In the morning of my departure from Eagle, Jan had given me some home made cookies to bribe the road workers with. Soon after I left, I stopped to split them in two piles so i wouldn’t miss out on my share! I went through the ‘road closed’ signs and as i made my way to the Taylor Highway. I noticed that the damage on the road hadn’t been repaired.
My hopes wont high for the breaks in the road that had stopped me previously but when i got to the area, i recognized two of the workers fixing one of the bulldozers. They had been in the escort car for the bulldozer id passed two days prior and i had spoken with them then.
I stopped the bike and headed over to see what was going on. When i got close, one of them said, “You can get through, we made a path just for you and your bike..”
What??? What do you mean?? I wanted to know more.
They said that the road wasn’t open but they had had some cars trapped so they had dug a goats trail to get them out and will close it again soon to do the repairs.
I was so excited! I gladly gave them the bribing share of the cookies and thanked them twice before I put my new tyre to work through a series of shallow river crossings and a new but rough trail to freedom!!
My goal that day was Fairbanks, a couple by the name of Gerri and Cam had offered their shower. They had stumbled across the raft and I during its construction phase. They were on holiday in Canada with their three boys.
They didn’t know i was coming at this stage but I planned to call once i was in town as a shower was high on the list of priorities. Fortunately they remembered me and i managed to wash and change just in time to enjoy a home cooked meal and a bottle of wine with the family and some of their friends.
Their three boys Conor, Callum and Ross drew me a picture each that I put safely in with the important paperwork i had left before I crashed out in the study. Im sure i had big dreams of reaching the end of the road the following day.
It was early when i was out the door and on the road. Google maps said it was 800km and should take 16 hours to get to Deadhorse (Arctic Ocean) and my ultimate goal. I was telling myself that 16 hours must be well overestimated as the rain bucketed down as i headed north out of Fairbanks.
“At your own risk Rd”
The Dalton Highway is built to supply the oil fields up there in the Arctic and a 1,288 km oil pipeline that pumps all the oil back down to Alaska’s core.
Despite the bit of rain, it all went quite well to begin with. I was carrying two extra fuel bottles but didn’t really need them as i found fuel every 200km or so.
Then one of the greatest milestones since the equator. The Arctic Circle!! I tried to set off an emergency flare in a celebratory routine but i couldn’t… The stupid thing wouldn’t light! I must have looked like early man trying to make fire, the way i scratched my hairy head and wondered around trying to strike and rub it against whatever surface i could find in the area.
Despite the lack of emergency flare, Id made it this far!!!!