THE BEST WAY
From LAX to Fairbanks, Alaska has direct service (stop, no change of plane). Northwest, Alaska and Delta have connecting service (change of plane). Restricted round-trip flights begin at $819.
HOW TO GET AROUND
Most car rental companies won't allow their vehicles on the Dalton, but I found two exceptions.
National Truck Rental, 4960 Dale Road, Fairbanks; (907) 451-7368, where we rented our Ford F-350 crew-cab that seats six has rates from $150 a day with 200 free miles daily.
Arctic Outfitters, P.O. Box 82991, Fairbanks; (907) 474-3530, www.arctic-outfitters.com, arranges shuttle tours and accommodations or will rent a specially equipped Ford Taurus or Jeep Cherokee (with two spares and a CB radio) from $129 or $149 a day, respectively.
WHERE TO STAY
Unless you're camping, there are few lodgings between Fairbanks and Deadhorse.
The Slate Creek Inn at Coldfoot Camp; (866) 474-3400, www.coldfootcamp.com. Comfortable though basic doubles with shower for $159 a night.
Deadhorse has three hotels, all offering basic amenities.
The Arctic Caribou Inn, (907) 659-2368. Doubles $235 a night.
Prudhoe Bay Hotel, (907) 659-2449, www.prudhoebayhotel.com. Doubles from $200.
Arctic Oilfield Hotel, (907) 659-2614. Rooms $120 per person.
WHERE TO EAT
On the Dalton, you'll find only buffet and cafeteria fare, but the food is usually hearty.
The Hilltop Truck Stop, on the Elliot Highway, just after you leave Fairbanks. Stop for a piece of the homemade pie.
The Coldfoot Café at Coldfoot Camp serves buffet breakfasts and dinners and a deli-style lunch. You can get beer or wine in the attached saloon.
In Deadhorse, the hotels all have buffets, included in room rates, except at the Arctic Caribou Inn (breakfasts $12, lunches $15, dinners $18). The Prudhoe Bay Hotel had the most extensive selection of entrees. Be warned: No alcohol is served in town.
TO LEARN MORE
Alaska Travel Industry Assn., Visitor Information Center, 2600 Cordova St., Suite 201, Anchorage, AK 99503; (800) 862-5275, www.travelalaska.com.
"The Milepost" is a comprehensive mile-by-mile description of Alaska highways; $27.95 from (800) 726-4707, www.themilepost.com.
RULES OF THE ROAD
Keep headlights on at all times.
Don't stop on the highway.
Make room for oncoming trucks.
Stock up on water and snacks.
Take insect repellent with DEET if you want to get out of your vehicle.