Wanderung 29

Alaska or Bust

July 2014 - August 2014

3 Canada: Alberta
AlCan: Britsh Columbia 4


July 12: To Dawson Creek and the Start of the AlCan


We had breakfast at a Subway next door to our motel and were on the road by 8 o'clock, an early start. When we found a Costco in Grand Prairie, we filled up with gas for $1.18 Canadian per liter, much cheaper than the prevailing rate of 1.30 per liter elsewhere in Canada, which translates to about $5 per US gallon. But our Prius was getting 50 miles to the gallon or more and had a range of over 500 miles on a tank of gas, which helped ease the pain a bit.

Our route North and West to Dawson Creek alternated between sections of deep forest, where presumably logging and lumber are the chief industry , and agricultural sections consisting of farms and pastures.

We stopped at Dawson Creek, the starting point of the AlCan Highway, for lunch and a quick visit to Milepost 0, the historic origin of the WW II highway to Alaska.


Luckily Fox Creek also had a Subway sandwich shop, which also featured a great breakfast wrap. They even had a 100% orange juice which was just what I needed.

So we were well satisfied when we went on to the metropolis of Grand Prairie. To our surprise, they had, besides the obligatory stoplights, a Costco with a gas station. Indeed the gas was cheap (for Canada) and we needed to fill up, so everything was good.

Two hours later we drove into Dawson Creek, the start of the AlCan highway.


The city of Dawson Creek was not attractive enough to make us want to linger although the guy at the Visitor's Center was extremely helpful in providing maps, lists of campgrounds, area attractions, and even a self-guided walking tour of the city. The visitor center itself was quite interesting as it is the old train station and had a nice museum with antique furnishings from the time when the train station was in active use.


We stopped at the visitor information center, an old railroad station, and got a really nice map of the highway and a lot of information. The visitor center also was a museum that showed the home of the old station master.


We walked over a block to see the antique marker of the starting point of the original AlCan highway, which nowadays is on a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection, making photography somewhat dangerous!


We had thought of taking a walking tour of the city, but it was hot and the city was not very appealing. So we just walked to the famous mile marker 0, took the obligatory pictures and left quickly.



We continued up the AlCan for about 80 kilometers to Charley Lake Provincial Park, where found a nice campsite in the woods. There we set up our car-tent combination (I call it our "Prius Super RV"!) in a little over half an hour---we hadn't set the tent up since our test run the previous Fall and we were a bit rusty! (When we got into the swing of setting it up later in the trip, we could set it up in about 15 minutes or less.) The dome tent was designed to fit on any small hatchback, and it fit out Prius perfectly! We put the rear seats flat and slept in the back of the car, using the tent area as our (bug-free!) "living room" and also occasionally as our "dining room" in inclement weather. We even had our first campfire!


We stopped at a historical bridge on an old section of the highway that was bypassed by a more modern segment. This old section featured a historic curved, wooden bridge high above the river. Truly a marvel of engineering.

Since this evening would be our first attempt at camping, we decided to stop early at a Provincial Park on Charlie Lake just past Fort St John, at 85 km on the AlCan. It took us about 35 minutes to set up the tent and car for the night. Not bad for us newbies.

Copyright 2014 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt


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