Wow what a day it was absolutely the bee bollocks. I was a bit apprehensive about doing the Dalton and I was going to pull the plug at any excuse but I did a fair bit of it and this is how it happened. The road out of Fairbanks to the beginning was great tarmac awesome scenery bendy with only the odd bit gravel and bumps in the corner so a biking nirvana (I exaggerate for dramatic effect) and then I see a sign for James W Dalton Highway and the road turns to dirt with a blink of an eye bugger and its been raining all night so muddy as hell I knock of speed ASAP down to about 25mph buttocks clenched bike moving around all over the shop. I Decide I will give it a couple of mile and if this is still bad I will pull the plug and turn round and give the Arctic Circle a miss. Then in front of me was a large duffel bag in the middle of the road with a couple of old bungee cords the few cars and RV that where around was just driving around it but as it was in the middle of the road so I stopped to check it as it looks like it had fallen of the back of another motorcycle.
So I decided to see if I could find the owner so I strapped it to my already well loaded bike which I was already not happy with how she was handling the road never mind adding more baggage. So set of in hot pursuit well pretty slowly actually but over time as confidence grew I started picking up speed and as the sun was shining the road and the mud was drying making it a lot more easy going and soon in some place I was doing 60mph+ over the muddy roads Stefan Peterhansel eat your heart out a new Dakar star is born. The scenery was breath taking when I dared take my off the road or when I pulled off to take the some piccies unfortunately I am not sure the photos or my descriptions does not do it justice but take my word it is pretty shit hot nice up here.
I did about 40 miles waving and signalling to any bikes coming down the road just in case it may be them looking for there duffel bag they must of thought I was mad. I got to the fuel stop place at Yukon River Camp there were a couple of bikes around and I asked if anyone had lost any luggage or knew somebody who had. Nope So decided to dump the bag in the restaurant as I was sick of lugging it turns out that an old Harley rider had lost it and had not realised till I walked in with it so one happy grateful chap and he insisted on giving me some money but I refused but he put some in my top pocket and would not take no for an answer turned out to be a $20 bill so my good deed got me not only lunch but a long way down the Dalton as I nearly thrown in the towel before I saw the bag. I filled up the bike with petrol and then grabbed huge burger at place called Hotspot which I was told was at the beginning of the Highway not 45miles in I was planning to have breakfast there it was now 2pm so it became lunch instead I was starving Marvin. I had seen a sign saying that the Arctic Circle was only another 60 miles so with me new found confidence I decided to go for it and I am glad I did a great ride on drying mud roads and a laugh with the folks all trying to get there mandatory picture of the artic circle sign. Bit of a party atmosphere there where 4 Argentinean guys who driven from Chile to here in old Argentinean built Renault so I had a good laugh with them about the Falklands and the Hand of God (Maradona) Building bridges me I got invited to one of the guys Raul birthday party on the 21st October in Argentina so I had better get me skates on. There was a couple who had a huge old Airstream Caravan and I love them but I have never seen inside one so blagged me self a grand tour off there’s. Nice way to travel me thinks when I get to old for the bike 🙂
I had decided I had pushed my luck getting this far so decided to head back to Fairbanks before it rained again and I got stuck in a muddy quagmire it was 4pm but as it does not get dark here I had plenty daylight left to do another 200 miles and I was in the zone. Got back to Yukon River Camp no problem found an info place I had missed on the way in and got a certificate saying that I had been to the Arctic Circle with loads of official stamps on it as well. I was getting all confident and then it started to rain bollocks my worse case scenario that I was trying to avoid just happened I struggled into my waterproofs and took a deep breath with all my confidence disappearing as the road turned to mush maybe no Dakar this year or only if it does not rain. The rainstorm was short but the roads remained muddy but they started to dry in places so I was doing varying speeds depending on the conditions then I hit the tarmac and I had lovely run in on the now dry roads back to Fairbanks 100 miles I was a tired little bear but a very proud little bear I had done a little over 400 miles in about 11 hours the bike was filthy you could not read the number plate as everything covered in mud including me but what a glorious day they do not get much better than this and I had just ridden to the Arctic Circle Cor Blimey Guv!