Sunday, October 25, 2009

AlCan: Day 4 -- Chetwynd, BC to Fort Nelson, BC

Leaving Chetwynd, BC, this morning, I was tempted to take a cut-off road that bypasses Dawson Creek and connects with the AlCan a bit further down the road. This would save a few miles, but I was informed that the road wasn't very good and wouldn't save me very much time, if any.

Plus, it would have meant missing the actual beginning of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, BC, and that seemed dumb in the context of my overall road trip. So, I drove to Dawson Creek and stopped for breakfast, fuel and a photo op. At right is the monument you see as you drive through town.

The official "Mile Marker Zero" is a few blocks away in the center of town. I also took a photo there, which I posted separately on the SP Kennel website to update folks there about my progress.

Heading northwest out of Dawson Creek, the road feels different. Partly, I think, because you are now on the actual Alcan highway, but also because the landscape is very different. The foliage has become much more sparse, the open ranges more barren and the distance between human establishments greatly increased.

The occasional 18-wheeler may go barreling by, but the traffic is remarkably light and you have a very strong sense of being alone and "out there."

The road itself is generally pretty good, always paved but not always smooth. There are some steep climbs and descents which deserve your attention.

There is sufficiently sparse development along the road that you're quite entertained by the few places you pass. This was especially true for me at the "Sasquatch Crossing" where I was happy to stop for coffee and a few friendly words with another human being in the middle of nowhere.

With the initial enthusiasm of starting a road trip long behind me -- and the energy boosts that come from the novelty of new surroundings successively diminishing -- it was a long day on the road. I never doubted my intentions, plan or resolve, but there was a moment when I realized I was not yet half way to my destination that I said aloud to myself, "Wow… This is a really long drive!"

In due course, I reached Fort Nelson, BC, where stopped for the night.

Here is the documentary video for Day 4:

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