This was how I found myself describing our trip to all of the familiar faces we encountered today, having just seen them yesterday on our trip north. "How was Inuvik?" "Great. Good trip so far." "You didn't stay long." "No, we both have to go back to work to earn some more gas money, so it kind of feels like Olympic swimmers, you know, where you swim the whole length of the pool and then when you get to the end, you touch the end, do a somersault, and go all the way back."
It was a glorious day on the Dempster. The road continued to dry out after the previous week's rains, and led me to conclude that our journey up was on a "moist Dempster" -- not a dry Dempster, certainly not a wet Dempster, but somewhere in between. The dustiness factor was markedly higher today over the same 400 km route we rode yesterday, as an indication. Riding-wise, the northbound fear and trepidation over what was around the next corner was now absent, and we made good time under the sun, able to ride at a 80-110 km/h pace which was dictated by the ability to scan the surface ahead for any sudden surface changes. Research and conversations had all seemed to point to two main issues causing motorcyclists troubles on the Dempster -- very sudden surface changes (hard to soft, dry to wet), and flat tires.
The highlight of the day was once again the spectacular scenery passing through the Richardson Mountains around the Yukon/NWT border, which I can say without reservation is the most scenic and beautiful place I have ever been.
We rolled into Eagle Plains for another pitstop, getting a room, a decent meal, a tank of gas, and a spacious gravel parking lot that felt just right for making a few puddles by cleaning and lubing the chain, spraying off road muck (yes, even on a bone dry day, thanks to water trucks in the road maintenance zones) with a Windex spray bottle bought at Inuvik's North Mart for that express purpose, and spraying down Badger's frontward facing surfaces with Pam non-stick cooking spray. I also needed to pop the pinlock insert out of my helmet visor to wipe away accumulated dust from the gap. (Again, a good problem.) As we putzed around with evening chores out front of the hotel, a familiar thump-thump perked up the senses. Two pensioner Brits on KLRs from Alberta rolled in to the campground, with smashed up bikes, sore ribs, and a bruised up face, after one of them went down 120 km away in a grader zone, and the other ditched his bike to avoid running over his buddy. Not really clear how that story went down, but my heart went out to the guys as the one bike with its headlight/nose cowling bungee'd to the tail rack looked just a little bit too much like the last time I ever saw Kill'r.
Day total: 418 km, 9h45m
Trip total: 4,013 km
Start: Inuvik, NWT. End: Eagle Plains, Yukon.
Soundtrack: Stadium Arcadium, Cash's "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."