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On the Alcan Highway, Post #2

Post #2 of our Alcan adventure! (See the last post to find out more about our trip.) After Whitehorse, we drove to Watson Lake to see the signpost forest and the visitor/interpretive center. The center had a great exhibit on the building of the Alcan Highway. Watson Lake is probably most famous for its signpost forest; in 1942, a homesick solider named Carl K. Lindley put up a sign to Danville, IL. People started adding to it, and now there are more than 71,000 of them. It’s a cool thing to see. My husband and I added one of our own too:

Watson Lake signposts1

 

 

 

Watson Lake signposts ours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we hit the twisty-turny part of the highway, where we wove through mountains and down onto flat ground. (Very dramatic, but unfortunately my iPhone was out of juice so no photos to share.) The next stop was Fort Nelson. I hoped to visit the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum, which I had heard was a good source for WWII/Alcan information. The museum itself was closed, but they have a monument to the Alcan construction project and tons of vehicles and other items around its grounds. I spent over an hour just walking around taking notes of things. They had a community fundraiser event at the airport that day, so we got a free helicopter ride over the area. And I got a good tip on a local expert I can contact later, so it worked out okay. Here are some photos from Fort Nelson:

 

Fort Nelson monument3 Ft. Nelson Dodge Ft. Nelson flyover 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ended up with an extra day in Fort Nelson due to a minor glitch. (Nothing major, don’t worry Dad!) We discovered that A & W has free wifi, so caught up with our emails, etc. and had our first poutine there. (It was okay, but not an improvement over plain french fries in my opinion. Maybe it’s an acquired taste.) It’s been kind of fun to see the differences in the culture here. Canadians say “washroom” instead of “restroom” and “take away” instead of “to go” and they are very polite about letting pedestrians cross the street, to the point that every time I stopped on the curb drivers waved me over. Much nicer than some places in the States where you wonder if anybody would stop for you.

 

More later, hope you’re having a good fall too!

 

 

I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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