Travelling Barber Shop and other oddities!

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
Trip End Feb 16, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , Northwest Territories,
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We drove onward, over the terrible gravel road to the Fort Simpson ferry that would take us to the little northern town once called "Fort of the Forks" since this is the junction of the Mackenzie River and the Liard River.
Fort Simpson had a lovely little visitor's centre with free (but excruciatinly slow) internet and well kept displays. Unfortunatly it was here our hopes of hiking in Nahanni National Park were dashed as we discovered all entry to the park must be via air (for which we have neither enough funds nor time), ahh well, in these times I have to promise myself that someday we'll be back again (though we'll probably never come via this road again until it gets paved or we get a truck). We had a pretty tasty lunch at the SubArctic Kitchen, a restaurant decorated in way that might best be described as Dora the Explorer meet Chinese New Year meets Christmas in July. Our waitress served us our menus and food with a baby on her hip and we noticed a crib in the other room when we went to pay - truely a family business!  When filling up at the gas station before getting back on the dusty road, we noticed a travelling barber shop which we thought really fitting of northern amenities. We have heard of the travelling vet before, who runs the business out of the back of a trailer but never come across these nomadic installations.  It makes perfect sense and is probably quite profitable in catering to all the small commnities of the north.  
We head back out of town around 3pm, the gravel roads are starting to grate on our nerves a little bit. The rocks jostle the car so much the CD player won't register and we're out of range for radio so all we can do is listen to the car roar as we zip along the 'highway'/trail... hour after hour it's getting tiring now. Passing other vehicles is a real treat too on these gravel roads - we get blinded  in a cloud of dust for about a kilometer afterwards and that dust has seeped into everything (luggage, pores, eyes). And a stupid speeding red truck's wheel chucked a stone right at our windshield that made a huge crack! Arg!!
I will not drive this road again, even though some of the scenery is quite lovely and I do enjoy heading in a new directions.  We pulled in to Fort Liard about five hours later, in time to get an ice cream at the general store before it closed.  This community seems smaller than Fort Simpson but more lush.  So that's why it's called the 'tropics of the north'. We were pretty zonked from a long day so we made camp at the council grounds on Hay Lake. It was an awsome camp spot with chopped wood and fire pits at each site, lots of clean water readily available in a giant holding tank, and we were surprised to find out that it was all free!! Wow, thanks Fort Liard!!
The next day we hit gloriously smooth pavement at the BC border and we sang a few hallelujahs.  There seems to be lots of logging on this northern road and we feel like we're practically in Calgary now that we're of the NWT map (ha ha, still have another 1500kms or so to go, but our spirits are high).
We stop at an awesome Visitor's Centre in Fort Nelson, meeting lots of people en route; heading to Yukon, coming from Alaska, heading to Vancouver, or coming from Quebec, Colorado, Michigan, Newfoundland... Our path is now along the Alaska Highway and the international route is very visible if you just check out the license plates.  We continue heading south-east through BC.

PS. Later on, we check into a motel because it is raining and we don't want to camp. When we take a shower to wash off all the dust from the horrible gravel road (see above), the soap and water makes clay in my hair and on my skin! Now that is an intense layer of grime!! Feels so good to be clean again!!!
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