We drove into rain within the first 10 miles and, when we hit the down hill slope at the Peace River Bridge in Taylor, it was coming down
hard. There is an 8% slope on that hill, ending in the metal grating of the 2,130 foot
bridge. (I have learned from Orrin Conklin, who is following our trip, that the metal
grating reduces the amount of snow removal necessary to keep the bridges safe
in the winter. Thanks, Orrin.) On the other side of the river, there was an even scarier sight - a sign declaring that the next 4 miles
contained grades ranging from 6-10% going uphill. Fortunately, there was a passing lane most of the way up because we dropped down
to 11 mph at one point. But Ben wants me to mention that, with the Waford transmission, he only had to
shift into Ford Low for about 100 yards. Not that everyone was glad we were on the mountain but most were still waving as
Seventeen miles south of Dawson Creek was a side road that put us on an
original section of the Alaska Highway and gave us the chance to drive over the
beautiful Kiskatinaw River Bridge, the only original timber bridge built during
the construction of the Alaska Highway that is still in use today. Please look at the structure of the bridge in the big photo below. The wooden plank surface is slanted, like a race track, to give the vehicles
better traction as they made the curve. It is also beautiful and well worth the
few extra minutes it takes to follow the loop road back to the highway.
Somehow, I had expected bands to be playing when we reached the Mile 0
marker.in downtown Dawson Creek. Surely, we are not the only ones taking pictures of our car driving around the
marker! We also visited the Alaska Highway House, seen in the picture below, which is an
outstanding museum about the unbelievable accomplishment that was the building
of the Alaska Highway. If you ever come here, in a T or not, take time to visit this museum.
The road to Grande Prairie was extremely busy and, in spite of Ben’s efforts to take to the shoulder whenever possible, we did get a rather
unfriendly honk from someone who resented us for slowing him down (our first in
over 2,000 miles). Although the land leading into town is largely agricultural, this is a city of
50,000 and we were glad to get off the road and to our motel. We’ve gotten rather used to seeing sheep on the highway and, really, prefer them to
the double trailers we were dodging today.