Day 40. Saturday 8th June. Dempster Highway Rock View Campsite to Inuvik

Happy Birthday Dad. 107 today. Shame you only made it to 70. 🙁

A great camp site last night. Secluded, sheltered and only a few campers. The last few nights have been freezing so we put another layer on the bed, but it was a warm night, till about 4am. 

It was 9.15am when I looked at my watch!!!

I was going to say it dawned a beautiful clear calm day, but there was hardly any dawn. Like Northern Norway, the sun was shining soon after 3am. 

The Swiss couple we met yesterday were camped there too. When we were driving out of the camp Thomas waved us down. He and wife Chantal shipped their Jeep from Europe to Halifax in Nova Scotia and have driven across Canada. They must have noticed our route on the side of the Land Rover as they were keen to know about driving in Russia. Maybe we will catch up with them again down the track, as they are also driving South America. We had a laugh with them yesterday. They thought we were from Australia. “It’s all the same isn’t it!” I said, “yes, just like you are the same as Germans”. Well, that got a response, and we were quits.:)

The terrain is changing subtly. It’s gone from forested to high country rolling, denuded of vegetation. Above the snow line, to stunted forest and glistening lakes. This whole area drains 1/5th or 1,800,000 sq k’s of Canada, into the McKenzie delta. Lonely Planet tells us that it’s 10th largest draining area in the world. 

About an hour after leaving the camp site we crossed from the Yukon, into North Western Territories. What we didn’t realise was, clocks went forward an hour. 

Dust from other vehicles is the bugbear. Otherwise, wonderful driving conditions. The idea is to place yourself in a space between vehicles travelling at a similar speed but far enough in front so that you don’t continue to eat their dust. Just after crossing our first river, a big Freightliner Heavy tow truck was punching up fast behind us. I was pushing it to 107 and he was closing. I thought, well if he’s in such a hurry his dust will soon cease to be a problem. Wrong, once he was past us he eased off and was travelling slower than we prefer. At a point where a grader was operating, he slowed down and I seized my chance and shot through on the outside of him, despite him trying to block me and from then on, he had the pleasure of eating our dust. 

Two ferry crossings, with no charge as the road and rivers are part of a state highway. The first, Peel River ferry winched itself across the river. The second river, the McKenzie, a much wider river crossing, the ferry was under its own power. We shared the ferry with five chaps from Calgary, all on BMW GS1200’s. Three of them were very comfortable on the gravel but two were not so sure and seemed on edge for much of the time we followed them. I asked politely if they would mind if we went through ahead of them. All retired oil men and enjoying the companionship and journey. Too old to be riding motorbikes..:) Sorry Ash. 

With still 144k’s to reach the end of the road, we decided to check into the RV Camp site in Inuvik to avail ourselves of the facilities they have here. full laundry and showers. 

It’s a glorious evening with the thermometer showing 28deg in the wagon. Sun shining and a beautiful vista out through the front of the vehicle. 

This is very much 1st Nation country. Brand new GMC SUV’s everywhere. It must be costing the Canadian government a fortune. Just like northern Norway, the white man has come for the spoils of oil and other things, destroying their natural self reliance and habitat, replacing it with dependance  and resentment. The town has a very similar feel to it as some of the northern West Australian settlements.  

The wagon is coated in mud and dust. 

After a hearty meal of beans, eggs, courgettes on toast. Washed down with an Alaskan Blonde, beer that is, there its time to relax and mull over the journey.

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