Smythe Family On The Road travel blog

Tom opens his Father's Day card from Jonathan.

They both get a kick out of what my Father's Day card...

Looking out the bus window as we start the tour.

Two oil rigs are visible in the distance.

A little closer view.

A crane is moving a building at this site as we pass.

The Prudhoe Bay National Forest. There are no trees up on the...

These vehicles are what they use to drive around on the tundra....

Pumps that are inside buildings to protect them from the cold.

A closer look.

Some of the fuel is burnt off at the site for various...

The building in the distance is the largest natural gas plant in...

Another well head.

We passed several banks of pipes like this.

When we arrived at the Arctic Ocean, Jonathan headed straight for the...

Now he can say he has officially touched the waters of the...

A picture of the three of us by the Arctic Ocean. The...

These guys were from Wisconsin and actually went in. The temperature was...

Smiley boy!

Jonathan ran out on the top of the sand spit to check...

Heading back to the bus. Running some of that energy off and...

Tom caught me.

Jonathan's cheeks are a little rosy too.

There's all kinds of construction machinery around. Jonathan was fascinated by this...

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More Rolligans for moving across the tundra with the lowest impact on...

The wheels on these are blown up so you can see how...

Tom and Jonathan on the front step of the hotel.

We are back on the road now. Caribou are in this area...

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More beautiful scenery the rest of the drive.

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Tom looks through the binoculars toward the river for animals. There are...

Jonathan gives me a smile. The mosquitoes started coming out after a...

Happy feet. Hard to tell what color the Yukon is at this...

The lupine is in full bloom in this area.

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The pipeline can be seen for miles ahead of us.

This is a pretty view down this hill. It's steep though. You...

Take a look at these guard rails!

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They're reworking the road so we came across several graders as we...

Dandelions never looked so pretty.

I just think this is a cool shot. The road and the...

A scene with the Brooks Range in the background.

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Jonathan thought it was pretty cool because he got to drive for...

Brooks Mountains.

Brooks Pass.

Jonathan likes the back of the Yukon once we get it set...

Yellow Cliffs.

Sukakoak Mountain.

The Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot. We stopped here thinking it...

This was the cool display that greeted you when you walked in...

Animal hides, antlers and bones were on display for visitors.

A midnight view out the front window where we camped in the...


Sunday, June 21, 2009.

Dalton Highway Wayside, Alaska

Father's Day at the Arctic Ocean

We got up at 6:00 so we could get ready in plenty of time to get dressed and have breakfast before we had to be over at the Arctic Caribou Inn where the tour would begin. We had to be dressed for the cold so we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time.

When we arrived at the conference room at the other hotel I was surprised at how many other people were there. They showed the group a video about the oil operation and how it all works and then took us to the bus to board. The bus driver was very friendly and took us all around the facility telling us about the various buildings and equipment as we passed it. One of the pieces I found interesting was the trucks they used out on the tundra. The wheels they have on them only allow three to four pounds of weight per square inch to be applied to the tundra while they're driving on it. He talked about the grizzly bears hibernating up there and the polar bears wandering around from time to time.

When we got back from the tour we jumped in the Yukon and drove back over to our hotel. We checked out of our room then went and had lunch at the cafeteria before we went over to fuel up and head back down the Dalton Highway.

We had brought stuff to camp in the Yukon tonight if we wanted to or we could drive back all the way. We were just going to play it by ear. We drove until about 10:30 and Tom was getting really tired. I was tired too so we decided to pull over at the next rest stop and sleep for a while. We had tried it out where Jonathan was going to sleep in the front seat on an air mattress and Tom and I would sleep in the back of the Yukon but Jonathan couldn't fall asleep so needless to say, it ended up being cozy.

A state trooper stopped by at one point to make sure everything was alright. Jonathan saw a moose swimming across the lake that was out our front window. The midnight sun shining on the lake was a pretty scene to see. Once things had settled down we all curled up and slept for about three and a half hours.



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