Edmonton, Alberta to Dawson Creek, British Columbia
Jun 24, 2010
|Thursday, Day 6
On the road at 7:30 A (CT); had a thunder storm last nite, with quite a bit of rain, but this morning is sunny & cool. We have been so blessed with amazing weather for the entire trip so far. It was hard getting going this morning, knees & feet hurt – feeling all that walking yesterday. Ron is feeling better to, he doesn’t drink enough water & gets dehydrated – he was ready to leave the mall before I said anything.
Daughter, Lisa called this morning – so good to hear a voice from home. She hasn’t received any of my e-mails, so we’ll try again tonight. She said that the earthquake in Quebec, Canada was felt in southern MI!
We are on Hwy. 43 (the Alberta Highway) First stop was in Stoney Plain, Alberta for gas: 91.9/liter = $33.23. We got coffee & were soon crossing the Dog Rump River – glad we didn’t stay in their campground - what a name! Passing cattle, horses & Alpaca farms, lots of forested areas. The road appears to be new & is very good.
Stopped in village of Sangudo to see their 21-ft high Elevator Sundial. Rock boulders from the area help mark positions of the sun – it is very interesting & different. Crossed the Pembina River. Next was the Paddle River & the Canadian National Railroad (C.N.R.) Rochfort Bridge trestle, at 2,414 ft long it is the 2nd longest wooden RR trestle in the world. The original bridge was built in 1914 & crosses the river & the roadway.
After Mayerthorpe we can see a big valley to the W – area farms raise wild game (elk, buffalo, emu, wild boar), cattle, pigs & sheep. There are some major lumber mills W of town & oil & gas exploration is getting really big. Have gone thru several areas marked to keep a look out for deer & moose! Haven’t seen any flooding all day – in fact most of the rivers & creeks seem quite low. Had to slow down for some construction several times, but overall the road is good.
Thru the town of Whitecourt (snowmobile capital of Alberta) & calls itself the “Gateway to the Alaska Highway & the fabulous north”. Crossed the McLeod & Athabasca Rivers. Fox Creek, a center for oil & gas exploration & production. 11 A (CT) gas @ Fox River: 9.29/liter = $55.92, its really sunny & HOT! (Not complaining mind you – I think when we went to AK 4 yrs ago, I only wore shorts twice – it was really rainy & cold most of the time.
Some bad frost heaves, most have been “kinda” repaired, still have to slow right down. Those little rough road signs look pretty innocent, but we’ve learned to pay attention to them.
Valleyview at 12 noon (CT) (originally called Red Willow Creek when it was homesteaded in 1916. In the 1950s the area boomed w/discovery of oil & gas. Their economy has diversified to include forestry, tourism, agriculture & government services. Farming consists of gran, oilseed, beef cattle & forage production. Crossed the Smoky River Bridge, more huge valleys, can see for many miles. Watching out for frost heaves.
Grande Prairie – 1:30 P (CT) stopped @ parking area for lunch break – changed into shorts – it’s really HOT going thru town. The pop. Is 50,000+ (about like home), but it is quite spread out – there is lots of shopping (all the major stores) & several casinos. We didn’t have any trouble getting around town, just lots of traffic. Just out of town we went up a large hill, more cloudy skys. Day late again – on Wednesday evenings all summer, the Regional Tourism Assoc. hosts a FREE Bison BBQ! Story of our lives, always a day late & a dollar short! The area is booming with a diverse economy: agriculture (canola, cereal grains, fescue, hone, livestock), forestry & oil and gas. The trumpeter swam is the symbol of Grande Prairie.
Rough road, construction & sprinkles on the windshield – grrr. Passed several Elk ranches – sure wish we could see them in the wild!
Beaverlodge – large greenhouse, regional center for grain transporation, seed cleaning & seed production. Cereal grains (wheat, barley & oats) are main crops. Main attraction the giant beaver statue at the Area Cultural Centre. Nearby Hythe raises & processes fruit & berry crops, especially Saskatoon berries. Canola is also a major crop.
3 P (CT) crossed the Alberta-British Columbia border. More moose signs – but no critters! Dawson Creek - the beginning of the Alaska Highway! Of special note is the Mile “0” marker downtown. A phone call from the road informed us that our 1st choice of a camp ground is full so we stopped at the visitor center in Dawson Creek, the young people there are very helpful & call around to see what is available & hold a spot. We found them very helpful last time thru as they know the road conditions & about where we would be in a day’s drive. The huge grain elevator is an awesome art museum & the Alaska highway sign is a photo must for all AK-bound travelers. We stopped in town to get gas so we won’t have to worry about that in the morning. 1.06/liter = $93.12.
The history of the Alaska Highway is very interesting & we enjoy learning more facts as we travel this road again. Construction of the ALCAN military speak for the Hwy) was started March 9, 1942 & ended 8 months and 12 days later! The road was considered a necessity for national defense after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In just 1 month’s time men & equipment were put into place – by June >10,000 American troops had poured into the Canadian North – the “last fringe of civilization”. The men worked 14/hrs/day & 7 days/wk, endured mosquitoes & black flies in summer & below zero temps in winter. Food was very scarce & hardships were many. It is said the soldiers & civilians worked extra hard to complete the road – so they could go back to civilization! The highway opened to the public in 1948, but only the hardiest people attempted it. Today’s Hwy is mostly excellent road, with services for all the travelers who visit each summer.
We pulled into Tubby’s RV Park ~4 P (CT) – the time changed when we entered BC, but they don’t use Daylight Savings Time, so we are not real sure what time it is. The park is just on the outskirts of town, almost across the road from where we stayed on our last trip. Don’t know about the WiFi yet, think I’ll have to go to the office or laundry room. Peeked into the laundry tho & it is very clean & neat w/a couple of tables set up for folks like me. First impression of the park was not real positive. Spent some time straightening things up in the mh, fixed a real dinner tonight & now am trying to catch up on my computer time. The temp is very comfortable again, there is quite a bit of wind & some dark clouds moving quickly overhead. Looks like someone will get wet tonight! We are off the road a fair distance & while this park isn’t fancy at all, it will be fine for tonight. Think it is already staying light longer!
Critter count today: 5 deer (I missed a photo that would have made my day – 2 deer standing shoulder to shoulder on a little forested hill, looking right at us – so beautiful! I am just so glad we were both able to see them.) 2 hawks.
For the grandkids – I wanted to take a shower at the campground last night – but I forgot to take a Looney with me – what did I forget?
TIme on the road today: 8½ hrs Miles Driven Today: 358