Wednesday, 18 August 2010 – Coldfoot to Fairbanks – 264.7 miles
Well, it wasn’t exactly a sunny morning but I was ready to ride. I broke camp and rode back to the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot. I needed to return the bear canister they loaned me on the way up. In the parking lot I saw two picture-worthy sights.
This sweetie belongs to the ranger.
This one does, too. (Duct tape - used by NASA, park rangers, me and, well, probably everyone) I love all the colors!
The road from Coldfoot wasn't all bad. But a lot of it was. Here's the muddy, sloppy, "greasy oatmeal" road behind me.
Here's the muddy, sloppy, "greasy oatmeal" road ahead.
I took it slowly and steadily. Before too long I was passing Finger Rock. The finger points toward Fairbanks. I should be there soon.
I stopped back in at the Yukon Crossing Visitor Contact Station (That name cracks me up. Why couldn’t they say Visitor Center??) Linda and Ray were still there, friendly as ever. They were glad to see I’d made it. “Me, too!”
I hadn’t seen their tiny but productive vegetable garden before.
I may have posted a photo of this bridge before (from the ride up). It's pretty impressive and I think another view is warranted. E. L. Patton Bridge over Yukon river.
It was getting hard to find a dry spot on the road.
Near the end of the highway, I met another Englishman, Nick Sanders. He’s been on some amazing motorcycle adventures. You can read all about him on his website. He's quite a character and worth reading about, if you have the time. Nick told me about his trips around the world, the video documentary he's making and his current adventure from Ushuaia to Prudhoe Bay. At times I struggled to understand him – he talks really fast. I guess that’s understandable: Nick set the record for riding over 19,000 miles around the globe in 19 days, 3 hours. This guy’s in a hurry!
I was very grateful to arrive at the end of the Dalton Highway and transition to mostly smooth pavement all the way to Fairbanks. On the way, I thought about Nick and the questions he’d asked – why did I do it and what did I learn.
This is pretty much what I came up with: Everyone was right. The whoop-dee-doos, the roller coastering, the gravel, mud and greasy oatmeal make this road unfriendly to scooters (and to scooterists, for that matter). The road and wind and rain will conspire against you. It was not easy. It probably was not smart. I’m glad I did it. And I’m very glad it’s over.
I rode back to Go North, my Fairbanks home. Guess who was there? Yep, my English pals Tim, Tom and Phil. (HA! - They’re gonna think I’m stalking them!) They found a local mechanic who seems to be equal parts MacGyver and Dr. Frankenstein. They’re hoping his magic worked. They're gonna test it out tomorrow. I'm gonna go to bed.