Here in Homer, the fireweed has nearly bloomed to the top and we are holding tight to the remaining vestiges of summer. Well, I am holding tight and Taz is waxing his skis.
On Sunday, August 3, Taz, Zip and I head off in the camper, driving north to Fairbanks and then onward to the Dalton Highway, also known as the haul road, across the north slope of Alaska to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean. We will spend the month driving, hiking, exploring, doing photography, meeting locals and other travelers and trying our best to outrun and outmaneuver the heft and hardy mosquitoes that we have heard feast on those who step from the confines of their vehicles.
Cell and Internet service will be mostly non-existent the entire time, so please consider us "unplugged" for the month and we will look forward to catching up with you when we return to a service area. If you need to reach us for an urgent matter, please send a text to our respective cells, knowing we are basically unreachable during this time.
Hi ho, hi ho, it's down the road we go...
Here's a bit of information on the Dalton Highway, which turns 40 this year...
* The 414 mile highway begins north of Fairbanks and ends at the community of Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean and the Prudhoe Bay oilfields, and parallels the Trans-Alaska pipeline
* The road was built in 1974 as a supply road to connect the Yukon River and Prudhoe Bay during the construction of the Trans-Alaska pipeline
* It is the only highway in Alaska that crosses the Yukon River, Arctic Circle and the Brooks Range
* There are only three towns along the entire highway: Coldfoot at Mile 175 with a population of 10; Wiseman at Mile 188 with a population of 22; Deadhorse at Mile 414 with a year round population of 25 and a seasonal population of 3,500 to 5,000 residents and workers
* About 160 work trucks drive the road daily in the summer months and 250 in the winter
* The road ends just a few miles from the Arctic Ocean, but the land beyond Deadhorse is private property owned by oil companies and required private tours to the ocean
* Truckers have names for various sections of the road, including Oil Spill Hill, Oh Shit Corner and The Roller Coaster
* The highest elevation along the road is as it crosses the Brooks Range at Atigun Pass – 4,739 feet or 1,444 meters
Nearly all areas of the highway can be viewed on Google maps and there are a few web cams that can be found on Google as well
Barring we are not eaten alive by mosquitoes, stay tuned for images, videos, stories and more once we return home!