Arctic Circle

The arctic circle is an imaginary line that runs approximately 66 degrees north of the equator. Above the arctic circle the sun is above the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year and the sun is below the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once a year. These are typically known as the summer and winter solstice which occurs in June and December.

The most dangerous road in America. Runs north-south from Fairbanks to Purdhoe Bay. I think I only saw 3 cars the entire time I was on this road and 2 dozen semi trucks going southbound.

There’s nothing out here but trees and snow…, and a dumbass in a compact rental with a 10 gallon tank.

…but it was worth it. Taking pictures while driving is not recommended.

I was lucky to have a full moon.

I’m driving towards the…,

the Yukon river. Yes, it was frozen. It’s 60 more miles to the Arctic Circle. On the opposite side of the bridge, I decided to stop and to get a closer look at the river. The car got stuck in the snow. The snow under the car prevented the wheels from getting any traction so I pulled out my shovel (my arms) and started removing as much snow from under the car. It was colder than cold. After getting the car unstuck, I decided to move on. I didn’t need to walk on the Yukon. Plus, I had sunk waist deep in snow while trying to find something to shove under the car tire for traction.

I don’t know what I was looking at, but I bet it would have been pretty if I could see it. There was a full moon out so I did get to see more than the posts.

Did I mention it was dark!

Finally! I think it was 8 pm. This is the only time I used my heavy tripod. The tilt of the earth at this latitude makes it hard to keep myself from falling down. LOL. At this point I didn’t care…, it was too cold to care. I took about a dozen pictures. For some reason, the timer was flaky. Actually, I had no feeling in my fingers so I couldn’t tell sometimes if I had pressed the button far enough. The arctic circle moves as the earth rotates. One scientist calculated that it can move as much as 50 miles.

More pictures of darkness. (Just imagine a mountain) If you stare at the picture long enough, slightly out of focus, you can see the mountain. Yes! Try it!

I finally made it to the town of Coldfoot. There’s not much here to get excited about. I was tired and hungry. It’s time to eat some eggs and reindeer meet. It was salty, nothing special about it. I picked up a few pamphlets about The Gates of the Arctic and discovered that I could not drive into the Gates of the Arctic. They should think about changing the name to “No Road into the Arctic.” No roads in because they don’t want any cars in there. It’s protected by mountains which I did not want to climb. The only way in is by plane. Maybe next time. I was unsuccessful in trying to find a cheap room to stay in. Everything is inflated here so I decided to head back to Fairbanks. To see the Arctic sea would have been nice, but I did not feel like driving 280 more miles. Did I mention I only have a 10 gallon tank. I fueled up the car and started my trip back to Fairbanks. Piece of cake…, unless…

you get into a car crash. I wasn’t sure if I could make it back to Fairbanks. I had no cell coverage out here. The front of the car was fine. Not a scratch. This happened 20 mile south of Coldfoot as I was heading back to Fairbanks

I was driving over a hill and I wasn’t paying attention to my speed. I was thinking about whether or not I wanted to drive all the way back or to stop a few times. I couldn’t stop too many times because there’s no place to plug the car. And it was cold so I would have to run the heater; thus, wasting gas. As I climbed over the hill the car began to spin slowly to the left. I tried to compensate and spun the car 180 degrees. I didn’t hit anything as the car spun. I was relieved and thought that I could make it thru this without a scratch. But the car was still moving down the road backwards. Bam! I hit the guardrail and the car spun forward counterclockwise. I came to a stop. Luckily the car still ran. I drove the car to the bottom of the hill and stopped in front of this sign. If the guardrail was not there, I would have been frozen on the tundra today. I checked the car for a gas leak but could not detect any leak. So I continued on until I got to the Arctic Circle. I couldn’t tell if there was a leak. The gas gauge seemed like it was dropping faster than normal. I reached the Arctic Circle and took a nap. After a couple of hours I started driving again. My body was uncomfortably cold and I needed to start the heater. Now I’m 75 miles outside of Fairbanks and I’m on empty. But I made it to a gas station a couple of miles outside of Fairbanks. Lucky me. The gas cover was stuck so I pulled out some pliers and tore it off the car. The locals watched with amusement. Lucky for me it looks as if someone hit me. If I stood at the pole, would I spin off the earth?