Woke up around 10:30am. Got everything together and got some juice from the store before taking myself out to the road with my "Dalton HWY, North, One + Bike" sign. There was some construction South so cars were only using one lane and had to follow a pilot car each way. So all traffic came in waves about every 30 minutes. 1st wave, nada. 2nd, Bam! A couple in a camper stopped to get refreshments and then asked me where I was going.
Bill and Rosie, from North Carolina. I convinced Bill I could break down the bike to fit nicely. It did, and we were off. We had a nice time chatting and site seeing along the way. I met a female Aussie cyclist at the Yukon River who was hitching back to Fairbanks. She had gotten a ride to Gobblers Knob up North and decided there were too many hills. She ended up getting a ride from some cool Swiss fellas who'd just gotten back from a Nome-Beaver-Yukon River canoe trip. They mentioned seeing lots of wildlife but the winds were hell.
About 20 miles North, we ran into a German cyclist named Thomas. We stopped and chatted with him for a while and filled up his water before taking off. He was heading to the Arctic Circle and then turning around, eventually going to Tierra del Fuego, just like me! He seemed interested to hear about my similar plans and we traded emails and hoped to catch up with one another later on.
We stopped at the Arctic Circle, a popular tourist spot. Most people turn around here and end up missing the spectacular views of the Brooks Range. Oh well, their loss. We ate a big (expensive!) dinner buffet at Coldfoot and I washed up a few dirty things. I left food at the Coldfoot visitors center and the friendly staff seemed to look forward to seeing me again on my way back South. From here, Bill and Rosie were advised they might be able to spot Musk Oxen at Pump Station #3. They seemed up for the extra mileage past the Brooks Range where they'd originally planned to stop. We ended up seeing a Caribou calf, no musk oxen, but swarms of mosquitoes at the end of the day. We stopped at mile 311 and I pitched my tent in the WORST mosquito swarm I've ever experienced. What ever you are imagining, multiply that by 100. Seriously!
I have a good amount to conquer from here South, only cutting about 40 miles out of the Dalton Highway not cycled. Hopefully I'll get to the foot of the Brooks Range or beyond tomorrow. Then its all downhill! Well, not really.
Peace and thanks for reading!