PRUDHOE BAY, AK – [Our writer-at-large Jeff Simons has taken another great adventure in his Suzuki and is back to tell the tale] It’s that time again. My end of Summer Road Trip. Previous travels have been Great! Scenic Route Tracker has taken me from Chicago to Los Angeles via Route 66 and I’ve seen all 48 States on One Lap of the United States. What could possibly top those? I think I need to go North, to the End of the Road… Alaska… This will be some serious miles, remote locations, confidence in my vehicle and confidence in myself and my independence.
|PHOTO: J. Simons|
|STORY/EDITOR: J. Simons / E. Bewley|
I have been preparing for this trip since returning from the last. I needed to preform maintenance from bumper to bumper. This has been such a reliable vehicle that my repairs and maintenance have been standard, fluids, inspections, cleaning, and for this, a new set of tires. No sense in pushing it knowing service may be miles and miles away.
I started out from Iowa with intentions of seeing a few things before I get too far into the wild. Kind of a high mile shakedown before I leave the US. I don’t have too much time for any of my extra sights, some of them I have already seen, as getting to Alaska will eat up most of the time I have. So, I passed through Yellowstone National Park, which is Awesome! After YNP, I went through Jackson Wyoming to get to Idaho. I was close enough to grab a quick couple of Napoleon’s house and Pedro’s house from the Movie Napoleon Dynamite. I find movie locations and tv show buildings amusing to see.
After that I hustled across to Southern Washington because I wanted to see Mount St. Helen’s. This was a historical event that happened in my lifetime. It is quite the sight. The Johnson Ridge Observatory is informative and displays items indicating how massive an explosion this was. Then quickly pass through Seattle for a couple landmark sights/pictures, then North.
Now we’re talking… Dalton Highway, 500 miles from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, the end of the road. But, Dalton Highway is No Joke. This is remote with only one gas station 250 miles away. No cell service. No services until you get to Coldfoot, Alaska, which is the halfway point from Fairbanks to Prudhoe.
I have been warned very clearly. Do Not start the Dalton Highway without two full sized spare tires. 8-10 hours from Fairbanks to Coldfoot, another 8-10 hours from Coldfoot to Prudhoe Bay. There is no room for error, such as being tired, or not staying alert of the road and it’s changes. I asked why so much time? I have a 4wd. I know how to off road drive. I have all 5 brand new tires before I left. The guy said, I don’t care. This is not your kind of driving back home. You need to be focused and prepared.
Heading home was just that, a long drive home. I did drive the Alcan Highway in its entirety from Fairbanks AK to Dawson Creek BC. I continued into Alberta, and Manitoba, before getting back into the US at North Dakota.
Some of the wildlife I had seen on this trip include deer, elk, moose, antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, coyote, fox, wolf, black bear, caribou, musk ox, beaver, and grizzly bear.
9,100 miles in 13 days and I’m home. What an Adventure! All of which was not even a thought, when purchasing this Tracker from online classifieds 4 years ago. And yes, it is the exact engine, untouched, from the original online purchase. My Scenic Route Tracker has taken me through All of the 48 United States, through a large part of Canada, and into Alaska to the Arctic Ocean! I can check off the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico in these travels too.
Adventure is Out There!
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