Alaska 2014 – Prudhoe Bay to Inuvik, Canada, and to Whittier, Alaska

Inuvik, on the Northwest Territories, is at the end of the Dempster Highway, and it is the end of the road as far as going North in Canada. It is a small native town of about 3,500 people, and the sun doesn’t set there in the peak of the summer, making it a very interesting place to visit. I got close to there last year, but since I didn’t go all the way on the Dempster, Inuvik was at the top of my have-to-go-to places this year, so after the successful run to Prudhoe Bay and still with the right tires on the bike, I left Fairbanks and stopped for the night in Dawson City, in the Yukon. From there it’s a short paved section to the start of the Dempster, and on a cloudy, foggy Saturday morning, I started my way up North.

From Dawson to Inuvik is around 500 miles, 95% of it gravel and dirt. It can be one of the most beautiful rides in the world if the weather is right, and it can turn into one big, muddy trap if you pick the wrong time to discover its secrets, so planning for the right time is absolutely important. My forecast of beautiful weather was proving wrong, so for a couple of hours I rode in light rain and very low clouds, a very eerie mood to the whole empty road, and almost no cars or trucks on sight, but soon enough the sky turned clear and I was finally able to start enjoying the scenery. At Eagles Plains, a gas station/repair shop/restaurant and hotel small complex, I stopped for gas and met Steven Locke, a young Californian riding his ’94 GS, Paris-Dakar edition. We had met a few days before in a campground at Tok, Alaska, and Steven told me he was headed to Inuvik as well. We rode together for the rest of the day, crossing two rivers and finally arriving in sunny Inuvik at around midnight. A different and very unique place for sure…

After a night on the tent in a town campsite, we started the ride back and the weather was just perfect: sunny, a little breeze and temperature in the upper 50’s. The plan was to stop for lunch in Eagle Plains and be in Dawson City by mid-evening, but as people up here say, we plan and life happens. Shortly after the second river crossing, I had the first flat tire, followed by a second one not half an hour later. I was able to patch it both times, but it takes quite sometime to remove all the luggage, fix the puncture and get the bike ready again. We kept riding and it was Steven’s turn to have his own flat tire, so we ended up arriving in Eagle Plains in time for an early dinner. We kept pushing and by midnight I had my third puncture, which by then was just another delay. I wasn’t sure if the rear tire would survive a third patch, but it did and we finally arrived in Dawson by 3am, exhausted but feeling extremely happy and grateful for such an incredible road successfully experienced.

The excitement was also for the Brazil vs Germany game the next day, so after just a few hours of a well-deserved sleep, I put on my Brazilian jersey, went to the hotel bar and got ready to watch the game. As soon as the German’s scored the first goal, I found out I was completely surrounded by a crowd of German supporters, all chanting and yelling as their team demolished Brazil with goal after goal. Definitely not the way I planned to end my Inuvik run, but the only thing I kept on thinking while riding back to Alaska was how magnifecent these two days on the Dempster were. World Cup? There’s always the next one…

Back in Alaska, I had my dirt tires replaced and went straight down to the Kenai Peninsula, camping for two nights on the Homer Spit, right by the ocean, and spending a rainy night in Whittier before turning back to the north of State via the Parks Highway and Hatcher Pass on the way to Denali. More to follow, but later, for it’s time to hit the road once again!



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