the

A bald eagle we spotted at Crescent Beach the other day.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Port Townsend, Washington.

Where are they going next? Somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Tire repaired, and better weather coming our way!

(This is our 5th blog post in the last two days as we get caught up after going 4 days without internet. If you missed any, you'll want to go back a day or two!)

Still no sunshine, and in fact we have been about five days now without seeing the sun. Sure, the days are very long but they have been long cloudy and overcast days! But, at least the rain stopped and the road was a little more solid as a result.

So yesterday morning I topped up our still leaking right rear outer tire, and around 8:15am we set off with the goal of making it to the roadside stop of Eagle Plains (population 9!).

There are no services along the Dempster Highway between it's beginning east of Dawson City, and the garage, motel, gas station, campground complex at Eagle Plains... a distance of 369 kms (229 miles). There is also no cell service.

The road is definitely a little drier!

Scenery along the way.

Lots of lichen and spruce trees.

No animal sighting yesterday other than a couple of rabbits.

We made it to Eagle Plains, after having done 82 kms (51 miles) in about two and a half hours. 

Sherman is a little bit dirty.

But not like these guys! 
And, we are a lot more comfortable than these guys!

But, the motorcycle guys are having their own adventure, and good for them. If that's your thing, then go for it! 

There are a lot of motorcycles doing the route to Tuktoyaktuk. That, and pick up trucks with campers. We have seen the occasional smaller motorhome like ourselves, and a few travel trailers and fifth wheels, but only one larger motorhome. 

Eagle Plains.

Eagle Plains isn't really a community. But, it's open year round, so I guess there must be people living here. Man, that would take a special kind of person. The sign at the entrance says the population is 9!

There is a Yukon maintenance garage, a gas station ($1.60 per liter CAD), a service garage and tire repair shop, a motel, a restaurant, and an overnight area for RVs. (It would be a stretch to call it a campground). You can also buy propane here, and fill your fresh water tank, but there is no dump station.

Oh, and there's internet.

I went in to the registration desk to ask for the code. It costs $5 CAD ($4 USD). The guy raises an eyebrow and says "I'll warn you, it's going to be slow..."

But beggars can't be choosers. Especially when there is no other choice!

We get ourselves on the internet, and it is surprisingly good. We posted the blogs of our last four days, and decided to spend the night here. It costs $25 CAD ($19.25 USD) with electric, or $20 CAD ($15.50 USD) just for parking. Pricey, just for a parking spot but this way we get caught upon the internet. Plus, talking to others in the lobby, the road north of here is in worse shape than where we had come from. 

One guy with a travel trailer left Inuvik at 8:00am and made it to Eagle Plains at 4:00pm. Said that between the truck and the trailer he didn't know which was going to slide into the ditch first. I mentioned that I would not have driven as far as he did, and he says "I just wanted to get it over with".

Hm. Okay then.

Anyhow, we are quite happy to wait it out for better weather and drier roads.

Speaking of drier, I moved Sherman over to a drier spot out of the mud, and had a closer look at our tire. Yes, I could have paid them to fix it here, but why would I do that when I could do it myself?

I found the leaking spot, and it was just a tiny hole, but it was right in the thick part of the tread. No way this was caused by sharp rocks on the road, and I was pretty certain it wasn't. I got out my tire plug kit and reamed out the hole. Sure enough there was still the remains of a nail in the hole but the head had worn or broken off. So I simply pushed it all the way in, let the rest of the air empty out, and put a plug in it. Had a tough time getting the pug in the thickest part of the tread, but once it was in it sealed right up.

Tire is fine now, and all it cost us was some dirty clothes!

Yes, the Dempster Highway is known for causing people tire problems with the sharp shale rocks cutting into your sidewalls. But I read of one tire repair shop in Fort McPherson who said that the problem is exacerbated by speed. People simply drive too fast for conditions. He made this analogy... "if you take a nail in your fist and jab it quickly into a watermelon, the nail will enter with no problem. But if you do it slowly, you will not be able to jab the nail into the watermelon."

