Monday, August 17, 2015

Our Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, BC : road trip

The World Famous Alaska Highway sign that marks Mile 0 is in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. It's near the junction of Highway 97 South and the Alaska Highway. The odometer said we were 2,617 miles from home, but our trip was just beginning in many ways. This was my second time to see the world famous Alaska Highway sign in person. It was Hubby's first.

We explored Dawson Creek by car, stopped at the park and saw the Surveyor Statue before trying to find the elusive visitor center. Locating the centre was not as easy as it should have been.

Alaska Highway Mile 0
We drove around several times before finally spotting the sign. It's a small, nondescript sign in an equally unassuming building. Don't bother looking for a visitor center sign because it's almost impossible to spot. Look instead for the large brick building that reads Alberta Pool Elevators Dawson Creek and houses the art gallery. The Dawson Creek Visitor Centre is next door in the Northern Alberta Railway Station. The parking lot is shared although the visitor center does have designated parking.

Our original plan had been to spend the night in Dawson Creek and hit the tourism center the next day. Confident that we would get to the city in daylight on the way home, we decided to grab a bite to eat and get a few more hours on the road.

Alaska Highway Surveyor
Would you believe that Dawson Creek businesses close early? Even at 10:00 pm the KFC was shut down for the day. Fortunately, the Tim Horton's on 8th Street isn't far from the World Famous Alaska Highway and we could find it. The chain restaurant is essentially a coffee and doughnut place that serves a few sandwiches and soups. The menu is small but the food was hot and the staff was nice. That's really all we wanted.

I called the Dawson Creek Visitor Centre later on about the Iron Highway Surveyor Statue in the middle of the traffic circle. His striking pose points northwest. I was told that the statue was erected to honor all the thousands of workers that built the highway.

It is made from scrap metals that came from farms in the area.  Local artist Karl Mattson created this unique monument and took care to model the surveyor's clothing to what the workers might have worn in the  early 1940s.

I'm glad to that we took the time to stop that night. It turns out that our stop at the Alaska Highway Mile 0 sign, Iron Highway Surveyor Statue and the Mile 0 park around the sign didn't happen. We hit Dawson Creek in the wee morning hours. Instead of enjoying the town on our return trip, we had to continue on our journey home along the incredible Alaska Highway.

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