along the road sides in the areas with fireweed we saw this plant. I don't know what it is, but it has the most beautifully intoxicating scent of any flower I have ever smelled. The closest I can come to describing it is a mix between jasmine, plumeria, and chai tea.

As we climbed in elevation we came to the area of finger mountain, another well known Dalton Highway landmark.

Upon leaving Finger Mountain we continued to head further North. I was scooting along watching the road when I passed a sign that said "Arctic Circle" with an arrow. Surely there would be more to the arctic circle crossing than that! I turned around and followed the area a short distance off the road. And there it was! Proof that we'd crossed the circle!

You'll notice that the sign is well kept, and clean. The back side of the sign, however, is full of graffiti.
and what is this?

Yep, is now represented at the Arctic Circle, baby!

We hit pavement again, and had a relatively easy ride almost all the way to Coldfoot. Coldfoot is an ugly nasty place. I am very glad we didn't stay there. The visitor center on the other side of the road, however, is a very nice place.

From Coldfoot it was only a 15 mile dirt ride into Wiseman where we spent the night at the Arctic Getaway Bed & Breakfast.

Our cabin was fantastic, and the folks who run this place are the best!

Had we stayed in Coldfoot we would have slept in a closet on narrow hard twin beds. Here, for the same price we got a cabin to ourselves with tons of books to read, and comfortable beds with real down comforters. We also got a yummy breakfast and some great conversation.

The owner's cabin.

The cabins are on a river, and there would have been some great photo ops, but we were tired. After Bobby did some work on my bike, we showered and crawled into bed for a great sleep. Then we got up and closed the curtains because here North of the Arctic Circle the sun would have been shining in the window all night. Once the cabin was dark we slept like logs until the next morning.

1 comment:

Michael A. Hervey said...

you are some wild women. I admire your drive and courage. Lots of so-called "bikers" could not make this trip. Hope I can do it someday. I got a BMW1200GS but haven't pushed it yet. Mike.