The day started out nice and early 0700 and began the drive. Oddly enough the only animals we saw on the entire Dalton Highway were Ptarmigan bird in the middle of the road. They were either frozen to the road, or just super dumb, not sure which. I’ve coined them the Alaskan Dodo bird. Kenny was skilled enough to miss the multiple groups of em.
As the road became worse and worse I remembered a word I’d made up while driving the Yukon. Bout the time my fitbit hit 10K steps from the sheer bouncing around, I passed a truck with Asplundh on the side of it. During our drive, I’ve made “ooof aslpundha” (meaning: My ass hurts) stick, and it’s been shouted when bouncing around the Datlton and beyond by all of us. I was sitting in the jump seat of the truck since I have no legs, and my left butt cheek still hasn’t recovered.
The 3 of us (Kenny, Mickey, and I) all previously worked together in the late 90’s. We caught up, shared stories, and learned some interesting facts we all had in common despite the time having passed with little contact.
Atigun pass met up to all its hype, and dangerousness. Kenny skillfully used his over powered CB to announce our intent to climb blind passes, steep hills, and passing the plethora of farm equipment, oil tankers, plows, etc.
The AK pipeline spans 800miles, as I’ve mentioned, and we saw 500miles of it’s glory. There are parts of it where the outside metal is nice and shiny, as we continued further north, this wasn’t the case.
The changes in scenery from virtually nothing but spruce forests to tundra, and nothing but snow, and pipeline, was pretty dramatic. Kenny’s job (geological society), and his wife R-E (geologist) allowed him to school Mickey and I on the different types of mountains and how they were formed.
Once we got up to Deadhorse, we were all pretty fried, and elected to stay in a construction workers hostel for lack of a better term. It looked like extra long, 3 double wide trailers put together. However, we had beds, satellite TV, and communal dorm style bathrooms heh.
We woke up early again, and drove through Prudhoe Bay (FYI wikipedia is wrong, its (pr) prood-oh . The land is owned or granted to BP and Shell, so it’s actually quite industrial, and 5 minutes of driving and you’ve seen everything there is to see. Square container looking building, oil stacks, and lots and lots of equipment.
We also learned that there is ZERO power in Prudhoe. Natural gas is a by product of oil drilling, which they have/do in excess. Electricity is generated, and ~32 times cheaper than in Fairbanks. We we saw a couple random burn off pipes, that just shot a constant flame into the air. Who knew this was such an educational trip?
On the way back Kenny found his man bladder, and we stopped for lunch and fuel only. Again Atigun wasn’t messing around, and we got back earlier than expected, and recapped stories, while we packed, and had some celebratory beverages.
Posted on November 1st 2015 in Posts