Harley Adventure Riders:
Dempster Highway to Tuktoyaktuk Canada
Written By Gabe Carrera “aka” Attorney That RIDES!
Last Updated on May 20, 2018 – 10:07 PM
(Note to reader: There are many links that take you to YouTube videos, government websites, and riding articles to better inform you. This is more for me than for you since I am riding halfway around the world starting May 1, 2019 on a 2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra)
Adventure Harley-Davidson Riders
ADV riding has always been reserved for KTM/BMW dual sport bikes until I completed the famous motorcycle run from Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Other HD riders and myself are blazing a new Harley sport that leaves many of the Iron Horse haters fuming and foaming at the mouth. Being the first man on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to complete the Pan Am run successfully and then having the Iron Butt Association certify the run has expanded the definition of ADV riding. Some of these ADV riders may not agree but America has freedom of the press and speech so sue us!
You don’t have to ride a foreign bike to go adventure riding. I have seen and met many that has traveled to Prudhoe Bay on Harleys and these are all in my opinion adventure riding dogs on Hogs. Are you an adventure rider? If you have to ask…….but you can become one and travel your state, country, and world!
When I traveled around the world I met so many people that never left their villages let alone travel to the capital. In Florida I see folks that own beautiful motorcycles that never left South Florida in their motorcycle riding life. My advice to a biker that read this article and what’s to challenge themselves is ride to Alabama or Georgia on a Thursday and come back on a Monday.
If you live outside of Florida start with a 700 mile trip, then for the next trip ride 1,500 miles and before you know it your riding 10,000 miles in a month to see as much as you can absorb! It’s addicting and its expensive unless you ride the vagabond way but that is for another article not for the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway.
I don’t expect every bar-to-bar guy run up to his iron horse and take off into the wilderness of the wind without preparing for mishaps and delays. Most of all you can take the ADV challenge starting by equipping your bike properly and then preparing your body for the rigors the road will throw at you. Yes, you may have to put down that cold mug of suds, and push yourself away from the local pub to head to the gym. In 2015 I dropped 25-Lbs., and two pant sizes to do my 18K mile motorcycle trek halfway around the world.
The best part of planning was the research I performed on the Pan American highway and reading about other adventurers’ experiences. By now your thinking that this article is about preparing for a trip, but it really is not. I just found a new road that I heard before but did not register on my “riding itch radar” until recently. I am planning the trip halfway around the world again in May 2019, and I just found this new road that requires big hairy balls to pick up the challenge if you’re a Harley Adventure riding Dog on a Hog!
The road I plan on traveling is two roads: First, the Dempster Highway, and Second, when the Dempster ends the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway takes me to that restfully quet village that lies on the edge of the Arctic Ocean past the Arctic Circle! I am told its harder to ride than the Dalton Highway up to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska!
A friend of mine up in Canada, Rob Normandeau, posted this beautiful video on Facebook that just happened to capture my attention and molest my riding itch to the point I am going to add this run to my 2019 Pan Am ADV Challenge……shit…..I don’t even know what to call the damn run yet…LOL! You probably saw the video from Planet D Youtube website.
For years the Dempster Highway was one of the most dangerous roads in Canada for motorcyclists. There was a large stretch of nothing that led to Tuktoyaktuk! Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway was just completed in 2017 making it easier for yours truly to make it all the way to what some people call no man’s land or the final frontier. It is a very lonely located town with people’s hearts that are warm as the sun in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
the NEW Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway
Highway 10, more commonly known as the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway,(or ITH), is a road between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It is the “first all-weather road to Canada’s Arctic Coast”. The idea for the highway had been considered for decades; however, final approval was not until 2013, with construction beginning in 2014. It was officially opened on November 15, 2017, and opens up Tuktoyaktuk to year-round vehicle traffic, which is hoped to increase tourism in the area.
The road begins at the end of the Dempster Highway in Inuvik, Northwest Territories and continues for 138 kilometers (86 mi) north towards Tuktoyaktuk, a coastal community on the Arctic Ocean. The ITH includes eight bridges, and is a two-lane gravel road for its entirety. On April 29, 2017 the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk ice road closed for the last time. All vehicle traffic between the two communities will be via the new all-weather road.
Most ADV riders would stop at the beginning of this road only to turn around and head back. Making it to the end of the Dempster Highway in Inuvik was quite a task and an accomplishment. We may wonder if the Iron Butt Association will make a new run certifying adventure seekers on this run?
I performed some research briefly and could not find any Harleys that have made the trip to Tuktoyaktuk. I put these two adventurers that drove up the road and the scenery is breathtaking! Their not bikers but you can learn a lot from other people’s experience so I thank them for posting the images on YouTube.
Dempster Highway Ends in Inuvik Canada
The Dempster Highway, also referred to as Yukon Highway 5 and Northwest Territories Highway 8, is a highway in Canada that connects the Klondike Highway in Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories on the Mackenzie River delta. The highway crosses the Peel River and the Mackenzie Rivers using a combination of seasonal ferry service and ice bridges. Year-round road access from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk opened in November 2017 with the completion of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway.
The highway is named for the famous Yukon Mountie William Dempster, who earned renown for discovering the fate of The Lost Patrol. My good LDR amigo Derek Tellup rode up to the wild Yukon Dempster Highway on his American made Victory motorcycle and he got caught in a snow storm for a few days with a flat tire. That ride was a trip, and I am going to ask him to write a Rider’s Report if he gets the time to ink it to paper.
New Road Provides Challenges For Tuk & Tourists!
My research found certain individuals who rode the Dempster highway successfully -I have inserted their videos describing their challenges and excitements. Some of the challenges for tourists arriving on the new road is can this small town handle the environmental impact of thousands more folks showing up? Rider Magazine wrote a good story describing these challenges.
“Because of its newfound accessibility, “Tuk,” as it’s affectionately known, is expecting an influx of tourists, to the tune of “tens of thousands” this summer. There are some challenges, however. “We encourage people to visit Tuktoyaktuk, but we’re concerned about facilities,” said Annie Steen, Economic Development Officer for Tuk. “We are doing some aggressive planning, but we do not yet have hotels, campgrounds, or traditional restaurants. We are also tackling waste issues.”
“Rapid and drastic measures are needed if Tuk is to develop sustainable tourism, but equipping it requires resources. While some support is coming from various levels of government, other support is the product of individual initiatives by people who love the North. Cemil Alyanak, a Maryland-based filmmaker, long-time adventure motorcyclist and ham radio operator (call sign K3MRI), is raising funds with a GoFundMe campaign to print thousands of stickers with the tagline “I Made it to Tuk!” that he will then donate to the Tuk authorities. In turn, the Tuktoyaktuk Hamlet Council will sell these stickers to visitors. The money earned from the sale will help fund responsible tourism in Tuktoyaktuk.” (Article Link).