Many times we have been asked if we get bored after spending too much time traveling, but the answer to this occasion always comes out of our mouth so directly and clearly: “never.”
The route reserves for us every day new experiences and new friends, when you are traveling constantly there is no one day same like the previous one. But still like that is possible to exist some routine that decrease the magic of the trip and with it your motivation. And it does not matter that every day we have to solve situations such as finding where to spend the night, deciding who to trust, how to overcome a storm in the mountains, where to find shelter before the sun goes down and the temperature drop dangerously or solve a problem in the motorcycle in the middle of nowhere. That’s what we’ve been doing every day for the past few years and so many experiences accumulated make it easier for us to handle all those kinds of situations along the way. When this routine push down our enthusiasm… in that case we also have the solution.
That’s when we look for a challenge to overcome, a difficult one even when it seems almost impossible or painful, because only these challenges will radically make a break with the routine and fill our journey with color, renewing the desire to continue.
When we were crossing the west coast of the USA to get to Canada was one of the moments when we felt that routine, beautiful route but we needed something else, everything was going too well and it seemed very easy. So when we arrive to know about a statistic that said that only 2% of the travelers that go to Alaska dare to visit Deadhorse, the most northern point of America that can be reached by land, we understand this was the solution. Reaching that lonely oil base on the shore of the Arctic Sea became our next challenge, almost telepathically we thought at the same time that being part of that 2% would be a good gift to finish this continent and start thinking about the next one. It was the end of April and the climate within the Arctic Circle is still very unstable, maybe that attracted us even more to this extreme destination.
The challenge was a trip that started in Fairbanks (Alaska) and that will take us to Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay. Basically, the interesting part was crossing the 666 km of the Dalton Highway, where only 260 km are asphalted. The rest would be a slippery muddy route that threat us with throwing us to the floor or getting our motorcycle stuck in one of the coldest and more remote places on Earth, and in the time of the year when the hungry Grizzly bears woke up from their hibernation.
We were waiting in Fairbanks for a week until the weather forecast showed us a break in which the temperatures would stay above 0 ° C and the clouds would be enough far away allowing a break from snowstorms on our path. We plan 2 days to go and 2 more to return to the deepest Alaska, the northernmost point that we could reach by road and that, in our case after visiting Ushuaia, would close an important part of our project because we would connect with our motorcycle the two ends of this great continent.
Day 1. The idea is to cover the distance between Fairbanks and Coldfoot (430 km). When we arrive at the beginning of the Dalton highway, which is considered by many classifications as one of the most dangerous routes in the world, arrive also the mud that will make us slow down during the next few days. We are entering the land of the Eskimos and around this famous route there is no more population than 3 small camps very separated one from another where stay y the workers for the oil platforms. Without a telephone signal or possible medical assistance, the success of this mission is almost only in our hands. The first day we quickly learn that here the climate can change so quickly and radically that it can not be easily predicted.
Sub-zero temperatures with some small snowstorms give us a feeling on the bike of -10 ° C. Our fingers are so frozen that they do not even have the strength we need to activate pepper spray in case a bear crosses with us , the only way to warm up a bit is to stop and put your hands and gloves in front of the motorcycle exhaust, at least until you reach some of the camps, the first was on the banks of the great Yukon River. Hot coffee, gasoline to fill the tank of the motorcycle and continue because here time is gold.
The next stop would be after 100 kilometers, this time there we won’t find gasoline or hot cup of coffee, but just to see the sign that tells us that from now on we are inside the Arctic Circle means so special feeling that has the same effect to forget the cold. Coldfoot Camp is our last destination for today. After a very painful day traveling we got clear that the weather forecasts are not so accurate in this area and we went to sleep wondering if it really worth setting goals like this in our trip.
Day 2. We fill the fuel tank hoping it is enough to cover the 430 km to Deadhorse. Today we started with a worse mood because of the physical hangover that left us the intensity of yesterday’s stage and because we also know that we have to start crossing the great barrier that separates us from the flat tundra, the Atigun mountain pass that with its 1400 meters maybe It does not seem high or fearful in other parts of the planet, but at this time of year and in these latitudes it can be lethal.
However, today the weather finally present us with much more acceptable temperatures, the snow from yesterday became the perfect makeup for the incredible landscape that we have ahead until the shores of the Arctic Sea.
Along the way we enjoy the company from bears, caribou and even muskox. But to see some of these animals, you not only have to come to the Arctic, people in Alaska tell us that you also must be a bit lucky… so we receive them as a good sign. These are the kind of moments that remind us why we love sometime the loneliness and why it deserve to avoid high seasons full of visitors even when the low seasons can be more painful.
The day ends following the Sag River that is not yet completely unfrozen and which leads us to a small sign that tells us we are in Deadhorse. The feeling is so personal and strange that only those who dare to make the effort to get there will experience it, it is inexplicable. We just want to be there a few minutes thanking the route for being so kind to us and allowing us to reach a goal without problems … then the route responds with a wink, because without planning it the day we arrive in Deadhorse is the first day of this year when the sun does not set, it just goes down to kiss the horizon and rises again, continuing its journey through the sky until winter.
Arriving in the Arctic and seeing a midnight sun day becomes a kind of incredible gift.
But there is no time to lose, we must continue looking for new goals, and avoid a new suddenly change in the weather that can trapped us here, so 10 minutes later we sit down on our motorbike again and start our way back, we have the moment we come for… we must continue traveling but now with Africa in our mind.
As the time is passing and we overcome more challenges like Deadhorse we understand that not only us we got motivated, also more and more people who followed us and were inspired by our stories, and that fact make us feel responsible, especially if you are a woman, but that we will explane you that question in our next post.