Mawlers’ Big Adventure ’04:
On the Road - Settling into Inuvik

Monday, 2 August 2004

By the Numbers
  • Distance Driven Today: n/a
  • Gas Purchased Today: 54.625 litres (recovering from yesterday)
  • Total Cracks in Windshield: 7 (we counted today and there were more!)
  • Ramen Noodles Purchased: 8 pkgs
  • Ramen Noodles Consumed: 6 pkgs
Wild Woolies
  • Bald Eagle: 1
  • Ducklings: 2
  • Sled Dogs (up close & personal): 30

Awaking "early" (surely you don’t believe that, do you?) to begin our day, we find that our right rear tire has given up. It is flat as a pancake and the car is coated as if we are attempting to make a pancake. Lea Ann will tell you more about that process, but suffice it to say that we considered washing the car first.

Even though we ended up changing the tire in its "natural state", we just have to do it. We can no longer get dirty just opening the door of the car so… We wash the car.

"What is the difference between this trip and our honeymoon?"

Under normal circumstances, this would not qualify as a proper "wash", but ten minutes with a low-pressure, pressure-washer for CDN$10 is about as good as we can do. (You can see the result on the Jeep, part 1 page.)

A major by-product of this washing is that we can now see the windshield. And it has more cracks in it than we had previously counted. And that first crack is almost all the way across the windshield.

Road Munchies

Lea Ann put it well when she said "I think if I never see trail mix again, it will be too soon". If you have a trip like this, make sure to have something else to eat besides trail mix.

After rediscovering the car under the dirt, we end up with several mundane tasks to perform, including lunch, restocking our food supply, enhancing our wardrobe, and doing laundry.

We locate food at the Finto Motor Lodge. They have a restaurant called The Peppermill. The food is pretty good, really, but we get to experience the high costs of Arctic Lifestyle. The burgers are close to CDN$15, which is pretty high for the trip. Of course, the gas costs over CDN$1.10/litre here, too. No matter how you slice it, getting gas costs in the great white north...

At The Peppermill, we find more evidence that everyone here is from out-of-town. One of our waitresses is from South Africa. The other is from Calgary.

Limp Noodle

We are becoming ramen noodle junkies. I wonder if it is possible to exist solely on MSG. Gosh darn it, we are determined not to have ramen every night, so we buy penne pasta at the North Mart. Nothing like penne pasta to break up a diet of ramen noodles.

After lunch, we head out to the "North Center" to restock. It seems that we have needed our stash of noodles and the like, so we do not want to be caught without them on the ride back. Some interesting prices from the store: blueberries are $2.59/pint, green seedless grapes are $5.69/pound, strawberries are over $12/pound, all prices Canadian. We also stock up on pretzels and basic types of crackers that go well with cheese.

Fortunately for us, the North Center is Inuvik’s answer to big box retail. One side of the store carries groceries, while the other has clothes, furniture, toys, hunting equipment, and almost anything else you could ask for. They are playing The Two Towers on the TVs in the back, so we almost sit down to watch, but manage to pull away just in time, my precious.

We decide that our wardrobe is slightly inadequate. The parkas we purchased from the Tent & Canvas Shop have already come in handy since the weather has taken a turn for the worse up here. So we set out in search of a key missing element: gloves. Believe it or not, we managed to forget to pack gloves for our trip to the arctic.

And we had planned so meticulously, too. (To be fair, we were told by the locals that it was in the 90s, Fahrenheit.)

Gloves in hand (yuk, yuk), we head back to the room to do laundry and just hang out. On the way back, we drive down the road past the Arctic Chalet to the East Channel of the MacKenzie River. Somewhat surprisingly, there is a very large ship sitting on the shore. We are not talking about a motor boat here. I mean an ocean-going vessel of significant size. We took pictures.

Cultural Insight

Not all sled dogs are created equal. The ones here at the Arctic Chalet are very friendly and the owners work at that. Sled dogs elsewhere have a very tough life. We drive past several houses with dozens of small dog houses in the yard for their sled dogs. These remind me a bit of the piles of decrepit old cars that accumulate in the yards of some country folks in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, or Pennsylvania.

The university student working at the Chalet informs us that the beach boat was moored there when the spring floods were at full height. Unfortunately, the water receded quickly, leaving the ship moored about ten feet from the water’s edge. Looks like it will be wintering on the shores of the MacKenzie this year.

We finish off the day with laundry and dinner that we make out of penne noodles and sauce purchased at the North Center. Maybe we can be more exciting tomorrow.

I have a feeling that this is the only part of the trip so far that most people would consider "vacation".

The previous installment:
Northbound Dempster Pictures

The next installment:
Jeep (part 1)

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All materials © 2004 Lea Ann Mawler & Stuart Mawler