It was a very cool evening, night and morning with a temperature of 4 C (40F), which is quite cool when you are tenting. As I drove closer to Dawson, the temperature got significantly warmer ( about 19 C, 66F ).
I met the two bicyclists in the lounge of the hotel and we visited while we had a light supper. Afterwards, I was writing my blog when a father and daughter from Vancouver Island asked me a question and we ended up having a long conversation. They were originally from England, which was evident from their accents, who were travelling to Inuvik. By the time I finished my blog, and went outside it was midnight, but it was hard to tell because it was still bright and sunny. I forget to go to bed because it is always so bright outside and I can’t tell what time it is. This picture was taken at Wednesday, midnight.
I assumed the next morning that it was going to be a boring day since I would be retracing my drive back to Dawson, but that wasn’t to be the case. There is always something to brighten my day.
When I went to breakfast in the morning, Tom and Susan Green, the two bicyclists I had met the night before, invited me to join them. They are a unique couple and as I found out, he is in his 70s and she may also be in her 70’s but both of them are so fit that they look like they might be in their 50s.
I left Eagle Plains in eager anticipation of driving through the mud bog again. I had heard that there was a muddy section because the money had run out for putting the gravel on the 13 km section of the road. They had the gravel, but they didn’t have the money to put it on the road? This is was the worst section that I encountered on my way back to Dawson.
I kept a lookout for any animals that might wander near the road as I drove the 75 km to the start of the muddy area.
Fortunately it had been graded and although there were still some slippery sections, it was nothing like the previous day.
I thought I was home free, but I was going to have a sudden change of luck. I decided to turn into a rest stop to take a picture of the scenery. When I had taken my picture, I had no sooner left the rest stop when something ran across the road in front of me. It was grey, quite furry and it looked very similar to the lynx I had seen at the McBride Museum in Whitehorse, but I couldn’t identify it. I stopped and got out of the car to see if I could get a picture, when I heard a loud hissing noise coming from my car. I looked down at the driver’s side rear tire in time to see it go completely flat. I was on a downhill section of the road and I was only 400 meters from the rest stop so I limped the car back to the rest stop, where I looked at the tire and immediately saw the hitch-hiker and found out the reason for the flat.
I had been warned that you should have at least one spare tire ( preferably two ) when you travel the Dempster Highway. Fortunately I had at least one spare tire.
A fellow named Elliott, who was originally from Oakville and had moved to Fernie, BC was camping at the rest stop with his girlfriend and came over to see if I needed any help. He brought me a drop sheet so that I didn’t have to kneel on the mud. I took everything out of my trunk to get the jack and the spare tire out. It didn’t take me long to put on the spare, pump it up to 60 psi with my 12V air compressor and then pack everything back up.
While I had been unpacking my car, Elliott noticed that I had 2 fly rods with me and he told me that he had caught his limit of grayling in a very short time at the 54 km mark on the Dempster Highway. He suggested that I stop there. I thanked him and slowly continued on my way. I still had 325 km to drive in order to reach Dawson and I was trying to keep my speed below 70 km/hr on the bumping gravel road, because I didn’t want to have another flat. I had only seen 2 cars every hour and if I broke down again, I would have to wait a long time to get a message to Dawson or Eagle Plains for help, since there is no cell service on the highway.
The roads on the Dempster have no guard rails on them and there are very steep drop-offs along the edges.
Fortunately I had no further problems and I arrived in Dawson about 5 1/2 hours later, in time to see the mechanic in town. I left the tire with him and he told me to come back in an hour. When I came back, he told me that the tire was irreparable.
Since, my car was caked in a half-inch layer of mud,
I took the time to wash it twice and it is much cleaner but it will still need to be washed again.
I had read the complete manual for the car when I got it and I knew about the installation of the spare, however, when I checked it to see how long I could drive on the spare because I had forgotten that part, I was pleasantly surprised. It stated that the spare could be used to “ finish a long trip “. It states that I can drive 65 miles/hr for 3000 miles ( 5000 km ). Therefore I have some options. I could go fishing for a few days and wait for the tire to arrive or I could order the tire from a shop in Whitehorse and continue my trip until I get back there to have it installed. I could also have him install two identical tires on the back, that are similar to the ones I have but not the exact same size. So many choices, so much time!
What are the odds that I would pick up that large spike on the Dempster highway?
There are so many things to be grateful for:
I was able to keep someone else from picking up the nail.
I met Elliott and he told me about a great place to fish.
I was able to get back to Dawson without any issues.
I was able to re-pack my car, which is something I had wanted to do anyways.
I have lots of choices with regards to my tires.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
The answer to the trivia question from Day 13 is:
The major difference between a Canadian province and a territory is that provinces receive their power and authority from the Constitution Act, 1867 (formerly called the British North America Act, 1867), whereas territorial governments have powers delegated to them by the federal government. That means that the provinces subsidize the territories since they don’t have the resources or tax base needed for the infrastructure.