After a lovely breakfast at Brian & Marilyn’s we left for a day of sightseeing around Dawson Creek.
First stop had to be the Mile 0 Marker in the middle of the street commemorating the beginning to the Alaska Highway.
Next we went to the Visitor’s Center and the Station Master’s House which are located on Highway 97 near the beginning of the Alaska Highway on the north side of Dawson. The Station Master’s house and the Natural History Museum are located in the same building and the Art Gallery is next door in the only remaining old-style Grain Elevator.
The Station Master lived in quarters attached to the railway depot. He was in charge of organizing all the goods and people who came and went on the trains. His job became exceedingly busy between March and May 1942 when 10,000 American troops and 600 carloads of tractors, bulldozers, fuel and supplies arrived from Edmonton to be distributed along the route for the planned highway to Fairbanks, Alaska.
The rooms in the Station Master’s house were small and it was hard to get photos that looked like anything. The only one I kept was this one from one of the upstairs bedrooms. My cousin Denis gave me the same book as the blue one with the cocker spaniel on it for my third birthday!
There was a natural history musuem on the other side of the Visitor’s Center. It primarily showcased taxidermy examples of birds and animals from the area. There were a few First Nation buckskin jackets and some dishes and other household things.
I liked this display of all the different grains that are, or were, grown here. They had been entered in a fall fair. They are – front left to right – Brome, Oats, Fesgue, Alfalfa, Wheat. Flax. Back left to right – Barley, Canola, Timothy, Rye.
When we concluded our tours of the museums, we walked past the big grain elevator, through the parking lot to the big Alaska Highway sign. There were motorhomes parked from Quebec, Iowa, New York and Illonsis. I guess after two years of going nowhere people are eager to go places a long way from home.
The Kiskatinaw Bridge is along an old section of the Alaska Highway. The original road was very rough and built very quickly using the most expediate route. In the mid-1950’s parts of it were moved or curves were straightened to make a road more navigable by public traffic. It took quite a few years before it was all paved.
Though there were many timber bridges built by these civilian workers, the Kiskatinaw Bridge was the only one still in use until the last year or so when it was closed to traffic. It is also one of the most unusual, curving nine degrees along its 162.5 metre (534 foot) length.
The bridge, the first of its kind in Canada, was built in 1942-43 by Dow Construction of Toronto. The bridge is a three span, timber truss structure built 30 metres (100 feet) above the stream. Approximately 500,000 board feet of creosoted British Columbia fir were used in its construction. The fir was shipped from coastal B.C. to the railhead at Dawson Creek.
A little to the right of center in the image above is a dark upright speck. This is a mountain biker who was riding along the riverside. Where he came from and how he got down there I have no idea.
A new Kiskatinaw Bridge was built on a new section of highway in 1978. The old one could no longer deal with all the weight from the oil and gas and forestry trucks that go back and forth from Dawson Creek to Fort St. John.
The bridge was about 10 or so kilometers up the Alaska Highway out of Dawson Creek and when I was looking at the map I noted that it was only another 40 or so kilometers to Fort St. John. I am pretty good at geography but I always thought it was much further away. Since it was so close and we had lots of time we decided to go up.
We drove around town for awhile just to check out the place and also tried to find several geocaches. But were constantly thwarted by vehicles in the way, people nearby, missing caches or some, like the small one that was recently hidden if this awesome sculpture located at the recycling depot that we just could not find. We searched for awhile, sticking our fingers in all the holes we could and running them under all the ledges, but no luck.
Our daughter’s fiance works at the big Site C Hydoelectric dam being constructed on the Peace River. We had been told it was only a couple of miles out of Fort St. John and there was a viewpoint so you could see it. We never did find the viewpoint despite John driving around on quite a few roads.
We headed back to Dawson to tour the Alaska Highway House that had lots of artifcats and information on the building of the Alaska Highway. Somewhere between 2020 and today the building was demolished. I don’t know where all the items went. Rats. They may have been moved to the Community Hall at the Hertigage Village we saw yesterday because there was quite a good display there.
It was time for dinner so we found a local restaurant to eat and then returned to Brian and Marilyn’s for the night. Tomorrow we head east across the BC border into Alberta and the city of Grande Prairie where we will be meeting another long time friend for dinner.