Valley View, AB to Dawson Creek, BC
We left Valley View Alberta in the morning with a relatively short day of about 150 miles. The road was a nice 4 lane highway, but had lots of traffic. This is definitely oil country with lots of oil field trucks on the road. We stopped at a small town called Beaverlodge for lunch and had to get a few photos of the 15 foot beaver at the town entrance. After lunch, is was on to Grande Prairie which is the last relatively large town on the route. We were really surprised with the air quality as we approached town. The air was brown with pollution much like you see approaching LA. In general, the horizon all across Canada was been filled with gray/brown air unlike the clear blue horizon we had in Montana. Not sure if it is due to forest fires or something else.
We arrived in Dawson Creek BC in the early afternoon. After getting set up at the Northern Lights RV park we went into town to explore. Dawson Creek is the beginning of the Alaska Highway. So far we have been on the road for 8 days and have covered 2237 miles and just now reached the BEGINNING of the Alaska Highway. Fairbanks AK is another 1522 miles more.
The Alaska Highway was built in 1942 as part of the war effort. By this time Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and had already invaded and were occupying the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. There was a real fear that they would invade main land North America via Alaska. In an effort the provide better defense for North America the US Army was task with building the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek BC to Fairbanks as an overland supply route. Dawson Creek was the farthest point north that the railroad reached. They were given one year to build it. Ultimately 11,000 troops and 16,000 civilian workers were able to carve out a two lane road through 1500 miles of wilderness and mountains in 8 months. They worked under horrific conditions ranging from 90 degree summers to –70 degrees in the winter. When completed the road was very basic with 90 degree turns and 25% grades but met the objective of providing a supply route to Alaska.
Mile post “0” for the highway is in downtown Dawson Creek
A large percentage of the troops building the highway were from Black units. Notice the logs under the jeep. In many areas the permafrost was so soft that the road was built on cut trees which formed the road bed. They were all cut and placed by hand.
Tomorrow we set off into wilderness. Not sure how much connectivity we will have for the next week. We plan to make stops in Ft Nelson BC, Watson Lake YT, Whitehorse YT, and Koiderm YT before reaching the Alaska border near Tok AK. The only town of any size along the route is Whitehorse, where we plan to spend two nights with a possible side trip to Skagway AK.
Todays Stats (Day 8):
|Miles driven:||170 miles|
|Hours on road:||3 hours, 45 minutes|
|Gas prices:||$4.64, $3.67|
Route (Day 6):