Saturday, June 20, 2009.
Prudhoe Bay Hotel, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Drive up to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay
We left the Hilltop Truck Stop at 7:00 this morning and headed up the Dalton Highway. We had decided to drive through all day with a stop at Coldfoot for lunch and a stop at the Arctic Circle for pictures. We wanted to get to the Prudhoe Bay Hotel in time to have dinner before they shut things down and get a good night's sleep before the tour tomorrow morning. We got out the door on time so our day started on the right track.
We drove through to the Arctic Circle. When we arrived there were two other couples there. One couple were in an RV. They looked as if they were going to camp there for a little while or have lunch there anyway. The other couple were driving up to Atigun Pass for the day and then were going to turn around and come back. We took turns taking one another's pictures and talked for a few minutes then jumped back into the trucks and went on. We ran into them again later in Coldfoot when we were having lunch.
Our waitress in Coldfoot turned out to be someone I found out I had something in commone with. I asked her how she liked living up here and she said she wasn't originally from here that she was from Illinois. We laughed and said we were too. She said she was from Kankakee. I said I was born there. The waitress come to find out was born in the same hospital I was and went to Illinois State University like I did too. Small world. After lunch we hit the road again.
We drove while enjoying all the scenery along the way. We realized that by the time we had made it up to Deadhorse would have followed the Alaskan Pipeline all the way from Valdez to where it originates up here. That wasn't really a goal when we came up here but it's just the way things happen to fall so we'll have seen every mile of it by the time we make it to the end.
We came into the caribou before too long. We were hoping we would see them and the musk oxen that people talk about up here. The caribou were on the sides of the road grazing at first but as we drove along we came upon some that crossed the road in front of us. One herd crossed back and forth in front of us at least three times. They were fun to watch. We were able to get some good video of them so we'll have that to watch or show people in the future.
We pressed on to Prudhoe Bay and made it in around 7:00. We checked in and they said dinner was served until 8:00 so we went in and had dinner then got settled into our room. It was small but should work fine for a good night's sleep. The only thing that I would have changed would have been room darkening curtains.
Our tour will start at 8:00 tomorrow morning so it will be a short night.