Wednesday, September 1, 2010

On our Way, Aug 28, 2010

This post is being written on Sept 1, 2010

When I wrote in the Aug 27th’s post we were heading out today, I failed to mention, on purpose, that we were heading out today for a four day tour heading north up the Dalton Hwy to the Arctic Circle, then onto Prudhoe Bay, then fly to Barrow, and then fly back to Fairbanks on Tuesday evening. When we leave the coach like this Bob does not like to announce that happening to the world, so that is the reason for being a little vague.

IMG_3045 The weather was a little drizzly when we arrived at the tour company at 8 am. We were joined with another couple from Detroit and a single fellow from Frankfurt, Germany, so the group was small and we had lots of room in the 10 passenger van to change seats and stretch out.IMG_3051

Our first stop up the Dalton Hwy was at Joy Alaska. Another name for the Dalton Hwy in the Haul Road, recently made famous by the History Channel series Ice Road Truckers, Seasons 3 & 4.

IMG_0919 No, we were not yet at the Arctic Circle.


The tour van did have several construction stop and waits. It was still raining at this one. Love this guys improvised roof.


No wonder it was extra muddy, with the rain and this.


This morning while still at the tour headquarters we had ordered our lunch for pickup later in the day at the Yukon River Crossing roadhouse stop.IMG_0943

Below is a brief account of an event that happened in 2005 when a hibernating bear decided that inside the Yukon Crossing roadhouse would be a nice place to hibernate.

Soon we are at the Yukon River Bridge, home to the Yukon River Camp, which has a diner, lodging and gasoline. Hunters, rafters and fishermen often visit.

Camp coordinator Brett Carlson hands me a reprint from the March 8, 2005, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, describing a giant grizzly that broke into his facility during its winter closure to hibernate. As Carlson and two other men, all armed, began their search, they discovered a nest of promotional shirts. No bear. After probing dark rooms and closets at close range, they noticed a lump in the hallway. A head moved. They shot until the bear was still.

“It was a very long 10 minutes,” Carlson told the newspaper.”

This exert was taken from an account of the Haul Road, about half way down, it is a long article. The entire article gives a great description of the road we traveled.

What am I doing…well I am touching permafrost. Our guide, John, dug down about 14 through the tundra for us to feel the hard ice. See is really believing!

IMG_0975 As you can see below the foliage is beginning to turn on the tundra. IMG_0969


The low bush cranberry is now very nice to munch on. We had heard that after a frost, their flavor greatly improves, and I can say truthfully, yes it does.

The Dalton Hwy and the pipeline. Why does the pipeline zig zag, well check out the link to find the answer.

IMG_3104 Now to the highlight of the day, us crossing the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is the parallel of latitude 66.33. here is my giant leap for mankind. Don’t you love the nice carpet provided by the tour company.


And here is Bob’s giant tumble for mankind.


Then a posed redo.


Beautiful views with the fall colors erupting.


Our home for the night in Coldfoot, the Slate Creek Inn. Below is review from Tripadvisor and describes the Inn very well.

“If you are expecting a 5 star motel..LOL but if your are expecting to see what the pipeline workers experienced, that's what you will find. It was clean and fun. Your "wake up call" is a knock on the door. Twin beds were comfortable. There is a TV in the lobby and you can find great food at the truck stop across the dirt road. Everyone is friendly and always ready to answer any questions you have about the area. Enjoy the "wilderness"! There is a phone in the hallway if you have a calling card but forget your cell phones, they don't work here! We had a great time!”


Our room with a bathroom.


Dinner was a buffet, pasta, pizza, salad bar, and desert bar…all you can eat for $19.95. IMG_1005 We all enjoyed eating on the porch. You can see the Slate Creek Inn across the truck parking area.


Fuel Prices at Coldfoot.

Our van after we arrived in Coldfoot, John our guide did a great job of keeping the side windows clean.


When John found out Bob and I like to visit old cemeteries, he took us to one in Coldfoot, just mounds no markers. Cofdfoot is certainly a ghost town.


How did Coldfoot get its name?

Originally named Slate Creek, the settlement of Coldfoot began around 1898 when thousands of green stampeders flooded to the area in search of gold. The name was changed when a group of prospectors got "cold feet" about wintering in the district and headed south.”


Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

OK...I've followed your entire trip so I knew there weren't many options from this point I figured you went up into the Arctic Circle. The day we went (up the Dempster) was so wet that I can't imagine what it looks like now. The fall colors are pretty. Looking forward to hearing more of your Arctic adventure!

E Squared and Mui said...

Hey that looks like the room we stayed in at the Slate Inn in 2001. I remember the salmon served for our evening meal as being one of the best meals on the road. Does the Park Service still have a little hut there and provide programs in the evenings?

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