Friday, July 8, 2011

Thursday, July 7th - Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson

Today was an easy day it seemed with just about 300 miles of driving.   There are 5 vehicles left.  Kevin is still in Montana after his axle problems and Sam had to leave us at Jasper.  We left Dawson Creek at Mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway around 9am.   

Within an hour we found ourselves on the "old Alaskan Highway" at the historic curved bridge.    This wooden structure from the 1940s still stands and is made entirely of wood.  The floor of the bridge is big wood planks that appear to have been bent using steam and then placed on the bridge.  Not sure how thick they are but the sign at the bridge says "Limit 20 Tons" to give you an idea of how strong this wooden bridge is and yes, it is curved.

Along the way the road and country side was covered in tall scraggly pine forests as it was the day before.   Signs of logging and the oil/gas industry were everywhere.    We saw many signs that warned of moose, deer and other wildlife but today we saw just a few deer, a black bear and some wild turkeys as we drove.  Seeing wildlife is easy along the highway as the forest has been cleared for  25-30 yards on either side of the highway and is planted in grass.

Lunchtime found us at the Buffalo Inn at the summit of Pink Mountain.    The sign at the door said "Please Remove Your Muddy Boots" and just inside the door were rows of muddy boots and shoes lined up on what looked to be rubber car floor mats.   A couple of us ordered the Buffalo Burger:  2 six ounce burgers, cheese, a fried egg, slice of ham, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a kaiser roll.    A big burger and actually quite tasty but the winner of the day were the fries.   They were hand cut and reminded me of the great fries on the boardwalk of Ocean City, MD.   Woody bought a DVD there that tells about the construction of the Alaska Highway.

We encountered rain for the 1st time today, heavy rain at times and the forecast wasn't encouraging.   Things cleared up and we decided to explore a dirt road which ended up a dead end about 1/2 mile into the forest.  A few hours later we arrived at Fort Nelson and none too soon.   A couple of us were on the "E" on our fuel gauges.    A quick fill up at over $5 a gallon,  my bill came to $106!     Because  of the weather forecast we all decided to spend the night at the Ramada Inn.   After dinner at a local pub with the sun still in the sky at 10pm,  we decided it was time to hit the sack and rest up for another day on the road Friday.

Mile 0 Alaska Highway
The Curved Bridge
 Endless forests of pine
 The dirt road to nowhere

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