Los Angeles to the Arctic Circle and back

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 13 infinities : Arctic Circle

Took off from the Yukon and faced what was supposed to be the hard part

Roller Coaster Hill.  It's was way mellower than I had heard.  Just low gear going down and punch it going up. We also hit the wet spots people were talking about.  It must have been hours since it was watered and it was slippery as hell, I can see why people do down in those conditions, and its probably for those times that the Dalton gets its reputation.  I tried to ride on the dry spots, and was definitely fish tailing and sliding around the road, but I just stared ahead and got through it.  At one point my bike did a quick back tire lock up on its own, and for a bit afterwards the rear brake didn't work.  I stopped and swore at the bike, imagining riding this route with essentially no brakes, since the front one is off limits on slippery roads.  But when I got back on they were working again.  I think mud just got into the brake pad.

There was a weird rainbow shape in the sky.  Hard to see it in this though.  

Arto and the van passed us going the other way.  I saw Arto riding down the hill while I was riding straight into the blinding sun.  They must have passed us going north while we were on the boat. The sun was straight ahead and it was impossible to see making it extra hairball, for the last few miles.

Finger rock.  I felt like we were on another planet.  It seems like an exaggeration from the photos, but the round the clock sunlight and industrial machinery made it feel like a colony on Mars.

Then Ky and I rolled into the Arctic Circle in Easy Rider formation. I couldn't believe it!  I mean, it's just a stupid sign, but still, i was really stoked.  I did a little victory dance and everything.

Had to pose for a few finish line photos, and pretend I wasn't getting bitten by hundreds of mosquitos.

It sucks the Arto wasn't here, but rad to make it up with Ky.

The hogs pose.  A Sportster and a Dyna.. and they said it shouldn't be done.

Go down sun!

Took shelter from the mosquitos in the outhouse next to the sign.  It smelled, but was better than getting eaten.   It was past midnight.

Push back onto the road going south, it was kind of emotional, and hard knowing that the ride home is never as rad as going somewhere new.

We were driving back around 1 or 2AM.  I thought it was harder coming back because the excitement was gone, leaving just sheer exhaustion and the subtle idea that "I already did this road, its easy, go faster" all of which is a bad combo.  It was hard to stay vigilant.  I think it's the combination of exhaustion and round the clock sunlight that gets people. 

The sun dipped below the horizon and it really felt strange, as the night progressed I started to feel that the whole highway was haunted and cursed, I never believe things like that.  But the road was really creepy.  

A few times I had to stop cause it felt like I was seeing things . We were both getting way too tired, but if you stop, Mosquitos swarm in numbers I've never seen.  

We stopped back at the Yukon Camp to get our gas.  Must have been 2:30AM.  Took shelter in Jeremy's shed.  The Mosquitos made it very hard to stand there long enough to refuel.  I even wore my full face helmet and gloves and still couldn't stand it

This is us pacing around racing the bugs

Tried to rest in a cargo container, but it was no use

Some weird tent cot in there.


Rode to where my bag was and decided to make camp, I had trouble relaxing, I was nervous about grizzly bears,  mosquitos covered the tent and all I could here was high pitched buzzing, a truck came barreling by every once in awhile, not to mention the Indian ghosts, i woke up at 7:00am and had to get the hell off this road. I was losing my mind.  I tried to wake ky up by yelling at his tent and starting my bike, but he didn't move at all.  I couldn't pack my bike right and lost a few things on the road.   Once riding again the road had been watered at some point and there were a few terrifying moments, but i made it back to hard road with no incident.  There young girl traffic person I had to wait with for a pilot truck in a construction section, she had a hand gun strapped to her side.
She said it was for grizzly bears, but I didn't think a hand gun works on bear, unless you get it between the eyes, you just piss it off and it kills you anyway, that's just what I heard, I have no experience. 

Despite the hard morning, it was an overwhelming feeling to have made it so far north.  The adventure off road bikers go further, but enough stuff rattled off our Harleys that I think making it to the circle was far enough.  

 I went and waited at the next gas station.  

I think this was around 400 miles- and the same day I continued on to Tok, so I can't really keep track of the miles. 

We are about to go into Canada. I'm going to fix typos later, but I don't know when I can use the phone again.

1 comment:

  1. You're a beast. It must feel so good to get done what you set out to do. I grew up in Alaska, and I've never been that far north, especially on a bike. Reading these updates just makes me want to do a gnarly trip like that so bad. I'm inspired, dude. Bummed you won't be riding through Anchorage, but the ride to Haines is pretty sick. You ride through Haines Summit and get to some pretty high elevations, plus the town of Haines is real nice. Go to the 33 1/3 Mile Cafe, it's bomb.
    Extreme High Five!