Bayard and Pete Go North
This May, my friends Bayard and Pete embarked on a month-long trip from New Mexico to Alaska. They drove the entire way — Albuquerque to Deadhorse — in a seasoned old RV named Bessie, and, best of all, chronicled the whole journey on their blog: Bayard and Pete Go North!
Here’s their description of the Dalton highway:
We made it, and what a trip it was! The road is this wonderful combination of crazy and magical. The road itself alternates between beautiful and smooth asphalt (very little of this!) to dirt which was rutted, muddy, narrow and seriously rough (a LOT of this!). A good speed for much of the road was 30 mph- but at times it was tough to keep Bessie above 15 mph! It took us 6 days at the wheel to travel it’s 828 miles, round trip. Granted, this was a fairly leisurely pace, but we met a lady working in Coldfoot who had spent a summer ferrying people up and down this road. She’d drive the whole length in a day, sleep 8 hours- and drive the whole thing back again! She seriously earned my respect! Not to mention- she made one fine key lime pie!
Despite it’s roughness the road had this almost intangible quality to it. The road is a thin line that weaves deep in to the wilderness of Alaska. The is literally nothing, zip, zero, nada for a hundred miles at a time. As you are bouncing and wash boarding your way down this road, at some point it hits you how far away from everything you are! We met a fellow who was working at Prudhoe Bay who had driven up there once and had had two blow outs in a row, and only had one spare. He said he ended up camping by the side of the road for a week waiting for a new tire! It is truly the end of the earth out there. But somehow these factors all come together to give the road a real soul. You feel like you are somewhere special. It’s hard to explain it, but we all felt sad when we finally pulled off the Dalton and back on to the smooth surface of state highway 2. The Dalton is road unlike any other, and it was a pleasure to get the opportunity to spend a week getting to know her.
I would never in a million years actually choose to drive 800 miles on a deserted wilderness road in a dodgy RV — I have a very strict avoid-nature-at-all-costs policy — but this actually makes it sound kind of awesome.
Ditto for the whole blog. Well worth a read.