Alcan – Day 5

We can’t believe we’re already 1/2 way through the 2008 Alcan 5000.

It looks like our mechanical fuel issue problems are being kept at bay, thanks again to Gord and the Sirius Rally Team for their help fixing that last night in below freezing temperatures.  We kept an eye on it all day and didn’t see any more fuel leaking out, so there shouldn’t be any major catastrophes such as the car burning down due to fuel leaking all over the hot engine.  Speaking of fuel, today was the first day where Premium/91 octane fuel was not available.   Although we have never filled up with anything other than 91 (per the owners manual), but we didn’t really have much choice.  I just kept off the Turbo and drove the car gently, and didn’t hear any pre-detonation/pinging, but we probably couldn’t hear it over the road/tire noise anyways.

We got up pretty early to avoid the line for fuel at the start of the Dempster Highway, both of us pretty tired.  I think the multiple days of only 4-5 hours sleep, coupled with late nights, too much beer, stressing about the car leaking fuel, stressing about the infamous Dempster highway, and just everything combined is starting to wear on the both of us.  We’re still having a blast, but the endurance aspect of the event is absolutely playing a role.

The Dempster highway is a 450 mile highway which connects the Alaska Highway to Inuvik, and the Northwest Territories.  We’ve hear numerous horror stories about 20ft high snow drifts, running out of fuel (1 fuel stop, 230mi) arctic fog leading to 10ft visibility, passing trucks who don’t like to share the road on blind corners, and the fact that the highway is more or less build on 12ft of shale rock.  This means that if you go off the edge/shoulder, you will plummet 12ft into the permafrost, and most likely roll, or completely destroy your vehicle.  We passed more than 1 car that had crashed some time ago and was essentially abandoned.

We however were very lucky, and had a completely clear, warm day and saw very few trucks or other vehicles on the road.  Now we have been to some pretty cool places, but the first 200 miles of the Dempster is just -absolutely- incredible; we’re talking like National Park beautiful here.  The sun is really odd because we’re so far north, that the sun is essentially making this big arc but only in the south.  Because we’re more or less driving due north, the Sun now seems completely behind us (moving east-west) all day.  Here are some of our favorite pics from the day:

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Right after Eagle Plains (1/2 way point on the Dempster), we finally reached the Arctic Circle:

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Some of the teams literally took pictures with their shirts off, it was seriously that warm.

We crossed 2 ice bridges which are usually cable ferries in the summer, and finally made our way into civilization after 450miles of pretty much nothing.

We’re now spending the night in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, in the same hotel as the crew filming the History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers television show.   Kristin talked to the crew for a bit, and they claimed the Ice Road to Tuk is in good condition and have been filming for a couple of days here.

Tomorrow we leave for our final destination, Tuktoyuktuk via the Ice highway.  We’ve heard so much about this and are really excited.

– Stevan & Kristin

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4 Comments on “Alcan – Day 5”

  1. Barb/Gerry Says:

    Hi Kids, good job, well done! The Arctic is a very magical place, that’s why many people never leave after the first time they see it. I spent a week in Inuvik back in 1972, probably hasn’t changed that much in the last 30 odd years, your Uncle Rudy was Base Manager for a Helicopter Company for a few years up there. Try to get some rest, stay safe, remember you guys went on this for the experience and to finish the race, winning will just be a bonus. Great pics.

    Dad

  2. The Black's Says:

    Sounds like a very interesing trip, hope Tuk was all you thought it was going to be. The weather is supposed to turn a little cooler here next week. Hope we don’t get to much snow for your jorney to Jasper. Good luck!!
    The Black’s

  3. moiz Says:

    great pics and wow, grats on getting to the arctic circle!

  4. Tina Says:

    Hope you had a great time and sorry I couldn’t post comments over the weekend as I was a bit busy.
    Can’t wait to hear about it all.


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