We are now in Anchorage Alaska, we arrived yesterday, all travel arrangements went well. We spent yesterday in airports or aeroplanes, with a nine hour flight from Heathrow to Detroit, a three hour stopover, and then a six and a half hour flight to Anchorage. We collected the bike from the Delta Cargo depot this morning, the staff were very helpful and we cleared Customs, removed all the packing cases and had the bike back at the hotel within three hours. Total cost to do the inmport paperwork was thirty five dollars not the one hundred and twenty five we were expecting.
We have had to buy a SIM card for the phone as ours would not register in Alaska. We have an AT & T card which has coverage to Fairbank and then looses coverage until we arrive at Prudhoe Bay.
We have changed our plans slighlty and now intend to set off for Fairbank on Friiday instead of Saturday. We are both keen to get the journey started so will spend tomorrow doing the final packing.
We are in a motel in Fairbanks resting for a few days before we start riding south to Canada, that will be tomorrow. The ride to Prudhoe Bay and back was a challenge in lots of ways and it is good to be back with civilisation. We left Anchorage on Friday 14 August in pouring rain and the rain stayed with us for the first 250 miles past Denali National Park and we didnt see much of the scenery because of the clouds. After the rain slowed down the character of the ride changed and it felt as though the journey had begun and we could enjoy the passing mountains and forests. We stayed the night in Fairbanks and set off on Saturday morning again in the rain, which didn't stop, and after the tarmac ran out we where riding on muddy gravel roads which really tested my off road riding skills. the rain continued even through the Yukon River crossing and crossing into the Arctic Circle. We stopped for the night at Coldfoot Camp which is 120 miles past the Arctic Circle and is a truck stop on what I later found out is featured on TV as the Ice Road in the programme of the same name.
The following morning we set off for Prudhoe Bay in bright sunshine which stayed with us until we went through the Atigun Pass which is the highest part of the James Dalton Highway and the temperature dropped to -2.5C. Shortly after this the rain started again and didnt stop for the 2 nights we spent in Prudhoe Bay; the rest of the ride was wet and at times scary with the bike struggling for grip on the slippery gravelly road. We were hoping to see some of the wildlife at this point with the landscape being treeless Tundra, and we saw Arctic Caribou, a Snow Fox and one Wolf - no Grizzlys! Prudhoe Bay exists mainly to service the oil industry which has the biggest oil field in Northern America and the hotels serve as digs for the support service operatives. The restaraunt at the hotel was like a canteen with good hot meals served most of the day and night. Marilyn spent the first day suffering with a migraine attack and it wasnt until the second day that we went out in the wind and persistent rain. We went on a tour that took us to the Arctic Ocean and some brave souls even stripped off and went in the water, but that looked like a bad day at Skeggy so we didn't bother.
The next day we set off from Prudhoe Bay for the return to Coldfoot Camp, again in the rain and then shortly after that a snow storm that lasted for over 130 miles, with snow laying on the road over the Atigun Pass; this time the temperature was -3 C, another squeaky bum moment! Prior to reaching the Atigun Pass the bike showed a low oil pressure light and then the engine began to overheat so we had to ride a few miles and then stop to allow the engine to cool off; a 6 hour journey took 8 and a half hours. Almost every stop saw a concerned passer by asking if we needed help and we met some great people this way. The time at Coldfoot was spent trying to sort out the bike, including a 6 am call to Balderstons Bikes in the UK. The next morning was spent cleaning some of the mud off the bike, but 15 miles into the journey saw us overheating and returning to Coldfoot. More cleaning and we set off again, but after 15 miles the bike was still overheating. We spent more time cleaning the bike's radiator using a toothbrush and a borrowed flannel with the help of a Texan living in Calgary, called Joe. We set off again in the sunshine riding together with Joe and the problem was finally cured. The ride back to Fairbanks was like being on a totally different road and we saw lots of scenery we hadn't seen on the Northbound ride. The final 80ish miles was on good tarmac with lots of fast sweeping bends and finished the ride in a satisfying fashion.
HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- UK Haggs Bank: Sep 19-21
- USA California: Sep 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!
Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!