We've officially completed the Arctic Expedition from Columbus, and made the turn toward home. Wifi at the hotel here in Fairbanks is ... not great, but it's better than we'll have for the next couple of days!
We left Fairbanks yesterday with glorious weather - a bit chilly in the morning, but not freeze-your-face cold. It warmed up to the mid-70s, and the blue skies were amazing.
The Dalton Highway doesn't start right away out of Fairbanks, but it's very clear where it dos start. If you've watched today's video, you can see the beginning of the Dalton - it's the part where the flatbed truck, carrying another truck, is passing us. Uphill. On a curve. Fortunately, that was probably the worst traffic situation we had to deal with. There were other trucks, and a grader putting 12" rows of dirt in the road, but for the most part the traffic wasn't as scary as I thought i would be.
The road, though - it was either perfectly flat paved highway-grade asphalt, or inches-deep gravel concealing rust and washboard, or slick-looking fresh dirt.
We kind of took over the Arctic Circle pull-off - there were several folks who we invited to jump in while we were taking photos, because 19 Miracle Riders and the support crew take a long time to do anything. We wrapped up the photos, and some of the Riders headed back to Fairbanks, while some of us went on to Coldfoot.
Thanks to the expert cooking on a beautiful Golden's grill, we had delicious reindeer sausage and steaks. And we fed a bunch of new friends, too!
This morning was chilly, and soon a gentle rain started. We covered the same roads we'd seen earlier, with the added challenge of those slick-looking roads now being, well, slick. Another headlight was sacrificed to kicked-up gravel, and there were a couple of unscheduled pull-overs, but eventually we made it back to the BMW rental place, and traded in the high-performance, nimble German machines with their rock-hard seats and unfamiliar riding postures for our familiar, comfortable, American Iron.
Tomorrow the journey home starts in earnest ... back through Destruction Bay and Watson's Lake. I think we're all tired tonight - but the mood is great.
Check out the videos and pictures - and if you want a slightly different perspective, go read the "End to end" blog on my sponsor's website at Availity.com/ride-blog.