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Driving The Dalton Highway: Part 1 North Bound

As I was heading up the Dalton Highway (The haul Road) It only seemed right to start this leg of the journey at Carlile Transportation, the trucking company from Ice Road Truckers.

My Starting Point … Like an Ice Road Trucker

Fairbanks to Coldfoot

Starting off early Sunday morning, Carlile was closed, so I didn’t get to meet any one there. Once I took a few pictures and video, I was off to the North. Leaving their offices I followed the same route that the Ice Road truckers take out of Fairbanks to the Dalton Highway.

Entering the Dalton

While the show Ice Road Truckers make it seem the haul road is right outside Fairbanks, the actual Dalton highway starts more than 80 miles north of Fairbanks, taking Alaska 2 or the Elliot Highway to the Dalton junction.

The road is not 100% unpaved, in fact some stretches are paved and well maintained. However, the majority of the Dalton up to Coldfoot is rough gravel roads with some major potholes. Even in the middle of June it can be white knuckle driving the Dalton.

Average speed on the Dalton was close to 40 mph, and on paved stretches I was comfortable doing 65+. There were plenty of sections where I drove 20 mph or slower for safety reasons or road conditions.

Yukon River

About 140 miles up the road from Carlile is the Yukon River crossing and the Yukon River er Camp. This is the only place for fuel, food and limited provisions between Fairbanks and Coldfoot.

I made a nice break at the TRC camp and ordered a hamburger from their very limited menu. At YRC I met several other travelers, some headed north who I would run into again at Coldfoot and others heading South. We all exchanged our Alaska travel stories

Famous Beaver Slide

Way before getting to the famous Beaver Slide, a 2-mile 11 degree downhill grade, there are several other steep grades between 7-10 degrees south of the river. Approaching the Beaver Slide on a sunny June day I could only imagine how nerve wracking it would be when icy and windy.

screenshot from video (see below)

Arctic circle

The Arctic circle is 195 miles north of Fairbanks and about 60 miles or so south Coldfoot. It is a nice stop for pictures. Less than 0.0125% of the world’s population lives about the Arctic Circle. last time I was this far north was 1985 in Jokkmokk, Sweden, just north of the circle.

Meeting bikers

North of the Arctic Circle at Gobblers Lookout, I met a couple of guys biking from Deadhorse to the Lower 48, One guy was headed to San Diego and the other to Texas. Crazy. One of the bikers didn’t have any water purification systems, so I gave him about a week’s worth of tablets.

Coldfoot Camp

at the end of a long day, more than 7 hours of driving I arrived at Coldfoot, a glorified truck stop with cafe, restaurant an no frills basic lodging.

More on Coldfoot in a separate blogpost

screenshot from video (see below)

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