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I wanted to do some more maintenance on the bike. Change the oil and replace the rear brake pads. After the Dalton, the rear pads were toast. The calcium carbonate stuff they put on the roads seems to coat the rear discs and wears the pads down quickly. Strangely this doesn’t appear to happen on the front pads.

I went to go see BMW master mechanic George at Trails End BMW. Wow, what an experience that was. George was one old krusty mother f****. I liked him immediately. Opinionated as hell. Was verbally abused for about a half hour. Seems he hates the new BMWs, and only the old ones are worth a damn. If you are from California you don’t know shit. Information you get off the internet is mostly useless and wrong, and he desperately wants to get out of the business.

I don’t mind being told how incompetent I am. In fact talking with George was great. It was comical. But in time I realized that he really didn’t want to work on my bike. So I tried to convince him that I would do all the work. I just needed a place to do it and an oil pan. I would supply everything else.

“Yeah sure, Ill be holding your hand the whole time. Ok, come back around 4:00″

So I came back later with oil in hand. George was working on a Kawasaki and things were not going well. Told me to go away and come back later. In an hour, or maybe tomorrow. At that point, I decided that this was a waste of time and went to the nearest Wal Mart. They gave me an oil pan no questions asked. Changed the oil and swapped the brake pads in less time than it took trying to convince George to do it.

What a character. Highly recommend at least visiting with him just for the experience.

H


Today was the second day going south bound on the Dalton. Had a quick breakfast in Coldfoot, and read some independent magazine the waitress insisted I should read. I love reading these mags, because of the cool adjectives they use when describing politicians and the congressional process.

One quick snap of my camp spot.

Hoping for warmer conditions than the previous day I was off.

Than I was at the end, (or actually the start of the Dalton) The New Yorkers were there as well. Plus a couple of guys just starting to go North.

We all rode back to Fairbanks. I got a dorm room at the University of Alaska for $31 a night. Decided to stay here till Sunday so I could get some long needed work done.

Later I hooked up the with the New Yorkers to grab some dinner. Turned out that they had run in to the Venezuela guys, and they were going to have a BBQ at the cabin they rented and we were invited. They were just down the street from the college. Perfect. So we had a little party to celebrate the Dalton. Good times.

H

Prudhoe Bay

Filed Under Alaska 'O8


I took the tour of the oil fields so I could get to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean. You can’t just ride there, because it is privately controlled by the oil companies. Plus, you need to get a security clearance background check 24 hours before the trip.

It started with us learning about how great oil is and how drilling helps the planet.

The oil companies are great stewards of the land, and leave very little trace. They help make the planet a better place. Our bus ride included a stop at the Halliburton sign, one of America’s greatest companies, so we could take a picture of it.

Saw some cool heavy machinery.

Some swans enjoying the facilities here.

And then we made it to the Arctic Ocean.

Victory after so many miles.

I jumped in the water of course. To shallow to swim, and sooo cold. Sorry, no pic of me in my underwear in the water. Don’t want to horrify anyone.

And than it was back to Deadhorse. I am now thoroughly convinced that oil drilling is good for the world, and the sooner we start drilling everywhere, the sooner we can save the planet. Oil rigs for everyone.

Went to go gas up the bike, and met a crew from New York heading back as well.

Couple more snaps of this cool little industrial park.

Got to pose in front of the Deadhorse sign.

And of course that most important mile marker.

One last look at Deadhorse.

Bike was ready for the trip back.

And I was off. This time the ride would be very different from the previous day. Rainy, windy, and very very cold. It was freezing. Should have brought an electric vest. Had the handlebar heaters running at max, but my thumbs went numb anyway from the cold. This was tough.

Once I made it past the Arctic plains the temps got much better for awhile.

Then I was back in Coldfoot. The New Yorkers were already there. We hung out in the bar and shared experiences from the road. A couple of riders from Venezuela I had met in Deadhorse showed up as well. We all celebrated late in to the night. Good times.

H

Deadhorse

Filed Under Alaska 'O8


Scotty woke me up this morning telling me that he decided that he didn’t want to go Prudhoe Bay anymore and was heading out. He was already packed up, and there would be no discussion. His bike started up and he left. I was still in my sleeping bag in my tent, and it took me a while to register just what had happened. We were only 240 miles from the Prudhoe Bay, probably 5-6 hours away. To suddenly turn around this close. I believe the security guard and the riders we spoke with the previous night may have spooked Scotty something serious.

Im calling this the Great White North Conspiracy. It seemed wherever I would go, I’d get a lot of doom and gloom about the roads. Starting way back when a Harley guy in Stewart told me to grab my gonads and squeeze the testosterone out and humble myself before even considering the Dalton. Tales of tragedy happened on the Dempster as well. Could this be a well orchestrated conspiracy to scare away others?

I wasn’t about to turn around, so I decided to continue on solo. Fortunately, the weather really improved and the road was fast. A lot of fun.

Atigun Pass:

The Arctic Plains:

One of the many trucks blasting down the Haul road:

And then I made it. Deadhorse!

I stayed at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel:

This place was the best. I was able to get my own room that shared a bathroom with one other lady. It was the best little room I have ever stayed in. The use of space was amazing. The bed was next to window with a television table placed just above. There was a lazy boy chair. The room had a view of the surrounding area. Im kicking myself for not taking a picture of this room. Got it for $125, and that included meals.

The dining room was even better. They had some of the best prime rib Ive ever eaten complete with raw horse radish, giant butterfly shrimp deep fat fried, fresh bread, caesar salad, carrot cake, cookies, ice cream, every conceivable type of drink (non-alcoholic) etc etc etc. All you can eat. I chowed down like there was no tomorrow. They feed these oil workers really well.

Slept great that night. Was debating for the longest time if I should stay more than one night. It was just too nice here, and I felt great (pounding my chest with accomplishment).

H


Our first day on the Dalton. A lot of anticipation for this day, and here it was. This was going to be good.

The road was in really good shape, except for areas where they put down water or were doing maintenance. These areas would become slick, but still very manageable. Fortunately, these areas only extended for a couple of miles at a time. A lot of the road was paved. Much more than anticipated. In fact, the section prior to Coldfoot was 90 miles of pavement.

The Yukon river.

We stopped at the Hot Spot for a burger.

A pipeline security guard came up to us and told us about a rider that died on the road three weeks earlier. He had gone off the side and hit his head. He had spinal fluid coming out of his eyes and ears. Not what we needed to hear, especially during lunch.

Than we made the Arctic circle:

Paved section prior to Coldfoot:

Once in Coldfoot we met some riders that had just come from Deadhorse. They were celebrating their victory, and told us about the road ahead. They had hit a lot of rain, and it was slow going. Limited visibility in some areas, and some muddy spots as well. This put smiles on both Scotty and my faces. Scotty thought that the first section was way to easy for his KLR.

Just one more day and we would be at Prudhoe Bay.

H

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