Packing took forever, each bike had to be wrapped super well with foam all the panniers packed in around them and all taped up to be checked onto the plane with us. But as we watched the luggage chuckers move the luggage off the plane, we were excited to see that the boxes were heavy enough not to throw onto the carts, and therefore our bikes, as well as us, made it in one piece! Thanks Hutches for all the hard work getting our bikes ready to go.
Flights were a bit delayed, but to be expected when flying through Seattle. We arrived in Anchorage, Alaska around 1:30 am (we are now one hour behind) and found a couple nice benches to sleep on before our 7 am flight to Prudhoe Bay. We met a super nice girl, Rachelle, who has worked 6 years now up in Prudhoe Bay during the summer driving launch boats around. Once we finally got to the last flight and were able to look down out the windows of the expanse of wide open tundra, it finally began to sink in that after all the dreaming and planning, we were finally almost here to the beginning of such a great adventure!!
Once we arrived in Prudhoe Bay Airport, we were greeted with some extremely friendly people who let us unpack the boxes and put bikes together right there in the baggage claim/entire airport. Since we lucked out on having such big bike boxes, we only had to remove the front wheel, pedals, seat/post, and a a few bolts, but it was a quick couple hour assembly and pack up job and we were ready to go! Since we made it up this far, we agreed that we wanted to get all the way to the water, but everyone has to sign up for a shuttle to get there and pass a 24 hour clearance to do so. They are a bit strict about this because of all the oil companies in this area. The earliest we could get on a shuttle was the next day at 3:30 pm (so an overnight wait). We harnessed our patience, and as we headed out the door into the mist, we found the classy Prudhoe Bay Hotel right across the street.
We were greeted by some even more nice people, booked an extremely expensive honeymoon suite, all buffet meals included, and set out to meeting a bunch of "locals" who live up here and work the season for various jobs, but mainly around the oil companies. The sun doesn't set here, so it's a trip to try and sleep in daylight, but our snazzy sleeping masks help a ton. Today, Saturday, we met up for breakfast with some great guys we met who are two of the coolest helicopter pilots we now know. Larry and Jerry, both from Texas, took us to their hangar and showed us the Bell 4-12 Helicopter they fly for 4 weeks on and 4 weeks beck to Texas. It was so cool! We were able to sit in the cockpit, ask a million questions and hear their exciting stories of flying and living all over the world flying helicopters.
They were nice enough to give us a ride to the Prudhoe Bay General Store to get fuel and our bear mace and they headed off to go fly. Weather here changes by the minute so they are on constant standby as to when they can fly. We are about to pack on some more pounds at the buffet, and head out on our bikes back to the General Store to take our shuttle to the Arctic Ocean. When we get dropped off, we will set off down the Dalton Highway and head south to Argentina. Stay tuned for the next post. We hear the next internet connection will be in Fairbanks, about 10 days from now, so sit tight. OFF WE GO!!
K.G. & Ville
In Huanaco, Peru. Battered, but still going south.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson
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