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Enjoying the views in Yukon's fantastic Tombstone Territorial Park! Photo taken yesterday.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Dawson City, Yukon, Canada.

Where are they going next? Chicken, Alaska!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

North of the Arctic Circle in the Land of the Midnight Sun!

Once again, we woke up to a drizzly overcast day on Friday morning. We were parked up at the roadside Dempster Highway community of Eagle Plains, and with a decent source of internet, we were happy to simply wait it out.

Heading north out of Eagle Plains the road has a long steep downhill, and there is a lit up sign warning of slippery conditions and especially for motorcyclists to exercise caution. So we figured we were better off to wait until things dried out a bit.

By the time the noon hour had passed, we figured we were good to go.

Heading downhill out of Eagle Plains.

The road was still wet, but at least it wasn't sloppy. Or at least not yet. We were going really slow, with the transmission in first gear.

Near the bottom, it got really messy but still not unsafe if you were going slow. We rounded the bend at the bottom, to see this...

Yikes!

I can't believe it stayed on the road. Sort of.

Nobody around, so somebody likely picked them up and brought them to Eagle Plains. When they tell you it's slippery, you had better believe them! We see many people driving at what we would consider too fast of a speed. I guess this is what happens to some of them.

Here's a few pics of the scenery along the way...




There is one section of the road that is used as an emergency air strip. We've seen this a couple of times along the Dempster Highway. They simply widen the road a little more than normal... and bingo, you have a runway!



Man, we sure went through a lot of varied road conditions and weather conditions during our drive yesterday. We could often see showers and rain in the distance in one direction, while blue sky and sunshine was shining through in other directions. And sometimes the road would be a mess, and sometimes it was okay. Never once did we see good conditions, despite reports I had read online that say the road is "well maintained". Oh, sorry... we did see a grader that had worked one section leading up to a mountain pass, and I think we might have managed to get up to 60 km/h (36 mph) on that section!

Otherwise, it was slow going. But once again, we have lots of time.

Here's some more scenery...




Next stop was the viewpoint at the Arctic Circle! This was certainly one of our goals for this trip, but of course the trip is far from over. We won't be really happy until we dip our toes in the Arctic Ocean!

We've been close to the Arctic Circle once before, during our trip to Iceland in October 2012. But the Arctic Circle is just north of the island of Iceland and so you can't actually cross the Arctic Circle while visiting Iceland.

The furthest north we have ever been!

The furthest north Sherman has ever been!

This is what the scenery looks like at the Arctic Circle.

We continued north to our next stop at the Northwest Territories border.

Here's some more scenery...



Another first for Sherman!

And for ourselves, really. Ruth has never been to the border, but I have. Way back in 1979 or 1980 maybe it was, I had driven from Edmonton with another fellow to try to sell a vehicle. The prospective purchaser had asked us to meet him at the Northwest Territories border and said if he didn't buy it, he would pay our gas. And that's exactly what happened. But it was the border crossing between Alberta and Northwest Territories, quite a bit south and east of here.

Another sloppy section through this mountain pass.

Hey, another motorhome!

Like I've said before, most of the RVs we see are pickup trucks with slide in campers. This is only the second larger motorhome that we've seen.

More scenery.

Fantastic!

It kind of reminds us of Iceland in places.

There are two ferry crossings on the Dempster Highway. The Peel River, and the Mackenzie River. We arrived at the Peel River Crossing, and they were doing some repairs to the ramp. It seems this is a constant process as the river rises because it washes away parts of the ramp.

A big truck getting on. We would have to wait for the next trip.

Ruth took a video of us getting on the ferry. The work the digger had just done was still pretty soft!.. turn up your volume...


No more mountains on the opposite side of the river!
But, there is some blue sky and sunshine!

By this time it was almost 8:00pm and that doesn't include the one hour we lost crossing the NWT border. So really, it was 9:00pm! We had been looking for somewhere to stop for the night prior to crossing the ferry, but there really wasn't anywhere suitable so we were heading to the town of Fort McPherson (pop 700). Ruth said "hey, how about the Fort McPherson airport"?

Sure enough, they had a perfect spot. Nobody around but us!

Sherman, parked at GPS 67.409584, -134.871072
Photo taken at 9:30pm.

We are now in the Land of the Midnight Sun. There will not be a sunset here until July 20th! We really notice it now that we have some sunshine and blue sky, something we haven't seen much of for almost a week. 

