Mile Zero of the The Dempster Highway

Done with the Dempster“Did you just come off the Dempster?”

“Yes!” the man washing his mud caked RV angrily barks back at me.

More tentatively, “uh, how was it?”

“Dreadful! Awful! It rained all the way up and all the way back! We almost went right off the road! It was awful!”

I didn’t know a road could make a person so angry. Despite my desperate desire for more information, I decide not to ask him any more questions.

Entering the lobby of the truck stop that serves as ground zero for the Dempster, I try to find reassurance from the woman behind the desk.

“So how is the Dempster? Will I really get a flat tire?”

gas cans for rent

fuel containers for rent

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“Well, it has been raining for two days and yes, people do get some flat tires. You should be carrying spares and extra fuel.”

“And you have tow services here, correct? If I have car trouble I can call here to get towed?”

She laughs, “Oh, well, our tow truck broke down. So, no, we wouldn’t be able to come get you.”

I’m sure I’ll think that was funny later.

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***

I’ve had more moments of extreme panic about this trip than I’ve posted on this blog. I figured one or two posts were enough, but my fearfulness comes more frequently than that.

As my sister, Joey, reminded me, “Jennifer, you used to drive past two grocery stores because you had anxiety attacks when you tried to shop in an unfamiliar one! You have come a long way!”

At this moment, I feel that I have come a long way. I even have an unexpected sense of having completed my journey here, at Mile Zero of the Dempster.

Not because I am not going to try to do it, I am. But because getting to this point was actually the hardest part for me. Getting to the point where I show up, well prepared, with a willingness to do something that is very scary for me.

I hope you will indulge me here, but right now, I feel very proud of myself. I feel proud of myself for being brave. I feel proud of myself for being afraid and for still moving forward.

I’ve done everything I can to prepare and if the Dempster proves to be impassable for me, that part is simply out of my hands.

I am actually more excited than afraid this evening.

I’ve planned this for almost a year. I can’t believe I am actually here.

be careful

The Starting Line

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