March 17-27, 2016 NWT Visit with Steve: (81 Photos)
81. A couple months ago Kailee (My younger Brother's fiancé) called and asked if I would be interested in coming up to the Territories on a surprise visit for Steve's birthday. Of course I obliged, plans were made and Kailee sent me the tickets a couple weeks later.
80. My plane was set to depart St. John's International early Friday morning and in true NL fashion a major snow storm hit St. John's Thursday night which canceled my flight. A quick call to Air Canada had me rebooked on a flight to Halifax Thursday evening and I made it to Toronto early Friday morning in plenty of time to make the rest of my connecting flights to Yellowknife, NWT.
79. My next 5 hour stopover was Edmonton International, which is a beautiful airport with lots shops, restaurants and comfy couches which are great when you have time to kill. I had an awesome supper at Boston Pizza which consisted of Wings & Jambalaya.
78. My welcome party greeted me at the airport in Yellowknife. Steve and Kailee came to town early and picked up supplies and grub for the week. I have to say, it was damn cold in YK! Getting off the plane in YK means exiting and walking outside to the terminal in -20 degree weather. It was awesome to be thrown back in the bowls of winter as spring arrived early this year on the East Coast. We hopped in Steve's Tacoma and hit the highway to Steve & Kailee's home in Behchoko, which was about an hour and a half drive away.
77. Still on NL time, I woke up early Saturday morning to a beautiful clear calm day little did I know but this great weather would be the continuing trend all week! Although quite cold, (-20 to -30 most days) there was no wind at all so the cold didn't feel quite as cold.
76. There are many ice roads heading north during the winter months in NWT carrying supplies to remote communities. Also many communities in the NWT make Ice (side) Roads to creating short cuts between communities which greatly reduce travel times.
75. Saturday afternoon Steve, Kailee and I headed back to Yellowknife for the 10 cent tour, hit up a couple local outdoorsman shops and check out the Ice Castle that would be the centerpiece for the upcoming Long John Jamboree.
73. Some of the ice and snow sculptures were absolutely crazy, and the whole thing is built on frozen Great Slave Lake!
71. Although its hard to see, the ice here is almost perfectly clear and about 4-6 feet thick!
68. In the middle of the castle there is a wicked two lane slide made of polished ice. It was wickedly fast.
66. Later that evening we had an awesome meal at the Black Knight in Yellowknife and stuck around for East Coast Night.
64. I was super stoked to meet Mikey McBryant from Buffalo air at the club!
63. Sunday arrived after an awesome home cooked breakfast Steve and I headed out to his shed for some Area51 project time.
62. First on the list was resurrecting his '85 Big Red from storage and taking it for a rip. This bike is awesome, a real barn find its in immaculate shape. Visit the Projects In The Shed page for more on this project.
61. Next we started looking at his '85 Odyssey FL350. Steve had an issue last fall where the machine would run out of gas and stall, he figured it was a faulty fuel pump. It turned out that a dry rotted impulse line from the engine that drives the pump was the culprit.
60. We installed a new piece of hose and had the beast up and running in no time! We did find a worn out rear axle u-joint and the throttle cable had seized up solid so we couldn't take if for a run.
59. The Odyssey is in fantastic shape, with everything there and working! It will eventually be the subject of a full restoration project, but for now it makes an awesome occasional use trail cruiser.
57. Monday morning Steve an I made a quick repair to Kailee's SUV by removing the rest of the damaged under body skid plate that had broken sometime over the winter and was flapping in the wind. Plastic parts like these are super brittle in the arctic cold!
56. With that job complete Steve and I loaded up his truck with firearms and targets and headed to the pit where they practice their shooting.
55. We had one of his carbines from work,
54. His new Sako .308 rifle with Leupold VX3 scope,
53. Lots of ammunition,
52. and of course his duty pistol.
51. It was an awesome albeit very cold day in the woods.
49. Taking one of the Ice Road shortcuts on the way home.
47. That evening we had an awesome supper of BBQ steak, Lobster Tails and Scallops and later settled in with a few board games.
45. Even if your not a star wars fan, this is an awesome version of Monopoly that goes much faster than the original and was a lot of fun!
44. Tuesday morning we resurrected Steve's Rincon from storage and set about replacing one very worn out rear wheel bearing. Steve already had an All Balls Bearing Kit in stock and we had it installed in no time.
42. With the Rincon ready to go we hauled out their new 2015 Honda Rubicon 500, installed the battery and suited up for a -20 degree ATV rip!
40. We headed to a Gravel Pit just outside of town and enjoyed a couple hours tearing up fresh snow, climbing hills and generally havin' a time.
39. Steve's Rincon certainly works very well. The 27" Mudlite XTR tires are awesome in the snow even with limited traction of the limited slip front differential.
37. The 2015 Rubicon was awesome. Even with stock tires, the bike ran very very well especially in 4wd with the front differential locked. This feature was long overdue on Honda ATV's and it was definitely worth the wait as it works really really well.
36. The new Rubicon is a great bike. This model features Honda's new 5 speed DCT automatic transmission which is a dual clutch automatically shifting gearbox which can be overridden and shifted with handlebar controls. It also features a sub transmission for High and Low range.
34. We ended the Ride on a nearby lake tearing up the snow and climbing Steve's Rincon over rocky granite outcrops.
33. On Wednesday, Steve had to work so I got to meet some of his co-workers and go for a ride along. When Kailee got home from work, we decided to make good use of Steve's massive Nerf gun collection and ambush him when he got home.
32. Needless to say we got him good! That evening we BBQ'd porkchops and settled in with a couple movies for a nice relaxing night around the house.
31. Thursday Steve and I headed back to Yellowknife for our scheduled tour of Buffalo Airways. We arrived early and ran a few errands picking up some parts for the Odyssey and supplies for the shed.
30. The tour was fantastic, it was great to see the hanger and planes from Ice Pilots NWT in person and up close.
27. Electra loaded up for the Valley run.
13. After the tour we took a drive around Yellowknife, many of these houseboats are lived in year round, a lot of them are converted vessels of varying types.
11. This old Bombardier was wicked, it runs and drives and is in fantastic shape! There are so many awesome old vehicles up here being preserved by the extreme cold.
10. Friday Steve and I relaxed around the house, and when Kailee got home from work we took the dogs for a walk on the ice road. They were dog sitting a friends dog, a brown Labrador mix while they were out of town.
4. Steve had to work Friday night so in between packing my bags for my 6am flight home Saturday morning I went on a ride along hoping to see some action! Fortunately for Steve things were pretty quiet. Kailee and I checked the status of my flight around 3am and left town for the drive to Yellowknife. Unfortunately by the time we arrived we found my flight was cancelled due to a mechanical issue. With my flight re-booked for 7pm Saturday evening, we headed back to Behchoko for a nap.
3. Since Steve and I had a few more hours together, we took on another project. We installed a new composite stock on his Russian SKS.
2. The stock wooden stocks are pretty rough, this new adjustable pistol grip stock is actually very nice. The instructions that came with the stock were pretty poor, but a video on YouTube was awesome and helped a lot.
1. Later that evening, Steve went to work and Kailee and I headed back to Yellowknife for my flight home. All in all it was an excellent trip that we all truly enjoyed. Its always great to hang out with family, getting a chance to do so in a unique, cold, beautiful place like the North West Territories was certainly the icing on the cake.
Until the next adventure,
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith