Our Alaska RV Tour – Day 26 – Bucking Horse to Chetwynd

Bucking Horse Provincial Campground, Alaska Hwy, northern BC
Bucking Horse Provincial Campground, Alaska Hwy, northern BC, my truck and camper

Day 26 – Bucking Horse River to Chetwynd BC.

Partly cloudy and 8 degrees C. as we left Bucking Horse River Provincial Park. We continued due south on the Alaska Hwy parallel to the Northern Rockies visible in the distant to the west.
The scenery on the way to Fort St. John was similar to the previous drive from Fort Nelson, rolling hills of dark green and fall colors.
We stopped at a rest area an hour north Fort St. John. Ralph pointed out one side of my trailer was sagging. I climbed under to have a look, a broken spring was the verdict.
Rolling hill of the Alaska Hwy, northern BC
Rolling hill of the Alaska Hwy, northern BC
I tried a bandaid repair with a bunch of zap straps around the broken spring lashing it to the one above, I thought it may do the trick until we stopped for the night.
The temporary repair didn’t do much, the zap straps stretched and the spring sagged again. At the next overnight stop I wired the springs together with a metal coat hanger, this helped but unfortunately the axle shifted causing increased wear on the tires. Hopefully, the repair will last until we return home where I have the tools to replace the spring assembly.
A nice day, filtered sunshine, 19 C. We arrived in Fort St. John around noon, just in time for a restaurant lunch, yummy. Not too many restaurant meals on this trip, I’m not complaining, our wives are great cooks and the fish frys are awesome.
Henry & Allyson met their niece from Fort St. John for lunch. A good excuse for Ralph, Lois, Lynda and I to treat ourselves to a lunch out.
Fort St. John is another resource town, busier and larger than Fort Nelson. The industrial nature of the town is apparent as we drove through. Lots of heavy equipment moving about, the natural gas business seems to be booming.
A leisurely lunch and back on the road toward Dawson Creek. As we headed south across the mighty Peace River, the sky darkened and the wind picked up, looking like rain would cross our path soon.
We made it to Dawson Creek before the rain started. A fuel stop at the Esso card lock on the way into town. We continued to the south side of town to mile ‘0’ of the Alaska Hwy.  for pictures. Cloudy and a cold wind as we posed for pictures in front of the mile ‘0’ sign.

The main monument marking the beginning of the Alaska Hwy is in the center of town between the traffic lanes. Strange place to erect a monument, no way to take a picture unless you stand in traffic or take it out the window as you drive by? The town must have been built around it.
Dawson Creek is a smaller town compared to Fort St. John the only obvious sign of industry is the massive grain elevator and several rows of railway tracks. The landscape is flatter and barren compared to the rolling hills of Fort Nelson and Fort St. John.
The beginning of the Alaska Hwy, Dawson Creek BC
Lynda, myself & Buddy
A brief stop for pictures and back into our rigs to retrace our path north for a couple of Ks then west toward Chetwynd. Soon after we made the turn heavy rain began.
The drive to Chetwynd took a couple of hours on windy wet roads. Daylight turns to dusk under back clouds even though it was mid-afternoon. The lights of oncoming vehicles reflected off the shiny wet pavement like a mid-winter storm….yuk.
Chetwynd sits in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Disappointingly, the low cloud obscured any spectacular vistas from view.
By the time, we entered Chetwynd the rain eased and the dark clouds lifted slightly, it was daytime again. Light rain continued as we drove through the town on our way to Carron Creek RV park.

Chetwynd Chainsaw Wood Carving

 

Unfortunately, the rain prevented us from stopping in Chetwynd. Too bad, the main street was lined with life-size wood carvings. Carvings depicting everything imaginable, native chiefs with full headdress, fantastic creatures from the deep, a Viking warrior and even a hockey player complete with skates and hockey stick.
The chainsaw carving began as part of the 50th celebration of the construction of the Alaska Hwy. The town hired a master chainsaw carver to create a sculpture of three bears at the entrance to the town.
The town now hosts an international chainsaw carving competition, attracting carvers and spectators from around the world. There are now more than 120 carvings situated throughout the town. Chetwynd is definitely worth a stop.
We continued onto Carron Creek RV park about 10 kilometers west of Chetwynd. Our destination on the itinerary was supposed to be Sunset Lake Rec. Site. However, after we left Dawson Creek a discussion ensued over the walkie talkies about changing the destination to a campground with more facilities.
We hadn’t showered since Liard Hot Springs 4 or 5 days ago, and our next stop, after Chetwynd is another lake with only basic camping facilities. We all agreed it may be time for a shower. Thanks to Allyson, she managed to find Carron Creek RV park on the internet using her phone.
Carron Creek RV Park, Chetwynd BC
Carron Creek RV Park, Chetwynd BC the morning we left.
We pulled into the RV park around 4:30 under cloudy skies. The park was almost full, I thought this strange given vacation season was over and it is after the middle of September. We found out later many of the occupants were transient railway workers.
Camping was reasonable $21. for dry camping and $32 for full hook ups. Lynda and I opted for dry camping, our camper still had electrical issues plugging into power caused breakers to blow. A chore to take care of when we arrive home.
The RV park provided free showers, coin operated laundry machines and free wi-fi. Once camp was set everyone took turns showering and doing laundry. After we enjoyed face time with our children and grandchildren.
On this trip internet use and face time with the kids has been slim. In fact, Whitehorse and Dawson City have been the only two stops with internet service. Whitehorse was free but limited usage and slow, Dawson City was pricey and poor reception.
Heading west into the Rockies, hwy 97 Chetwynd BC
Heading west into the Rockies, hwy 97 Chetwynd BC
Once face time was finished the group gathered for our usual evening campfire and happy hour. The rain held off as darkness fell over our camp, another pleasant evening with good friends.
After a long day’s drive and a nice shower, everyone was feeling relaxed and fatigued. Bedtime would arrive early this evening. Conversation was almost nil as we sat mesmerized by the crackling fire.
The evening calm was suddenly broken by the deafening sound of a train’s whistle.  Immediately we realized the campground was next to the railway tracks.
The powerful light of the train pierced the darkness as it made its way towards us. The rumbling train passed shaking the ground. I glanced around at the faces of the group, we were all thinking the same thing, fat chance of getting a decent night’s sleep.
After the train passed one by one the group bid good night and retired to their respective rigs. A long day 26 comes to an end.
My next article, the drive to Davie Lake Rec. site north of Prince George.
 If you would like to read about our Alaska RV tour from the beginning please click this link.

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Thanks for visiting.
Gord B.

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