Touring - Dempster Highway.
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05-03-07, 09:42 AM
I want to ride the Dempster Highway this summer, Inuvik to Whitehorse.
What is the best direction to ride this route? I will probably fly in and out, so I can do it either way.
The other question is what is the best month to do it? I figure the window is June, July or August, with June having the midnight sun and also the most bugs.
I've looked at the travelogues on the web, I'm interested in opinions from people who have ridden it.
05-03-07, 10:49 AM
Check out Doin' The Dempster by Murray Snyder on Crazyguyonabike.com. he did the Dempster last year and lives in Alberta.Should be a good contact for info and maybe you could make a meet to pick his brains.
05-03-07, 11:01 AM
try http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1gci&doc_id=1895&v=HZ This fellow tourer did it last year and lives in your neck of the woods,maybe you could arrange ameet and get the info you need from him, Good luck on your trip and all the road be flat with a tailwind. OOPS double post,sorry about that.
05-03-07, 11:24 AM
I've a friend who did it both ways from Whitehorse and I don't remember him saying which way was any better than the other. However, he did the ride on an older road bike, probably closer to a hybrid today, and said that the biggest problem was mud. The mud totally clogged up the wheels/fenders and he often had to stop numerous times every hour to clean out the mud so the tires could turn.
Sounds like you should ride a mountain bike on this one.
05-04-07, 10:46 AM
It's the mud.
And the rain.
I don't know if I just hit a bad stretch of years, but the half dozen times I was up in the NWT and Yukon between 1995 and 2005 I had lots of rain. Locals said it was unusual - and the EnvCanada website shows fairly low levels of precip for the interior regions. But it rained and rained - which isn't great news for unpaved roads and bicycles.
I have two vivid memories from Fort Simpson, NWT -
First, even though the road was a soupy mudpot, a water truck drove by pouring yet more water on the road. I guess the guy had a contract for dust abatement and, by God, he was going to get his contract money. Second, I remember seeing a high school girl in white go-go boots gingerly trying to navigate all that mud. Why anybody in the NWT would buy white go-go boots is beyond me - but teenagers gotta have the look - I guess.
05-04-07, 10:57 AM
I'm about to "do" victoria 2 inuvik starting june. I'll be heading north (and fly back) 'cause I understand I'll have most tailwinds this way. as soon as one gets north of whitehorse though the prevailing wind direction is NE so you'd be better off going south (i figured it out through environment canada @ http://www.weatheroffice.pyr.ec.gc.ca/Climate/default_e.html (click option "1" etc.). good luck & maybe we'll say "hi" on the way...
05-05-07, 07:56 AM
I drove the Dempster in June of 2005 in my car, and they used sharp slate rock on the road in many sections. Make sure you have a lot of spare tubes. It was extremely muddy, and my car slid sideways down a big hill in the mud. It is not all flat, there are some small mountains. The bugs were swarming around me so bad, I had to franticly wave my arms non-stop, and could hardly cook my lunch on my propane stove.
The people on the Dempster hwy, were about the nicest I've even met. Everyone waved hello when then came by the other way, and everyone helped me when I was stranded with flat tires, then followed me for up to 100 miles, to make sure I was OK. I loved the NWT, even with the slate rock roads, bugs and mud.
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