Arctic Circle Expedition : March 20, 2007
Free of the Arctic circle - marathon driving days
March 20– Watson Lake, Yukon
The group woke up early Monday morning in anticipation of the Dempster Highway being reopened and hopefully passable. The 4AM departure from Inuvik was accompanied by some of the coldest temperatures we have seen. Our trip record now is negative 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Mike suffered with the removal of the engine fan and needed to make several adjustments to the radiator muff in order to get the proper mix of cabin temperature and engine cooling. The long drive down the 457 mile Dempster highway was fairly uneventful. With bright sun and clear weather the views were spectacular through the Richardson and MacKenzie mountain ranges. We arrived at the corner of the Dempster and Klondike highway (mile 0) at 3pm and then made the difficult decision to press on and drive to Carmacks, Yukon (another 250 miles).
The group arrived late, had a quick bite and a few cold ones and slept very well that night.
Tuesday morning in the Yukon felt like summer as temperatures had now reached into the teens. The group set off for Whitehorse with the ultimate goal of Watson Lake by nightfall. Originally the plan had been to take a more Northern route along the Campbell Highway but the locals warned of snow drifts and tough surface conditions and the already weary group elected for the easier road through Whitehorse.
Mike’s truck continued to suffer unexplained coolant problems and had to be worked on for a few brief spells along the roadside. Jim incurred another (third time) rock in the windshield and headed for repairs in Whitehorse.
After several hours of shopping and sightseeing around Whitehorse the team drove to Watson Lake, a small settlement on the border of Yukon and British Columbia. A quick dinner and early bed time were in order.
To date the expedition has travelled 3450 miles from leaving Edmonton. Next we move toward Fort Nelson B.C.