It’s been a year since I started the CAT project, but as some of you already know, it wasn’t meant to be in 2018. Bad knees, bad weather, and soon I had to quit.
A year is a long time to wait for a second chance to try again. And it’s been a challenging year with much uncertainty. I still don’t know how things will go, but there is only one way to find out!
Many people asked me why I want to start in Prudhoe again. I thought about it a lot. Initially I was going to resume from where I stopped last year, but this past winter in Africa, I realized that I enjoy riding on hilly gravel roads, and if I didn’t do the Dalton, I would always feel like I missed out on a BIG adventure.
But there is another reason why I want to go back there.
Last year, I had the privilege to get a ride from Coldfoot to Prudhoe Bay and back to Fairbanks with Joy Wiebe, a truly amazing woman, who was driving a huge fuel truck, up and down the Dalton. She was also a dog musher, so we connected immediately and had a fantastic time sharing stories during the 20+ hours that we spent together.
For weeks after we met, she sent me amazing pictures of scenery and wildlife that she saw along the road. She loved the Dalton Highway and made me want to go back there.
And then she had an accident.
At the end of August, she rolled her truck only 30 miles short of arriving in Prudhoe Bay, and died on the scene.
I was deeply affected by that sad news, even if I had only met her briefly. She was one of those that you can never forget, an instant friend, a soul sister. Joy was without a doubt a true adventurer, a brave, inspiring, strong woman, generous and a lot of fun.
Going back on the road that she loved so much is a way to honour her adventurous spirit. I am sure she would approve.
Had she still been on the road, I know she would have watched over me. Maybe she will, from a different place.
I can’t start this journey without thanking once again my family and friends who show so much support for this adventure. I could make a long list of things that people gave me or did for me (starting with Steve who offered to drive me up the Dalton a second year in a row!). It means a lot. I could not do it without all of you and the road is not so lonely knowing that you guys are there. I’ll make sure I bring some good stories back ;)!