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Searching North of 45
By Patrick Terrance Rodden - (contact)

Day 28: Inuvik and the Road's End

Monday September 4, 2006

Posted via email Mon Sep 4 15:58:01 2006 CDT

The road that everyone, from the fine citizens of Fort McPherson to the ferryman, promised would be excellent, albeit gravel, was in a bleak state this morning. The continuous rain last night makes for a sticky slurry of calcium, sand, dirt and pebbles and it is slow going most of the morning.

It is a route that is relatively flat across the artic tundra and artic river delta with a few rolling hills. There are wild blue berries everywhere but I eat few as I know that it will be a long day of riding if I want to make the end of the road today.

I had thought with the start of the Canadian holiday weekend there would be more traffic today but the road is still all mine. After 40 miles or so I arrive at my final ferry crossing. It is the great Mackenzie, one of the biggest rivers in North America. On the ferry crossing two young women get out of their vehicle to chat. One is a nutricionist working in Inuvik and her friend is visiting from Montreal. They are off to go hiking for the weekend. Once again I am completely amazed by the northern optimism and high energy vibe. It seems that a lot of young Canadians from the poorer Maritime Provinces come north to make their fortunes and many seem to do so with a positive outlook.

The road from here to Inuvik is 70 miles with a consistent headwind but I am determined to finish this ride today even if I have to crawl there. The bike is still in a poor state but the continual grinding of the drivetrain creates a rythum to my pedaling.

In the distance tens of miles from anywhere I find a dilapitated truck parked in the middle of the road. It is an old 70s flat bed truck that they have modified to accept an old pickup camper shell. The front left axle is on a block. A toothless man comes out smiling to greet me. He has been here for more than 24 hours waiting for his friend to return with parts to fix the truck. He happily provides me with motor oil to lubricate my chain and I give him a bit of food. I leave feeling like I was just in a scene out of Road Warrior. Off I go making slow but continual progress. At this point I decide to break one of my rules and listen to my ipod while I am riding to get my motivation up. Up to this point I have not wanted to block out my environment for a variety of reasons and I recognize the chance of coming across wildlife is just as great here as anywhere yet I do so anyway. The music works and I begin to feel excited. I continually override my energy stores and have to force myself to stop and eat some food before I completely bonk. I want to be there now.

About 25 miles out from Inuvik the road becomes terrible and my pace slows considerably. I persevere onward. Throughout the day the approaching vehicles honk and wave cheering me on. Most of them know what I have been thru and they know my journey is to soon come to an end.

Finally, I reach the end of 450 miles of mud and dirt to find a supremely perfect asphalt road for the remaining 10km into town. I stop at the gravel-pavement transition, set my bike down and take a long leak on the last bit of gravel. Back on the bike and I immediately accelerate to 16 mph from my previous pace of 9.5. Coming into town the lights are on and the approach looks clean and inviting incomparision with many northern villages.

I arrive exhausted, relieved and excited while feeling a bit disappointed that I have reached the definitive end of my journey. Words aren't available to me right now to express my overall trip impressions sufficiently. Perhaps I'll be able to put it all in perspective when I return home in a couple of days. In the meantime thanks for being there. I never felt very alone knowing you were all there behind me.

Today's Total Distance: 110 miles Today's Total Ride Time: 13:25 Where I ended the Day: Inuvik - the end of the road

All the best,

Pat

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The road to Inuvik leaving Fort McPherson

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A look back

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A look forward

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Tundra and a seemingly endless road

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Approaching Artic Red River

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Awaiting the Mackenzie ferry

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Ferry

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Geese are heading south

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The Mackenzie ferry

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Mackenzie ferry

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Artic Red River

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Flat out straight

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One of the prettiest views I could come up with today (sorry)

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A muds eye view

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50 miles out from Inuvik

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Plenty of Fall color

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Outside of Inuvik

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A road view

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Admittedly a terrible photo but it was the only one I took signifying the end of the road. I think it says "Welcome to Inuvik. The end of the Dempster"


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"Searching North of 45" Copyright © 2006-2014 By Patrick Terrance Rodden - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on September 4, 2006 13:58 PDT, last updated on September 13, 2006 22:20 PDT
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