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July 22, 2009

65km from Inuvik - Arctic Chalet / Inuvik - 38.5 miles

By Marcelo

...and then there were two...

The thick overcast weather and the light rain alone was enough to put a dent in any solar car monkey enthusiasm, loosing three team members was a fall down on coaster cliff that left me with a heavy heart in an empty chest. Josh, Laura and Anne left us today. Anne is returning home to tie some loose ends, Laura and Josh will be make their way down to Los Angeles, catch a flight home to Florida from there. We all knew it was coming, and it did, the end of our journey together. The time to part our ways and get back to our lives arrived. Claire and I will continue from here, to Inuvik for now and beyond if I mange to raise funds.
Earlier in the day, Anne and I drove to Inuvik while the rest of the crew were asleep, a quick stop at the Artic Chalet to check emails and say hi to Judy and Olav, they were expecting us yesterday, a quick visit to see the white huskies in the cannel at the Artic Chalet, a pit stop downtown for supplies, back to our camp site 65km from Inuvik a couple of hours later. When we arrived everyone were up, Anne delighted us all with some goodies, coffee, muffins and gourmet Thai food, Josh particularly was very thrilled, it was the same kind of Thai food he eat in Florida, he was having it in the Artic!. It was a nice break from our camping food ration. Anne has been so carrying, always looking after everyone, spreading love and kindness. Thank you Anne, you are amazing!
I have always being on the go, driving the solar car, doing presentations at stops, working on the solar car, working on the van, writing updates, catching up on emails, etc.. I feel I've spent more time talking to crew on the radio than I did in person. For once, I was glad the weather was holding me back and we were forced to stay put and isolated. While food was being prepared, I took the opportunity to go for a walk on a Dempster highway with Josh, I want to spend some quality time with him. After lunch, I went for a walk with Laura and later a short with Anne. I have been privileged to share a dream with amazing people, each gifted with unique talents and ideas. They became my family. For some time we have been together for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and like in any dynamic of the human interaction we had some challenges that forced us to sharpen our interpersonal skills. In spite of the madness that sometimes it was we made it, and a lot of good came out the time we spent together and the experience we shared. Its been a great learning opportunity on the personal level. I was glad to learn this journey was more than a road trip, it enriched their life's, inspired them to dream and believe any thing is possible. I had the opportunity to thank and apologize. Hey, I can't stand myself sometimes, they deserve to get a medal for putting up with me for so long. At times we got emotional, our goodbyes were long and sob. I am a hug type of guy, very touchy, not shy to show affection in public. I definitely gave everyone a good dose of hugs and kisses, probably crossing the comfort zone of some. I am not very good with words, hugs and holding hands does it for me :)
We watch some funny videos of the tour, had good laugh and even had a tost to celebrate, I am not much of a drinker but a gulp of gym was sweet medicine.
It was a wish wash goodbye that took hours to end, always a comment or a beginning of a conversation to prolong it even more. We took our last photo together. The last bag was loaded into Anne's car and off they went, I stood in the middle of the Dempster watching the car disappear in the horizon, didn't want to see them go. While I was slowly coming to senses that it was just Claire and I from now, Claire was already filling up the van with a jerry can, getting radios ready.
We finally got on the road, we were both feeling sad. I entered the solar car accompanied by dozens of mosquitoes, all very hungry and eager to satisfy they famine with my blood. The small canopy for filled with mosquitoes, they were in my ears, face, mouth. I was at their mercy. My only defense was kill them against the window, the only place I could see them. It was a slow and painful process because in the mean time they were biting me in my hands and face. Every time I thought the solar car was mosquito free another one would appear. It was challenging because there were so many mosquitoes that it the solar car was stationary more entered, while driving the solar car I had to focus on the driving over killing mosquitoes. Shortly after commencing to drive, Claire made the must have radio call "on the road again, Yah whoo!!!"; I "yeahhh whooo!" her back. Having had some tea earlier in the day it didn't take long I had to pull over and water some plants (look for berries as I usually joke about it, "found some berries!"). Oh it was bad, I relieved all the experience from less than one hour ago, mosquitoes nightmare all over again.
Battery seating very low, it didn't take long it was near depleted, we were driving on the rain, climbing some hills, I didn't think we were going to be able to make it. we made a stop to rest the batteries for a bit, there was a bright stop on the sky. I was hoping we could get some charge. I actually found some berries, cramberries that is but they weren't ready yet. A man on a pick up truck stopped by and said, only 8 miles to go! That's was all I need to hear, got back on the solar car, face the mosquitoes another time. The last stretch the batteries were pushed to its limit. Finally, pavement. the constant rumble of the gravel all of sudden longer was there. I could hear my thoughts again. The quietness of driving on pavement was so welcome. At last we arrived at the Artic Chalet, just in the outskirt of Inuvik.
Claire and I lost the track of time, earlier in the day the battery of the van died, the use of computers and portable hard drivers killed the battery automatically its clock was reset after we gave it a boost with Anne's car but the clock was never got reset. We thought it was just after 19:00, in reality it was after 23:00. We knocked and woke up Judy who gracefully welcomed us and was happy to see us, the Artic Chalet sponsored us with two rooms. Thank you Judy and Olav!
Claire and I had our clothes covered in mud and hadn't showered for couple of days. Finally, a place for a hot shower :)
Anticipating rain for the next day, the solar car was covered and parked away.
While unpacking, I got a surprise from Claire, I got my sole back :)
It had gone missing back in Watson Lake over one week ago when we did laundry, it ended it up in Josh's bag, he found it when we was packing his belongs and gave it to Claire to give it to me, I have been joking with her since it went missing that she stole my "sole" because she is the one that did our laundry that day. It was nice to have my sole back :)
The weather claered a bit unvailing the pinkiest sky I have ever seem.
Glad to be back in Inuvik,

By Claire

By Anne

By Laura

By Josh

the sky in the morning, sun where are you????
Arctic Chalet
white Puppies!
Blue eyes
Cool photos of the community North Store
too many mosquitoes to be outside
Claire covering up and finding creative ways to brush her teeth without being eaten by mosquitoes
taking refuge inside the van from the rain and mosquitos, having fun watching funny moments of the tour
Not a van anymore, a canvas, a vehicle to share our thoughts with the world
Thank you Dr. da luz
Love X energy = solution

Free Energy, drove a solar car to the Arctic, thanks marcelo
Anne was here!

Follow the Dream

What if we all drove Solar Cars?

Love + Light = XOF1

slow it down
anne's motto

Dare to Dream!
Anne helping reposition the solar car
Group photos,
Where do we all go from here?
Time to go, slowly packing, not easy saying goodbye
Claire, hard at work, gassing up the van
Not much to charge the solar car, didn't see the sun the entire day
Driving on the rain
Muddy but hope ahead, a patch of blue in the sky
If we don't drive the solar car at least we can go for hiking
the rain stop
the sun feeling shy, didn't came out to play
a bit more light is better, sunny would be great
Found berries!
Not quite ready yet
228 mosquitoes inside the canopy. It can drive one crazy!
Finally, asphalt. Hurray!!!
- "I can finally hear my thoughts!" - said Marcelo
At last at Arctic Chalet
Will is rain?
Covered in mud, ready for a shower, happy to be at the Arctic Chalet
rain is on the way, sunny got covered for the night,
nigh night sunny!
give my "sole" back.
Marcelo got his "sole" back
Near 01:00am the sky brighten a bit
The pinkest sky ever. Wish we could bottled it