My knees, wrists and my back hurt from all of yesterday`s falls. I keep my food in the back-pockets of a cycling jacket so I basically got back-stabbed by a can of tuna during one of my falls. Then there was the frostbite on my face, I left a little area uncovered. Not the kind of souvenir I want to take with me.
My sore limbs reminded me that I had no training for this. I didn`t have a team of people looking at how many calories I need for this, or spend months on a trainer or on the hills to harden my muscles.
What I had was willpower. No amount of training will prepare you for the long, hard, cold days of the Arctic.
I see two people by the Aklavik highway junction, they are waving. As I approach they are talking to me but I can`t understand, wait. They are talking in Chinese.
They told me (in English) that they are making a documentary for a friend in Singapore and asked me to ride alongside for a video.
From here I will visit Aklavik, the old capital of the Canadian North. There are rumors of a road connecting Aklavik and Fort McPherson, if it is there I will ride it thus bypassing Inuvik.
The scenery was great, I passed through wide and narrow channels, zig-zagging through the Mackenzie Delta. But for me the most interesting part of this experience lays below me.
The ice road was filled with cracks, some up to four feet deep and bubbles of trapped air. A truly magical experience to be riding on a frozen river. All day long.
There it was: Aklavik, meaning "barren ground grizzly", like the one on the left which I saw when I biked the Dempster Highway in 2013.
A phone call to the people in whose car the letter fell reveled that they were completely drunk. I decided not to call again. I lost sister Fay's letter on the second day. I will have to get in touch with her later.
I visited the local store in search of a thermos. Bad news, a thermos in Aklavik would run you $45.
I did land a good deal on expired candy at half price (still double what you pay at normal stores).
"They won't plow it until next weekend."
the road from Aklavik to Fort McPherson was snowed in after the storm. Somebody had even gotten stuck and then rescued by somebody with a snowmobile.
Click on the first picture to read this. I will have that Manifesto in my handlebar bag whenever things get tough. I met Bonnie at the store who was very excited to meet me. Then an idea came, why not have people sign it. After all it will travel all the way to Argentina. And you know, there will be a day where I'll need some motivation.
So, I headed out to see how bad the road is snowed in. Somebody told me they cleared it to a cabin nearby.
Some two hours later, I learned that nearby is a relative term. I met one guy who was hauling wood but had no idea how the road was.
The road got worse and 30minutes later I realized that I won`t be going that way.
I took off with very little water and the expired candy only for food. But I was kinda out here already and the mountains were near.
OH, and are those wolf tracks? Lets see where they lead.
Things just have a strange way of working out.
Kristen, Danny, Ellen and Kelly were too checking out this road and I got a ride on the way back. They are from Ontario but moved to Inuvik to work as environmental scientists for the government (and ensure fishing here remains safe and sustainable).
I am bad with names, the only reason I knew them is because they signed my manifesto.
I was lucky to run into the McLeod family, who not only fed me (and you know: feeding a touring cyclist is no simple task) but also found a place for me to stay the last two nights. Jordan who works for the airport also finds odd jobs such as hunting grizzlies in the mountains, cutting wood and working for the fisheries.
It's hard to describe the whole atmosphere in Northern Canada, both on and off the road. It's certainly a unique and warm place, despite the arctic cold.
While having supper I got the news that the road to McPherson is being cleared.
Great. Things just have a strange way of working out.