Dawson Creek, BC, Canada is Mile 0 for the Alaskan Highway. How did it get to be mile zero when it is 1,031 miles from the USA you ask? Good question. Right after Pearl Harbor in 1942 the US decided we needed a highway between the Lower 48 and Alaska. The railroad and roads went as far as Dawson Creek, so the USA decided to complete the road basically following the “airports”, grass landing strips in the forest, and mule tracks to Alaska. It took only 9 months to complete by the US Corps of Engineers, the Army and hired civilians, in all over 10,000 people worked on the 1,500 mile road. They just bulldozed their way along the mule tracks using “sight” surveying; someone would go up the tallest tree and point to the basic mule tracks. The cold and mud and mosquitos were brutal but Nov 20, 1942 was the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the opening of the Alcan Highway.
One amazing bridge that was built just outside Dawson Creek was the wooden Kiskatinaw Bridge, some 100 ft above the stream. It is still standing and you can drive an RV across it. We didn’t, just the F-150. It is banked and curved 9 degrees for 534 ft. It is a three span timber truss structure, made from 500,000 board feet of creosoted British Columbia fir and took 9 months to build. Quite a sight. See the pic with Chester’s VW crossing the bridge.
Another feat was the moving of the town and a wooden grain elevator. The original town of Dawson Creek was 2 km south but the railroad decided to end the tracks north of the original town. So what did the town do? They moved. The entire town of about 600 people. Took the structures and put them on tracks or rolled on logs 2 km north to where the town is now located. Then many years later there were 6 wooden grain elevators. Newer steel elevators and rail cars made the 6 obsolete. So the owners started tearing them down and the city decided to save one. The problem was the price was right, CD$1 but they had to move it 1km. Overnight. So that is what they did. Built some tracks and moved the “Alberta Pool Elevator” to it’s current site at the old railroad station, now a museum, and the World Famous Alaskan Highway” sign by the bend in the road, a Round-About. The actual Mile 0 is located about 2 blocks away in the downtown. We walked the downtown and bought some fruits and vegetables at a local market then went for a drive to the Kiskatinaw Bridge and surrounding areas. The Canola fields are everywhere around Dawson Creek. Bright yellow flowers everywhere on farms.
We then washed the truck and of course it rained in the evening. Oh well, the truck was filthy as well as the Dutch Star, but we will have to wait to wash the RV. It was over 80 degrees today. A relief from the last two rainy cold days. If you don’t like the weather here just wait a few minutes we were told. LOL.
Tomorrow we leave for Ft. Nelson, following the Alaskan Highway.
If you want to contact us use the form on the left side of the posts and you can check out all the pics by clicking the two dots at the top of the page.