X-Type: Email; Outmail
Subject: I'M OK. I'M ALRIGHT from Ed and Edith Gray
Ole, Please send to the list, THANKS!
The DALTON HIGHWAY ADVENTURE
If I have not told you our goal is to travel every highway that is in ALaska that is shown on page 3 of the Milepost which
is AK most popular travel guide. The Dalton also known as the "HAUL ROAD" is a gravel road that streches 500 miles north
of Fairbanks and it is mainly used by large trucks! It is almost standard procedure to have flat tires or broken glass
taking the Dalton so that is why most people fly or go on a tour and let them handle the problems! Based on previous
experience we just take the F-350 two spares, cardboard, plastic and duct tape and as always our headlight protectors
are on and we leave for what turns out to be a 52 hour grueling but wonderful, exciting adventure. I can not start to
discribe all that we seen and the pictures just can not show it like it should be but in our hearts we will always cherish
the midnight sun on August 10th, the bright red, orange and gray and other colors of tundra growth, the mighty Yukon
River, the Artic Cirle, the last spruce tree 220 miles south of Prudhoe Bay, the undescribable Brooks Range with huge
mountains shooting into the sky with only bushes down low, then tundra growth and the beautiful multicolored rock, wild
musk ox, caribou, a Wolf and then finally the flat as a pool table with tundra with 2000 foot of permafrost below which
makes for lots of small, shallow lakes, the Pingo's(hills from 3 foot to 150 foot from heaving, likely frozen underground
lakes, the pipeline that snakes ahead as far as the eye can see, the ice pack in the artic ocean, Prudhoe Bay and the
WORST ROAD I HAVE EVER BEEN ON! The best pictures and memories are the ones in our hearts!
As we went north there is something about the width and power of the Yukon River that calls! From there as we headed for
the Artic Circle it began to rain and the road really went to pot for about 50 miles. At the Artic Circle the hardship of
the trip began as we had a tire going down on the F-350 which ultimately turns out to be due to a self-tapping screw that
we picked up someplace on the road. IE we had a flat on the 5th on the Dempster at the Artic Circle and now again on the
Dalton. What are the odds. We changed it in the mud and did not get to dirty and we were off. We made it to Coldfoot
which is 260 miles south of Prudhoe Bay and got the tire fixed for a mere $25.00 and were off. Now the road really starts
to deteriate but the Brooks Range is so breath taking and we had a break in the rain and it turned to partly cloudy and we
had sun so we took pictures like mad! We then went over Atwan Pass which was a nightmare for the pipeline builders. We
were amazed that the pipeline is right along the road for miles and you can hit it with a rock from the road several
places. We were amazed that the pipeline is buried in the braided stream river bed for miles and in spots has water
running on top of it. We came off the Brooks and into the foothills and really noticed the TUNDRA. We had a tailgate
supper with our mesh bug clothes on as the mosquitoes were bad. So far just one small rock chip from a 1/2 ton pickup
at that. North of the Artic Cirlce it is pickups, SUV's, Vans and trucks. We no longer see cars. It is muddy as
getting slick and the trucks are noticeable going slower! We try and pull off for the trucks or at least pull over and
stop and if possible meet THEM when the are coming up hill so their speed and rock throwing ablility is lessened! It is
slick on the shoulders and the sides are very steep and high, about 15 foot down most places. If you go off you ROLL
and that is all there is to it! The though crosses your mind as you meet a truck coming at 50 mph down a 12% GRADE!
There are many 10 and 12% grades and there are no signs or guard rails or relectors or flags. Once in awhile there is
a red pilon if part of the shoulder is missing right there. The only signs are the one showing s truck getting ready to
got down a hill that is it.
We seen a beautiful sunset just south of Prudhoe Bay at midnight. We got in about 12:30pm and drove around looking for
a bathroom...you see there are no bathrooms the last 220 miles and no bushes or rocks to get behind the last 100 miles.
The Tesoro station is 24 hours but turns out to be self serve for credit cards only and since things are full we bed
down in the F-350. I listen to the ham radio a little and signals are boiling in from the Pacific, Europe and Russia.
I'd like to have my home station here for the summer! We don't sleep very well as we have to go to the bathroom bad.
I was thinking if it got much worse I'd crawl under a building and use a little shovel I had in the pickup box. It
turned out it was a good thing I did not as there are all kinds of bears in Prudhoe Bay and they were out big time as
we found out in the morning at the Artic Caribou INN.
TO BE CONTINUED
Ed and Edith
[MID: 1101_W0SD Sent Via: KA6IQA Date: 2001/08/16 04:55:50]