Canadian Arctic Winter Ride; Ice Roads and the Dempster Highway

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Northern Rob, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. justanotherider

    justanotherider justanotherider

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Ontario
    Rob:

    Any development of plans for a 2011 ride to Tuk?
  2. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Mike,

    I haven't heard a lot of interest at this point from others interested in doing this ride. So right now I'm just focused on sorting through the rest of my pics and finally finishing this thread.

    We both have all the gear, so not a lot of prep required. If the bug bites, we're ready to go now. :D .

    By the way, I don't know if you've heard, but the guys in Tuk and Inuvik tell me the all weather road is likely to be built sooner rather than later, so the days of the world's longest ice road are numbered. :cry (Sigh).

  3. justanotherider

    justanotherider justanotherider

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Ontario
    Rob:

    So what's the story on the all weather road? Any dates known? Should we ride the Mackenzie again this year because it will be the last chance, or do we have a couple of winters to go?
  4. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Mike, the all weather road between Inuvik and Tuk is partially built already.

    I'll make a few enquires and see if there are any firm dates. I think they need some more funding to push it through. The Prime Minister has taken quite an interest in the arctic since the Russians have been peeing on our side of the fence. I'm told it is now a priority to have a road sea to sea to sea.

    And last I heard, the pipeline is coming in too, so in a few years it could look like the haul road to Deadhorse AK.

    Riding next to a pipeline would take a lot of the grin factor out of it for me I think.
  5. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I asked a local about the traditional foods at the festival...
    <object height="385" width="640">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/OOAxw3ysU-w?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="640"></object>
    *
    [​IMG]

    Here we have a pot of muskrat tails and heads. The locals assured me it was a delicacy, so I sucked up my courage and requested a piece.

    [​IMG]

    This is the head of a muskrat. You break it open and suck out the brains.


    [​IMG]

    I was doing pretty good, but then the feel of the teeth in my mouth started to wig me out. The flavour was excellent.

    [​IMG]

    Next I tried the muskrat tail. I don't think you can tell by the picture, but the fur is still on it. I started to bite it like a carrot and all the locals started to laugh at me. You see, you're supposed to eat it like you're eating corn on the cob. I was eating the bones and the whole thing. :rofl

    The feel of the fur in my mouth was a bit weird, but I got past it and I have to tell you, muskrat tails are absolutely delicious. They taste like really good chicken wings - but with more and better flavour. I kid you not. I'm a fan. I'd eat it again in a heart beat.

    [​IMG]

    As a special treat, one of the locals let us try a bit of Beluga. I think its cut to include a layer of fat and a layer of skin, or maybe that's a layer of meat. It tastes a bit like salmon sashimi (the fatty belly part) but the texture is a bit more rubbery than sashimi. This was a big part of the native diet hundreds of years ago. Now its just a ceremonial food.


    [​IMG]

    Here we have Eskimo Ice cream or uqotok. I looked up a recipe of how to make it on the internet. It's more than just ground reindeer meat and fat.

    the recipie calls for
    ground Reindeer meat (or other meat)
    One or more kinds of berries:
    salmonberries (akpiq), blackberries
    (aqlluk), or blueberries.
    Animal oil (seal, walrus, or whale).
    Dried fat (reindeer, caribou, or
    moose).
    Fish (trout, salmon, etc.).
    Fish liver.
    Dried salmon eggs.
    Greens

    So what does it taste like? It's frozen, like most stuff around here. And it tastes a bit like a cold hamburger out of the fridge, but it tastes good. Kind of creamy and frothy, and it tastes like it was meant to be eaten frozen. It packs a ton of calories in a bite - which makes it good for winter food as I understand that as people's metabolisms adapt to the cold here, they burn thousands of extra calories a day to keep their bodies warm.

    That was a great experience! I'll never forget it.
  6. justanotherider

    justanotherider justanotherider

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Ontario
    I think I'm in the same boat - a pipeline road would likely be pretty boring, (last time I looked, pipelines still ran in pretty straight lines).

    Let me know what you discover. I definitely would like to ride the Mackenzie and Beaufort again...
  7. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    We just had another overly nice article published about our arctic winter ride, with a picture of Benno, Wayne and me at the end of the ice road. Argh, if we were only as cool and tough as they write us up to be! Our friends know better :-)

    I'm sure not Captain of the Universe or Motorcycle Yoda - like the article makes me out to be. Far from it. I'm a middle aged, out of shape guy with a desk job and a bunch of kids. I suck as a mechanic. And if I were honest with myself, I'm not that good a rider either.

    But I have figured out a few things...

    ...mainly that time is running through my fingers faster than I'd like, and that I'd like to savour this amazing, big beautiful world at full throttle. I'm not waiting until "some day" to do the dream ride or to find the time to have a beer with my old buddies.

    "Some day" IS THE BIG LIE. Do what you care about NOW - that's really the only "Yoda" thing I bring to the table.

