It took 38 hours on a bus and six more in the air, but I finally made it! I walked across the rainy tarmac at Inuvik’s airport just after noon yesterday and I’ve been exploring the town ever since.
What a place! I hadn’t even set up my camp yet when the local newspaper arrived to snap my picture. Apparently I was selected as the Visitor of the Week. I thought it was a big joke at first, but the Mayor came to shake my hand – on camera, of course – and offer me a gift basket from local businesses. Among other things, I now have an over-sized Inuvik T-shirt and a coupon for a free hair cut on Main Street. Crazy.
The reporter, only a year or so older than me, asked if I had any plans for the evening. I shrugged at my little camp and said no. Two hours later I was sitting in his friend’s apartment watching game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, eating homemade bacon cheeseburgers and drinking Pilsner. Then, after ragging on Sidney Crosby for awhile, we piled into a cab for the four-minute jaunt to the Trapper’s Den.
Now that’s a bar where you want to watch your drink. And your back. In Regina, folks say “excuse me” and contort their bodies into all sorts of weird shapes to squeeze around you. Here they just run over you. Grunts are optional. But that’s okay – I can fit in pretty much anywhere as long as I know the rules.
The crash course in all things Inuvik was important, too, because it looks as though I’ll be here until Sunday or Monday. I somehow managed to forget (or lose) the top stem for my bike’s handlebars. I can’t ride anywhere until it gets fixed. I thought it would be as simple as ordering a new cap from a bike shop, but no one up here carries the part. In the end, after about a dozen phone calls, I had no choice but to order a brand new stem from Whitehorse. It’s kind of like buying a new lamp when the bulb burns out, but what can you do?
Luckily, I have a few things to keep me busy until the part arrives. The Whitehorse airport staff confiscated my camp fuel and bear spray, so I need to track down some sort of replacements.
I also have to stitch the crotch back into my shorts. I realized, somewhere between BC and the Yukon, that a certain part of my anatomy was dangling awkwardly from the front of my khakis. Sewing isn’t exactly my forte, so it should be an interesting experience.
Hope to be on the road in a few days – I’ll update again when I can!
p.s. Did I mention the sun never sets here?!?