Spanning two provinces, two territories, one U.S. State and nearly 8,000 kilometres, it was a trip that won’t soon be forgotten.
Like many of the adventures 4Refuel Operations Team Leader Jamie Howe finds himself on, it was on a motorcycle.
Howe completed the trip through Canada’s Arctic alongside colleague Keith Lamb, Director of Fleet and Safety, and six of their motorcycle pals—something he’s done each year for the past three years.
“I ran into Keith at a company picnic and we found out we both rode bikes and liked adventure style-riding. Each year, he and a few friends would plan a group ride and the next year they invited me out with them to Quebec,” he said. “I’ve been doing the ride with them each year since then.”
For this year’s trek, Howe’s third with the group, they would set out on their biggest adventure yet—through the Arctic to Canada’s northernmost community connected by road.
Starting in Edmonton, Alberta—Howe, Lamb and the group headed northwest towards Dawson Creek, B.C. to pick up the Alaska Highway.
They headed to Klondike, Yukon to ride the famous Dempster Highway. On it, they passed the Arctic Circle and the Tree Line, arriving at the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories—a community of about 900—located just below the 70th parallel north.
After they headed on to Alaska where they picked up a ferry in Haines, taking them to Prince Rupert, B.C. where they started the journey back to Edmonton.
Howe said among the highlights of the trip were travelling through remote Arctic communities and meeting the people that call those towns home.
“They were the nicest, most giving people I’ve encountered. People would see us, come out to talk and offer us food and drink,” he said. “They want people to visit their communities, which they’re proud to call home.”
While the remote scenery of the Arctic was beautiful, the isolation meant the challenge of making careful calculations and planning—mapping out fuel locations, bringing spare parts and knowing how to make repairs roadside.
“It’s like in business, you make careful plans and preparations, but you have contingency plans in place in case it doesn’t go that way it was supposed to,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to deal with dynamic situations and solve problems on the spot.”
All in all, it was a trip to remember, and one he'd like to replicate on the South end of the world.
“It’s one off of my bucket list for sure. Someday, I’d like to ride in Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina, which is basically the farthest south you can go in South America.”