Archive for August 3, 2010

Days 65 and 66: A lot of driving…

August 3, 2010 4 comments

Location: Dawson Creek, British Columbia (ahem, not Dawson‘s)

Miles Driven (since Monday): 765

Total Miles: 15,565

Over 700 hundred miles from Vancouver and where does that take you?  Not incredibly far, by British Columbia standards.  What a huge province.  I still have a looooooong way to go just to get outside of BC, and then from there several hundred miles more to Fairbanks.

However, it’s pretty cool to be making progress towards Alaska.  British Columbia is beautiful country.  For the better part of Monday and Tuesday (today), I’ve been mostly driving.  Stops have basically consisted of a) taking naps, b) stretching the legs, or c) filling up the tank. And I thought gas prices on the West Coast were expensive…after you do the metric conversion (gas is sold in liters, here), the cost works out to be about $4/gal (I’m ignoring the conversion from Canadian Dollars to US Dollars…they are near equivalent at this time).  I underestimated the gas expense in this country while setting up my trip budget, but oh well.

I’m getting used to reading destination markers in kilometers and speed limit signs in km/h.  It’s unusual you see a speed limit sign that says “100”, but then you think twice and realize “ohhh, kilometers per hour.”  NOT that I was coasting through the country at 100 mph.

I don’t have many pictures from these past two days, but I occasionally tried to grab some shots of the nice scenery I passed through.

There were some areas I passed through that were not that far removed from some forest fires.  BC has been unseasonably dry this summer, I learned, and so the conditions were ripe.  Drove through some smoke for a little bit.

I spent Monday night in scenic Williams Lake, and then got on the road early in the morning to head towards Prince George.

A few hours later I was in Prince George, and I took some time to relax. Spent time at a cafe, got a haircut, and grabbed some lunch.  Then it was time to get back on the road as I wanted to get to Dawson Creek before it got dark.

I arrived in Dawson Creek in the early evening and decided I’d stop here for the night.  Earlier in the day I had read on that a recent coronal ejection from the Sun could result in a good display of the Northern Lights in northern latitudes.  Lucky for me, I’m the furthest north I’ve ever been in my life.  A side goal of this trip was to try and see the Northern Lights, but typically the best viewing is in early spring and September, so I would be a little early…but who knows, maybe I will have a chance tonight.  Take a look here, even those in northern parts of the U.S. might be able to view it:

So far the skies are clear near Dawson Creek…I might be in luck.  In a few hours, I’ll try to find a dark location outside of the city and have my camera set up and ready.

On a separate note, Dawson Creek is a pretty famous city amongst those who’ve spent some time on the road.  Dawson marks “Mile 0” of the Alaskan Highway, a road about 1300 miles in length that goes from Dawson Creek to Delta Junction, AK.  If not all the way, I’ll be taking the Alaskan Highway most of the way to AK.

I told a couple of friends today that a feeling of calmness, peace, and general happiness came over me today.  Not like I have been stressed or in a sour mood, but to realize that I’m on the way to something I’ve thought about for years…that was a pretty powerful feeling.  Still a long way to go until I make it to the 49th State, but the journey there is what it’s all about, right?

So I’m off to get a little exercise, and then I’ll do some location scouting for the aurora tonight.  Here’s hoping the skies stay clear and I’ll get a glimpse.