Prudhoe Bay or Inuvik?

The summer will officially be over in a few days as Labor Day comes and goes.  Each day  brings me one day closer to the departure – I am sure it will be here before I know it.  It is hard to contain the excitement and resist the urge to spend 24 hours a day researching, planning and training for the long ride.  Its hard to explain – one of those things that if you need to explain…

At this point, significant will power is necessary to prevent over planning the ride.  It is hard to resist figuring out when I will be at each title town and which camp or park I will be setting up the half-dome.  However, I still have a major decision to make concerning the destination, Prudhoe Bay or Inuvik?  Both have their allure and unfortunately, time will not allow visits to both.  I am hoping that the activity of writing about each here will help in the decision.

Prudhoe Bay – This is probably one of the most common destinations for those making the track to the North Sea from the lower 48.  It is about 400 miles north of Fairbanks and the road is gravel and dirt, but well traveled.  The town of Prudhoe Bay is where the Pan-American Highway terminates on its northern route beginning in  South America and involving a network of almost 30,000 miles of highways/roads.  When I was in South America on our Patagonia Moto Tour, we went as far south as you could go on a road in the Americas (Ushuaia). Prudhoe Bay would be as far north as you could go.  It is kind of the “given” destination for adventurers heading to Alaska.   The ultimate ride would be to do the whole Pan-American route – which several have done.

I have heard several riders indicate, after completing the ride from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, “is that it?” or “should have spent the time touring through Denali or other park.”  It just wasn’t worth the time, truck traffic or headache or 400 miles on dirt to turn around and head back.  On the other hand, there are those who say that the Dalton Highway or “Haul Road” is not to be missed.  It crosses the Brooks Range at Atigun Pass and views are said to be spectacular.

Inuvik on the other hand, is not in Alaska, but in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Going to Inuvik would probably mean never making it to Alaska, but, might be a more interesting ride.  Apparently there are a few very crossings (Peel and Mackenzie Rivers) and the trip is a bit more remote, but the road terminates in the town of Inuvik – a real town with services unlike Prudhoe Bay.

Something about the “Journey to Alaska” that doesn’t get to Alaska doesn’t sit well.  Maybe I’ll do both and end the debate….

In any case, the new bike is running well.  Did a bit of a jaunt on it today and got about 15-20 miles of “off-road” in.  Very easy section of gravel road, but was good to be up on the foot pegs again.  The bike performed well after dropping the pressures in the tires.  Now just need to get the old body used to 500-800 miles a day.


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