Dempster Highway Blues

(The Dempster Highway runs from just outside Dawson, YK, to Inuvik, NWT. It is 750 km of bone-jarring, mind-numbing, tire-shredding gravel road. So, why drive it? Because it’s there. Because the scenery is spectacular. Because driving it bestows some kind of perverse badge of honour. That’s why.)

I drove the Dempster Highway
In Twenty-seventeen.
It is the meanest highway
That I have ever seen.

I’ve got the Dempster,
Driving Dempster Highway blues.
It’s a long and lonely highway,
I’ve got those Dempster blues.

The first day I was lucky,
I made a hundred miles.
The second day I had to stop
The tundra was on fire.

The fire was a-ragin’
The smoke, it stung my eyes.
I didn’t mind because it choked
Mosquitoes and black flies

I got to the Peel River
The ferry man said, “Halt!
The ferry’s not a-runnin’
and no, it’s not my fault!”

He said:
“The north wind is a-blowin’
The water’s way too rough.
You’ll have to camp out here all night,
and, yes, I know that’s tough.”

The Dempster’s rough and rutted.
The pot holes are so big.
The washboard is enormous and
it shakes apart your rig.

The gravel’s sharp and jagged,
It’s lying there in wait
To puncture RV tires and
to laugh while they deflate.

My tire hit a sharp ol’ rock
It went right through the tread.
I didn’t stop quite soon enough
and now my tire’s in shreds.

The Dempster’s mighty dusty,
hides those semis coming through.
They kick up all that gravel,
Now my windshield’s broken, too.

I made it to Inuvik
And back past Eagle Plains.
I’m almost home. I’m telling you
I’m not doing that again.

Final Chorus:
No more Dempster
No more Dempster Highway blues.
I’m never driving that damn highway,
No more Dempster blues for me
No, no, I’m never doing that again.
No more Dempster blues for me.

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