The Dalton was angry today my friend.
Brent wanted to leave at 6 am to head back to Coldfoot Camp and the Fairbanks the next day. I set the alarm for 5. I hate doing that as one part of this trip is to not set the alarm and not to have commitments unless necessary.
I woke up at 5 and Brent was already in the shower. I looked out the window. It was raining. Crap!
As I was getting ready Brent already had his helmet on and was waiting to go. I guess no hot, free, breakfast from the hotel this morning. I did manage to grab to PBJ sandwiches and milk to take with me though.
We were off at 6:03 am. As you may remember, the first 30 miles from Deadhorse were the worst. Who knows how the rain would play havoc with the road.
One thing to know ab out the Dalton Highway, in the summer they apply calcium chloride to the dirt to keep down the dust. The problem for bikers is that when it rains it turns the surface into a greasy slimy gruel. That is on top of the usual mud and little rivers that run down the hills. The stuff cakes your bike.
And of course the same spots with those rocks the size of my fist.
As we were waiting at the first flag person stop, the Pilot Car arrived and warned us about an extremely muddy portion of the highway. She said even she has problems in in her truck. Great.
We went through some of the usual loose big rocks and some muddy sections. No major problem.
Then it came. The muddy section. I sped up a bit to get through it.
My wheels wobbled and I was all over the place. I felt I was losing it. My legs instinctively went up to gain balance and brace myself. The bike was taking me to the edge of the road where there was lose gravel down an embankment of I think 4 to 6 feet. Between the two things I put the bike down. I ended up on the ground on my back beside the bike.
It may have been mud, but as I got up I noticed the damage to my bike – broken windshield, side spoiler, and the signal light. Seeing my bike suffer hurt ha ha ha and thinking of how my wallet was going to hurt hurt even more! Luckily I was ok. Just ticked off.
Brent and a guy running the roller beside the mud hole came over. We managed to pick up the bike and collect the broken parts.
I started the bike again and took off.
Moments later I heard a yell and behind me. Brent had dropped his bike. No damage. We picked it up and the two of us took off. We were covered in mud.
That was the worst of the mud. We passed over the big rocks we thought we so bad the other day. Today, we were happy to see them and not more mud.
When finally got through the 30 miles and stopped at the side of the road for breakfast – a PBJ sandwich and milk.
For the rest of the trip to Coldfoot Camp we road through more slimy calcium chloride. It caked our bikes.
Getting to the paved road outside of Coldfoot was a happy event.
But that didn’t mean we didn’t see some great scenery!
We arrived at our destination, tired, dirty, and hungry.
The hungry part we took care of right away. The tired was a sleep in a small older room in an Atco like trailer. The dirty will have to wait until Fairbanks. I don’t like that much. After a day like this I just want to clean everything up and enjoy a nice warm meal. That will have to wait until tomorrow.
I think I will be spending the next few days in Fairbanks to take care of the Dalton damage.