Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dalton Highway - Arctic Circle

On June 26th we left our RV in the North Pole (near Fairbanks) and drove north in our pick-up truck to the Dalton Highway, a 414 mile (667 km) road which is known as the "Haul Road".  

This road was built to get supplies to the Alaska Pipeline in 1974 and wasn't even open to the public for years.  Our goal was to drive to the Arctic Circle around Mile Post 117.  

If any of you in the US have ever watched the TV program called "Ice Haulers or Ice Road Truckers", the show about the truck drivers who drive the Alaska Dalton Hwy during winter, you have seen the severe conditions of this road in extreme minus degree F. temperatures, snow and ice.

A fairly decent paved section of the Dalton Hwy...there is the Alaska Pipeline running parallel to the highway on the right.  You have to watch out for frost heaves in the pavement.  The Dalton Hwy is one of the most isolated roads in the United States.

This is a dirt section of the highway...not much up here...just empty land.  You probably wonder if we saw any wildlife while on this drive...the answer is... yes...just one moose ran across the road in front of us so quickly we didn't have time to get a photo before he was in the bushes.  

We reached the Arctic Circle after driving for six hours! 
(The Arctic Circle is about Mile Post 117 on the Dalton Hwy.) 

The Arctic Circle is an imaginary line that runs around the earth at latitude 66 degrees 33'.  

Another interesting fact:  The Arctic Circle is the latitude where the sun doesn't set for one day at summer solstice (June 20 or 21) and doesn't rise for one day at winter solstice (December 21 or 22).  

One car stopped with two young girls in it while we were here and they were nice enough to take our photo.

The lonely dirt stretch returning to Fairbanks.  It's a steep incline here.

Our truck after driving the Dalton Highway...caked with Alaska mud!  It took several washes to get this mud off.

We made it home without any flat tires or broken windshield.  The next day hubby was talking to a fellow RVer who also drove the highway and had two flat tires and a broken windshield!  I don't know if we were just lucky or what.  But hubby took it easy... didn't go fast especially when the big rigs drove by at their fast speeds.  I think that may have had more to do with our coming through without any incidents.  

Was it worth it to drive the Alaska Dalton Hwy?  

Well, it was a long day...leaving the RV at the campground in the North Pole (near Fairbanks) at 7:35 AM and not getting back until 7:17 PM.  It was 415 miles round trip.  Even with the long day we are glad we experienced this remote, isolated road. 

Please join our host, Mary, at The Little Red House (here), for more Mosaic Monday

I still have lots more to share with you on this trip so stay tuned.  We spent the weekend in Seattle visiting with our niece who is stationed here in the USCG.  Tomorrow we turn east for our journey back across the USA to Philly and home.  We have no rush to get home and plan to be there no later than the start of Labor Day Weekend.  

Sandy at Teacup Lane
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  1. Hi, Loved all your photos! Thanks so much for sharing them! Hope you have a wonderful new week!

  2. You've been to more places in Alaska than I have Sandy and I live here. We need places like this without anyone and just miles of nothingness. We sure don't need to stick roads on every plot of land do we, leave it wild and free as it was meant to be.

  3. Wow great pictures, I like the athmosphere of them. There one really can escape the rush of big cities! Have a nice week!

  4. DH watches "Ice Road Truckers" so I am familiar witht his road. How desolate & dangerous!!
    Great photos!

  5. great photos, wow what a trip looks like your having a great time making memories.

  6. Sounds like a fun idea to say you've actually been on th Arctic Circle but it was such a long ride. I think it must be way easier to reach the circle in Norway or Sweden. :)

  7. Well your epic holiday is nearly at an end. What an adventure it has been and what wonderful memories you must have.
    I wonder if you are looking forward to getting back home?

  8. What incredible country! Love seeing that highway stretching before you across that huge valley...

  9. Sandi, That was great, so glad you took us to the North Pole, if only via your comments and mosaic, which is fantastic. Thank you. Safe travelling.

  10. Sandy glad you shared these photos with us. I am a fan of Ice Road Truckers, watch it on Sunday nights. Road sure does look different without snow and ice.

  11. I am so enjoying your posts on route. It looked so desolate out there but beautiful at the same time. Congratulations on reaching the Artic Circle.

  12. Wow... When you said you were touring AK, you meant it. What a cool journey. I'm so glad you are posting while on the road, it's been great to keep up with you journey. How long did this trip take to plan? Someone in that RV is a real Travel Agent at heart. Great job, my road warriors.


  13. We loved watching the alaska truckie show (don't know the title). Totally amazing what they deal with. I too would have driven all the way just to say that "we have done it". Not many people can. The area looks as desolate as it does under snow

  14. What an experience! We thought it best for us not to attempt driving it while we were there, we had heard quite a few horror stories. You were brave! I am so glad to have been able to travel there with you through your pictures!