Today we got settled into our sites 46 and 47 with Bill and Linda…then Bill and Neil did some work on BAT’s CB radio and associated wiring and got Bill’s truck an oil change. Meanwhile…Connie did some work and Linda researched things to do. Once all of that was done…we had lunch then went off on a little Fun Stuff™in the Dawson Creek area. After that we came home and had dinner…Linda grilled some burgers, Neil provided some skewered mushrooms and onions that she grilled as well and Neil also made some scalloped potatoes. All went down really well…then we drove over to DQ and got a Blizzard to tide us over until breakfast.
We noticed yesterday that the CB radio in BAT that we use to communicate on the road was having a problem with the squelch not working correctly which results in lots of static noise out of the speaker…which results in turning the volume way down…which results in not hearing the other person trying to talk to you. So…after some discussion yesterday about the potential causes of this problem Bill and Neil dropped Bill’s truck off at the Chevy place for an oil change and headed off to find a CB radio interference filter. Essentially we thought the problem was noise on the 12v power line, probably caused by the inverter in the rig and that adding a filter to get rid of the noise on the power line would solve the problem. After we got home from the oil change we commenced troubleshooting and after an hour or so concluded that the radio frequency interference was indeed coming from the inverter but was coming in via the air and antenna and not over the power line. To solve this…well, the only real solution would be to turn the inverter off while traveling but that means the fridge won’t run. While this would be OK for short travel periods it isn’t something we want to do unless we have to. Our fall back position was to move the radio farther forward in BAT’s cabin to increase the distance from the inverter and use a higher channel number that has less interference. We did what we could…and will test again on our travel day on Tuesday. At worst we’ll just turn the inverter off while traveling and let the fridge just sit. As long as the door is shut this won’t pose any problem at all for us…but it’s just another thing we don’t want to have to worry about on travel days so we’ll see if the half measures we tried help before deciding to go that route or not.
That was pretty much it for the morning…so after lunch we headed off to see a couple of sites.
First stop was the Mile 0 marker on the Alaska Highway…also known as the AlCan. It was the first road to Alaska; built from Dawson Creek to the Alaska border and beyond in 1942. Very little of the original road remains today…it was initially constructed very quickly to support WWII operations then reconstructed afterwards to be a more user friendly road. Over the years it’s been improved and today is actually a pretty decent road. Here are shots of the Mile 0 markers and of both Neil and Connie and Bill and Linda who are traveling with us. The AlCan itself is visible just beyond the overhead sign and has different road numbers as it goes north…here in BC it’s BC-97, becoming YT-1 when it crosses into the Yukon Territory, then AK-2 when it crosses into Alaska.
For those keeping up at home with your National Geographic or Google Maps…we proceed essentially north from Dawson City with a stop in Fort Nelson BC. After that we’re mostly west-northwest through the Yukon with stops in Watson Lake, Teslin, and Whitehorse, then continuing briefly into Alaska at Haines, back into the Yukon via Destruction Bay and Beaver Creek then cross into Alaska to Tok. From there we go northwest to Fairbanks, south via Denali to Anchorage then continue around the coastal areas of Alaska with stops in Homer, Seward, Palmer, Valdez and Glenallen then back northward to Tok again. From Tok we go to Chicken Alaska then back into the Yukon to Dawson City. From Dawson City we go back south to Whitehorse then sort of retrace our steps southward with a side jaunt to Iskut BC and Hyder AK to our stopping point in Prince George. Here’s an overall view of our trip…for rough distance purposes it’s about 5,000 miles total from Dawson Creek to Prince George and about 360 miles from Fairbanks to Anchorage. On our 60 day trip we travel 29 days.
Once the caravan is over in Prince George we’ll head to Jasper AB which is about halfway between Prince George and Edmonton for a 5 day stop to see the Tour of Alberta bike race…then south down the Icefields Parkway to Banf and then eastward through Calgary and reenter the US near St Mary’s MT for a visit to Glacier National Park. Eastward to Devils Tower in the northeast corner of WY for a few days…then over to Indianapolis and then Midlothian for more grand baby and the World Championship Bike Races before heading generally southward (as it will be late September by then and starting to get too cool for Neil anyway) via TN and AL to our winter home in Fort Myers. Neil will also be keeping up our travel map as we proceed…you can find it at http://www.travellerspoint.com/member_map.cfm?user=guntherbear#/tripid/714488 or via the Our Travel Maps link at the top of the page.
Our second stop for the day was the Kiskatinaw River Curved Bridge…this is an original but still used bridge from the construction of the AlCan back in 1942…it’s an entirely wooden structure. It’s a popular photo spot and you may have seen pictures of it before. The river is a good distance below the bridge as you can see from the accompanying picture of the river gorge…about 100 feet. It’s 534 feet long and curves 9 degrees over it’s length, is the only original bridge still in use, and contains about 500,000 board feet of lumber. We could drive the rig across it as it’s still approved for up to 20 ton loads but as the piece of the AlCan that crosses it doesn’t go anywhere anymore…we decided to just drive over and see it instead.
Looking upstream from the middle of the bridge, or to the right in the picture above.
With that we headed home…for the aforementioned burgers and Blizzards.
Several other of our caravan friends arrived today and our fearless leader David Baxley and his bride arrive tomorrow…with the rest of the group coming in sometime before Monday evening. We’re getting pretty pumped up for our trip…looking forward to meeting all of our new friends over the weekend and Monday and starting to do Fun Stuff™ a lot as we travel. Neil wants lots of wildlife…Connie wants lots of wildlife but no bears. We’ll see who gets their wish.