July 8th 2011
Eagle Plains population is 8
So, the DEMPSTER! The Dempster….recently we have heard of 5 medical attentions and one rider needing to be air lifted out. The Dempster has wrecked numerous cars and trailers that we have heard about too. I am sure many reading this might think these incidences are no big deal, but many have totaled their bikes or got really hurt. We will not be one of those statistics. The amount of rain the highway is seeing this year is not usual and proven to be quite the hassle for even the cagers.
According to Wikipedia:
The Dempster Highway, also referred to as Yukon Highway 5 and Northwest Territories Highway 8, is a highway that connects the Klondike Highway in Yukon, Canada to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta. During the winter months, the highway extends another 194 km (121 mi) to Tuktoyaktuk, on the northern coast of Canada, using frozen portions of the Mackenzie River delta as an ice road (the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road). The highway crosses the Peel River and the Mackenzie Rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges.
The highway begins about 40 km (25 mi) east of Dawson City, Yukon on the Klondike Highway and extends 736 km (457 mi) to Inuvik.
Much of the highway follows an old dog sled trail. The highway is named after Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector William Dempster, who, as a young constable, frequently ran the dog sled trail from Dawson City to Fort McPhersonNWT.
Many who ride the Dempster usually have one thing to say, “when it gets wet the road turns into slippery SNOT and SLOW down.” We left Dawson City with good weather behind and in front of us. Gassed up at the station at the entrance for the Dempster, loaded up our extra fuel pax as well. Paid dearly for the gas, $1.62/litre. UGH!
Took the typical bike picture at the entrance.
Ok, so I took three pictures. After about 20 KM of pavement the road ended and the ride began. First stop was the Tombstone Interpretative centre.
Got our Dempster passports stamped here. when you ride the Dempster the travel folks give you a book to get stamped when you stop at key locations. Well, since we are only going to the Arctic Circle, and we hope we get there, raining right now, we will not be getting too many more stamps because we are not going to Inuvik. More on the reason way as we move along in the update.
it is not that long after the pavement ends the wide open spaces are to be seen. Massive, huge and nothing to see but mountains, hills, tundra and for miles and miles.
Notice the clouds? While it was mainly sunny while we were riding, there were ominous clouds all over ahead of us dumping rain on the Dempster. Remember, rain equates to snotty, ice like riding conditions.
The views are incredible and breath taking for the most part.
Some useful information about the highway
this part of the world is a photographers dream. You can literally stand in one location, take a 360 degree view of it all and get 100 pictures that look different. So, once again I will the pictures speak for them self because really I have nothing too important to add.
The sky kept changing from clear blue with white fluffy clouds to that scary dark cloud stuff. Tat was when we both knew to watch out for the wet stuff coming. Don’t get us wrong, we had a great day riding for the most part. Just being honest here about the Dempster. As a rider you have to be completely alert at all times. Keeping an eye looking way ahead for the road to either be light in colour or dark. Dark = wet = slippery snot. While to take in all the views, we had to be mindful that at anytime the conditions would change and all our attention had to be on the riding and not the scenery.
took a little snack break at the edge. There is a ton of brown almost copper like rocks all around this area. Don’t know why and have not asked. If anyone knows what causes this colouration please feel free to comment.
They seem to use so many types of material on this road. This stuff looks almost like coal.
I almost wiped out when getting into this self timer and the rocks were very jagged and sharp.
In the very far background if you look closely you will see an elephant like figure made out of a natural rock formation. I used my little point and shoot but I still got it even though it was miles away. 1st picture hard to see the formation, second is better. I like the first picture, shows off my photography skills. NOT!
We know how everyone does not read what we type so here are more and more pictures.
Road looks so innocent doesn’t it?
Good thing we added the extended side kick stand foot print. This is exactly why bikes like ours need to have a larger foot print. We often park our bikes on unstable ground and this is how one stops a heavy dual sport bike from falling over.
This was not far from Eagle Plains but we still needed to refuel our bikes in order to make it here.
Blue skies and then soon after we arrived at Eagle Plains rain.
Here we are presently. The lodge at Eagle Plains.
Bikes are caked in Dempster crud.
We were also greeted by this…
When we were waling in to the lodge there was the woman named Kate Skyping with her friend Bogdan in Vancouver, BC. She asked if we would say hi to her friend and can you believe this, the man on the computer knew who we were. He met us at the Western Powersports swap and shop a few months ago. Small world I tell you. Hi Bogdan if you are reading tonight’s post.
Had some good cheeseburgers and beer! felt good to eat even though we only rode a little over 400 KM it felt like a marathon to be honest given the road conditions.
Quite a group here that run the lodge or have been staying here while working on projects. In this picture is Matt from Nottingham, he was our server, Renie born and raised in Inuvik and works in Eagle Plains, and Kate from Nova Scotia who is working on an artist project about the inter-generation transfer of wisdom. She is talking to grandmothers.
Last but not least look how well my fork sealers are working. A threesome of riders just came in from bailing in Inuvik because of the bad road construction after the Arctic Circle and just bad weather. One has lost his fork seal on his KTM, the female rider crashed after being blacked out by dust and hit a wash out. She is OK which is good news. The seal protectors we got are working out really well and I think a very important part of anyone’s bike if traveling this way.
So, another end to a great and interesting day. Our riding skills are really improving and we are learning so much about the Tiger’s after this jaunt up the Dempster. The Tiger’s are just a great bike. Out Heidenau tires are doing really well in this slop. We aired down to 30 in the rear and 32 in the front. More later. Let’s hope we make it to the Circle tomorrow. Still nasty looking outside.