South of Yukon River, AK - Repairs in Coldfoot on the Journey South
Jun 27, 2011
|(Ron Writing) After a delicious breakfast of oven baked oatmeal we continued south on the Dalton Highway on our return trip from Deadhorse to Fairbanks. Our first stop was in Coldfoot, the first fuel and repair facility south of Deadhorse.
The repair shop in Coldfoot didn’t have the all-steel valve stem I really wanted for the trailer tire so they installed a rubber one. It was better than no spare to get us back to Fairbanks.
After replacing the valve stem, I pulled over to the gas pump to fill-up the truck. As I was pumping the gas I noticed a problem with the hitch. There are two large ¾” bolts that hold the hitch head assembly on the shank. One of these two bolts had broken. The nut and washers were gone and only the broken-off bolt remained in the hole. It must have happened shortly before we got to Coldfoot since the broken bolt was still clean. We pulled the rig to the side of the parking lot where we were out of the way and free from mud. The guys in the repair shop dug through their assortment of bolts and nuts and came up with a ¾” x 4 ½” grade 8 bolt to replace the failed ¾” by 5” bolt. It was the one and only bolt they had that was 4 ½”, all the others they had were even shorter. So I installed the bolt without the flat washer under the lock washer and it picked-up all the threads on the nut – just barely. This story could have ended much, much worse – once again we feel blessed.
After completing the hitch repair we continued south – even slower and more cautiously than before! Since we just traveled this route a few days ago we didn’t take many photos or make many stops.
We did stop at the BLM campground just north of the Yukon River where there is an artesian spring with good pure water that’s been flowing longer than anyone knows. We filled up our tank with the free spring water and also used the free dump station.
We continued south a few miles beyond the Yukon River where we are spending the night in a very large paved turnout on the Dalton Highway.
Weather: Overnight low of 54°, mostly cloudy today with brief periods of sun and a couple brief showers. Cool all day with highs in high 50's.
Scenery: Mostly mountainous driving with many very steep grades.
Gasoline Price: $5.399 at Coldfoot, AK.
Mileage: Today - 198 miles, cumulative since leaving AZ on 4-6-11 – 6,356 miles.
Tonight’s stop: Large paved turnout at milepost 40.7 on the Dalton HW. (65.79060, -149.41080)