Inuvik to Ushuaia
Well, we're getting ready for the big trip now, and have plenty of work to do. I'll post some of the research here so you can follow along or add in information as you see fit. If any of you have experience with the far north or other parts of the trip, we'd sure love to hear about it!
Here are our plans as they stand:
About June 3, my brother Collin and his wife Marisa are going to fly us up to Inuvik in his small plane. We will have shipped our bikes in advance, and we hope to get to Inuvik about June 9. Within a day or so, we expect to be headed south on the Dempster highway!
Our expectation is that we'll ride south to Denver, probably going the US West Coast route and then coming across the desert, arriving in Denver around November 1.
One of the things we expect to do as we get to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, is to detour over to Alaska to see the Inside Passage. We hope to ride to Haines or Skagway and hop the ferry and take a ride of undetermined length to see those wonderful glaciers.
Information resources include:
- Mike Vermeulen's ride on the Haines to Skagway loop.
We are preparing for departure! Leaving Denver June 1, starting the flight north on June 2, and starting the ride south from Inuvik on June 9! My brother Collin and his wife Marisa of Parkwest Air are going to fly us up there in their Cessna! And they're leading a group of 10-12 more planes. We start from Grand Junction, Colorado on June 3.
- Who are you anyway? What were you doing before?
- Randy and Nancy were 52 at the end of the trip... Our previous life was in suburban Denver, Colorado, USA. Randy had a little business as a computer consultant, and Nancy was doing graphic arts for CH2M Hill. We have 3 kids between us, all adults. We spent years getting ready and practicing for this trip, and we actually did it!
- What in the world are you doing? And why?
- We rode 14,000 miles (22,000 kilometers) from the top of North America (Inuvik, in western Canada) to northern Argentina in South America. It took about 2.5 years total - We wrapped up in January, 2009. So what are you up to?
- How many miles do you travel each day?
- We usually aim at 30-50 miles (50-80 kilometers) per day. In most of Central America it has been on the low side. It's terribly important to remember that bike touring isn't about getting somewhere, it's about enjoying where you are and meeting the people you see and seeing the things you see. You can see the actual average on the front page.
- Why do you call yourselves "hobobikers"?
- When we were doing our first long tour we were up in the Canadian Rockies and had some rough weather. We had all our clothes stretched drying all over Randy's BOB trailer, a repaired tube strapped on, and even a friend's old tennis shoes dangling from the back.
We're starting as early in the year as would be possible. In April, the Dempster is closed when the rivers start to melt, taking out the ice bridges. The highway reopens in June when ferries can operate.
The current road report shows that the ferries are not yet running on the Dempster as of May 23. If we started today, we could not ride the highway.
The historical data for the Peel River Crossing and the Mackenzie River Crossing show that the ferry usually starts running the first week of June, but in 1977, it didn't start until June 16. I don't know why we chose June 9 as a starting date because we didn't know anything about this. But I'm glad it looks like it was a reasonable date!
Today is June 1st, 2006 and we are really doing it, we on our way. After months of prep we are on the road but not on our bikes. We drove to Grand Junction where we will fly out of Grand Junction Airport (Walker Field) in the morning in a Cessnar piloted by Collin Fay and Marisa Fay. Collin and Marisa do this all the time with their business, Parkest Air Tours.
We are flying to Helena, Montana to meet 13 other small planes which will fly us to Inuvik and drop us off with our bikes and all the gear. We will then ride south on the Dempster Highway, a 450-mile gravel road with very limited services. What a great way to see the world.
Wish us luck and good riding weather.
Today our airlift of 12 planes flew us about 800 miles today from Helena, Montana up to Dawson Creek, BC, Canada, the beginning of the Alaska Highway. Some of it was a bit choppy, but it was a successful trip.
You ask why we need 12 planes to get us to the North Country? We have no idea. When we were planning this trip, my brother Collin and sister-in-law Marisa asked if we wanted a ride up there in their Centurion light plane. We said yes. They also invited many, many of their Parkwest Air Tours clients... and all of them said YES! So it's a really big group.
Tomorrow we go on to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory if the weather works, or perhaps to Dawson City, at the bottom of the Dempster.
As I write this, the temperature in Inuvik is 2 degrees above freezing, and we're wondering if we're really ready for that kind of temperatures. The forecast is a little better than that, though, and cooler temps mean less mosquitoes...