We made it to Deadhorse, Alaska the farthest point north on our trip. This is the top of the world if your driving. Turns out you can fly here! Alaska Air has four daily flights in and out.
Today is all Last Great Road Trip. Toyota put out the video of our start. Greg did an incredible job. Just campy enough to be real life… our real life. PLEASE, I BEG YOU, tell Toyota how great it is that they are supporting us. Email Toyota marketing, let them know. They have been great to us.
As you know, if you read day 7, we stayed at Wiseman, Alaska in a little B&B run by Uta and Bernie. These folks are warm, friendly and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Bernie settled in Wiseman 23 years ago when he was just 16. Uta came to town 15 years ago. They have a three kids and couple of cabins. They rent out the cabins while they till the earth, hunt and run trap lines making a living off the land. Bernie showed us a little of the gold he had panned while helping a friend test out a new claim. Bernie is getting ready to go out and fill the freezer with moose and caribou. The harvest he’ll take in the next few weeks will need to last his family the year and will be their major source of protein and fat to get through the winter cold.
A couple who was staying in another cabin joined us for breakfast. They are from Colorado. They flew to Anchorage, she purchased and he rented motorcycles and they are hoping to ride them to Deadhorse. The snag they hit this morning was there is no room at the inn. There are only two hotels in Deadhorse and they are booked up. Hopefully they’ll figure it out and we’ll see them tomorrow.
Alaska changes again when you cross over the Brooks Mountain Range. This is the tundra. The tundra is ground that is frozen year round just inches below the surface. To prevent the road and traffic from melting the tundra, the road is build on eight feet of gravel. You can see for miles in the tundra since no trees grow here. And what you see is the pipeline which stretches on forever.
Caribou hunting season opened in Alaska. The road was dotted with little tent cities the outfitters put together and than run their clients up to. The hunters clearly out numbered the Caribou although we understand the herds are moving south soon. I’m rooting for the Caribou.
One of the rarest animals is the Musk Oxen. We spotted a herd of nine. They are big. Really big. The herd had three calves and six adults. I don’t think we will ever see a sight like that in the wild again. It was incredible.
A number of folks asked us “how are you going to pass the time on the trip.” We would tell them we just chat and we’re not going to play road trip bingo or the license plate game. Well, we are into count the big game animals. As you can tell from the daily count, some days are better then others. Today… was a very good day. Remember you spot them you got them.
It is my sad responsibility to let everyone know that Hula Betty had a fatal accident falling from the hood of the rig as she was posing for a photo shoot. While we don’t believe the rumors that she jumped there is an open investigation. A small service was held as her porcelain remains were deposited into the earth in Deadhorse. Please join us in a moment of silence in memory of Hula Betty and her contribution to the Last Great Road Trip.
We are staying at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel. The hotel is a collection of pre-fabricated units sitting on several feet of gravel. The hotel is run like a dorm room. You can get a sleeping quarter bunk or a room that shares a bathroom. We opted for the two rooms one bath. Meals are included, the laundry facility is free including soap, there is a TV and pool room along with all the popcorn you can eat. Basically, if you stay here you, get three hots and a cot. This is a hard working town of roughnecks and to entice the guys to come up and work, everything else is designed to be easy. The feeling around the hotel is that of your old college dorm which isn’t bad either. Tomorrow we are going to catch a tour in order to see the North Slope oil field and the Arctic Ocean. The tour is the only way in.
John: We’re back… but we will be off the grid again tomorrow.
Kara: Thanks for the note. Here are some impressive animal stats.
Mary: you are right, Greg did a fantastic job on the video.
Greg: Thank you so much the video is outstanding. Toyota has been great to support us with the video and postings on their blog.
Barbie: Glad to have you back.
Joyce: Trip groupies and ice coffee… Sorry I missed a day… So when we reached Deadhorse I immediately sprang for the Internet connection and gave up the in-room HBO.