The town of Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay, marks the start of our planned Alaska to Argentina cycle tour. The furthest point north in Alaska reachable by road, Deadhorse exists purely to facilitate and support the extraction of oil from beneath its frozen tundra. Just a few kilometres from the Arctic Ocean coastline (only accessible via a private road owned by BP), this town was established after oil was discovered in 1968. During the late 1970s an ambitious pipeline project was initiated to transport this precious liquid 800 miles to its Valdez Terminal.
The Dalton Highway (also known as the North Slope Haul Road) is our route south and was built in 1977 to service the construction of the pipeline. These days it continues to be used for pipeline maintenance and for the delivery of supplies to the oil workers at Deadhorse, whose numbers range from 3500 – 5000, despite Deadhorse having less than 50 permanent residents.
The Nuts & Bolts
⊕ The Dalton and Elliot Highways from Deadhorse to Fairbanks: 839 kilometres.
⊕ We paid US$270 for two for a room in Deadhorse inc. 24/7 snacks and three all-you-can-eat meals a day.
⊕ To avoid carrying supplies the whole route, food parcels can be posted to Coldfoot.
⊕ Services exist at Wiseman (limited), Coldfoot, Hotspot Cafe (just north of the Yukon River), truck stop at Yukon River and at Hilltop, just before Fox.
⊕ We experienced everything from -5c to 28c over 12 days (with two rest days).
⊕ The usual window for cycling the Dalton starts early June (though sometimes very keen people start earlier, check out http://www.julihirata.com)
⊕ BLM provide this useful resource all about riding the Dalton Highway.