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Old 06-09-11, 02:38 PM   #1
Newspaperguy
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Final plans for an Arctic tour

I've been preparing for a trip from Whitehorse, Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories in July and I'm now down to the last of the preparation work.

I've worked out the details of the route and I've tested out the gear load using panniers. This weekend, I'll do a similar test using a cargo trailer to see which method works best.

Once that's done, it's time for the last of the preparations. The only purchases I can think of are tires and bug repellant.

The route will cover some remote areas and there is no bicycle shop outside of Whitehorse. As far as any supplies at all, things are a little spotty.

For that reason, I'd like to know if anyone can think of anything obvious yet easily overlooked that I need to remember.
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Old 06-09-11, 07:35 PM   #2
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Sounds like an epic journey. I'd have a folding tire or two. Maybe even a rear hub, some spokes and a spoke wrench. What the distance between Whitehorse and Inuvik?
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Old 06-09-11, 10:20 PM   #3
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I've been that route. Lots of horse flies, and trillions of big, hungry mosquitoes. If you are well prepared, the only thing I might suggest is--extra time, water, and an extra dose of determination. The gravel road was dry, well maintained, and relatively smooth, with few troublesome hills on the way up. On the way back it was a nightmare of slippery, sticky mud for many, many miles. As soon as it rains, the road, especially the northern half, is almost impassible by car or bike. The section south of Peel River, when wet, is the worst as it has natural oil deposits. Fortunately it drys up quickly as soon as the rain stops, and the road crews repair it quickly. The other need for extra time involves the 2 ferries. If it rains for very long, the rivers, especially the Peel, rises quickly and the ferries won't run. You have only the Klondike Inn at the start of the Dempster, Eagle Plains cafe/store/motel/bus stop about half way, Fort Mcpherson (mainly an unfriendly native village) about 4/5 the way, and then Inuvik, which is a surprisingly large town with well stocked stores. It's quite an adventure, have a great, dry trip.
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Old 06-09-11, 10:37 PM   #4
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You should know that there's a bike store in Dawson YK, 24 miles beyond the Dempster Hwy turnoff.

Bring bear spray.
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Old 06-09-11, 11:19 PM   #5
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On the way back it was a nightmare of slippery, sticky mud for many, many miles. As soon as it rains, the road, especially the northern half, is almost impassible by car or bike. The section south of Peel River, when wet, is the worst as it has natural oil deposits.
It should be a fun ride. I assume you've gotten information you can from The Milepost. I found that a good source for details about places along the way. My journey from Dawson City to Inuvik was a while ago now, but is documented here: http://www.mvermeulen.com/yukon.html I can second the information about the mud on the road south of Peel River.
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Old 06-10-11, 08:39 AM   #6
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You should know that there's a bike store in Dawson YK, 24 miles beyond the Dempster Hwy turnoff.
I've contacted the people at the Dawson visitor centre about this. Apparently that bike store is now closed.
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Old 06-21-11, 09:10 PM   #7
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I noticed your interest in solving the question of panniers vs. trailers. I have one bit of advice from my last summer's trip on Quebec 389. I had been given the advice to use a trailer by a LBS guy. I had already picked up a Tara Tubus lowrider rack and Deuter bags so it was a moot point. My brother used a Yak Big Tow on a California trip the two of us took a few years ago. He had an issue a couple of times when at speed the trailer kinda pushed him on lines he wasn't actually wanting to follow. If you have a trailer, be careful on downhill curves. Reduce speed. I was using panniers and could easily outdistance him on the CA Rt. 1 downhills.

This past summer's ride gave me experience with lowrider bags for the first time. I needed the extra cargo room because Q 389 requires self-supported riding, much like your plan this summer. Here's the caution from my experience. If you hit loose gravel at high speed the lowriders seem to help the front wheel track straight until speed is significantly reduced, then steering gets a bit squirrely but only the slower you go. With a trailer pushing me into loose gravel I can only think the results would have been significantly more messy. I never regretted not having the trailer from the moment I hit that first pocket of loose gravel at the bottom of a long hill. If you've got a trailer be careful in situations like that.

Have a good ride.
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Old 06-21-11, 10:14 PM   #8
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a little bit of bailing wire never hurts on remote tours.

bring a bandanna for ones neck.

