Friday, October 23, 2009

AlCan: Day 2 -- Hope, BC to Quesnel, BC

I got a pretty early start this morning, with hopes of making up the time I lost crossing the border yesterday. The weather was heavily overcast, with mist or rain most of the morning. In the low light, the colorful foliage made the view through the windshield much like looking through a kaleidoscope.

The road itself was quite good, a smooth and well maintained pair of lanes that weaved through fairly steep valleys. There were signs of habitation in places -- even a tiny town or two -- but it's clear you are already "out there" and consistently heading further into isolated areas.

I stopped just before noon in the small town of Cache Creek, where I got a sandwich for myself and a full tank of fuel for Darth. A Subway shop next to the gas station made it easy for the two of us to fill up in a hurry, so we were back on the road in thirty minutes.

While passing through Cache Creek, I left "Canada 1" (the major west-east route known as the "Trans-Canada Highway") and joined "Highway 97" (the major south-north route that is known in the area as the "Cariboo Highway"). The road continues as "Highway 97" far into the north, and although it isn't technically part of the "AlCan" or "Alaska Highway" yet, it certainly starts to feel like it ought to be.

The sun came out for part of the afternoon and the road remained quite good and dry. Everything dried out, actually, including the terrain, offering quite a change from the deep, damp forests I'd mostly driven through so far. As you can see, traffic was pretty light!

By late afternoon, I was back in overcast and occasional rain. I was also in an area of pretty significant road work being done. I imagine it takes a lot to keep this road in good shape, and the various road crews were obviously taking advantage of their opportunity before winter arrives.

As a result, I had a number of delays, usually just a few minutes but almost a half-hour on two occasions. These delays thwarted my intention to fully catch up with my planned schedule, so I didn't make it to Prince George as I had hoped. Instead, I stopped in the town of Quesnel, a fairly bustling little affair with a nice hotel and several good dining options. Once again, I made it an early night and prepared for another early start tomorrow.

Here is the documentary video for Day 2:

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