BC RVing: Summit Lake to Dawson Creek

Part of the decision to stop for Thursday night at Summit Lake, thus adding an extra 140 km to Friday’s drive, was that if there’s any part of the Alaska Highway that I’m willing to power through, it’s the 370-km (230-mi) section from Fort Nelson to Fort St. John. Although I’ve taken a lot of nice photos through there when the light is great, there are no “must-stops” along the way. So, on day 3 of the trip, we had just under 600 km (373 mi) to cover to reach our campground at Dawson Creek. After editing, I only have 25 photos from the day, and they’re mostly of highway construction.

It took Molly and Bella a while to figure each other out, but they are so cute when they play together now. I shot this during our middle-of-the-night awake timeout, about 01:00 Friday morning 🙂

Cat and husky playing in an RV
Sue and Steve were up and away while I was still enjoying a pot of coffee and getting some writing done, but before leaving, Sue popped over to see how Monty is doing, as our 6:30 bedtime Thursday evening hadn’t allowed for much visiting.

RV at Summit Lake, BC
This was the view from the front door of the motorhome as I stepped out to move the Tracker to a place where I could hook it up to the rig again. Yes, another day or 2 here would be nice…

Summit Lake, Stone Mountain Park, BC
In less than an hour, we’d reached the first major highway construction of the day, a long section just north of Steamboat Mountain. I noticed that road contractor Sid Sidhu from Whitehorse is getting most of the big jobs on the BC section of the Alaska Highway (which is maintained by the federal government, not the provincial). This was a fairly lengthy wait for the pilot car – 20 minutes or so.

Major re-building of the Alaska Highway in BC
The old highway has/had such character! Having watched much of the reconstruction since 1990, I do occasionally have little pangs of regret for the loss of that character. Is going faster through this country better? Well, obviously it is if you’re a trucker, but for the rest of us?

Trucking on the Alaska Highway in BC
This particular contract “for the improvement of the Highway from km 555.64 to km 560.78 and km 563.1 to km 570.2”, was awarded in April 2014, was for just over $10 million. In late July this year, the feds awarded another $53 million in Alaska Highway contracts for the BC section.

Major re-building of the Alaska Highway in BC

Major re-building of the Alaska Highway in BC
Just past that construction, the climb up to Steamboat Summit was beautiful. This was a piece of highway that I’m sure everybody was glad to see rebuilt. It was notorious for its steep hills and tight curves that took a few lives – I still remember a couple of particularly bad winter crossings driving buses in the early ’90s.

Climbing to Steamboat Summit on the Alaska Highway in the Fall

I made a lengthy stop in Fort Nelson, for a chat with the people at the visitor centre, a partial load of gas (keeping the fill-up for cheaper places further south), and an A&W lunch which all the kids were happy to help me with 🙂 .

The downturn in the oil and gas industry is very evident in the Peace country, and I’m very happy about the greatly reduced traffic. The government is finally building more passing lanes on the hills that back traffic up and make some people crazy.

Passing lane under construction on the Alaska Highway

We arrived at the Mile 0 RV Park in Dawson Creek just before 6:00, and for $47 per night got a nice grassy site with full services for 2 nights. The location of the park would be perfect for Saturday’s exploring in the area.

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