The seeds of the path to Argentina found root in the gravel roads of the Far North, 30000 kms away, in the Arctic at Prudhoe Bay.
I began my long and exciting journey on the 21st of June for two reasons. It was my fathers birthday and summer solstice day as well.
The weather was foul. It had begun to rain a day earlier but by the previous evening news came in that it was likely to snow. But I stuck to my decision to start on the 21st come hail or sun. So I began pedalling in the midst of flurry of snow and ice blowing in from the Arctic. It was incessant and within a few hours, the tundra around me was covered with snow and the gravel road was muddy and the potholes in it full of water. In those first few hours I felt I was really on another planet. The arctic tundra at this point was totally flat. There was no undulation and nothing to see beyond what the eyes could capture. Just the snow, the ice rain, wind and the roaring of the trucks carrying oil and supplies to and from Prudhoe Bay.
That day I rode for 10 to 11 hours till I reached a point when I could not cycle any longer and by a stroke of luck I found two Swedish cyclists who had camped on the snow coveted tundra swamp. The ground was spongy and wet and totally uneven. But there was no choice. I had to choose between comfort and hypothermia. The decision was an easy one. That night inspite of the discomfort of sleeping on spongy ground, I slept soundly with the rain and snow bartering the tent all night.
The two Pictures above were taken 90 kms from Deadhorse on the Dalton highway. The surreal landscape the morning after the previous day’s snow storm and rain. The tundra was covered with 5 inches of snow. I found two swedish cyclists camping by the road in the tundra swamp at 8.30 pm and chose to camp with them. Everything was wet from 12 hours of incessant rain and snow, and I had to hang my gear /jackets etc on the mileposts to try and dry them in the warm glow of the sun.