Monday, June 16, 2008

1100 Miles South of Yellowknife

If this post seems like a hodge-podge of subjects and thoughts, it is. I haven't had internet access. This single post covers three days.


The object of my desire is now in the rear view mirror. We departed Yellowknife at 03:30 this morning. Why so early? Well, I was awake when Tyler came in from a night on the town at 03:00. I knew that if he laid down to sleep it would be noon before we got on the road. So, I sheparded him into the car and he slept while I drove the 9 and a half hours to High Level.
Yellowknife is what I expected but, then again, it is much different. There is Old Town where the first populace settled. It had a comfortable feel for me; very much as I would have wanted things if I lived here even today. Then there is New Town, where the modern and very progressive citizens thrive. New Town is a city, home of the Territorial Parliment. The face the city fathers want to project to the rest of the world.

There was a great little coffee shop in the Northern Telecom building where many people from all walks of life gathered for coffee, conversation, and people watching. We spent nearly three hours there as Tyler used the internet connection to upload pictures to his site.

Old Town had houses and shacks dating back to the 1950s interspersed between cutting edge architectural gems. Our couch surfing hostess rents one of the shacks. It is in the back yard of a house that looks like it is may be twenty years junior to the shack. The whole place is for sale for over $300K. For that princely sum you would get a lot with a hugh rock behind it; the buildings would have to come down to be replaced by new construction to justify the investment. The top of the huge rock behind the property is currently occupied by a tribute marker to the bush pilots. It is the highest spot in Old Town and once supported the municipal water tank.

Leaving out of Yellowknife we encountered one car that passed me leaving and two coming in to town. I saw a couple of Inuits crossing the road in an old pickup. There was also a trucker sleeping in a roadside pullout. That was the total count of vehicles for the 200 miles to Ft. Providence.

The one image that sticks in my mind from the morning of departure was a tiny grave. It was so small it had to be that of child. It was in the middle of a marsh on the only patch of ground large enough to support the cross and picket fence that outlined the grave. Behind the marshy area was a home. From the appearance of the place, I would say an Inuit family lived there, but that is purely speculation based on my limited knowledge and preconceived notions.

The sun was, at 04:00, just above the horizon and it struck that white cross and picket fence with an orange-red intensity that made it stand out from the background of muted grays and greens of the marshy surroundings. There was a light on in the home behind the grave. My mind filled-in the details. So can yours.

06/15 -- Father's Day in the US and Canada.

We left High Level at about 09:30. The drive was uneventful. The trees are much larger down here than they are up in Yellowknife; perhaps an indication of just how severe the winters are on the edge of the arctic circle compared to the south shore of the Great Slave Lake.

My only regret is that I did not charter a plane to overfly the tundra. I should have. But, money is money and everything comes at a cost. I simply did not have enough money to charter a plane in Yellowknife.

Austin, my son, called me from his personal adventure (with his grandfather, exploring Colorado) to wish me happy Father's Day. We made 600 miles today and I got to talk to Austin. It was a good day.


Good Morning from Leduc, AB. Leduc is a small town just south of Edmonton. It is the location of the Edmonton International Airport. We passed through the city of Edmonton last night before stopping for the day; I didn't want to deal with the morning commuters this morning.

Edmonton is a beautiful city. At least the portions of it we saw are beautiful. The place is squeaky clean. There are parks everywhere. Bike and walking paths followed every route we took. The city appears to be in the middle of a boom cycle. I wish we had some time to explore the city more. But time is a thing I don't have in quantity. I've got to get back to work.

Today we will only need to make about 250 miles to get to Calgary. I will spend some time trying to get a replacement tire for the worn right rear. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that we had to move that tire from the front to the rear because of extreme wear brought about by worn front suspension components. Well, it might and it might not make the trip home. I have been inspecting it every morning and every gas stop since that day in the Tetons. I am beginning to get a little uncomfortable with the wear along the outside edge of the tire; the tread is gone in several spots. I think just for piece of mind, I am going to replace it.

Also today, I need to rent a U-Haul trailer to carry the parts I am buying from Dale. With the large and bulky rear end and transmission, I just don't have the real estate inside the Mule to haul the parts and the camping gear. I could do one or the other, but not both. So, U-Haul is necessary.

As much as I would like to put down some miles I think we will again stay with Dale tonight. It doesn't make much sense to get back on the road at a late hour only to stop again before crossing into the USA. So, we will get moving in earnest tomorrow.

Hungry for more pictures? See Tyler's Blog. I'll warn you here and now; the site is image intense and slow to load on a poor connection.

Stay tuned. More to come...


Post a Comment

<< Home