Saturday, August 18, 2001

Hello from Dawson Creek, British Columbia!

Start time: 0750

Start odometer: 8459

 

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08180101.jpg (41535 bytes)  I finally made it to the Alaska Highway!!!  For a long time, I had hoped to get to Dawson Creek and drive the highway, so I am happy to be here.  I decided to stop here a little early to get caught up on my literature about the highway, including information I picked up at the local tourist desk.  

It was another great weather day, cool to start, and the sky was clear.  Looking at the map, it appeared today was going to be spent mostly driving.  There were a few roadside information displays, but for the most part, I stopped just to get pictures of the different views I was seeing.  I saw several deer, and many different birds, but the larger game heard me coming and hid!  I plan to hike a bit as I get further north, so I anticipate a broader scope of viewed wildlife.  Interesting to see are the different type of trucks and transport vehicles, and their cargo.

I stopped for gas in Grande Cache, Alberta.  I noticed several posters and banners displayed around the city concerning the town being the home of the "Death Race."  The station attendant described it as a 125 km race with running, riding, and snowshoeing.  One of the races limits it participants to 24 hours maximum, with some people unofficially take even longer!  

I arrived in Grande Prairie around noon and decided to take a break.  I stopped at a few stores to look at computer supplies, picked up a couple of CDs, and a replacement headset for my radio, as my current one is in need of repair.  Considering the exchange rate, the prices were pretty reasonable.  

I continued on Alberta Route 43 out of town when I noticed an airport just off the road.  They were having a large new car sale on the grounds of the airport, so I took a drive through the parking lot.  I decided to park and walk inside the terminal, then stopped by the snack bar for lunch.  It brought back memories of the many meals eaten at airport snack bars during my airline career.  

I got back on the road heading northwest, until I crossed into British Columbia.  This also took me into the Pacific Time Zone, and it was nice to get an extra hour today.  Also, as the temperature started increasing, storm clouds were developing to the south.  It was impressive to see them from such a distance.  However, to the west, the sky was filled with puffy white clouds dotting the blue sky, so I had no rain.

My final stop was in Dawson Creek, at the park commemorating the beginning of the Alaska Highway.  I stopped in the visitor center, where Jennifer C. provided more materials to aid in my travels along the highway.  The other person working the center was Jennifer S., who also answered questions and provided suggestions.  They did a great job, and their knowledge of the highway and activity options was impressive.  There is a museum on site, which I visited, learning more about the region, as well as the highway.

I had a nice dinner at the Alaskan Restaurant, and took a drive around the town.  Along one of the roads, the RCMP had a safety check set up.  I stopped to talk with one of the officers, and learned he grew up in the Montreal area.  He had also visited Maine many times.  We talked for a few minutes, and he provided me with a few places to visit in Quebec when I return to the Northeast.  While we spoke, he spent some of the time waving cars by, but when I left, there were six cars lined up behind me!  Hopefully that gave them time to put on their safety belts.

Tomorrow I continue up the highway.  I am armed with "The Milepost", an annually published magazine that describes the roads and highways of the Northwest.  Their web site has much information, so take a look if you have time.  Thanks for stopping by...

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Heading north out of Hinton, this was how much of Alberta 43 appeared.

I was able to see road signs not normally used in the states.

More of the highway can be seen beyond the trees upon the hillside.

Information about the Woodland Caribou.

The sign in Grand Cache describe in the text above.

One hundred fifteen miles to the service area.  Interesting mountain views were to be seen in this region.

Nice wildflowers lined parts of the road.

Grand Prairie Airport (YQU) terminal.

Another view of the airport.

An interesting storm was passing to the south of my location.

I took this picture since there was no sign when I first entered Alberta.

This was my first visit to British Columbia, which would also be the sixth province I visited so far on the trip.

A short story about the Pouce Coupe Prairie.

A view into the British Columbian prairie.

"Mile Zero City", Dawson Creek, British Columbia.

I MADE IT!

These signs are posted in many areas along the road.

An engineering landmark plaque dedicated to the Alaska Highway.

Street sign indicating Alaska Avenue.

Another plaque marking "Zero Mile."

Another view of the Alaska Highway sign, with the visitor center and museum in the background.

Descriptive panels, such as this one mentioning Dawson Creek, are located along the highway.

A plaque mentioning the Northern Woods and Water Routes Association.

Historical information about Dawson Creek and the Alcan Highway.

Jennifer C. and Jennifer S. were very helpful in providing information about the highway.

Information about a United States Army repeater station.

Another marker indicating the location of the former Alaska Highway control station.

 

Routes traveled today: Alberta 40 - Alberta 43 - British Columbia 2 - BC 97 (The Alaska Highway)

Hotel: Peace Villa Hotel -

 

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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