We are officially on our way home so that should please Julies Gran. However we have a smashed windscreen so movement towards home will be delayed whilst we find a replacement. Luckily, we think the insurance covers it. Insurance in the USA isn't like the UK so we shall see. We think they pay for it directly so thats one RPITA (Goggle it) removed from the equation. If they wanted to send a cheque it would be a nightmare. Can they get us a Land Rover screen in Fairbanks....I doubt it. No doubt it will be up to me to chase it up every day. Verizon have managed to break my phone so I can no longer make or receive any calls or texts. It was working to receive calls but now it does nothing. I shouldn't have called customer services and settled for the texts and receiving only. Now how do the insurance and glass company call us ??? They can't and i'm not getting another phone just for that !
We are staying at Mark and Michelles cabin in the mean time. Luckily its not booked out or we'd be in the Walmart for a week maybe. We want to get moving as we have deadlines to adhere to but this is the way of travelling. Hopefully it won't take too long to get a screen. It was just one of the many lorries threw up a big one at maybe 60MPH and we got hit right near the edge so we can still drive. Its at least 5 inches and spreading and is actually all the way through the laminate.
We saw a few animals on the road but no more bears. At least we saw one bear the other day. The highlights were the Wolf and the Arctic fox. Julie got photos of both although considering how bad our camera is behaving its a miricle she got any. The zoom will only now zoom in and to get it back to normal you have to switch it off and on again. This is pretty time consuming when theres a fox making a bid for freedom at 40MPH. The Wolf just stood there and gave us the finger.....We can't afford a new camera at this late stage of the journey.
The Dalton Highway is partially paved and partially gravel. Some parts are just ice even now but its melting fast. The lowest it got to was -10c which isn't that cold. The biggest problem was my mud flaps and wheel arches getting caked in snow and ice. The weight being so considerable it tried to rip off a mud flap. I cleared them off quite a few times. The rear flaps on a defender being renowned for getting ripped off are reinforced for just this reason so its the front that suffered. Its held on by TieWraps (zip-ties) now pending a fixing session. As you can see from the photos the car was a bit dirty but unlike the super jet wash in Smithers in Canada which gave 20mins for $6 (Can$) the one here was $13 for 13 minutes and the car isn't clean at all. I wasn't going to spend more than that as thats already a load of cash for almost nothing. They really do take the piss with charging for a jet wash. If you washed it properly using the brush and soap etc. You could easily spend $45 usd. You can't wash a car in 10 minutes and thats still $10usd. Especially one a filthy as Matilda. We are off to see another Land Rover owner today so he might have one we can use. Its going to be strange saying hello, can we use your Jet wash please. Hopefully he's on city water as the cabin where we are staying isn't so water is valuable. We are just glad Mark and Michelle are leting us stay. Its a great place to rest up.
A bit about the Dalton. Fuel is $1 more expensive in Coldfoot about 250 miles from Fairbanks and approx half way to Deadhorse. They sell food at the services and their Burger is OK. Its $1.50 more expensive per gallon in Deadhorse and you can eat in the Aurora Hotel which is the largest building in town and is 3 stories high but NOT signed as the Aurora and has no sign at all. You can't miss it. You need to go see what you want and then pay reception. Meal times are fixed so if you are out of luck with the times they have a selection of Microwaveable stuff. We had a couple of nice Burrito's for $2.50 each and a hot chocolate (free). I get the feeling the buffet meals would be really good considering all the residents eat there every day for their entire contract in the north.
If you need to find the Deadhorse sign and general store you need to GPS location as its difficult to find. N 70 12'' 32' W 148 24' 20'' They sell t-shirts and stickers and theres a NAPA autoparts store on the ground floor.
10 miles out of Fairbanks there is a water station if you need water for camping. Right on the side of the road near the town of Fox. Its just after the weigh station on the left.
We did a total of 1097 miles travelling from Fairbanks to Deadhorse including some local driving around. We managed to get 23UKMPG on the ups and downs on the highway as some of the hills are steep and require 3rd gear. We normally get 27UKMPG so take that into account. Its a lot of up and down. A lot ! We filled up in Coldfoot on the way there and only topped up there on the return. Buying 20 Gallons when its a dollar more expensive is a lot of cash so plan what you are going to do. We used both our fuel cans to save money. If you can I would do the same.
We are loosing our temper with Walmart in Fairbanks. Twice we have tried to buy wine and twice we needed to jump through hoops to do so. The first time my driving licence wasn't good enough so I had to get my passport. The second time when I was buying wine they wanted both mine and Julies licence even though she was only with me and not buying anything. So two different rules on two different occasions. Opposite to this was Fred Meyers which sold it to me with no ID at all. I mean I look over 21 and I'm obviously not a local ! I offered to go get it and she said it was fine. Walmart seem to have a bug up the preverbial. I would guess they've been done for serving illegally.
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