All the way up the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse and even before that, we’d heard about how rough and dangerous the highway was. It was highly inadvisable to try and drive it with an ordinary car, which probably couldn’t make it at all. Only special vehicles and drivers who knew what they were doing should attempt it. Then the first thing we saw when we turned into the parking lot at Deadhorse was a rent-an-rv with California license plates! I do realize that these rentals turn up all over the place, not just in their license plate state, so the thing may not have been driven all the way from California. But really – a rental Class C. With California plates. In Deadhorse, Alaska?
Deadhorse was interesting. We stayed in construction worker digs that were basic. Those are two way understated understatements!
We didn’t see all that much of Deadhorse. We arrived pretty late in the evening and had to go directly into dinner since the kitchen wanted to close down. The food at Deadhorse was a lot better than Coldfoot. I remember that clearly, although I only remember the fried catfish I had for dinner and the oatmeal with every kind of mix-in imaginable that I had for breakfast.
After dinner, the rest of the van wanted to get back into the van and go look at downtown Deadhorse, where I believe there was a store. Possibly two stores. Getting back into the van didn’t appeal to us, so we stuck around the deluxe accommodations and walked around. We saw a lot of mud, a lot of puddles, and a lot of big equipment. I actually liked this part a lot, since I like looking at big trucks and things.
We stayed in the workers’ lodgings, which were in some kind of long mobile unit. Our driver warned us not to lock the door to our room, since they didn’t have keys. The room was comfortable enough, with two twin beds, a desk, and not much else. Showers and bathrooms were down the hall and around the corner.
The following morning, after hanging around for a while, we loaded back up into the van for our Arctic Ocean excursion. I was wearing my serious blue parka. I got a few snide comments about how I was overdoing it with that serious parka, but when we got out of the van to walk around and the wind hit us I was a lot more comfortable than some others with less serious coatness. Sometimes overkill is just right.
It was fun to stand there and look out on the water, knowing that we were right up at the top of Alaska. We dabbled our hands in the water, and while it was cold, it probably wasn’t much colder than creeks and rivers in the Sierras.