Tiny House Visits the Arctic Circle

Tiny House Visits the Arctic Circle

Tiny House Dalton Highway - 0004

Wildfire & Smoke over Fairbanks, Alaska

The air smelled burnt and a thick haze blanketed the city of Fairbanks, Alaska. Fires caramelized the sky and the air quality was so poor, we were forced to stay inside our tiny home with the windows shut. Fairbanks was a sweltering inferno, so Guillaume came up with an exit strategy. It went something like this:

“We should take the tiny house to the arctic circle!”

Tiny House Dalton Highway - 0002

He couldn’t be serious… “The arctic circle?” I asked. “Isn’t the road… rough?” 

Guillaume grinned, the way he does when he’s up to no good, and soon enough I was riding in the passenger seat on a bumpy gravel highway, praying we wouldn’t get a flat tire.

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We had a spare, of course, but changing a tire on the trailer is not an easy task, even on a paved level surface. Changing a trailer tire on a narrow gravel road would be, well I’m not going to say impossible, but… really tough. I’ll talk more about changing tires in another post.

Dalton Highway (Highway 11)

The Dalton Highway follows the Alaska Pipeline 414 miles from the Elliot Highway (just north of Fairbanks) to Deadhorse. In the summer, the Dalton is crowded with trucks transporting goods to and from Deadhorse. The road is mostly dirt and there are only a few places to refuel. At milepost number 115, the highway crosses the Arctic Circle and continues another 300 miles north. Due to its rugged and rural reputation, many avid road-trippers consider it a “bucket list” drive.

Towing our tiny abode, we averaged about 19 mph on the Dalton. It took us 8 hours to reach the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks, which is a long day of jiggling up and down in your seat! We passed a few fires and slowed to watch the firefighters control the situation. They actually start fires occasionally to stop wildfires from spreading, especially near the pipeline. It’s called a “controlled burn.” 

The fireweed in Alaska is absolutely stunning. Many locals consider the plant the herald of summer – when the brilliant magenta fireweed fades, summer is officially over. Guillaume was spell-bound by the adventurous spirit and vast beauty we witnessed along the Dalton Highway. He says the drive is his favorite on this trip, so far.

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Tiny House Giant Journey reached the Arctic Circle around 11:45pm, and the sun didn’t set for another two hours! I thought about our latitude in great depth as we set up camp at the wonderful (and free) Arctic Circle recreation site. Are we now the most northern tiny house, taking the title temporarily away from the Midnight Sun Tiny House?  Are we the first tiny house to drive to the Arctic Circle?

One thing is for sure: we were the farthest north we’d ever been (and will ever be) with the tiny house.

The following morning, we turned around and drove south to civilization. The highway gets really rough north of the Arctic Circle, and we didn’t want to risk getting stranded. I crossed my fingers and toes the whole way back to Fairbanks, and we arrived with the same eight tires we left with the day before. Maybe it was luck. Maybe it was Guillaume’s skilled driving. Either way, I was thankful!

Next Up: We visit “The Great One”

 

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19 Comments

  1. motobikemike
    September 28, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    What a great adventure. I passed you south of the artic circle heading north on my suzuki 250 and was camping when you pulled in to the campground behind the sign.

      • bob
        September 28, 2015 / 3:45 pm

        I rode all the way to prudhoe bay ,it was only 33f when I got there at 8pm.
        I’m going back again next year to do it again ,theres just to much to see and there are a few roads that I havnt ridden the last 2 years Ive gone .

        How was it going up sand hill with your tinyhouse, they had just watered it when I came through and it was squirrly.

      • September 28, 2015 / 4:34 pm

        It was fine through the wet area, it just made our house as dirty as it ever got! Next time we’ll have to go all the way, just not with the house.

  2. Angelica Apolito
    August 25, 2015 / 9:09 pm

    What a great little life adventure you are on! Enjoy and be safe!

  3. Jerome
    August 24, 2015 / 10:28 am

    Hi !

    I was travelling in Yukon around 2 weeks ago with my family and we saw you in Haines Junction.
    After a long hike, I was buying coffee and cookies at the bakery village when I saw a man working on great pictures with Lightroom. As an amateur photographe, I noticed this pictures. I thought that, unfortunately, I didn’t see such roads in Yukon, with ice fields and great sky and clouds. I wondered if it was in Alaska (I think so after seeing your website). I wanted to ask you but my children were waiting for their cookies and unfortunately I didn’t…
    We saw you again at the gas station later. And we saw your tiny house ! We didn’t know this concept, I have discovered it on the net back home, and we found it great !
    Now I’m back at work in France and I wish you a nice and safe trip, for your wonderful project.

    I haven’t edited all my pictures yet but I think both of you might be in the background of a photo of my family playing cards at this village bakery in Haines Junction…

      • Jerome
        August 25, 2015 / 12:22 pm

        We are back to Lyon, in France.
        And could you please post one of this picture you were working on in Haines Junction ? A road, with icefields, clouds… you were trying color/black and white…

      • August 26, 2015 / 10:49 pm

        Ha, I’m from Pau, Béarn. Anyhow, I don’t really know which picture you are talking about, I have so many! I’ll try to find it, anymore description?

      • Jerome
        August 29, 2015 / 2:13 am

        Hi
        So you are from Pau ! It’s incredible !
        I have lived in Paris and Lyon, but I grew up in the SW of France, near Bordeaux, in the vineyards.
        I might continue in French…
        Tu es installé aux USA/Canada ou c’est pour votre long voyage que tu es là-bas ?
        Je crois que le post sur le Denali Park répond à ma question sur les photos que j’ai aperçues à Haines Junction : je pense bien que c’était celles-là.
        On a vraiment adoré le Yukon mais j’ai regretté que le Mont Logan soit très à l’intérieur du Parc, et invisible (il doit y avoir un long trek d’approche, sans route).
        Le Denali me donne des idées pour un projet de voyage Yukon/Alaska !

      • August 29, 2015 / 4:25 pm

        Le Yukon était vraiment spécial!
        Ça fait 8 ans que je suis installé aux USA. J’ai travaillé à Los Angeles pendant 5 ou 6 ans, puis on a décidé de construire notre maison et commencer à voyager!

  4. Trisha Stevenson
    August 6, 2015 / 6:41 pm

    A trip I would love to take. It will never happen so I will follow your adventures instead.

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