Same thing with tires, I suppose. And if that's the case, we will have no problem because we are driving very slowly. 

The view from Eagle Plains.

The short term weather forecast is better this morning. I read that one motorcyclist has been holed up here for three days now waiting for better weather, and he must have taken this opportunity because all the bikes are now gone form the parking lot. We're going to wait until after lunch and let things dry up a bit more. We can see blue sky to the north, so hopefully that's a good sign!

Next stop, the Arctic Circle which is only 37 kms (23 miles) north of here.

We'll play it by ear, but if conditions are good, we'll try to make it to Fort McPherson (pop 700) tonight. If not, we'll stop somewhere along the way. We're definitely a bit behind our original schedule, but now we are trying to make it to Inuvik for Canada Day (July 1st).

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14 comments:

  1. What a beautiful look out photo from Eagle Plains...awesome! The road does seem drier. The Dempster road looks better than our home rez road. Safe travels.

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    1. Image what that photo would like with lots of sunshine! Hopefully we will get to chance to see on our way back south.

      The road was drier for the most part up until we got closer to Eagle Plains and we heard that it was even worse past Eagle Plains, it was a good reason to stop the driving for the day there.

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  2. Hope you make it to Inuvik for Canada Day. May fair weather be with you. Safe travels.

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    1. We hope so too but we aren't going to rush in order to do it, especially if the weather hasn't improved.

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  3. Good thing you managed to fix the tire yourself. Love the scenery. Safe travels!

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    1. Yep, it is almost as good as new now. We will see how the next day's drive goes.

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  4. Hi. First time commenter but long time blog reader. I'm really enjoying following along on this trip to northern Canada and hope to one day do this trip myself and also take my R.V. to Mexico! Been many times by plane but not yet with my RV. Anyways, I've repaired thousands of tires and have some advice. Fill the tire with air before plugging. A flat tire will just flex and tighten on the plug. Don't be shy with the reamer. Ream the hole lots and coat the plug well with rubber cement. This lubricates and bonds the plug. Just be careful to not push it all the way through. Once it starts to go it goes quick so stop with some plug still sticking out and cut it off. Top up the tire and soap test for leaks. These repairs are permanent and rarely fail. Enjoy the rest of your trip and keep the great travel blog posts coming. Cheers. Scott.

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    1. Thanks Scott for taking the time to comment and for following along with us for so long. :-)

      Kevin got the tire plugged up well and also checked it for leaks before heading on down the road. The tire held up well to yesterday's drive and he said the same as you, that the tire is as good as new. Thanks for the suggestions. :-)

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  5. We paid $2 per litre at Saskatchewan River crossing yesterday!! Between Jasper and Banff. Only bought 20 litres to get us to Rocky Mountain House where we filled up at $1.18.9 per litre.
    So fill up in Jasper, Banff or Lake Louise, or Field. That’s the direction we came from.
    Here in Red Deer it is $1.26.9

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    1. Yikes, $2 a litre is crazy for down in that area but I guess they can ask whatever price they want, if you need fuel then people will buy it. We have found that the majority of people traveling up here don't even look twice at the price of fuel, they just buy it. I guess we are different.

      When we head south, we won't be headed through Jasper or Banff we will be headed south through British Columbia.

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  6. Looks and sounds heavenly to be in a place like that with beautiful surroundings, few humans, and less hustle bustle! Enjoy!!

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    1. It is so totally amazing. Yukon and Northwest Territories have so much pristine, untouched land up it here, it is truly beautiful.

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  7. Wow never knew the roads could get that bad but glad you have your tire fixed. Seems pretty desolate up there. Hope you get to the Arctic Circle safely. Enjoy

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    1. Yep, they can get really bad! When they are like that it is almost like driving on ice. No one around for miles and miles on this road, lots of mosquitoes though.

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