It is 2PM, touchdown of my one hour flight from Fairbanks. I am excited but surprisingly calm. My main concerns circle around my bike (which calls by the name Klaus) and my equipment. I hope everything made it here in one piece since there is literally not much room for failure out here. Once I open the completely wrecked cardboard box these concerns quickly fade. Klaus is alright and TSA did not have to remove anything, phew! I take meticulous care in assembling everything back together and packing the bike bags. After almost three hours I am ready to go (I said I took meticulously care!).
On the first few meters on the gravel roads on my way to the General Store I still check if everything works as it should be. It's cold (Mexico certainly did its fair share in preparing me to the Arcric climate) and grey. The triste surroundings of Prudhoe Bay, the gateway to North America's largest oil field, make the atmosphere perfect.
After the visit to the General Store where I got my bear spray (which sets me back a whopping $80) and my obligatory starting photo it finally hits me...
I can't believe that I finally made it to the "end of the world". Well or at least the most northern point you can reach by road on the American continent - Prudhoe Bay on the shore of the Arctic Ocean in Alaska. The long uncertain time of waiting, international travel restrictions and last minute flight cancelations made my journey to the starting line quite a "ride". All the stress of the last days and weeks kind of pushed aside many of my feelings about this trip. Now there they are. I am happy about all of them, the good and the bad ones and decide to really soak them in instead of rushing on my bike and push them aside myself now. I have been waiting for this so long.
At 7PM it is time and I start the ride into the bright Arctic night. 800km of rough road back to Fairbanks, one gas station in the middle. It will take anywhere between 5 and 10 days so Klaus is heavy loaded with supplies. However, I assume he is just as excited as I am to finally get going!