Sunday, June 29, 2008

A road paved by oil

The Dalton Highway is a 400-plus mile mix of swerving pavement and spine-rattling gravel that stretches from Fairbanks to Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean.
It was built in the mid-70s to make the Alaskan Pipeline possible, snaking alongside the engineering marvel still pumping crude, that's eventually ending up as $4 gas at a pump near you.
Sardined into a van, I traveled the highway for 10 hours and 360 miles on Friday with some fellow reporters and a couple of scientists.
We passed into the Arctic Circle, through the Atigun Pass and onto the tundra in the foothills north of the Brooks Range mountains.
I've been to some big sky country before, and apologies to those slogan-bogarting folks in Montana, the view at Toolik lake somehow conveys a stretch of horizon not much found in the lower 48.


Bill Dalton said...

So why's it called the Dalton Highway?

PrudhoeBay said...

Welcome to the Slope, Mr. Canon, the land of the midnight sun. I work up here in the oilfield, two weeks on and two weeks off, commuting from the KC metro area.

Just FYI, it's Atigun Pass, not Antigun Pass. Not sure if that was a typo or if you were misinformed.

And to the previous commenter: everyone up here calls it the Haul Road. It's only government types that call it the Dalton Highway; I assume they're trying to name it after one of their fellow lying thieves...