Sporting a spare tire, extra gas can, clean tail light, camping gear, and multiple tools and parts, Big Bertha, Rudi’s 2000 BMW R1150GS, is the hit of the Coldfoot Camp fashion runway as she prepares for the final leg of their initial journey to Deadhorse, the farthest point in North America reachable by a contiguous road. Count the qualifiers in that sentence, send them to Rudi, and the correct answer will win his used socks from the trip.
It’s 240 miles over the highest pass in Alaska (both in altitude and latitude, take THAT, Jimmy Buffet!). We begin at the crest of that pass … Antigun Pass … in our video for the day, and wend our way, not without incident mind you, to Deadhorse, Alaska, home of the North Slope Oil Fields, developed in the 1970’s, that supply about 5% of our daily oil needs in the USA. Look at the size of the effort for that 5% and repent y0ur sinful ways, brethren! Next time Rudi rides a bicycle!
Humility is not high on Rudi’s list of virtues (a very short list), but he feels it growing in him as they descend Antigun Pass and they enter another world. It cannot be described by Rudi, but even he feels the weight of respect the country demands. It falls on him as he rides into a vastness that he’s never seen, or felt before. Kansas plains are vast, but they are not as remote, not as cold, not as alien to men as what is out there now
The feeling of being several hundred miles above the Arctic Circle is ever present. There is less truck traffic. You can see the horizon for what seems to be a thousand miles away. The road is frost-heaved, never-ending, and the far side of the moon feeling is sitting on Rudi and making him both happy and uncomfortable. Rudi reads this in retrospect and says, “What a bunch of BS! Grog awaits at the end of the journey so Ride On!” Rudi is as shallow sometimes as the great inland seas that gave us a lot of our present day country. Maybe there’s hope yet for him … in about a 100-million years!
So finally we reach the final ride video, going into Deadhorse/Prudho Bay, short and sweet though she may be. Rudi breaks his silence, and if he slurs a few words, know that he means well … sometimes anyway.
Rudi can be forgiven for an over-statement about the Arctic Ocean. When you arrive at Deadhorse, you see a large fresh water lake, not the Arctic Ocean. To see that, you cough up $45.00 for a 7 a.m. bus tour through the oil fields to the shore of Prudho Bay. Be sure to register ahead and have your driver’s license or passport handy, ’cause you’ll need them for the tour. You’ll also be overrun by tourists who FLEW IN for the tour. No sane person drives the Dalton, all employees up here fly in and out, all the time
Next up is the tour of the oilfields, a caribou herd approves our passage, and a burial takes place. Gee, did we seem to promise all that in our headline for today? Just modern media doing its thing to entice you to stay with us through the next commercial break. Trust Rudi!
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Rudi G & Jesse