I drive my vehicle back a couple hundred meters to the outhouse pullout near kilometer 108. I can see the washout from my vantage point but it's a distance away now. Water is running high in the river adjacent to the pullout and it's flowing on the opposite side of the road as well. I'm at the high point of the road and there's nowhere else to go if the water gets any higher. I manage to fall sleep but do so only in fits. I keep dreaming that the water has risen around the van and I wake up with a start.
At 1:30am I drive up and check on the water level and see it's dropping. A small plane dips in from the west and circles me twice. He's only a couple hundred feet off the deck and I give him a wave to say all is good. I suspect this is a reconnaissance airplane checking on the status of the road.
By 6:30am the water has dropped enough that I'm willing to risk a crossing. I give Nicky a call through my Go!Iridium and let her know I'm going to try. Satellite technology takes the edge off in situations like this. The overflow section is reduced in width to about 30 meters and, from my cursory scouting, seems to be only a foot or so deep. The limitations of my 2-wheel drive minivan are very exposed out here, like "taking a knife to a gun fight" as one friendly local joked.
I put the van in its lowest gear, take a deep breath and go. Thomas and the trucker pinned it and so do I. I sense the pressure of the flow as I enter the water and feel the front end dip into something deeper in the middle but my momentum's good and I bump out the other side.
"YES, YES, YES!!!!", I scream out loud.
I cross one more small washout about 5 kilometers further on but I know I'm out. Shortly before reaching the visitor center I'm stopped by makeshift barriers lined across the road. There are two rigs on the other side of them, their drivers asleep in their cabs waiting to get through.
"I'm not waiting here", I think to myself, "I'm heading to Dawson."
I remove one barrier, pass through, put it up again, and drive out. I arrive in Dawson City just after 9:00am Thursday morning and soon discover the volume of rain the region has just experienced is unprecedented. The Dempster Highway is washed out in 15 different places and the Peel River ferry crossing at Fort McPherson is closed.
It appears I'm here for a while.