We rented a car for the drive from Inuvik to Tuk – we had been forewarned about the road and thought that with discretion and all that… it made more sense not to push our luck and instead drive to Tuk.
We went to pick up the SUV and there are no real words to describe it other than a 2003 Dodge Durango with > 230k (which, as per Dale, is equivalent to 1 million Toronto miles) that was actively decomposing. At the rental we were told don’t worry about the lights on the dashboard (check engine, parking brake and the ABS light), only worry if they are flashing. The front headlight was broken, the windshield looked like a shattered mirror with lines all the way across, the passenger back door wouldn’t open from the inside and none of the windows worked unless the driver operated them – in essence we think perhaps they were hoping we wouldn’t return it and they could collect the insurance? In any case, we set off on a jaw crunching, tooth rattling, hemorrhoid inducing ride that was 30% road and I think 70% car. But we made it to Tuk!
WOW – we stopped at the visitor centre to get the lay of the land. And then we walked to the end of the road, skipping stones in the Arctic ocean and having a bit of a dip. We got a team photo and asked a woman if she would mind taking our team pic. Turns out we interrupted her convo with the Mayor…..and then she said she is the Senator for the NWT – Senator Margaret Dawn Anderson!! I mean come on, what are the odds of that happening, so cool. She spent a good bit of time talking about Tuk and issues more generally in the north; she is originally from here – incredible hospitality.
Checked in at the End of the Road Inn and then went exploring – we had been told by Mavis that there was good swag at the RCMP office so we met Constable Wright and she showed us some awesome gear – all to support the local kids. The Coroner is also an artist with amazing sketches of the local wildlife (some money was spent).
We caught up with Jim (the vet) for dinner – we had the BBQ going and an open firepit on the point in public camp space. We had steak and potatoes (honestly, this is the first TYL trip where I am pretty sure I gained weight) and onion. We were waiting for the sunset (11pm)… and then an F150 stopped and out came a Tuk local named Dang. He spent about 45 minutes with us, showing photos, telling tales of the local life and culture and his polar/grizzly bear, and fishing exploits.
We finally got back to the lodge around 1130, and Dale got a slurpy from the small convenience store below the lodge – he kept getting ice cream headaches and making ridiculous faces – I split my gut laughing…oh what a night!