Alaska RV Camping Travelog – Day 2
Alaska Highway – Milepost 0
It was a dark and stormy night….again! Really! Good nights sleep as we were all tired, but gosh these guys are early risers! Boondocking with two early birds really had me feeling like the worm! Rained all morning, and the mountains were all socked in, but it really looked beautiful as we crossed over Pine Pass. Saw lots of snow covered mountains, but couldn‘t really tell how tall they were with the tops hidden in the clouds. Lots of waterfalls due to the spring runoff and all the rain, and Bijou Falls was especially lovely.
Huge logging operations are the main source of employment in this country, with lots of areas that have been clear cut. Seems farms and ranching operations move in once the land is cleared, so it is a win-win situation for all involved. The areas that have been logged are so expansive, it’s hard to get your mind around the distances involved in this amazingly large country!
Brian saw the first moose of our trip–a young bull with velvet horns! We did start an animal tally to keep track of our wildlife sightings, but once we got to Denali we couldn’t keep track of all the mammals and birds! We also saw a brown crane with a red head, and I saw my first moose! A running female!
We are traveling during an all-time high in gas prices, both in the US and Canada! Just our luck! Stopped to fuel up in Prince George and got 176.165 liters of diesel for $1.009 a liter! This is where we start trying to convert liters to gallons and Canadian money to US dollars to try and figure our gas mileage and expenses. Put 490 miles on since leaving Bellingham, and so far Gozer (the motor home’s pet name) is getting 10.5 miles per gallon!
Arrived Dawson Creek, BC around 12:15 pm. It is partly cloudy and cool with temperature of 58 but no wind so it doesn’t feel too bad. We park at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway and went in to experience the Alaska Highway and Railway Museum at the visitor center. There is a short video of the construction of the Alaska/Canada Highway-Alcan-or Oil Can, depending on who’s version of the story you’re listening to! The US Army Corps of Engineers troops building it referred to it as the Oil Can due to the high number of oil drums left after using unbelievable amounts of oil and fuel to push this road through some of the toughest and most unforgiving terrain on earth.
This highway was built to Alaska during WWII and was the largest construction project of the war. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, the military felt the enemy might attack Alaska. The Japanese did attack the Aleutian Islands, and it turns out we needed to have a defensible presence on our border with the Pacific. The Alcan would serve to supply and equip the troops for their defense of North America, and took 8 months to complete, although work continues on it today.
At the monument for Mile 0, a plaque mentions that one of the worst disasters of the construction project is when 60,000 cases of dynamite exploded in downtown Dawson Creek and blew up an entire city block!
The town also grew from a population of 500 to over 100,000 as a result of the highway work. The video at the visitor center is well worth the $2.00 per person or $5.00 per family entrance fee. There are also nice “period” displays available at no charge.
The Alaska Highway Surveyor points the way!
Heading up the Alaska Highway the first town you come to is Saint John. It is quite a busy place, with lots of trucking concerns, fast food, and a bustling storefront community. We are stopped at several traffic lights going through town.
At mile 73 we stop to read about an emergency WWII airstrip that was built for pilots that may have become lost in the area, and then start looking for a wide spot to camp for the night. The nice thing about the Alcan is there are many areas and gravel pits that were used by the constructions crews that are useful today for dry camping along the journey!
We find an excellent place to stop and grill some polish sausages for sandwiches along with big salads. While cooking a couple more RV’s pull into our spot, but we are in the only level place and they soon move on.
We’ve seen lots of moose sign in this area and the moose are all around us in the woods, sounding out with what sounds like a humming type of call! We drift off with the sounds of the moose singing us to sleep!
Next…RV Camping Journal – Day 3 – The Road To Muncho Lake
Yesterday – RV Camping Journal – Day 1 – The Trip Begins