This morning the large chip in the windscreen we received yesterday has worsened and a 5 inch crack has emerged. The campsite owner directed us to a good place for fixing windscreens.
However, when we arrived there a guy was just pulling out, having locked the gates. When I asked if he was the windscreen man he said yes, but unfortunately it is Saturday and the shop is closed – along with every other glass place in Fort St John. So, no repair. This afternoon we have picked up another 2 chips. If we get through Canada without having to get a new windscreen, it will be a miracle.
Fort St John is a characterless town. Mainly companies supplying the oil and gas trade, plus the usual fast food restaurants etc. Dawson Creek is pretty similar. These are proper towns now we are further south. Modern and prosperous looking, due no doubt to the oil and gas industries, but they can’t be called attractive. Dawson Creek is the starting point of the Alaska Highway. We took the necessary photograph at the 0 marker.
We didn’t drive the entire 2195 km’s (1364 miles), as we diverted off the highway in a couple of places. We must have completed about 90% of it though. It was built after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. It’s construction was deemed a military necessity as a supply road to defend North America against the Japanese. Construction began on 8th March 1942 and was completed in 8 months. More than 11,000 American troops, including 7 regiments of engineers, 16,000 civilian workmen from Canada and the US and 7,000 pieces of equipment were thrown into the herculean task.
The scenery is quite different today now we are further south. Arable farmlands and grain silos. Some cattle too. Interspersed with gas and oil exploration activities and several timber processing plants.
We stopped in Grand Prairie, a town of around 70,000. Again not pretty. Now we are in Alberta we needed a more detailed map of the province, so called into the Visitor Centre to get one. Also to get some wifi once again. Last night Dennis spent a good 4 hours catching up with correspondence and working on the blog. Followed by another 2 this morning. We have a number of days now without any photographs, but the wifi is just too slow to load them. I don’t have Dennis’s patience. It is a virtue I was not given and doesn’t improve with age!
Everyone we spoke to suggested we take Highway 40 south of Grand Prairie. It looks the quietest option on the map and is designated as a scenic route. We have travelled about 80 k’s on it so far. It is not quiet, but very busy with logging trucks, tankers and dirty ute’s coming off the muddy side roads to the oil and gas sites. There is much activity going on in terms of laying pipes and developing infrastructure for these industries. Disappointingly not that scenic either. Perhaps we have been spoiled by what we have already seen. Also there have been several road works to slow us down.
This evening we have stopped at Musreau Lake. It is an attractive wooded site, but quite busy, being a weekend and lovely weather. We think it is expensive though for a provincial park with only basic toilet facilities at $27.00.