Well, I took off again after maybe an hour at Blackstone, and within 10 kms had begun to come across little bogs in the road. They weren't bad at first, but they started to get bigger and more numerous, and before I knew it the road just disappeared. I'm not kidding, the road just ceased to exist, and in its place was mud. Nothing but mud.
There was a dozer working there, and a dump truck. The truck was stopped and the driver was waiting on the dozer operator, so he came to talk to me. Yes, the road was closed he said. Had I seen the signs? "Oh yeah!" I told him! But he was a nice guy and this is the NWT after all. How casual is the NWT? Well, I've lived there for 7 years and never worn a suit once. I did wear a tie one day at work just to see if I still remembered how to tie one. Everyone made fun of me for it (I was a substitute teacher that particular day so it wasn't exactly unsuitable attire). It's a pretty casual place and I knew no-one would mind my being there.
The mud was so bad that I wasn't going to make it through until the dozer made a pass for me, and I was scared. I had never ridden my bike all loaded up like this before other than a one night test run a week or so before-hand, where the biggest threat was the buffalo grazing the same patch of grass I was tenting on, and now I wasn't sure whether or not I'd make it through. Only one thing to do...I wanted to get into 2nd for some speed but the goo was so sticky that that wasn't going to happen, so first gear it was. Stand on the pegs, clench butt cheeks tightly together, pick your line and hang on for dear life. Approaching the other side of the bog (which was about 0.5 kms long) I couldn't even risk taking a hand off the bars to wave a 'thank you' to the dozer guy who was...dozing...no, watching me with a look of amusement on his face.
The road didn't get a whole lot better for the next 10 km or so, but at least it was a road. And then I came across the next non-road section. No dozer here, and no way of seeing how long this shitty bit lasted. To turn around would mean looking pretty pathetic to the big burly truck driver and dozer dude, so I really had no choice but to carry on. This next section lasted about a kilometer, and the road was so bad for the next hour that I knew if I stopped I'd either drop the bike or never get moving again. I hated it! Man, I was cursing myself for having taken that road, but at the same time was already writing the story I'd tell my friends in my head. (The story was in my head, not the friends...)
Man, I was miserable and the road didn't actually improve much for quite a while. At last I managed to stop somewhere where I could stay standing and be assured of getting going again, and then it began to rain! Not badly at first, but by the time I got to Fort Liard it was just pissing down. The 300 kms from Fort Simpson had taken six hours and I was tired and wet. Glad to have made it through, but buggered if I was going to go any further that day. As it happens, just inside town there is the Hay Lake campground. It's free and they supply drinking water, outhouses and firewood. There's even a shelter with a wood stove in it. Throughout the trip, which lasted about 6 weeks, I spent a total of two nights in motels (but i did spend time at friends' houses) and I soon discovered that the less you are charged for camping, the nicer the spot will be.
There is a Fort Liard story in my 'Yellowknife Ice Trucking' thread in the Canada regional forum if you're interested in finding more out about it. I didn't take any pics of the road that day 'cos I was pissed off, but I did snap some shots of Hay Lake the following morning.