We ended up driving 178 kms (110 miles) and it took us about 6 hours including a few short stops.

Yesterday's drive, 178 kms (110 miles).

Today, we will go into town, top up Sherman's fuel tank, and then head further north towards Inuvik.

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Nice price drop on the blue colored Mac Sports Collapsible Wagon...


And in Canada...




21 comments:

  1. Are you having difficulty sleeping? I think I would with all that nonstop light. Looks a bit of a muddy mess. It's always the guy with the 4x4 in the ditch, they think they can go anywhere at any speed just because they have a 4x4.

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    1. We haven't been having any troubles sleeping, in fact we had both said how good we have been sleeping until these last two nights. It has been light out for the last three weeks or so when we have gone to bed but it really just never seemed to be a problem but the last two nights have definitely been more difficult, not sure it is because of the time change that we just had or the very bright sunshine that we haven't really seen in the last week or so. Plus last night we had several mosquitoes in the bedroom that just wouldn't stop buzzing, very annoying!

      A 4x4 only does you any good if you know how to drive it under those conditions, guess he didn't realize just how slippery it can get.

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  2. It's true about the 4x4s always ending up off the road. Beautiful scenery!

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    1. A 4x4 is only good if you know how to drive it in these conditions, I guess this guy didn't know how to do that!

      The scenery on this leg was beautiful, just wish the sun had been shining down on us more but at least it was mostly dry all day.

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  3. If the road has clay like top, you’ll slide no matter how slow you’re going. I was told to hit the gas to fly across those but I was chicken. I lost traction so had to put blankets down to get across the worst part. You did excellent driving 110 miles with muddy road. Weather says 60% chance of rain Tuesday through Thursday. By then hopefully you’ll be in inuvik. Safe travels

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    1. Driving on clay mud is like driving on ice and if you know how to do that then for the most part it can be done, you just have to take it slow. There is no way Kevin would ever attempt driving fast over it, if you were to lose control, you wouldn't have a hope of trying to gain control again.

      The majority of the time the road was dry or close to it, there were only a few small sections where the road was wet and a bit muddy, that is why we were able to go that distance. If it had been muddy the whole time we would have stopped well before we did for the day, we are about to take any chances.

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  4. The truck which slid off the road had a Fun Finder X hitched to the truck. Looks like Chris' and Juan's RV! Do they know it is missing?? LOL!

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    1. Kevin gave me a heads up this morning! Now I know we won't be going that far with at travel trailer! Good thing is the guy didn't roll over. Looks like a great trip though.

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    2. As Chris mentioned, Kevin had already noted that the trailer was a Fun Finder. ;-)

      Chris, there quite a lot of people doing this road with a travel trailer, again like Kevin keeps saying you just have to take your time and you would be able to do it. Ideally though a Class B van or a pickup truck with a slide in camper are the better options for this road.

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  5. I guess they don't have slippery roads in sunny, dry California!!.

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    1. We see that you caught on to that! ;-)

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  6. Held our breath on boarding the ferry - sounded kind of like a roller coaster - ahhhh Ruth, you made us laugh!!!!

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    1. It actually wasn't too bad, we weren't sure what to expect because the level of the river constantly changes so that affects the boarding of the ferry and because we have a long overhang we have heard that we may scrape getting on or off the ferries but luckily we had no problem.

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  7. Sherman looks so clean compared to the "in the ditch" truck and trailer. I'm hoping you're going to see Santa while you're so far north.

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    1. He is actually really clean compared to most of the vehicles on this road but he sure is going to deserve a good bath by the time we are finished with this road.

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  8. Fantastic scenery! Glad you and Sherman made it to Ft. McPherson.....congrats on making it to the land of the midnight sun on the eve of Canada Day! Hats off to you!

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  9. Congrats guys you made it to the land of the midnight sun! Looks rough going but you are doing great. The ferry entrance was a bit scary looking but you made it. Can hardly wait until you see the Arctic Ocean and your final destination. Stay safe!

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    1. Thank you Brigitte! It has definitely been quite the adventure to get to this point and even more so to get to Tuktoyaktuk! It has been rough and very slow going at times, not sure that Sherman will "speak" to us after this trip, lol.

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  10. This salt gun also works on mosquitoes. Tons of fun and effective! :-)
    https://www.bugasalt.com/products/yellow-bug-a-salt-2-0

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    1. Kevin said that looked cool and that he might have to look into getting one, the only problem is that you can't use it inside the motorhome.

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