On Sunday we headed out from Stony Plain, AB and drove 351 miles to Dawson Creek, BC. Dawson Creek is the official start of the Alaska Highway and Mile Marker 1. Of course we got our pics made at that historic spot! We first had to go through Grande Prairie to get there. They have done a ton of road construction since we were last there in 2009 and the AK Highway is not marked AT ALL! Crazy! We fueled up and finally headed down the correct road. We arrived in DC about 5:20 and stayed at the Northern Lites RV Park. A nice facility. I grilled burgers and we enjoyed eating outside. The weather was perfect! We played cards and then hit the rack so we could make a Canadian Tire and Wal Mart run in the a.m. before heading out. We had a wonderful breakfast out at a little diner and then after shopping, hit the road about 11 a.m. Our latest start. We have been buying bottled water as we use our tank for bathing and cooking. Found out that in Canada, you pay for the water, then you pay for the bottles, almost as much as the water itself! Oh well...It was actually hot today so we changed from long to short sleeves for the first time (low 80's). Dawson Creek unleaded is $1.38 per litre, making it about $5.24 per gallon. The good news is Stubby has been averaging well over 10 mpg which makes us happy! So, on the highway about an hour and we all came to a screeching halt, the entire highway! The sad part is there was a fatal accident about a mile ahead of us. It shut the Alcan down for over 2.5 hours. Once it was opened, we traveled only a total of 226 miles in 7.5 hours. We boondocked for the first time, this trip, at Prophet River airstrip. It used to be a Provincial Park (like our National Parks) but has been closed. It is a popular drycamping stop in a beautiful grove of tall aspen trees. The mosquitos were plentiful but we grilled pork chops anyway, had a delightful meal and played a new (to us) card game. 7 Up, 7 Down. It's a lot of fun and Dan really enjoys giving me his aces (not good for me! lol) We all slept in the wonderful quiet and left at 8 for Liard Hot Springs in BC as our destination. Along the way we saw our first large animal. A caribou grazing along the berm.We stopped at Ft Nelson Hotel for a nice breakfast and a fuel stop. We have stopped at Liard twice before. It is a natural mineral springs and Provincial Park. You walk down a 1/2 mile boardwalk to the springs and then soak in a VERY hot, hot tub that has no tub! It is quite large and we really enjoyed our time there. We met up with Mickey and Lynn Waite for our soak of 6. Before doing so, we checked in to our RV park and found out that we had actually caught up with Dennis and Carol Hill and our Loosey Goosey Escapees gang! We were surprised as we thought they were still well ahead of us! After intros and hugs all around, we were blessed with our neon orange name badges! (Dennis loves orange!)
Back to the animal sightings! We saw and took pics of 6 black bears! We were so excited! I have never seen that many in one day. One bear was eating a Caribou carcass (roadkill, I think) and then there were a pair lounging along the roadside, yawning, stretching and snacking! So cute to watch. We also enjoyed FABULOUS cinnamon buns at Tetsa River Services. I have eaten many a cinnamon roll on the Highway but these were the best! It was a beautiful drive and we also saw Stone sheep, caribou, 2 moose and many herds of buffalo. It was an animal viewing feast! At Muncho Lake, which is a beautiful azure blue and also still very frozen over, we saw a newborn buffalo calf and his Mom. She had just given birth and cleaned the baby up. We watched him take his first steps and nurse for the first time. It was truly amazing!
We wanted hook ups and badly needed to dump and take on water so we opted to stay across from the springs in a park. It is poorly maintained and $33 per night. The Provincial Park is $28 and no hook ups at all. When we were ready to leave this a.m. we could not locate the dump station! Dan walked the entire park, we all drove it 3 times...where was it hiding? Well, we never found out! The RV park attendant partied too much last night and did not show up for work. The Manager, a very nice young lady couldn't find it either! So, she refunded both of our night's stay and apologized. She also said she was firing the attendant as this isn't the first time he has no-showed. We had a short drive of only about 3 hours to Watson Lake, our first stop in the Yukon. Watson Lake is our first 2 night stopover. I was able to use the phone and internet and get some badly needed work done today. We all then went to the Northern Lights theater (more like a planetarium) and saw a wonderful IMAX film on the universe creation (think BIG Bang) and another on the Aurora Borealis. Both quite well done! The films are different from the ones we saw in 2006 and we all really enjoyed them! I cooked red beans and rice with sausage tonight and Carolee (my Sous chef!) made garlic bread and salad. All was quite good! For lunch I had made tuna salad so we all really enjoyed being able to eat outside twice today. The weather here is just perfect! Tomorrow I have more work to do and we might go do a little bird watching at the lake here. We might even get some laundry done if we get real motivated! We shall see.