We’re near the southern end of the Alcan. (See the last two posts to learn more about the rest of our trip.) On the next part of our drive, we took a brief stop at the Sikanni (also called the Sikanni Chief) River, where the U. S. Army’s African-American 95th Engineering Regiment built a bridge in three and a half days. (No, that’s not a typo, but a huge accomplishment.) The original bridge is gone, but the remnants of the steel replacement show the location pretty well.
After that, we stayed in Fort St. John, where the PRA (Public Roads Administration, the civilian side of the project) had a headquarters and the 95th were stationed nearby in the summer of ‘42. (Did you guess one of the main characters in my work in progress is in the 95th and the other in the PRA?) Manager/curator Heather Longworth at the Fort St. John North Peace Museum was very helpful, and guided me to some great sources of information. Raven 1 decided not to start after that visit, but a nice mechanic helped us get on our way.
The next stop was Dawson Creek, Mile 0, the southern end of the Alcan. They really celebrate the history of the Alcan here. The Northern Alberta Railways Park includes the Mile 0 Cairn, the Alaska Highway House, and the Dawson Creek Art Gallery. I had a ball here!
We made a detour to the Kiskatinaw Bridge, a curved wooden bridge built by the PRA as part of the Alcan. Now the new highway bypasses it, but it can still be driven and is an engineering marvel to behold.
Now we are done with the Alcan portion of our trip. It sure has been beautiful, and good for my manuscript. I’ve been very impressed with the the friendly Alaskans and Canadians. But Raven 1 (our bus) still has a ways to go before she sleeps for the winter. Onward!
Hope you enjoyed my little travelogue. For the next post, I’ll go back to more writerly topics and tell you about Alaska Book Week!