To Prudhoe

Also known as Deadhorse, it’s just an oilfield work camp with only the essentials to qualify as a “town.” No guns or alcohol are sold here, so I’m sure there have been some good stories. Porn and trucker magazines don’t seem to be an issue, though.

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Everything is trucked up, so the couple of ‘hotels’ for the workers are created with shipping containers. All food is included, since there are no restaurants. Oddly, they say the only autoparts store is the highest grossing in the nation.

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It’s all BP, MobileExxon and Conoco private property up here, so to actually get to the Arctic Ocean, you have to make reservations 24 hours in advance with a tour company run by BP. They check your background history to make sure you’re not a terrorist or maybe some sort of Greenpeace activist. Despite our VW, we were allowed to join 13 others on a small bus.

Our guide was actually a security officer, but did a great job showing us the ins and outs of the oilfield and pointing out a caribou and several different bird species.

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24 miles later, we are at an industrial lot with access to a small rocky beach. It’s just as windy and cold as you’d expect. I got in to my ankles, some of the heartier soles went all the way in. The whole tour cost us $60 per person (including the kid) and took about 2 hours.

Mission accomplished- South to North, only about 6 years

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8 thoughts on “To Prudhoe

  • July 16, 2015 at 4:46 PM
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    Outstanding.
    In case it’s important to you to drive *yourself* all the way to the Arctic Ocean (and you probably already knew this), you can do so only in the Northwest Territories, at Tuktoyaktuk via Inuvik. The catch: you have to do it in Winter on a frozen river.

    Mitch.

  • July 17, 2015 at 5:56 AM
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    Congratulations, and well done. Red Beard has certainly earned the sticker.

    Personally I would pass on the opportunity to drive an air cooled VW to Tuk in the winter..

  • July 17, 2015 at 10:21 AM
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    Congratulations! I have enjoyed every mile and every photo. Thank you.

  • July 17, 2015 at 10:47 AM
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    DougD–
    As someone who has given some thought to driving an air-cooled VW to Tuk in the Winter, why would you pass on the opportunity? Lack of interior heat?
    Serious question, not trolling.
    whc03grady.

  • July 17, 2015 at 10:51 AM
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    I should add–I think RedBeard has definitely earned the sticker and the Rehms a ton of credit. I *wasn’t* (and wouldn’t) trying to downplay their achievement, as in “yeah you got to the Arctic Ocean but you didn’t drive all the way there yourself you got there on a tour bus”.
    whc03grady.

  • July 17, 2015 at 11:31 AM
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    I’m thinking lack of interior heat, and excessive cooling of the engine. A relative worked in Fort McPherson for a while and they just didn’t shut vehicles off unless there was a plug in available, average -30C at night, Yikes!

    But I’m still working on putting my VW back together, so my driving goals are modest. Just driving around the block would be nice at this point…

  • July 17, 2015 at 11:39 AM
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    That’s one piece of the brilliance of the air-cooled: there really isn’t such a thing as “excessive cooling”. The relative in Ft. McPherson drove something with a radiator, right? Therein lies the rub.

    That said, it’s conceivable the oil could get cold enough overnight to thicken it to the point of hard starting, maybe to the point of engine damage. There’re block heaters for that, and using an Arctic-rated weight would help. I’ve started mine up well below 0F many times without issue, though never as low as -30C (-22F); more like in the teens below 0F (mid 20s below in C).

    whc03grady.

  • July 20, 2015 at 4:03 AM
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    Yay congratulations on the South to North 🙂 Europe next ?

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