gubster's Diaryland Diary

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The Dalton highway

'Anyone learns within hours of arriving in Fairbanks that there are only two ways to head north, Either take the 'Haul road'( the Dalton highway) some 400 miles to Prudhoe bay or fly'....'But it is impossible to hire any kind of vehicle to make the journey on the Dalton highway. No company big or small would permit any of their vehicles to drive on this road, for the term highway is an exaggeration of gigantic proportions. The surface of the road is guaranteed to strip the tires of any unsuitable vehicle in less than half an hour, if the razor-sharp scale and rock doesn't get you , then the sudden hurricane winds, temperatures ten degrees below freezing or even an oncoming truck out of control because any of the above will. The haul road is not a digitally re-mastered adventure for the imagination, itís for real. Its death toll and the loss and destruction of million dollar trucks and million dollar cargo confirm it. Itís unquestionable the worlds most extreme highway'

- Brian Keenan

Now I no longer wondered why the hitchhiker on the verge of the highway was laughing hysterically as we passed him by in Aurora (for those of u not paying attention our small town car) I had heard the road was rough and I had read the fine print on my rental agreement but I had fate in Aurora and as we entered mile one of the highway I was only slightly concerned with the rough terrain. Eager to pass the Artic circle we hauled poor poor Aurora a few more miles north and she protested and began to shake. She was loosing control and I was loosing fate in her, I suddenly became aware of the silence in the car, there was no laughing, no music and no talking this was a first.

At mile 15 I was very aware of how tense the mood had got and how very dangerous this situation was. As a fog suddenly descended upon us and visibility was reduced to nil I realised that it wasn't the vast emptiness outside that caused the silence in the car. It was fear!! If anything happened now we where in serious trouble. forget the fact that we had no spare fuel, food water, torch or even a radio but we where seriously in the middle of nowhere and in a state populated by wacked out mad men, (most of whom belong to strange cults)

by mile 17 we realised that it was insanity and turned back.

Only now have I heard the stories of tragedy. If the laughing hitchhiker and debilitating fog wasn't enough of a clue for me the weird bleak landscape and emptiness should have clued me in ( or at least the absence of any McDonald) Aurora hasn't been the same since I fear she never will be, but my desire to get passed the artic circle is still very much alive. Next time Iíll fly.

7:15 p.m. - 2006-09-27

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