Day 1 - Staying in the Prudhoe Bay Hotel

"When you get out of the airplane, you'll know they are there!" Was a quote about mosquitoes of a person in the plane. We realized, he was right. They are there, fortunately not as many as we expected. In average 3-4 of them are always around you! Since we also needed one warm shower before we go to the wilderness, we stayed at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel. For this remote location next to the Arctic Sea it has quite nice rooms (simple of course) and all you can eat and drink all day long. Tomorrow we have to get a bear spray and then the journey can begin!

Day 2 - The journey has started!

Distance: 48.86mi | Time: 5:12

deadhorse-sign-of-brooks-ranch-supplyAfter a short night in the Prudhoe Bay Hotel we prepare ourselves for the big adventure. Since the package with the bear spray did not arrive yet, the time when we will leave was still undefined. So we first took a long and very good breakfast in the hotel and wrote many postcards (34 pieces). After speaking the guy who handles UPS affairs, we knew the spray would arrive today so we did last preparations (packing, getting gasoline for our stove, sending postcards, etc.). When we eat lunch we also met a few motorcyclists who invited us over to their homes in Prince George and Vancover, when we pass through these towns. The last step was to go over to the post office, where the famous sign of Deadhorse is located as well. Less, the nice lady from the post office took a picture of us for her wall of interesting people. And then the time had come, the tour could start at 5PM!buffalos-near-deadhorseWe turned the SPOT on and started the ride! Soon we realized also what others already told us: The mosquitoes are the worst! During the ride it is OK, but as soon as you stop they literally eat you. The cloud of mosquitoes constantly keeps up to you. Good thing we brought our mosquito nets with us. The road is unpaved but it is not to bad to ride on it. Directly behind Deadhorse we met a guy, who rode all the way up from Argentina and now tries to hitch hike back, respect! He told us he did the entire tour without a bear spray, which in our eyes is very brave. After 40km our heart rate accelerated, when we saw brown moving animals on the road. We stopped and asked us if these were bears. With the tele-lens we tried to identify these animals. There were approximately 10 and we started to think what to do because they came towards us. But Caro suddenly realized, that these animals were nothing else then buffaloes. next-to-the-dalton-highway-with-bicyclePuh, thank god! This experience was followed by the first animal-photo-session of the tour. We kept riding through this wide grass landscape still looking for large animals and enjoying the sun. Since we had almost midnight sun, we kept riding until 11PM when we stopped to cook some spaghettis. A little caribou surprised us which was nervously running back and forth. When we saw another large and dark brown animal walking next to the river we started to fear this might be the first bear. We packed everything together right away and started the ride again. So instead< of eating warm on good spaghettis we eat a few quick power bars. We did not ride for too long and we built up our tents directly next to the road after a good inspection of our campground for any bear signs.

Day 3 - Mosquito Day!

Distance: 53.44mi | Time: 5:58

camping-next-to-the-dalton-highwayMosquitoes mosquitoes mosquitoes…. They are everywhere and they come in clouds. Since our clothes are mostly bite proof, they only have a few certain spots where they come through: The socks and the gloves. Places where we now have a collection of mosquito bites. And with a collection I mean 10 and more, no kidding! On the road we also realized, that the hills start just 70 miles behind Deadhorse. We assume it was cheaper to build the road straight over these hills and therefore we had some good climbs in our way. Since the road is still not paved we sometimes end up in a huge cloud of dust, when one of the haul trucks passes us here. Some truck drivers are nice and keep a good distance to us, but some are just not “bicycle-friends”. Since it has not rained for a while, the road is dusty and dry. Most of the time we ride on hard packed gravel with only a few holes. Honestly we did not expect such a good road connecting up all the way to Deadhorse, but it seems the Oil companies put some hard effort in it to keep this road in good conditions. mosquitoes-in-alaskaAfter the ride we double checked our camp ground today since we saw a few footsteps of different animals. There where little wolf looking steps and caribou / moose like steps in the sand of the Sag River. With our stove which runs on gasoline we prepared a portion of rice and could watch an elk, which was nearby but soon took off through the water.

Day 4 - Camping at Galbraith Lake

Distance: 32.30mi (+17mi with pilot car) | Time: 4:30

along-the-dalton-highway-and-the-trans-alaska-oil-pipelineMore mosquitoes and worse road conditions sums up the day. And we almost ran into a caribou which stood directly in our way. We came down a hill and it was running ahead of us still deciding if it should leave the road to the right or the left. These animals are so goofy looking when they try to run away, it seems like they usually don’t have to run in their life. By the way the caribou is the animal which Santa uses to guide his slide. At the end of the day, we arrived at a huge construction site next to the highway. There we had to get into a pilot car since it was forbidden to ride next to the heavy construction vehicles. Michelle, who is working on this site and lives next the campground at Galbraith Lake gave us a ride to our campground of the day. Later we met her again after she finished work to interview her for our documentary.rainbow-in-alaskaThe night we stayed next to an unnamed river in between high mountains knowing the next day will be exhausting because of high elevations.

Day 5 - Wet and windy

Distance: 33.80mi | Time: 6:30

riding-up-the-atigun-pass-with-bicycleThe Brooks Range are the mountains between Deadhorse and Coldfoot Camp. The entire day was in between these mountains today. And since this was not enough, a very strong head wind was blowing, making the traverse a big challenge for us. Anyway the ride in these mountains is fantastic. You ride in between these tall peaks, knowing, if you’d follow any of the valley connecting to yours you will not see a road for hundreds of miles. Being in such a remote part of our world is an amazing experience and shows how relaxing it can be to be outside the stress of the work life. The Dalton Highway also follows through a valley of the Brooks Range and elevates more and more. riding-up-the-atigun-pass-with-bicycleThe strong wind caused a rather low average speed but when as we had reached the steepest part of the Atigun Pass and stopped for a little break, a pickup with the two state officers of the nearby airport Chandalar Shelf Airport pulled over and they offered us a ride to the top of the pass. Of course we could not deny this opportunity and therefore we hopped on the truck and took the ride until our todays camp at this airport

Day 6 - What comes after wet? MUDDY!!!

Distance: 61.50mi | Time: 5:50

bicycle-very-muddyAfter a very rainy and wet night we started rather late from our camp towards Coldfoot. The road, still gravel, was still wet and it shower still. Perfect bicycle weather in fact :-) After a few feet we were already from head to foot completely covered in mud. The bicycles yet got a new painting “muddy-bown”. But after 30mi we finally reached the desired pavement.riding-up-the-atigun-pass-with-bicycleThe weather also became sunny again and we got another ride in a pilot car for about 5mi through the second construction zone of the Highway. There we were talking to a worker, who lived long times in Berlin. We also met this friendly person the net day in Coldfoot camp, where he has his room. Now we did some better progress compared to riding on gravel. Very little later we saw something black moving over the road and therefore got our bear sprays ready to shot. But it was only false alarm. It was only another bicyclist who put her rain covers on. Shortly after the heaviest rain in our life began to fall and seconds later we were literally soaked to the bone. The bikes were almost completely clean and a little lake of mud and water was on the road after this spectacle. A quarter of a mile later the sun was shining again. In the evening we reached Coldfoot camp, the most northern truck stop in the world, where we filled our plate with almost every dish there was on the buffet. Most northern and most expensive truck stop is both true for this camp, we paid $15 each for a warm shower there and threw our cloth to the wash.