    Here's the link to the article...
    Cheers!
    Rob

    http://www.riderswestmag.com/motorcyclezone/evolution_of_a_seasoned_rider/

    [​IMG]

    P.S. Hey! Kooteney Kid, good to meet you and the Mrs. today!
  8. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,786
    Location:
    SE PA
    Awesome report! :clap

    Sorry if I missed it earlier, but could you tell us about what you were wearing?

    Thanks
  9. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Sure.

    I had a pretty cheap snowmobile suit, dirt bike armour underneath, fleece, long sleeve shirt, Firstgear heated jacket and pant liners (they let sweat through unlike Gerbings), sports wicking long underwear, gerbing electric glove liners, army surplus arctic mitts, balaclava and snowmobile helmet (Bombardier BV2S), Sorel "glacier" brand winter boots (rated to -70 C or something silly like that).

    The bike had heated grips, "hippo hands" handlebar muffs, and a lap apron.
  10. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,786
    Location:
    SE PA
    Thanks.


    I'm definitely doing something like this when (if) I can afford a Ural. Been wanting one for a long time.
  11. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    IRideASlowBike,

    For what it's worth, I now know 3 guys that have done this ride on 2 wheels. No need to wait to buy a sidecar bike. Just stud up your tires the way Mike shows on page 29 of this thread. Put those tires on at the base of the Dempster Highway at Dawson City, and hook up with some kind of support vehicle or convoy as your backup plan.

    Cheers!

    Rob
  12. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Back to the story...

    The Muskrat Jamboree festivities were winding down for the day, so we grabbed a cab back into town :D

    [​IMG]

    My next project was to make a sacrifice to the Motorbiking Vacation Gods (In other words find something nice to bring home the wife :lol3 ).

    So, imagine my luck when I went into the town's only jewelry store, and found a local artist from Tuk dropping off a load of soap stone and whale bone carvings!

    *
    <object height="385" width="640">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Swz63O_j3tU?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="640"></object>
    *
    Interview with local artist Ron Felix (about his carvings, life in Tuk, best times to come in the summer and winter if you want to visit)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A dancing bear (giving thanks for a successful hunt).

    [​IMG]

    A dancing Beluga whale

    [​IMG]

    His polar bear and musk ox now sit on my desk at work.
  13. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,400
    Location:
    N.California
    Cool carvings...
    Love the whale and walrus!
    Thanks for sharing all your pics from up there!
  14. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Thanks Darth Peach.

    The festival was great, but now it was time for the final push and to do what I came for...

    to ride the world's longest ice road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    120 miles of ice starting from Inuvik harbour, onto the surface of the mighty Mackenzie River delta and then east on the frozen Arctic Ocean to the hamlet of Tukotyaktuk.

    :D
  15. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,786
    Location:
    SE PA
    Well, I'd do that, but I currently ride a 700 pound cruiser. Know anybody who makes knobbies in the 200/60-16 size? :lol3

    Although, I have read about two German guys who rode the ice roads to Tuk on Harleys: a Shovelhead and a Panhead (!). Read about it here: http://www.wwag.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/WebSite.woa/wa/DirectAction?page=TOEOTRIndex. They still have smaller tires than 200, though.

    So either way I'd have to get another bike, be it 2 or 3 wheeled. Also, I'd want to do it without a support car (or is that beyond crazy and into suicidal?) and having a passenger to share the experience with would be nice also, hence the Ural. Sorry for the rambling, at this point it's just a dream anyway.


    Can't wait for the ice road post! :thumb
  16. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Wayne and I got up in the morning to find it a crisp -22 C outside. Waited until the sun warmed things up to -17, and we were off.
    *
    <object height="385" width="640">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hjvK9MKtzXg?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="640"></object>
    *
  17. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    If you were in the sidecar with me, if would look like this...
    *
    <object height="385" width="480">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/6DT42esuDT4?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="480"></object>
    *
  18. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    *
    <object height="385" width="640">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/078FNZBALLw?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="640"></object>
    *
  19. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    *
    <object height="385" width="640">


    <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/-Er5SvmjJZs?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" height="385" width="640"></object>
    *
    I think this is one of my favourite clips. I show some cracks in the ice road and how it can grab your tire, what gear is working and isn't working for me and what I would do differently next time.

    If you're interesting in riding the ice roads, this is probably the one to watch.
  20. Northern Rob

    Northern Rob Con Brio!

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    644
    Location:
    Vancouver
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    55,000 kg's max weight. Let's see, I think I'm good.

    [​IMG]

    Coming down the river bank onto the ice road.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, finally underway. Driving through the river harbour part of Inuvik.

    [​IMG]

    That ain't going anywhere till spring.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The turnoff for Aklavik.

    [​IMG]

    Can you see the long crack in the road? It's the ones you don't see under the snow that are the problem.