Wednesday Day 4
Driving to Deadhorse-Prudhoe Bay is on many people’s bucket lists including ours. When it was announced the night before that we would be making the 1000 mile Dalton Highway trip in two days, you could hear and see the excitement in the group.
The Dalton Highway consisted of nice smooth pavement, pothole ridden pavement, patches of gravel, roads made of river rock, full gravel and mud all with a speed limit of 55 MPH most of time. After just over 12 hours of driving on this inconsistent terrain, we reached the night’s accommodations, Deadhorse Camp in Deadhorse.
When you arrive in Deadhorse, you quickly find out that everything in Deadhorse is there to support the oil operations, not tourism. There really isn’t anything in the town, including food or accommodations. Luckily, we had stocked up with food in Fairbanks before leaving for Deadhorse so we had some “tasty” sandwiches waiting for us in the ARB Fridge/Freezer when we arrived and settled in.
If you are not traveling via a RV or van, you will be in for a surprise. Don’t expect a five-star hotel. Instead, all sleeping establishments resemble very large mobile homes that are configured in a manner like a dormitory with two twin beds per room and no toilet, but instead a large shared bathroom with showers. Most of the participants on the trip were not fazed by the rustic accommodation, instead seen it as a unique experience.
Later that “night” we were surprised by the staff at JKX with BBQ’ed Reindeer sausage with all the fixings. We ended the “night” standing around the BBQ, swatting at bird-sized mosquitos that were not in anyway affected by the falling rain. All while the sky was still bright enough to read your favorite issue of JP Magazine well past midnight.
Thursday Day 5
After a surprisingly comfortable sleep in our twin beds, we kicked the morning off with a little breakfast in the camp’s diner. Shortly after breakfast, it was off on a tour bus to the Arctic Ocean. We drove this far so we of course can’t leave without dipping our hands (some their entire bodies) in the ocean.
The only way to reach the ocean is to drive through Prudhoe Bay, a heavily secured area due to the oil operations. To do this, you must either be a credential worker in the area or be on a guide bus. After going through an armed check point, it was a just short drive to the ocean where we all had the chance to walk out and put our hands in the Arctic Ocean.
Now that most of us accomplished the Arctic Ocean bucket list item, it was time to head south backtracking our route on the Dalton Highway.
The route south was the same as heading north, just with a little more rain and mud. After a quick fuel and meal at the halfway point in the small town of Coldfoot, it was back on the road to our night’s unknown location.
After reaching permanent pavement and civilization, it was what seemed like a short drive to our next accommodation, the Hotel North Pole in the Christmas themed town of North Pole, AK.