Home | ADVENTURE | End of Summer Road Trip – North To Alaska

End of Summer Road Trip – North To Alaska

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
   VIDEO: N/A
   STORY/EDITOR: J. Simons / E. Bewley

suzuki_underline_650

 

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.

I’ve never been in Canada for any reason, so this is a new experience for me. My passport was issued earlier this Summer, so I think a brand new passport and my reason for travel had me pulled inside for more questions. A brief Q&A and visual inspection of my vehicle contents, I was back on the road.

British Columbia Canada is Beautiful! It’s like all of the best parts of a model railroad, but it’s REAL!

BC leads to the Yukon Territory, then dips back into BC, before becoming Yukon again then into Alaska. I’ve made it! Almost. I still see roads ahead of me. I want to get to the end. That means continue North.

Alaska is Huge! I’m on the Alaska Highway and it leads to Fairbanks, AK, the end of the Alcan Highway. but I still see roads. I want to get to the end of the road.

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’ve never been in Canada for any reason, so this is a new experience for me. My passport was issued earlier this Summer, so I think a brand new passport and my reason for travel had me pulled inside for more questions. A brief Q&A and visual inspection of my vehicle contents, I was back on the road.

British Columbia Canada is Beautiful! It’s like all of the best parts of a model railroad, but it’s REAL!

BC leads to the Yukon Territory, then dips back into BC, before becoming Yukon again then into Alaska. I’ve made it! Almost. I still see roads ahead of me. I want to get to the end. That means continue North.

Alaska is Huge! I’m on the Alaska Highway and it leads to Fairbanks, AK, the end of the Alcan Highway. but I still see roads. I want to get to the end of the road.

 

   

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.

     

   

No kidding, I was now scared. I called my friend and explained, he shared his knowledge and experience, but he did not complete the first half, because of his limited time on his visit. After talking to my friend, I felt better, but still concerned. I stopped and picked up a few things, just in case. Most notable, a tire plug kit and cheap 12v compressor.

After shopping, I fueled up and started out. Genuinely concerned, yet I needed to get going. I started out cautious and slow, but thinking of the details my friend shared, I gradually became more comfortable. This is a very long, lonely stretch. I think my severe warning was accurate due to the loose terrain, large potholes, and the fact that it is washboard and at times hard packed gravel, with no room to pull off or get wide, such as a shoulder of the road.

Getting to Coldfoot took at least 7 hours. I fueled up knowing I would not get a chance to fuel again for another 250 miles. After refuel, I put on another hour and decided to get some rest. I needed it. A few hours later, I was on the way to Prudhoe, however, it had snowed overnight. This is August! I took my time and traversed Atigun Pass in 4wd high. Slow and steady, puts me through the stretch of about 10 steep, winding, snowy, miles. This pass could easily claim vehicles traveling it anytime of the year.

Back onto regular Dalton Highway terrain and I’m counting down the remaining miles. I can see the work camp. It’s getting closer and closer… I MADE IT!!!

I’m at the End of the Road! I can not go any farther, because there is no more. I have driven to the Arctic Ocean from Iowa! Now, I think I’ve almost seen it all!

What an Awesome Time I’ve had and Sights I’ve seen with this Tracker! It has been as simple as going prepared, being informed, and having a reliable vehicle that has been maintained as needed. I still have to get back home before we call this a success.

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!

 


suzuki_underline_650

About ZUKIWORLD Online: We are an enthusiast web site dedicated to the promotion of the Suzuki Automobile as the best and most capable vehicle on the planet. We offer product reviews, Tech tips, DIY, Travel and Adventure, Forum, Technical information, Life Style, and so much more! 

Check Also

SUZUKI SIDEKICK – TIGHTENING TORQUE FOR CRANKSHAFT TIMING BELT PULLEY – TSB

     DOCUMENT TYPE: Technical Service Bulletin    SUBJECT: Modification of Tightening Torque for Crankshaft timing …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.