(17) Inuvik, N.W.T.
Tuesday August 17 2004
Inuvik, which means "Living Place" in Inuvialuktun is the largest and the first planned town north of the Arctic Circle, the government and transporataion hub for the Western Arctic.
Inuvik is also the main headquarters for the oil and gas industry operating in the BeaufortSea/Mackenzie Delta.
Today it is a sunny,warm day.
I walk around the town with camera in hand, enjoying the day and meeting the friendly local people.
I take photos of Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church (Igloo Church) and the Inuvik Community Greenhouse, the most northern greenhouse in North America and the only one of its kind in the world (converted from an old ice hockey arena)
One thing that struck me was that all the satellite dishes were pointing down towards the earth.
Inuvik is 2 degrees north of the Arctic Circle, I guess I am quite north on the latitude scale.
I also had to stop in a little takeaway restaurant and try one of their caribou burgers... it was delicious!
I have my photos burned to cd-rom at the local library.
The librarian is very helpful as are all of the local people up here, you can feel their warmth and sincerity.
I spend a relaxing day and ready myself for the long haul back down the Dempster, not really looking forward to this gravel road again but I have no choice.
I just want to make it back one in one piece...the bike & me...that is my goal!
Wednseday August 18 2004
I pack up camp and leave Inuvik at 6am.
Not so far down the road it is evident that the wind has blown the smoke from the forest fires back this way, it starts as haze and gradually is so thick that I can barely see anything at all except the road a short ways in front of me.
It is a very low lying brown smoke up in the mountains, no photos, no stops through here, I just motor and it seems like many hours before I can see anything that is recognizable.
It is like driving through a tunnel of smoke, a little eerie and I don't enjoy to breathe this stuff constantly.
I decide to drive straight through as there is so much smoke & haze that it is not worth while stopping, I can't really enjoy the views as there is nothing to see.
Twice I just about dump the bike as I was going too fast and both times went from ok road to deep gravel, the back end of the bike was fishtailing wildly, I could only back off on the throttle and try to control it.
Amazingly I did not dump it, skill or luck?
A bit of both but I slow down and make it eventually back to something that looks like asphalt, "Yes", I made it!
I get back to Dawson at 8:30 pm, check in at the campground, leave the tent in the bike and take a bed in the dorm room, have a nice wash in the bath house.
I think that it was quite an achievement to do the Dempster Highway on a heavy Harley, with no punctures or problems.
I am so impressed with the Yukon Territory, it is unbelievable!
On to Alaska tomorrow.
Posted by Jeff Nicholls at August 19, 2004 06:12 PM GMT