Day 24. Sunday 11 September.
Find an espresso in remote Canada? Not a chance! Once again, confusion over the order, so we got what the server wanted to give us. Ah well, but they are so polite.
The ‘Sad Road’ on a perfect autumn day. Early on, views of the Rockies. It reminds us of the boom and bust stories….massive investment in oil and gas infrastructure over a decade. Townships expand AND THEN? The resource prices drop, the drilling stops, there are few jobs, the big mining “donga camps” are empty. The only employment is road maintenance/upgrade (and there has been lots of that), the diners, international tourists flying in for the hunting season. Lots of real estate for sale and the car at the drive-thru Tim Horton’s coffee…”For sale or take over loan” sign says it all. There are big tanker trucks in both directions constantly. What are they carrying?
A few stops, one memorable. D was becoming increasing agitated about fuel – not so much to get to our next stop, but more about availability, once there, to get to the one following. A convenience store, restaurant and fuel point appeared as if by magic about 5 km before we pulled off the Alaska Highway onto a minor ring route. The restaurant was called ‘The Shepherd’s Inn’.
T went in to activate the plastic card and the guy on duty was so pleased that we’d stopped for a chat. He said he could have listened to our accent all day. He & T talked about the “sad road”….he’d been in this business for 11 years and it had gone sad in the past 15 months. However, he mentioned that the business was owned/managed by a church group….a Christian Fellowship of no particular denomination (they didn’t owe allegiance to and didn’t pay dues to any other body).
He’d been in church this morning and was now in the servo, doing his bit. We talked about church communities, having just got a new Minister etc…. He sent us off with a “God Bless” and some cake samples. We stood in the yard eating our icecreams and realized he’d not charged us. So, D went back in….the proprietor admitted that he had been so engaged in the conversation that he’d overlooked the icecream charge and didn’t really want it…but in such a context…
A bit later we said goodbye to the ‘Alcan’, the road through to the northwest that links the lower 48 through Canada to Alaska. It’s an historic/iconic route, built largely using Army Engineers in World War II (in only 8 months), and is maintained in very good condition. From now we’ll be on “lesser” roads.
Wildlife today? Deer…others sighted a few bears.
Now on Lynx Creek, part of the Peace River Valley, that supports hydro power and farming pastures (which deer love).