The University of Alaska in Fairbanks serves as the unofficial staging & recovery center for riders heading to and fro Deadhorse and the Arctic Circle. School is out for summer, and the college rents out dorm rooms at inexpensive rates cheaper than a motel or B&B. Rooms come with access to free shower and laundry, and you mingle with the summer students. (more details here if interested)
While futzing around and chatting in the parking lot, we hooked up with 3 solo riders to form a caravan for the ride up to Deadhorse…
• James – a long distance rider from London touring the NA continent on a 1200GSA
• Rich – retired Air Force mechanic from Oklahoma on a Concourse
• Jun – retired Mazda mechanic from San Francisco on a Kawasaki
Connecting with other riders was a real highlight of the trip, not only for the camaraderie, there’s also safety in numbers and all that. We’re were well aware that the Dalton could be hazardous, depending on conditions, and that a number of accidents had occurred already this season.
All of us were checking the weather regularly, rain was consistent in all forecasts. Then we heard from a returning rider that road conditions were in good shape, so we packed up, made hotel reservations in Deadhorse, and headed north.