Day 11: Surviving the Arctic, day 2

2008-07-19

09h30 Eagle’s Plain
14h30 End of the Dempster Highway
15h00 Dawson City
20h00 Campsite (1 hour before Whitehorse)
810 Km

It’s incredible how a good night’s sleep revives you.

Quickly, I get out and I realize that the weather is much calmer, the clouds are present but much higher and always a good sign, the winds are light.

I see that the situation is much better than yesterday and I’m informed that the weather will hold only for one day because rain is expected in the coming days. So the decision is easy: I want out of this hell! I know it will be difficult, but compared to yesterday, this is a summer day! A little fog, but this shouldn’t cause too many worries.

The guys GSRiders.us seem reluctant to leave. They’ll take their decision in the coming hours. They ask me to contact them en route to inform them of conditions but it will be impossible to do of course (no signal).

The road is much more stable than yesterday. The majority of the time I am able to keep up good speeds. I must be very careful in muddy places that are still present. The big GS is simply impossible to drive in this type of soil.

Halfway, I meet a guy from Calgary who made the road to Inuvik, on a bike … Wow, that’s real adventure!

Again, the road is empty, except for a few cars and an old 80’s BMW R100. A couple from Germany. Incredible!

There is only one bridge on the road, and believe me, it was a pleasure to cross it because after, conditions greatly improved to the point where I could drive at speeds near 100 km / h!

I realize how it is important to be able to read and predict the road and perceive color changes in the gravel or sand, especially if it’s dark or bright. Despite the improvement, it happens often that I have to save the furniture using the techniques learned to avoid a fall. It’s normal to push the machine a little because this road is so long. Yes, the scenery is superb but I wonder if it is worth the risk! Ah, yes of course …

After 300 km, the road is deteriorating again and I have to go very slow for about fifty miles, but around 14:15, I’m surprised, looking at my GPS to see that I have only 12 km to go! I feel a huge relief and this makes me forget all the difficulties and hardships of the last days! That’s it, I did the Dempster Highway!

Funny fact, a few kilometers from the exit, I come across this:

Obviously, nothing is easy in this part of my country. The last 10 kilometers are really difficult and muddy. I have to drive at 10-20 km / h but at 14:30, I see one of the nicest thing so far: asphalt! ! What happiness, relief. It is soft and easy to drive on. What a great invention …! Tarmac!

After calling Nadine, I take the road towards Dawson City, a small village 30 km west, to spend the night. I know that there is a music festival going on this weekend but I think that this village is so remote that it will still be quiet! Big mistake! The village and it’s muddy streets are packed with people. I go to the Tourist Office where the nice lady, wearing a old costume, explains with real regrets, that everything is full here because of the annual music festival and I provided the details of a provincial camping … Great! Oops, should read the fine lines … it is located near Whitehorse, 500 km from Dawson City! I have to hit the road again … Just after I wash the bike. Not easy, but no choice!

2008-07-18 Dempster Highway 112008-07-19 Dempster Highway 72008-07-19 Dempster Highway 82008-07-19-Dempster-Highway-9

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