Monday, August 20, 2001

Hello from Fort Nelson, British Columbia!

Start time: 0800

Start odometer: 8960

Because of its location, Fort Nelson played an important role in the building of the Alaska Highway.  Today, it is a growing community based on oil, gas, and forestry.  Employment is great in this area for anyone interested in any of these three fields.  There are several gas and oil processing plants outside of town, as well as gas pipelines that cross this region.  Every so often along the side of the road, there is a vent pipe, with a sign in the vicinity warning people to stay away due to the poisonous gas!  In the winter, when the ground and muskeg bogs are frozen, the  town fills up with people involved in lumber, as it is he time when many trees become accessible to harvest.  Not much in the computer industry though.  Quinn and Jessica, please correct any errors in the statements above!

Today was a very pretty day, with partly cloudy skies and temps in the lower 50s.  From the start, I knew it was going to be a day to get a few miles behind me.  The views were wonderful, with several diversions to break up the drive.  Outside of Fort St. John is a llama farm, which we also have in Maine.  Further along the road, there was a nine foot tall lumberjack statue in front of mill, which I read is dressed up as Santa Claus in December.  One side note is that you see very many trucks and trailers with ATVs driving along the road.

I stopped for gas in Wonowon, located at the historic 101 mile marker, which explains the name!  As I continued my drive, I was impressed by the long distance views, and the beautiful sky.  I will add pictures soon that show some of the views I witnessed.

Another interesting point is that over the years, the road has been realigned to reduce turns and steep grades.  As you drive, you can see sections of the original road as they veer off.  Much of these old sections are grown over, but if they are available, I plan on venturing out on them.

The remainder of the journey today took me along rivers, mountainsides, and open areas.  Again the scenery was pretty, and I got to see two moose and a bald eagle!  And of course, many trees!

I arrived in Fort Nelson this afternoon and stopped at the visitor center, where I met Jessica and Quinn.  They provided me with additional information for my journey, and I had a very pleasant talk with them.  Quinn has lived here all his life, and Jessica moved here from a town in southern B.C. 17(?) years ago, so they were extremely informed about this area.  They are both going to school, and also worked together last year.  They will be taking a journey next year, and I wish them the same fortune I have received on my trip, being able to meet many great people like them with knowledge to share.

I departed the center, stopped at a bank to get Canadian currency, and continued on the road.  On the north side, I passed a museum, and a short distance later, was a side route of the original highway.  I took the side road until it met again with the current Alaska Highway.  All the while I was contemplating whether to continue north, or stay in Fort Nelson and take the rest of the afternoon to visit the town.  I decided to turn back a couple of miles and get a room.

After settling into the Almada Inn,  I went to the Fort Nelson Museum.  One thing I notice about these types of towns is their large museum collections.  It is great to see all of the items from the area, and this collection was great.  First though, they showed a video of the construction of the Highway, which provided further education about the road.  Afterwards, I walked around looking at all the items, including some interesting radios, a huge Navy searchlight, and part of a C119 Flying Boxcar that crashed at the local airport!  Quite and interesting variety.

Finally, after a nice Chef Salad for dinner, I have settled into my room to write.  Tomorrow, I will continue north.  Quinn and Jessica mentioned some sights that I will see along the road, so I am anxious to get started!  Thank you for visiting and reading this page!

Click on picture for larger image, hit back button to return to this page.

This panel shows hunters which bull moose are allowed to be taken.

This is the nine foot tall lumberjack dressed up as Santa Claus in the winter.

Gas along the highway, in the town of Wonowon.

This section of the highway had several long straight stretches.

In this picture, the original highway can be seen straight ahead, while the improved grade goes off to the left.

A couple of moose on the road.

Another moose, surrounded by some very pretty scenery.

Mountains in the distance under a beautiful sky.

This panel describes a realignment of the road in 1992.  It would have been interesting to take the original portion if it were available.

This panel refers to my next stop, Fort Nelson.

This is the front of the museum I visited in Fort Nelson.

One of the displays in the museum had old radio equipment.

This was an old aircraft heater.

This old signal light was interesting to see.

A side view of the light.

This was part of a very large engine, described in the next photo.

An interesting snowmobile!

They even had a crashed airplane at the museum!

This is another part of the aircraft.

 

 

Routes traveled today: 97 (Alaska Highway)

Hotel: The Almada Inn -

 

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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