7-29-04 Inuvik, the Northwest Territories to Eagle Plains, the Yukon Territory
I awoke in complete darkness,
with the curtains pulled tightly across the windows. I walked
over and looked outside through the curtains. What had been a drizzle the night before was now a steady rain and
fog. It was cold. It was also much darker than it had been when I went to sleep.
I checked the time: 6:30 AM.
I had slept for three hours. I crawled back under the
covers and tried to go back to sleep. It didn't work. I was
too worried about the decaying weather and the long ride back over the Dempster to
Dawson. I decided then, that I either had to hit the road or resign myself to staying at
the hotel for another night, hoping for better weather.
I went down into the restaurant and drank several cups of
coffee. After returning to my room, I checked the weather.
Things were not improving. I packed my gear and put on my riding gear, went to the front counter, and checked out.
Three teen-aged boys surrounded
my bike when I walked out into the parking lot. They were joking
and laughing, and one said, "This is going to be my bike. I'm
buying one just like it." I talked with them for awhile about the
bike and how it served as a good, all-purpose tourer. I told them
I was from San Diego, which didn't seem to mean anything to them.
Finally, after about fifteen minutes, I brushed the water off the seat, said "goodby", and started the bike up.
As I hit the road, I realized two
things: for the first time on my trip, I was going back the same
way I came, and that I was over the top of the arc and pointed towards
home. I felt a little, well, sad....
I didn't take any pictures of Inuvik. I didn't have
the time or the energy.
The road to Arctic Red River was in fairly good shape. The rain slowed things down. Back across the MacKenzie, one more time, and over to Fort McPherson. I
stopped for gas and coffee, taking the coffee over to a corner table at
the cafe for a chance to sit and warm up. The old grump had been
replaced by an attractive, middle-aged woman who was carrying on an
animated conversation with a truck driver.
The next section of road was the
bad surface with loose gravel. It was about that time and during
that stretch that the truck driver I saw at the Fort McPherson gas
station got on my tail, right at a point where I could not leave my
track. He was impatient. He stayed tight on me. I
finally saw some firm dirt on the side and pulled over to let him by.
A few tens of miles later, he was stopped at the side of the road.
I passed him, only to have him back on my ass about a half-hour
later. Again, there was no place to pull off, and again, he was
impatient. Finally, the road firmed up enough for me to move over
and let him by.
Funny, the rain
lifted right at Yukon border as I left the Northwest Territories. Clouds
scattered, the rain stopped, and the road dried.
I did high speed zoom up to 70 to celebrate.
The road was in good shape.