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Two Inuvik residents (while in Dawson) ask me, “Where Are You Going?”

I say, “Inuvik.”

Man Responds, “Once you get up there and see the beauty, you won’t want to come back here.”

Woman Responds, “You know what You are Getting Into… Right?”

This is how our day started yesterday.

Boots covered in mud

This is how it ended – My boots after the day. My bright yellow jacket is now brown and not so reflective.

Dirt road

The road, before it gets too bad. Sorry no pics of the bad road – too busy trying to get through it.

The road was a test. It was a test on how well I packed. It was a test on how well I put my bike together before I came. It was a test on how well I could ride, and most importantly, it was a test in dealing with fear.

I was not so frightened with myself. Sure there were times when I could feel the rear-end of my motorcycle sliding sideways across the mud, but Michael taught me how to ride and he covered that. What was frightening was the unexpected. You would be riding along and what looked like mud (the same mud you were riding fine across minutes before) changed. You could tell you had crossed onto something else by the way that it felt, not the way that it looked. Suddenly, it was water logged and loosey-goosey like glacial silt mud or quicksand. Then, you could feel your stomach fall as you tried really hard to ride it through, desperately trying not to move too much, give it brake or move the steering. Just ride it through. There were parts of really wet mud where the water pooled on top and didn’t sink in. It sort of reflected milky white on top. Although it looked frightening, it tended to be more stable.

I bet the Inupiat language has lots of words for mud, just like it does for snow or ice.

Rear view of motorcycle

Visibility is down to nothing, and with all the mud you can’t see tail lights, even flashing ones. Lots of trucks on the road.

I ran out of gas. That was my intention. Because I have no fuel gauge, I wanted to know exactly how far I could go. I made it to 252 miles. The destination was 253. This was the kind of day that it was. I switched to reserve and made it in without touching my emergency fuel. Jaz tapped into her emergency fuel ten miles back – she has a gas gauge. Her bike also cost $15,000 more than mine.

I learned later in the day that four motorcycle riders went down on the road yesterday. Two were north of where I am and two were south. Three of the bikes were not ride-able. I talked with two of the riders that went down. They described a road at least twice as bad as what I have already covered. 223 more miles north, and then turn around and redo the entire 450 miles again. George said that the ruts were over a foot deep and the boggy tundra makes it impossible to pass anywhere else. The quicksand/silty mud gets worse too. Greg said that as you near Inuvik there are dark spots in the road; these are bad. He described areas of deep very slippery clay that have a thin skin of dryness on top. He said the motorcycle nobbies shed the skin and drop the bike sideways and right out from underneath you. This sounds incredibly appealing don’t you think?

Hmmm… I am beginning to wonder what it will be like to be a Canadian resident, eh?

Jaz and I sit in the café and drink coffee.

She continues to steal the creamer from the table with an innocent look on her face. She slides them off the table, one at a time. “For the road,” she says.

Semi truck covered in mud

Large trucks carrying supplies to Inuvik own the road

Still holed up under the dead head drinking Lead Dog Ale
I forgot my bra… now I know why my bike bag is so light…
About Maya

My name is Maya, and I wander.

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