I was walking out of the Post Office when I noticed two motorcycles parked next to my Beetle. The riders were German tourists. “Nice bikes,” I said. “They’re filthy,” the older of the two Germans replied in good, yet heavily accented English. They were that. The BMW’s were absolutely caked with mud.
“The Haul Road”, I said, and the younger rider grinned. At least he was having fun, I wasn’t so sure about the other one. He looked pretty grumpy.
It turns out that Atigun Pass had snow. I picked out the words: wind, snow, drift, miserable, and several words that sounded like German cussing from the older rider when I asked how the ride went. The happy German simply said, “Ice Road Truckers,” with a huge grin on his face, then he gave me a thumbs up. Crazy bastard.
I asked if they made it to Deadhorse, and was roundly told off for the question. “Nein, nein. Snow. Wet snow.” There were several more sentences that followed, which I didn’t understand, but the tone came across as a tad negative.
“Well, it is September.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means that only a tourist would be surprised by snow north of the Arctic Circle in September.”
“Why do you live in this place?” Mr Cheerful asked.
“All the tourists leave by the end of September,” I said. “It gets a lot better then.”
It took a couple of seconds, then the younger rider laughed out loud and slapped me on the back. “I like your car,” he said still chuckling.
“Thanks. I drove it all the way to Deadhorse once.”
At that, the Germans shook their heads and went into the building with a stack of postcards.
Yeah, I can be a bit of a shit at times. At least the Germans made it to Coldfoot. You have to give them that.
A deadly combination of unpredictable weather on the North Slope has made Atigun Pass more dangerous than ever. Record snowfall mixed with now warmer temperatures has turned this wicked pass into a devil’s slide–slippery than ever and at all time high for avalanche risk. Amazon Instant Video