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Published: September 19th 2009
Deadhorse is basically a giant oil terminal. Lots of portacabin buildings, a range of enormous trucks, diggers etc, pipelines everywhere and men in rigger boots and hard hats. As Edwin said it was just like being back at Port Clarence. However, being as far north as you can get by road this was the true starting point of the journey, from here its 20,000 miles south. To celebrate the start of the journey we went for a skinny dip in the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay. There isn't really much else to do in Deadhorse the only 'attractions' are the hardware store and the post office. There isn't even a bar as its a dry town - although we might have snuck in a beer to toast the start of the journey.
The only way out of Deadhorse is the 500 miles back down the Dalton Highway. We set off with fingers crossed that the return journey would be as successful as the previous journey and yet again we were incredibly lucky with 2 sunny days and temperatures in the 20s. The conditions were so good we even had time for sight seeing on the way and dropped into visit
the 15 strong community of Wiseman who have 30 odd days of total darkness in the winter and survive as fur trappers. All the sun meant the dirt road was nice and dry with only a few slippery patches where the trucks had been out watering the road. We arrived safely back at the start of the Dalton Highway with the bike and us in one piece but considerably dustier and dirty then a few days ago.
Now we head south through Alaska, on smooth tarmac roads, down to the Canadian border. Its still incredibly smoky from the bush fires, in places its like driving through thick fog only there's lots of coughing and you can hardly breath. Every now and then we hit a clear patch and you can just glimpse the outline of mountains on either side of the road - it must be spectacular scenery when you can actually see it. There's very little traffic on the roads as we pass through North Pole, Delta Junction and Chicken (where they do a very good cherry pie) .
Just as we were approaching the Canadian Border we got our first bear sighting. They have a strange
system in Alaska; you are riding through stunning scenery with magnificent views when a sign for a layby/scenic lookout comes up. When you pull off the road and stop the trees surrounding the lookout are so tall that you can't actually see anything. So we were riding by a scenic lookout slowly to check if you could actually see anything when we both did a double take and said 'was that a bear standing up on the bonnet of an RV looking through the front window????'. A quick U-turn and sure enough there was a bear determined to break into the RV parked in the layby. Watched for a while until the bear got bored with the RV and started heading towards us.
So at the end of the first week we have covered 1890 miles and are at the Canadian border.
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