Monday, June 24, 2013

Preparing for the Dalton Highway

One of the big goals for my trip is the Dalton Highway. It would get me past the Arctic Circle, into the Brook Range of Mountains and up to Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean. 1000 miles from Fairbanks, roundtrip.

One of the tricky parts of travelling to the more remote parts is judging the information you get on how severe the conditions are. Half the time it is difficult to judge the background of the person you talk to. But then of course they don't know the experience of the person they are talking to.

Rental car agencies generally won't let you take their cars up there. There are a few dedicated to providing vehicle for the trip, but they are generally much more expensive and often supply 4x4s.

Advice and info includes things like, take a good spare (no space savers), take a spare spare tire, no services for 240 miles in places, no grocery stores, expensive gas, take an extra gas canister, take a CB radio, don't bother with a CB radio. Oh yes - don't forget your camera.

In the end I decided on a new set of tires for the truck, lots of food and 4 cameras. The truck needed new tires anyway, the roads up to here are not the smoothest. It also needed quite a bit of realignment, more than I've needed on any other car. It took a while to find a tire place whose alignment machine was actually working in Anchorage.

A set of 4 All Terrain tires with a bit of extra knobblyness made me feel alot more confident and much poorer. It wasn't until later that I bothered to check the spare!

My suspicion was that the most dangerous part of the driving would be the big rigs for whom the road was built. Public traffic was not even allowed initially. Advice on this part took many forms, but basically meant - Get out of the way quickly. This was partly why a CB radio was advised.

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