Roads to the End of the Earth
ALASKAS DALTON HIGHWAY
Distinction: Northernmost road in the U.S.Oil companies searching for oil on the North Slope of Alaska built a private 414 mile haul road in 1974 to move equipment from Fairbanks to the company founded towns of Prudhoe Bay and Deadhorse on the Arctic Ocean, and to provide access to the 800 mile pipeline that moves oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, where it is loaded onto tankers.The road, named after oilman James Dalton, was opened in 1995 to the public, though its mostly filled with semis bringing supplies up to the oilfields. The trucks normally drive in the center of the two lane gravel highway, and in the summer bounce rocks into car windshields and headlights. There is a town called Coldfoot about halfway to Prudhoe Bay, with one of only two fuel stops on the entire route. There are a few places to camp, and a hotel at Coldfoot, but bears inhabit the tundra and local residents tell us that they are the biggest danger, especially when a truck carrying food slides off the slippery road.Moose appear in the wooded areas of the route, and beyond that there are more caribou, bears, wolves,?",2.jpg,Roads to the End of the Earth
4116,TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY ROUTE 500,Distinction: Closest you can drive to Greenland, but watch out for the spring snowmeltThe Canadian town of Goose Bay, Labrador, is closer to Ireland than it is to Colorado, and there is just one road connecting the rest of North America to the small town of 800 people: Route 500, the Trans Labrador Highway. A civilian airport and a Canadian Air Forces Command were built out here just after World War II, and laid the foundation for the construction of the highway. Route 500 starts at Newfoundland and Labradors provincial border with Quebec, winds through the small town of Labrador City. The road spans 315 miles from Labrador City to Goose Bay and is all gravel. The wide, smooth gravel splits rolling hills covered with tall pines. And despite the large trucks that bring supplies and equipment for the hydroelectric industry, the road surface remains smooth and well maintained. In the spring, however, massive snowmelt runoff washes the highway away in many places, making the trip to Goose Bay treacherous. Traveling east toward Goose Bay one spring, the runoff washed the road out behind us. About five miles later, the road was washed out ahead of us. Only a quick fording of the washout behind us to our west prevented us from being stranded 150 miles from either Goose Bay to the east and Churchill Falls to the west. We stopped a sheriff in Labrador City to ask road conditions on our trip east to Goose Bay, and he said he wouldnt recommend the trip, but that we were free to try the drive at our own peril. Since then, the Canadian government began a program of loaning satellite phones to motorists making the tripthere are no cellphone towers along Route 500.