Thursday, June 15, 2017

June 7 - Tombstone to Dawson City

The end of the Dempster!
Today we concluded the epic gravel road portion of our ride.  Most of the day we were pointed downhill with a tailwind so the average speed was very high at 28.5km/h.  It was a bittersweet moment leaving the Dempster.  On one hand it felt amazing rolling on to smooth pavement.  On the other hand we were sad to be leaving the epic scenery and isolation of one of the best roads I've ever ridden.

We were all super stoked that Wonton and Redline survived the Dempster!

I asked Marin how I could help and she said she really just wanted me to stay dry and take pictures.  I reluctantly obliged.

We were all really excited to finally have cell phone reception after 6 days or so.  As we rode into Dawson our phones started blowing up and we competed to see who had the most notifications :-D

June 6 - Engineer Creek to Tombstone

Despite only riding 66km the day before we were still a little tired leaving Engineer Creek.  Today's ride to Tombstone would take us up high into the mountains and wind very close to the snow line.
Just as we were heading up into the higher elevation we were lucky enough to see some mountain goats jumping around on a rocky slope so we stopped for our hourly snack break.

Nearing the end of our 122km ride we were feeling pretty good.  We picked up the pace on the last climb and had an awesome downhill into Tombstone.

The surrounding mountains at our campsite in Tombstone meant that we actually had a few hours of semi-darkness which was kinda nice.

June 5 - Ogilvie to Engineer Creek

The resurrection of Dawit
We stayed an extra day at Ogilvie which gave us all the chance to heal up.  The Dempster was much more difficult than we had expected and it was a good idea at this point to make sure everyone was doing OK.  Today's ride was shorter at just over 66km so it would be a good test to see how Dawit was feeling.

Heading out from our campsite we had a nice long downhill which got everyone fired up.  The rest of the ride was smoother roads and a tailwind.  We had our fastest average speed so far at 24.5km/h.  Spirits were definitely high at this point and we were all feeling a little better about some day making it to Newfoundland.

We stopped and checked out Elephant Rock

The mosquitos had finally found us at the Engineer Creek campsite

Riding along the Ogilvie River at the bottom of the downhill

Rolling out

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A quick update from Dawson City Yukon

I'll be brief here and post a quick update as events have transpired.  I am the only one with cell service currently and have limited resources so bear with me.
On Friday during our first ride out of Dawson and also our first pavement ride we ran in to our first patch of particularly unfavorable luck. About 120km into our 150km ride Dawit had a pretty bad crash when we slowed down for a bear crossing the road (of all things). He landed pretty hard on his face and knocked the wind out of himself. Some very kind motorists stopped (no shortage of them around here) and drove Dawit to our campsite where Marin and Lindsay took care of him while the remaining 3 of us had a very sombre ride back to camp.  When we arrived we learned that Dawit was actually doing pretty good and was in good spirits as usual.

So we changed our plans for the next day. We would drive back up the road 30km to where the crash happened and start from there. We'd do an easy few hours and set up camp again just to make sure everyone was doing OK still.
On Saturday we all hopped in the truck for the short drive to where our ride would resume. Unfortunately this is where we got our second bout of bad luck. About 15km from camp the serpentine belt on the truck disintegrated and we were stuck on the highway. Robert hitched a ride to Dawson as we had no cell service. CAA sent a tow truck which took about 4 hours to arrive. Robert came back with a relative from Dawson and they towed the trailer about 500m up the road to a pullout where they are now camped. I went with the truck to Dawson and am waiting for the Napa to open tomorrow and hopefully they have the belt in stock. I should be able to meet back up with the gang tomorrow (Monday) and we can continue our ride to Whitehorse. We should arrive there around Thursday.

For now I am hanging out in the truck camper. I had a nice tour of Dawson City today with a great lunch and checked out the museum. I'm sure there will be lots of updates when we all get to Whitehorse.
Over'n out.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Day 3 - Eagle Plains to Ogilvie

This was a bit of a death march.  Early season fitness aka no fitness was starting to take its toll.  We were all feeling pretty good until a long climb out of the Ogilvie River lowlands put us back out into the exposed and windy high mountain range.  Dawit was feeling very sick and tired for the last 20km.  He promptly went to bed without eating and slept most of the next 36 hours.

Day 2 - Rock River to Eagle Plains

I think by this point everyone was starting to suffer from cell phone withdrawals.  Also we were feeling pretty tired from the first day of riding.  There would be no reprieve on day 2 as we did a whole lot of windy mountain riding out of Rock River.

Riding parallel to the mountains for a few hours provided us with a relentless side wind that had a bit of a chill to it too.  In the back of my mind I was happy that the weather was still much nicer than it was when we were driving out to our starting point.  A few drops of rain reminded us of that as well.  We stayed dry though and after a really fun downhill to the Eagle River we finished our day with a steep and long climb up to the pseudo civilization of Eagle Plains.

Day one - Dip one

Day one of our Triple Dip adventure started at the Peel River. The ferries to Inuvik were still about 7 days away from being open due to some mechanical issues so we decided that 150km north of the Arctic circle was as close to the Arctic ocean as we were going to get.

We were met with some pretty incredible mountain riding less than 5km after leaving the river bank with a lot of uphills and not very many downhills. We had a quick lunch on top of a mountain at the Northwest Territories border. We were feeling pretty tired but the wind was howling and we knew we had to keep moving to get to shelter.  We rode what thankfully seemed like a short, mostly downhill 20km to our very nice campsite at Rock River.

And yes there were some brave dippers!

Our home for the night - Rock River campsite