Saturday, May 30, 2009

Prudhoe Bay Trip - Day 3

Breakfast at Wiseman was an opportunity to see the inside of the owner's cabin. It was the original community center back during the gold rush days.

There is a very sad story associated with this bear.

A friend of the owner's was mushing his dogs in November one year, late enough in the winter that the bears should have all been hibernating. This old bear had been unable to store enough fat over the summer to stay asleep though and was out wandering around. To make a long story short, the wind was blowing hard down a long steep hill. The bear, at the top of the hill was unable to hear or smell the dog team until they all ran head long into one another. The bear killed several dogs, and the musher was almost killed as well. Fortunately for him he made it back to Wiseman and several people went out to find the bear. It was in the process of feeding on the dogs, and it turned on the people coming up. Through no fault of people or bear, the bear was shot and this is what is left as a reminder.

The road was still beautiful, in front and behind.

What a beautiful day to be out riding. Heading north out of Wiseman for Atigun Pass.

We made a stop within the first few miles and again about 25 miles down the road. The patches are doing their job so far and we will check them every 50 miles or so. Think this girl is having fun?

Riding the pass was beautiful.

But the geography was a little confusing...

My bike at the top of the pass thanks to the microfiber cloth and zip tie patch Bobby had made. 55 miles north of Wiseman, and the patches are working well. I think we'll make it!

I was enough ahead of Bobby that I got this picture of him coming up the pass.

On the other side of the pass looking north through the valley.

On our way out we came upon this,,,,,Dude is gonna have a lot of sweeping to do on this gravel road....

A gentle reminder of what the roads chews up and spits out.

The North side of the pass started out looking like Montana or Wyoming range land.

We never needed to use our sat phone, but we posed for pictures anyway.

The trucks, of course, own this road. If you are polite to them, they'll be polite to you. If you refuse to slow down and move over to the side of the road, they'll blast past and cover you in dust and thrown rocks.

Time to check the patches again. The left side is getting a bit wet so we replaced it and all was well the rest of the way into Deadhorse.

200 miles from anywhere and this mailbox cracked me up.... I should have put the flag up

Life's little choices. Wet or dry? I chose wet....

I don't think it looks soft.....

The farther North we go, the flatter it gets. Now it looks more like Kansas!

The eskimo cotton dots the tundra everywhere.

We had a moose run out in front of us just out of Wiseman, and a few muskox were off in the distance. We didn't get pictures of them, but we did stop for these two swans.

Finally, we have arrived. And the low fuel light comes on just as we enter the parking space.

When we got to Deadhorse we stayed in a camp that is still actively used by slope workers. The "room" we stayed in was in a trailer that they hook together into trains and pull onto the tundra during the winter when everything is frozen and won't be damaged.

The last 50 miles into Deadhorse was deep gravel.....uuggghhhh. At one point Bobby thought he had lost the bike while trying to transition into a different track closer to the edge of the road. He was weebble wobbling back and forth pretty bad when the bike started to lean over hard to the right. While preparing his mind for a low side fall, he somehow stayed with it and continued to steer. The front tire found some solid ground in the track he was trying to get into and with a little throttle,,, the bike returned upright. Scary! The last thing we need is Bobby injured or his bike broken down and me running on borrowed time on my fork seals!

to be cont.

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