Day before yesterday we headed out hoping to go to Deadhorse. We made it to within 20 miles of Antigen Pass and it was still lightly raining and the roads were getting slick. I was worried that if they got worse I would not be able to get through & we would be stuck camping in the middle of no where hoping for drier weather. Sadly we turned around & came back. No Arctic Ocean for us.
We made the trek back to Wiseman & let Rob & Dave know we were headed back to Fairbanks. They were going to wait it out & hope for better weather yesterday. It’s a 1,000 mile round trip so hopefully they don’t get up there & find the 500 miles back are much worse. It took us just 6 hours of riding time to get to Wiseman on the way up. It took us over 10 hours of riding time to get back. I dropped my bike once. I was going up a hill in slick mud & the back-end slid out. No injuries, nothing broken. My side bag came off & the attachment piece bent but Shawn found a rock & ‘fixed’ it. The road changed dramatically in just a couple of hours. We saw a man on a Harley that had ridden to the Arctic Circle & the roads were fine. He took some pictures & on his way back he only made it 60 miles before encountering slick, muddy roads & couldn’t go on. His bike was parked at the top of the hill & he was just sitting there. He was traveling with someone in a truck so they went to get a trailer. We ran into him at the car wash in Fairbanks yesterday & they had hauled his bike back in a trailer. He said he pushed it into the ditch & left it overnight.
Dad went to Denali yesterday & we decided to dry out & mess around here in Fairbanks. We’ll head to Denali tomorrow, a day ahead of schedule. Looks like a 30% chance of rain tomorrow. We took the Discovery Boat tour in Fairbanks yesterday. It is touristy (if that is a word), but it was really quite good. We had a great time! Dad came back here last night & stayed with us. Today we’ll all go to Denali.
We have made another change to our trip & from Denali we’ll head to Anchorage, then back up to Tok. We are going to skip the Denali Hwy. It is dirt & after our experience on the Dalton, I don’t think I need anymore mud right now. The dirt packed highways are dry, you could make the trek on any sport bike. When it rains & they turn to mud, you need a serious dirt bike or a good dual sport. We are running street tires on our bikes.
Coming back from Wiseman the spare belt that has been loose on my bike broke. It was fine because we knew it probably wouldn’t make it & we had the new one with us. However, one of the bolts stripped out when Shawn was taking the cover off & without getting that off, there wasn’t anyway to get the new belt on. We were only on the side of the road about 15 minutes when a guy named Drew from an Alaskan transport company stopped in his huge semi. He was hauling boats & parts back & forth to Deadhorse. He had a star bit & hammer that he loaned us. Shawn was able to hammer it in & get the bolt to turn. Drew was super nice & stayed with us until we were back on the road. He was an angel! We had already been on the road 12 hours, it was rainy, foggy, we hadn’t eaten all day & we were still 60 miles from Fairbanks without cell service.
We are hoping for better weather, but if not, at least we are staying on solid roads! Hopefully Rob & Dave make it back to Fairbanks today. I haven’t heard from them since 3pm yesterday & they had made it to Deadhorse & were turning around to try & make it back to Coldfoot in the same day.