The drive down the mountain was awesome.  As we emerged from the blowing snow, all was blue skies. The ice bridge crossing of the Peel was suprisingly short.  We stopped in Fort McPherson to get some groceries, talk to folks, and check out the Tent and Canvas store, which was closed for lunch. 

The drive across the Mackenzie Delta was very fast, with the road much improved from the Yukon side.  The crossing of the Mackenzie was majestic, and included a side-trip into the town of Arctic Red River.  The drive from there to Inuvik was almost entirely straight and very fast.  We booked into the Arctic Chalets per the recommendations we received at Eagle Plains, which was cheaper and better than the hotel in town. The place offers mushing and caribou tours - there are a lot of dogs there.

Next, we ventured out on the Tuk Ice road, which we would later find out, terminates at our chalet. The ice road was fabulous, and although I've had some experience with an ice road as a child, David was completely blown away by the thought that the car was here, and the land, well, over there.  It's a multi-lane road, ploughed quite wide.  There are several entrances to Inuvik, and an 85km side road that heads to the village of Aklavik. 

The road heads down the river to the open ocean where it changes from a fairly normal ice road to one rife with large cracks.  Some long pressure ridges are in evidence, and there is a lot of heaving (up to 6 inches) which is remarkable considering the ice is up to 5 feet thick. Fortunately, we have a lot of clearance and a new suspension.

Tuk was surprisingly colourful and lively when we arrived.  Gas was still expensive at 1.75/l, but cheaper than Inuvik or Eagle Plains (1.79).  David and I chatted with the locals for a while, and bought some pelts.  Before leaving, we headed to the northern edge of the village, and the most northerly road in (continental) Canada, at about 69.5 degrees. This supercedes reaching Long Pointe near Radisson in 2009 by more than 15 degrees!

We turned south, and drove the ice road during sunset.  When we reached the southern end at our chalet, we stayed on the ice to see the northern lights dance across the entire sky, much further than at Radisson in 2005.

For Dave and I, this caps a number of ArcticMINI trips getting to the end of some road somewhere.  None will likely ever top this.  It really wasn't about the number of miles, although it is gargantuan (3,700 since Seattle, about 1.5 times the normal distance). What made this truly challenging was losing the MINI, having to go backwards a day, and finding the will and a way to go on. Then, pursuing it as hard as possible, even after stuffing the truck, just so we could briefly catch up with the others. After the MINI crash, we did this largely alone, and would need to do the rest alone, since the others reached Tuk yesterday. The final challenge came today, in the Richardson Pass. Choosing to continue into the unknown was an act of faith, but also a decision made with the cumulative experience of all the past ArcticMINI trips. The lessons learned then got us safely here today. 

The road back south remains closed.