Chatanika to the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle & the Yukon River
MPG, 5.5 MB, 1 min 19 sec
Mountain top rest area
After about 17 miles of gravel/mud there was a road re-alignment that
was done with asphalt (smooth riding) - it was a nice 2 to 4 mile rest.
Panorama (click for a
17 Mile mud check - not too bad. Forks are fairly clean and silver.
I'm starting to get a bit covered but it's mainly on the lower legs.
Now I'm at the Yukon River Camp fuel stop - 130 miles so far.
About 61 more to the Arctic Circle. The bike, and
perhaps the most covered at this point. The
rear sports a
full, wet coating. The license plate has also been "modified" by the
rear wheel - full suspension compression....
Why ride the rutted road at 35 mph and let the bike follow the ruts
when you get the suspension working at 45 to 60 mph?? The
smoother - but any quick
action to avert that big dip in the road is futile - in ya go. So, why
even think of riding faster on a wet, muddy road? After miles
bumps & washboard (some sections of tooth fillings falling out
of stuff) - with miles to go - you really think about doing
something different. The road, frankly, wasn't that bad
than I envisioned) - things just smoothed out nicely up near
(the listed limit).
One item of note - the lady at the fuel stop counter said they they may
pave the whole road next summer. She was skepticle - but who
This picture is of the right side muffler (black? saddle bag at the top
of the pic and the rear brake roter and wheel lower in the pic).
The focus is the set of five "waves" caked onto the muffler.
The muffler really is flat and straight.
One item to look at would
be the forks -
the uniform mud covering. Right behind those forks is the
radiator - with its own uniform layer of mud. When I pulled
the lot the temp gauge showed three bars - two to three bars being
"normal" - but I also heard the cooling fan running - Hmmmm.
outside temps were about 45 F and in this range the cooling system will
get down to zero or one bar - three is unusual. A check of
radiator showed a 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick covering over the tops of the
fins. When I (carefully) plucked this layer off (Swiss Army
- standard screwdriver blade put to the task) I then had to get the mud
out from within the fins. Down to the river I head.
pulled the water bottle (right saddle bag) out and filled it up.
Holding a thumb over the open end I aimed and squeezed.
After perhaps 15 bottle sprays it was (I hoped) clear enough.
A good aid in this process was Jessie
(I think I have his name correct) who offered a coffee can to refill
the bottle. This saved a bunch of trips down to the water.
He had pulled up to shore in a two canoe rig. He had been on
river (coming down the Yukon) from Circle, AK. Living off of
land in search of good food to eat. He offered some smoked
- it was great - Thanks! We enjoyed a nice conversation - I
learned a bit about his trip and living off of the land.
I also met another
when fueling up, that I had passed miles earlier. They were
stopped and out picking berries. Wiseman, up near Coldfood, is
where they live. Should I make it up that far they'd
have some hot coffee for me. Not this trip - perhaps
next! We talked about flying and living in the area (that
off of the land theme...). Everyone I meet has been a joy to
with. I should have asked for a picture of the folks I met at
this stop. Perhaps they'll e-mail one to post.
The reason for the forks and radiator to be covered is the same that
the helmet is a bit coated - the front wheel spits junk out of the
front edge of the fender/top of the tire which then catches the air and
floats up and back. Depending upon the wind, speed,
of muck it either goes high (helmet) or low (radiator).
Parking lot at the Yukon River. Bridge.
OK, from the Yukon River camp, 34 miles of "not
muddy" road then 27 some miles of decent asphalt drops one
The Arctic Circle.
The red pad with the yellow
"Latitude Line" was
from the company that was there when I arrived - One van and one Jeep.
They were filled with folks from France who were here filming
show on Alaska (folks - e-mail
me with any corrections
The muddy guy on the mud covered motorcycle garnered some
attention from the cameraman and his camera. We all had a
time. Perhaps you'll also see me on TV somewhere.
they were heading North then at some point a flight to Barrow, AK. They
have a picture or two of me and are going to e-mail it to me -
I'll update this page when I have items from them. I also
minor video footage for them - original footage available if they wish
: Some time back an e-mail came to my
email box commenting on "seeing me on TV" I assumed some sort footage
of me made it into their show. With an e-mail to Garit William (who e-mail exchanged some photos with me)
he graciously dropped a DVD of the show into the mail - gratis.
I am grateful to him for doing this for me. It is fun to see
yourself on TV (since it is rare). It was also good to watch their
show. The footage they have is fantastic. Several of the spots they
filmed were spots that I visited (Hey, I've been there too! I know just
where that is!). I didn't understand much of it (I should learn some
French) but Alaska is a photographic jewel to which they imparted a
In the past many weeks I've assembled some links to their website
regarding the Alaska show and the discussin forums they have.
Links and PDF archives
translation to English
, PDF FR
Forum 1: French
translation to English
, PDF FR
Forum 2: French
translation to English
, PDF FR
Their driver, from Chicago, commented that they'd see me that evening
in Coldfoot - 60 asphalt miles up the road. I gave serious
contemplation to this egging on. Do I head up to
Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay - the whole trip? Do I head back now?
Do I head to Coldfoot for the night and then head back? I
to head back now - this would put me back after dark (I'm trying to be
off of the roads near dusk to reduce the odds of an animal collision)
but there was talk of snow coming the next day or so.
I would like to see the mountain range (Brooks Range) that is between
Coldfood and Deadhorse but with the cloudy weather I probably wouldn't
be able to see them - I need to return in the summer with (better odds
of) clear skies. A plus would, hopefully, be dry roads.
general comments being the wet, muddy travel is near the worst. I
think snow or ice may be worse - but this mud certainly is no fun.
And the tail end of "my 60 seconds of fame" shows my picture being
Rounding the parking lot a time or two for their footage.
I'm getting more covered....
In the left portion of the picture is a hill/mountain. A
cloud bank was rolling over it and moving to the right.
The bike's not too badly covered in these pictures.
The firetruck also gets a few questions "What's the deal with
that?" Ask Fire Chick...
This was a forced picture stop (I wanted to keep moving - nightfall is
With the dirty conditions the cameras were tucked
and thus there are few pictrues today.
(click for a larger
Alaska Pipeline, Dalton Highway (asphalt section south of the Arctic
Noted in this picture is the road and pipeline in the distance
- the road is on the right and the pipeline is on the left, buried.
122 miles on the clock since leaving the river the first time.
I'm back down by the water, after fueling up, getting water
hose down the radiator. It was nowhere near as plugged up at
Arctic Circle or here than the first time. The road is drying
and I'm able to run in the dryer, packed tire tracks. I only
sprayed it with three or four bottles this time.
Turned around - looking downstream
Now for 51 miles of dirt, with that 2-4 mile section of asphalt rest /
teaser tossed in, then 84 miles of asphalt Elliot highway and asphalt
route 6 to the Old F.E. Gold Camp at Chatanika.
I made it back to asphalt without dumping the bike - though there was
one slow speed wobble / weave in the muck that had me wondering and
working. I got used to the general side slips and handlebar
wiggles that happened all too frequently.
One nice end point was some decent rain for the last 40 miles or so -
it did at least a little bit to wash me off. I still had to
the outer layers and leave them outside the building.
I started at 11am (late) and arrived back just before 11pm.