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Old 01-10-2009, 04:19 AM   #1
Northern Rob OP
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Canadian Arctic Winter Ride; Ice Roads and the Dempster Highway

Iíve been planning this ride for two years and am chomping at the bit to get going. This ride starts in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories on March 29th 2009. We ride through to Dawson City and take the Dempster Highway up to the Arctic Circle, Inuvik and the Ice Roads to Tuktoyaktuk for some kick back sun and fun on the fabulous Arctic Ocean coast.



We plan to start Mile Zero of the Dempster Highway on April 1st Ė April Fools day Ė which my wife says is very appropriate. (What does she mean by that?). I picked those dates to take advantage of the Northís unique weather and light. If you go too early in the season it can be really, really, really cold, windy and dark. After the spring equinox you get a lot more light - and with a bit of luck - less severe weather, but for a few more weeks its still cold enough to keep the ice strong and the roads open and safe.




The winter Ice road is the only road to Tuk, so if you want to ride your bike all the way to the Arctic Ocean on the Dempster, you can only do it in the winter.

If you leave later in April, you run the risk of having the ice bridges close and you canít cross the rivers on the way up to Inuvik. Or youíll get stuck up in Tuk or Inuvik and have no way to get back home other than flying and shipping your bike back later in the summer.

My goal for the trip is to have a lot of fun with a few of my buddies that are coming along, and to share the spectacular scenery of Canadaís north and its people with them and with you.



Itís as much about photography and enjoying the unique sights and people as it is about the ride.



Iím posting this because Iíve really enjoyed reading other folks ride reports and seeing their pictures. It helps me get through the winter riding season blues. And your ride reports, tips and pictures have helped me tweak my gear and think about the next rides I want to do. I appreciate it! So Iím hoping I'll have some good pictures and stories to share with you and give a bit back Ö good karma and all thatÖ Also, Iíve got a few more issues that I would like your advice on, so hoping for some more of that great ADV RIDER help.

Hereís what the ride isnít about. Iím not trying to out-macho anyone. I'm not the least bit interested in knocking off Paul Mondorís well earned crown as the Iceman or to outdo anyone. Iím not the best or toughest rider out there and I know it. I donít have anything to prove. If the weather gets really bad, and things look unsafe weíll stop or turn around.

Bottom line, Iím not waving my fist at the gods in defiance, I am requesting safe passage for my journey.

This ride has been done before on motorbikes - three times that I am aware of and probably a few more times that never got written up. But given the unique rich history and beauty of the area and its people, I think they deserve a more in depth story and photo journal being shared than I have been able to find from previous rides. I hope this trip can remedy that!

I will be riding a modestly modified 2wd Ural Gear Up sidecar bike, have a 4X4 support vehicle, emergency satellite communication and camping/survival gear that I trust I will not need. Hopefully Iíll be over-prepared and over-supplied Ė but its good to be ready in case Mr Murphy comes waving his stupid law.

Will post more soonÖ

Cheers!

Rob
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:18 PM   #2
squonker
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Best of luck to you, Rob! At first I was a little envious and then I thought about how cold it is outside and I'm more than happy to leave the hard part to you. I'll just follow along from my couch!

Very much looking forward to reading of your adventures - I know how much prep you're putting in to this. One thing you wn't be lacking at that time of year is sunshine - make sure your shades are quality ones.

Right on!
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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Sounds great and I look forward to the Report.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:28 AM   #4
Northern Rob OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squonker
Best of luck to you, Rob! At first I was a little envious and then I thought about how cold it is outside and I'm more than happy to leave the hard part to you. I'll just follow along from my couch!

Very much looking forward to reading of your adventures - I know how much prep you're putting in to this. One thing you wn't be lacking at that time of year is sunshine - make sure your shades are quality ones.

Right on!
Hi Squonker. And thanks very much for your help in preparing for this ride!

Squonker has been kind enough to share his expertice and be one of my "consultants" for the ride. And who better to ask about the condition of the ice roads and the stuff I need to do to prep the support vehicle than a real ice roads trucker! Appreciate it! And Squonker, I really enjoy reading your ice roads trucking thread. Keep it coming!

If you haven't had a chance to read his ice roads thread, its here > Yellowknife ice trucking .
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:32 AM   #5
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kootenay kid, Sask_pirate, Spicy, ImageGuy, Tunngavik, thanks for tuning in and your words of encouragement!
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:40 PM   #6
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best wishes and safe travel

we're rooting for ya... this is a worthy challenge trust all goes well keep us informed as tot he progress
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:41 PM   #7
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Wish I could do this with you, you nut-job!!!

Ride safe!
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Old 01-10-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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I can't wait for your adventure to begin and to read your ride report and see the photos. Good luck!

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Old 01-10-2009, 07:30 PM   #9
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That's sounds like quite a trip. When I first saw your post I thought you must be nuts to tke something like this on on a motorbike but then read you'll have a 4x4 support vehicle along.

I lived up in Iqaluit for a few years and experienced a few storms that came on very quickly (even in April) where I could not even see my hand in from of my face (no word of a lie).

I'm sure you'll be OK with a support vehicle and pelnty of survival and communications equipment. I've gone on a couple of 400+km trips on ski-doo in the arctic and as long as you pack for it then things are generally OK.

I look forward to the ride report - I'm hoping to ride the Dempster sometime this summer. Good Luck!
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:35 PM   #10
Spicy McHaggis
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Gonna post a list of modifications you've done to the Ural??? Inquiring minds want to know...
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:44 PM   #11
GB
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i was just viewing a ride report from Australia... sunny, red sand... looked like it was nice and hot...

and you PM me to move this thread to the RR forum.. sure thing

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Old 01-14-2009, 05:56 PM   #12
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Good luck!
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:02 PM   #13
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Hi ya Rob. This sounds like a great ride, for sure man. Which bike ya takin? Your profile lists the big GS, I imagine that one would do the trick, gonna put a spankin' new batry in it? Do you know any of the BMW riders up here in Vernon? Good Luck and Happy Damn Trails!
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:55 PM   #14
Northern Rob OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saywut
Hi ya Rob. This sounds like a great ride, for sure man. Which bike ya takin? Your profile lists the big GS, I imagine that one would do the trick, gonna put a spankin' new batry in it? Do you know any of the BMW riders up here in Vernon? Good Luck and Happy Damn Trails!
Thanks Saywut. I'll be using a Ural for this ride. A ural looks like this...



They're a lot of fun to drive if you're not in a hurry and if you don't take yourself too seriously ...

I'll be running the stock battery plus a backup wheelchair battery in the tub for reserve.

Cheers!
Rob
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:08 AM   #15
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Good luck.

The far north is spectacular in winter. I've driven to Tuk by car. I saw the most spectacular sunrise of my life on the ice road. Post lots of pics.

Don't freeze your niblets.
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