Back in Dawson as I write this, it is "mission accomplished," as we have completed the Dempster! It feels great, something to feel a bit proud of, but moreso the dominant sentiment is just one of feeling fortunate. Fortunate that work duties delayed my vacation by one week, which resulted in hitting the perfect window of weather after the forest fire, after the six days of rain, and before whatever's coming next. Fortunate that the fuel situation worked out fine. Fortunate that I have had the opportunity to see this awe-striking part of our enormous country. Fortunate that, when I finally did have a tire puncture, Badger's fantastic technology and the tire repair kit I've been packing around for 7 years both came through in the clutch. And fortunate that even the giant cumulonimbus cloud parked at the south end of the Dempster managed to somehow go around us on our way out.
We ate breakfast, then hit the road.
120 km south of Eagle Plains, at kilometer 250, I got a flat tire, pulled over, fixed it, and just continued riding. (!)
We passed with trepidation through the grader section shortly after, looking intently for yellow plastic KLR shrapnel, but without incident ourselves. Traffic was heaviest today of the four days, and with the bluebird sky it was just getting dustier. All good, though. The return ride through the Ogilvies and Tombstone Territorial Park was like riding it for the first time, it being a completely different road surface and a completely different landscape now under clear skies.
The tire plug held all the way to Dawson, and I'm going to try to nurse it all the way to Whitehorse where I had pre-existing plans to pay someone with a tire machine to replace both front and rear tires first thing Monday morning.
I survived the Dempster! (Sticker to follow.)
Day total: 424 km, 8h05m
Trip total: 4,437 km
Start: Eagle Plains, Yukon. End: Dawson, Yukon.
Soundtrack: Matt Good's "The Boy Came Home," Radiohead's "In Rainbows."