Well, I suppose it IS the Arctic

This has become the standard response to the:

> lack of trees – or in fact any vegetation more than knee height. But plenty of animals – ground squirrels, exceedingly cute baby muskox, caribou, rabbits, hares and a bear (a reassuringly small dot in the distance)

> lack of darkness – dusk goes straight to dawn at about 2am. My camping head torch remains unused.

> lack of tarmac on the roads – I now have more words for gravel than the Eskimos have words for snow. So far the “Dalton Highway” has been less highway, and more like 200 miles of traffic calming! For those on Jersey, the good bits are like the railway cycle track up from St Aubin, and the worst bits akin to trying to cycle along Archie Rondell beach!

> lack of connection to the outside world – no mobile or WiFi for 240 miles (hence lack of tracker update)

> lack of any public service or building for 190 miles – and even then, the first building was just a toilet. After 5 days outside it was weird to be within solid walls!

The tough cycling has been more than been made up for by the very spectacular scenery. While there is more than just a passing resemblance to the likes of the Cairngorms and Glen Coe* – it is on a far grander scale, with far fewer signs of human activities.

Other road users (exclusively male as far as I can tell!) are very courteous, giving plenty of space and slowing right down on overtaking, with some stopping to check i was ok or offer help. Stories of rocks being thrown up by the huge trucks (16 wheels not uncommon)  have been unfounded.

No injuries to report, and the bike and gear have held up well. Though the tent has turned out to be too well ventilated for the freezing and windy nights – but I’ve used the bike bag to provide an extra bit of shelter, and that is working well. Only problem with the gear is the weight! I’m going to need to be more ruthless with the packing.

Details of the journey so far (see map below)
May 20th – left Deadhorse at 17:30, rode for 4 hours, covered 24 miles (ouch!)
May 21st – started at 10:30 (after reorganising panniers), covered 38 miles to the first rest room just past Pump Station 2 (better distance, but still a long day)
May 22nd – later start at 11:30 (replenishing water by filtering melted snow, and hoped rain would stop), covered 42 miles (bridge before pump station 3) and up to 400m above sea level. Now getting used to the pace and settling in to the routine 🙂
May 23rd – late start at mid day (did washing and finished tent mod), covered 40 miles (finishing on main road by Galbraith Lake) finishing by in 7 hours, but also climbed 400m.
May 24th – started at 10:00, covered 50 miles (target!) in 9 hours, as well as the big climb from 800m to 1400m, finishing at 500m (14 miles after the “furthest north spruce”. A good day 🙂
May 25th – started at 11:30, covered 46 miles by 16:00, finishing at 300m. The first headwind of the trip was more than compensated by 35 miles of smooooth tarmac (asphalt as they call it here). Got to Coldfoot early and got a room – another good day.
May 26th – rest day (stock up on food, fuel, water, charge, sleep, washing, blog update) before 250 miles of rolling poor roads (yesterday’s road surface soon to end)

image

There are plenty of photos, but the connection in Coldfoot isn’t great – I’ll upload some of the better ones when I get to the big city of Fairbanks by the end of the month.

In the meantime, here’s few photos from Coldfoot:

The lovely smooooth road just before Coldfoot:
image

Some of the huge trucks I’m sharing the road with:
image

Looking North at 2am last night, about the time dusk becomes dawn:
image

*(Absolutely, McGlashan: “They even stole our idea for a countryside” – Alaska can be added to the list!)

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15 thoughts on “Well, I suppose it IS the Arctic

  1. poshsue May 27, 2016 / 6:27 am

    Well done you! Looking forward to seeing some photos. Lovely to hear from you. X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel Ray-Marks May 27, 2016 / 8:17 am

    Brilliant post. Glad all is going well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vince Luff May 27, 2016 / 10:42 am

    Keith, I’m addicted to reading your blog! Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • keithd2016 May 27, 2016 / 3:21 pm

      Excellent – I hope to be able to keep it more up to date as I get closer to civilisation

      Like

  4. Linda May 27, 2016 / 11:34 am

    Wow looks amazing! Great to hear you are doing so well! Anna and Zoe are hoping for a pic of the exceedingly cute baby muskox….

    Liked by 1 person

    • keithd2016 May 27, 2016 / 3:25 pm

      It was difficult to get a good pic as they are big fearties, and the camera on my phone isn’t great. But I managed to get some video – I’ll upload it for the girls when I get to Fairbanks.

      Like

      • keithd2016 May 27, 2016 / 3:37 pm

        In the meantime, here’s a link to a photo I took of an adult and baby hoof prints (if you zoom in you can just make out the ruler at the end of the compass baseplate):

        Like

  5. keithsmum May 28, 2016 / 9:55 pm

    Great to hear from you – we were beginning to wonder exactly where you were and what was happening!  Really enjoyed your excellent account of the journey so far and glad everything is going well.  Looking forward to the next update. Love ffrom Mum xx

    From: Keiths Big Ride To: artbarb77@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Friday, 27 May 2016, 7:17 Subject: [New post] Well, I suppose it IS the Arctic #yiv0260339546 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0260339546 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0260339546 a.yiv0260339546primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0260339546 a.yiv0260339546primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0260339546 a.yiv0260339546primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0260339546 a.yiv0260339546primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0260339546 WordPress.com | keithd2016 posted: “This has become the standard response to the:> lack of trees – or in fact any vegetation more than knee height. But plenty of animals – ground squirrels, exceedingly cute baby muskox, caribou, rabbits, hares and a bear (a reassuringly small dot in th” | |

    Like

  6. Deanne Mattice May 29, 2016 / 1:10 am

    Beautiful stunning scenery, cant wait to see more pics. Safe hourneys thia week!

    Like

    • keithd2016 Jun 7, 2016 / 1:55 am

      Sorry about the lack of pics -most of the internet access here is satellite based & very slow at uploads 😦
      I’d like to thank you and everyone else at United for getting me, my bike and all my gear to the start. There were many things that could have gone wrong with the journey that would have resulted in significant delays in me getting started – but everything went perfectly! I hope my legs perform as well over the next 10 months as you guys did!

      Like

  7. Ken Davis May 29, 2016 / 8:11 pm

    Great post, great detail, great pics. Nice to hear the truckers are friendly though the dodgy road surface sounds hard work. Keep it up!

    Like

  8. Tania May 30, 2016 / 5:16 pm

    Loving the blog too…keep the wheels turning and enjoy. Sue tells me that the weather is hotting up, so dont forget to slip slap slop and wear your anti bear hat. Have fun.

    Like

  9. Jack Nunes Jun 1, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    Looks so serine. A world away from my hellish FATCA project- I’m jealous !

    Like

    • keithd2016 Jun 1, 2016 / 3:44 pm

      Yes, you’d like it out here – seen loads of motor bikes touring the Dalton highway. One to add to your list of road trips.

      Like

    • keithd2016 Jun 7, 2016 / 1:45 am

      It is a strange world here – being able try travel with almost a weeks worth of self sufficiency is very liberating – countered with the fact my bike weighs a tonne – far from liberating when going up hill! Hope your project gets better!

      Like

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