Sirius Rally Team

Getting 'Sirius' about Rallying

Day 7 – Retracing Our Tracks

The first lull in the frenetic pace of the Alcan Winter Rally happened today, and things are quiet at our hotel in Whitehorse. We started the morning with a pre-dawn departure from Eagle Plains with the Keatleys who needed to get some photos of Dawson City in the daytime for Josh’s wife in Alberta. Gord and then August were at the wheel to take us down and off of the Dempster; I slept most of the way. We got our first bite of frigid Northern air in Dawson, and took only a quick walk down by the paddleboat before opting for an ‘in car’ tour.

Last night at Eagle Plains was a time warp, taking me back to the feeling of my Aunt’s ‘camp’ in Terrace Bay, ON, to being surrounded by overimbibers, like an undergraduate, and to a time way before my generation, which is documented in the photographs and artifacts that line the walls and ceilings of the Eagle Plains Hotel. Mining, hunting, trailblazing and manhunts were part of the history of the NWT, and a night here gives names, faces, and a powerful sense of being closer to that wilder time. It’s a great resting stop after driving the Dempster and the ice road like an outlaw, and after witnessing the austerity and hardship of Tuktoyaktuk. The dogs at Eagle Plains are as friendly and striking as the dogs I knew in Bella Coola. We spent the later part of the evening with three locals passing through on their way to hunt caribou. I enjoyed hearing what life in the North is like from people who have always lived there; at times visiting places for mere hours feels disconnected and artificial. They told us about a road that might someday be built from Yellowknife to Inuvik, a similar road to the one I assumed existed when I was pestering Jerry the Alcan Organizer to avoid backtracking from Inuvik to Whitehorse. I’m surprised and a bit humbled at how much 7 days of driving has changed my perspective on many things: from what qualifies as road food, to what living as an aboriginal youth in Northern Canada might be like, and even my thoughts on Americans.

We drove slowly but on track back to the hotel in Whitehorse, did some laundry, and had designs on bigger things, but the boys are asleep. I hope August doesn’t get worse with his virus and I’m so glad he was willing to write about our Tuktoyaktuk trip. Tomorrow we get another shot at full speed glory at the iceX, and then on to the Liard Hotsprings. The pace and energy of the Alcan seemed to fizzle out tonight as many nursed their Eagle Plains hangovers, but I think a new sort of character might emerge as we gear up again for the last few days. We’ve been plotting some more mischief, and I hope we’ll enjoy the fruits of it tomorrow.

JD

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February 23, 2008 - Posted by | 2008 Winter Alcan 5000, Alcan Car 17 the rex

1 Comment »

  1. Hi
    Kind of nice to have some “quiet time” to reflect on the
    impact the rally has had on everyone, and to realize how
    vast, beautiful and at times difficult this land can be.
    Have a safe and happy rest of the trip.

    Love
    Mum and Dad

    Comment by Marg Ryall | February 23, 2008 | Reply


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