We have now almost been driving 1000 km north from Edmonton toward Yellow Knife, our next major goal. The road is good. First 4 lanes out of the city towards Jasper in the Rocky Mountains. Then 2 lanes going North. From Pearl River onwards the road is called the MacKenzie highway. This road was opened in 1950 to open up the riches of the Northern territories. The last stretch of the road follows the Mackenzie river and is a winter road because it goes over frozen swamps. We will not follow the road that far. Before Pearl River, we first climb to some 900 m. Here the land is covered in forest. Later, lower down (400 – 600 m) the flat land is used for agriculture. Along the way you see clusters of beam pumps and other oilfield related equipment. After Pearl River the Athabasca tar sands are strip-mined. We did not see any evidence along the way so it must be further off the highway.
At the start of driving, there was some vibration below 90 km per hour and a strange knocking noise coming from underneath. At one point we heard a metallic bang and the noise stopped and the shaking went back to “normal”. After spending the night at a lovely camping spot right on the Pearl River, we drove further north. In the first town we stopped for petrol and to investigate what was going on with the drive shaft. A very friendly local Cree offered his help. To make it easier for Rudy to crawl under the camper, he suggested that we drive it over onto the grass ramp (creating more crawling space). He also provided us some tools. The garage had painted the repaired bracket yellow. It was clear that one of the bolts holding this piece in place was gone. Vibrated loose and shooting out like a bullet? We had a similar bolt and screwed it in place with a securing washer. This did not exacerbate the vibration much so we drove on. Maybe tomorrow (Monday) we can find a garage to see why the driveshaft is vibrating. If worse comes to the worse, we can always remove it and drive further as a 2×4.