Up Next… Alaska
After reaching the southernmost town in South America I was ready to close the final chapter of Riding4Adventure and head home. But once my bike was packed and shipped from Chile and my return flight booked, I was filled with trepidation. Yes, I wanted to go home and see Karie more than anything, but I also felt as though I was leaving something unfinished.
Suri and I made it home and became infinitely happier, but deep down I couldn't shake the feeling that I wasn't quite done. We anticipated this. After being on the road for five months it's only natural that once home I'd get restless. Besides, restless is my default setting. After talking with Karie, though, it became clear that I truly wasn't finished. While planning this adventure I had always thrown around the notion, jokingly, that we should be riding the continent from tip to tip — that is, from Alaska to Argentina. Russ and Karie hadn't taken me seriously then, not realizing that most things I've done in life were first pitched jokingly: leaving Honduras to come to the US, joining the US Army before learning English, buying a motorcycle. They all started with, "know what would be cool…"
So. Know what would be cool? Kicking off the final phase of Riding4Adventure and riding my motorcycle to the northernmost town in North America: Deadhorse, Alaska.
Deadhorse is a community along the North Slope near the Arctic Ocean consisting mainly of facilities for the workers and companies that operate at the nearby Prudhoe Bay oil fields. To reach Deadhorse I will ride the James W. Dalton Highway — a 414-mile (666 km) stretch of gravel, dirt, and mud that runs from the town of Livengood to Prudhoe Bay and through some of Alaska's most remote wilderness. You might remember the Dalton Highway from fine reality TV programming such as Ice Road Truckers and World's Most Dangerous Roads.
There are only three very small towns along the way and from the midpoint — the town of Coldfoot — to the end of the road there are no gas stations, restaurants, rest stops, or hotels. In fact, there are no services of any kind along this 240-mile (386 km) stretch, making it the longest stretch of unserviced road on the North American continent. Is it any surprise how the town of Coldfoot got its name? Most casual travelers got cold feet after reaching this point and turned around.
To avoid getting cold feet myself I will go at the peak of summer — between July and August — when temperature averages are a high of 56F (13C) and a low of 41F (5C).
I intended to take Suri with me on this ride, but after doing some research I realized that it'd be too risky to bring her along. She'll probably never forgive me for this, but she'll have to sit this one out. She's not happy when I'm gone even on short rides!