A hatchet is always nice when you're timber cruising but I don't know if you're that type of woodsman. Always fun to work up a big fire after a rainstorm and the only way to the dry wood is with a hatchet or an axe at the middle of things.

Last edited by Bekologist; 06-21-11 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 06-21-11, 11:03 PM   #9
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Maybe I'm a bit overly paranoid, but I'd consider some bear pepper spray, but then I don't know if it is even legally allowed in Canada.
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Old 06-22-11, 01:36 AM   #10
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The bear spray is allowed, but I can't get it in advance. I'm not allowed to fly with the stuff, so I'll be picking it up in the Yukon.

As for the trailer, I've done some test rides with it to see how it will behave. I've also compared the bike handling with panniers to the bike handling with the trailer.

The hatchet sounds like a good idea, but there is the weight penalty to consider.
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Old 06-22-11, 07:04 AM   #11
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I assume you are packing along a bug headnet, or even a "Bug Baffler" type suit? They go a long way to preserving sanity from my experience camping in the Yukon and Alaska.

You might also consider a small walkie-talkie that can access CB channels, at least channel 19, as a way to connect with drivers/truckers along the route in case of an emergency.

I'd also take along plenty of extra tubes.
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Old 06-22-11, 07:14 AM   #12
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i had hoped the newspaper guy already has his bugnet!

the hatchet is a weight penalty, but worth it on remote tours if you have any interest in starting a fire and it has been raining.

there's dry timber in the middle of squaw wood even after a rainstorm. split the sticks into quarters and then split out the heartwood.


dry wood in a rainstorm. no way to do it without a hatchet. Trust a sourdough.
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Old 06-22-11, 02:43 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=Newspaperguy;12822958] As for the trailer, I've done some test rides with it to see how it will behave. I've also compared the bike handling with panniers to the bike handling with the trailer. [QUOTE]

Did you decide which one?
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Old 06-24-11, 03:11 PM   #14
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Will you have any cell phone coverage up north? Say north of Whitehorse? If not, maybe ( Spot ) would be worth a look, so your family and friends at least have an idea as to how things are going.
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Old 06-24-11, 03:37 PM   #15
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i was out in the garage and picked up a small hatchet by the woodpile - weighs less than a water bottle!

i'd choose a hatchet over an emergency transponder on a bike trip into the wilderness any day of the week.
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Old 06-26-11, 03:07 PM   #16
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I personally would take a folding saw instead of a hatchet. Lighter and faster to cut with. Here's a good one.
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Old 06-26-11, 07:18 PM   #17
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Will you have any cell phone coverage up north? Say north of Whitehorse? If not, maybe ( Spot ) would be worth a look, so your family and friends at least have an idea as to how things are going.
Cell phone coverage north of Whitehorse is spotty. There are a couple of communities with service, but that's about it. I will, when possible, keep in contact with friends and family in a number of ways.
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Old 06-26-11, 07:27 PM   #18
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I assume you are packing along a bug headnet, or even a "Bug Baffler" type suit? They go a long way to preserving sanity from my experience camping in the Yukon and Alaska.

You might also consider a small walkie-talkie that can access CB channels, at least channel 19, as a way to connect with drivers/truckers along the route in case of an emergency.

I'd also take along plenty of extra tubes.
I'll pick up a bug jacket before I go. That's one I hadn't thought about, considering I live in an area where we have few mosquitoes or biting flies.

I've got five spare tubes for the bike and two for the trailer, as well as a tire boot. The bike tires are Armadillos, so they're fairly robust. All the tires are new rubber.

I've chosen to go with the trailer instead of panniers. It seems a better solution in this case. For a shorter trip in less remote areas, panniers would win.

As far as the hatchet or saw, I have a military knife I'm taking. I've used it on other camping trips.
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Old 06-27-11, 08:55 AM   #19
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Cell phone coverage north of Whitehorse is spotty.I will, when possible, keep in contact with friends and family in a number of ways.

May I ask what area a few of those ways? I'm curious, regular phone calls, ham radio?
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Old 06-27-11, 08:59 AM   #20
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There's regular phone coverage and there's e-mail.
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