Monday, July 18, 2011

Thursday July 14 - Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks

After we left off last night, we spotted a small herd of caribou and of course got a lot of great pictures.  We continued down the highway and the further down we got, the harder it rained.  By the time we got to Atigun Pass, the cloud cover was already at the base of the pass and we ended up driving up and down in zero visibility.  At 2:30 am Thursday morning, we arrived at Marion Creek campground where we called it a night.  We decided a few hours sleep would do us good, before going on to Fairbanks.  By 6am, the rain had stopped and it looked like things might be clearing up for the day.  Our next stop was Coldfoot where we got a quick breakfast and topped off our fuel tanks.  It was a relief that the weather broke because not only could we see, we were also in a better position to take pictures.  We made it a point to stop by the Arctic Circle again, this time with the sun out, then continued on to the Yukon River where we had lunch again at the Hot Spot restaurant.  After lunch, we crossed the Yukon River bridge and from there it seemed like it would be a short sprint to our next stop.  Along the way we saw a number of moose, who seemed to be more camera shy than the bears were.  Every time we stopped to snap a picture, they ran back into the tree cover.  About 20 miles North of Fairbanks, 3 of us were running on fumes and desperately hoping for a gas station.  We lucked out and found our gas station, where we filled up.  An hour later, we arrived back in Fairbanks, cleaned up after the 3 day trip and had dinner at the Alaskan Salmon Bake, where we dinned on wood grilled salmon, prime rib, and beer battered cod, with all the fixin's.  It was an all you can eat for the price of $31.  I have to say, that was the best salmon I have ever tasted and well worth the price.  Shortly after 9 pm everyone retired for the night.  Tomorrow we head to Denali National Park. 

Mr Ziggy all seat belted up and ready to go
Motel in Coldfoot is more like a bunch of old trailers parked side by side
Scores of heavy trucks like this tanker with 5 axles on the trailer travel the Dalton every day, more on the rest of Alaskas highways most likely adding to what I consider the worst roads in the country.
Pipeline makes its way across a river via a covered bridge
The two ZJs on the trip strut their stuff at a pipeline access point
At the Arctic Circle a second time
Fire Weed  paints the landscape
Dalton mud is thick and everywhere on and in the Jeep
Road views from today

Pipeline views from today
A very nice trail along the way
These birds make their home on the pipeline support posts
Pump Station 5
The owner of the Hot Spot tells me "We are a respectable joint, you won't find A-1 or Gray Poupon for  your burgers here
Woody washes his ZJ at an Artesian well that they say can fill a 55 gallon drum in under a minute
Finger Mountain with Woody and Tommy trying to climb it
A climb up the Yukon River Bridge on the way back

A moose on the run from my Jeep

The office at the campground looked like  Hobbit house
Salmon, Cod and Prime Rib anyone?

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