Mile 0

Like Moosejaw, Dawson Creek is a faded old town milking its heyday for all its worth. Even though it sits at Mile 0 of the Alaska highway, it is not the place to place to stock up on supplies and enjoy one last taste of civilization. Locals recommend heading about 75km up the Alaska Highway to Fort St-John, a larger community. It is still a ‘must stop at location’ for history buffs or if only to catch a glimpse of the famed Mile 0 markers:


The town is quiet and sleepy. Some folks, like the managers of the Mile 0 RV Park where I’m staying seem jaded to all the folks who come and go while others, like the gals at the tourist info centre or the wonderful manager of Read’s Books, recognize that giddy tourists like me are not only the lifeblood of this town, but also the source of memorable stories.

The city, like Dawson City in the Yukon, is named for George Mercer Dawson, a Canadian scientist and surveyor.

George Mercer Dawson, from one of Dawson Creek's many murals

George Mercer Dawson, from one of Dawson Creek’s many murals

Dawson Creek was originally a farming community, but soon became a railroad hub until it was invaded by American troops in the dead of winter of 1942. That invasion will be described in further detail in my next post, but to show that I’m not exaggerating:


Most of the town being shut tight on Sundays, I only did a walking tour yesterday afternoon. It was disappointing and I quickly gave up. Most of the landmarks on the tour have been destroyed and I got tired of markers saying that ‘such and such was located here in Dawson Creek’s hey day.’

I then went home, refilled my Nalgene water bottle, and set off to walk part of a trail that starts about a block from the RV park and which goes straight through town. Some stretches were quite desolate while others had me going through shanty towns.

Dawson Trail

This morning, I visited the railroad museum that gives a bit of general history of Dawson Creek.

Dawson Creek Visitors' Centre and Museum

Dawson Creek Visitors’ Centre and Museum

This exhibit gave me pause. It makes note of the ‘old-style’ Canadian money:


Old-style?! Heck, I remember how unimpressed I was when these ‘old fives’ were replaced by the blah new version, as well as the kerfuffle when the dollar bill was replaced by the loonie! The former was only about ten years ago and the latter about twenty years ago (already!!!). It’s a bit shocking to be thirty and to see familiar things become antiques! 😀

The rest of what I did and saw belongs in the next post, so keep reading! 🙂

A World Made to Scale

This afternoon, a group from the resort including myself toured a couple of ski hills, three or four fairs, a zoo, a m*a*s*h, an army base, and several towns. We witnessed at least a half dozen accidents and someone getting arrested, explored a sunken ship, marveled at a mermaid, laughed at skinny dippers, and experienced two nights.

All this, and so much more, can be experienced at the Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad, Canada’s largest Marklin-layout. The museum is a 3,500 square foot (and growing!) miniature Europe, featuring fantastic scenes and whimsical humour with, of course, model trains traveling through the various landscapes. It is well worth a detour to Osoyoos!

Dumfries to Glasgow By Way of Carlisle, England

9:25 am

I guess that the Scots’ definition of ‘early’ is different from mine. The earliest train to Glasgow is at 13:30 and won’t get me there till 4. The earliest bus is at 4! So I figure my best bet from here is to go back to Carlisle on the 10:20 bus (sigh). I should be there by lunch. Since it’s a big centre, there are more likely to be buses to Glasgow. At least I’ll be seeing something ‘new’, rather than ‘bumming’ around here all day. I’m not meant to see the transport museum, I guess! Oh well, as long as I get to New Lanark tomorrow, the pamphlet’s made me very curious to see it ! Besides, isn’t this what travelling’s all about? Changing your flexible plans?! Why even bother to have a plan ? ! I just hope I’ll find a place to stay when I get wherever I’ll end up tonight! The important thing will be to be in the vicinity of Glasgow tomorrow night! Heck, this isn’t really a ‘waste’ of time, where in Canada can I get ‘stranded’ in Scotland??!!

I very much enjoyed my stay at Inverallochy (the B and B). The bed was incredible! It felt good to have a place where I could get comfortable (you know, in leggings, tee-shirt, barefeet, no bra, etc.) and know that no one would walk in on me. I can’t believe how not ready I am to go home! I’m not fed up in the least bit. I have learned a valuable lesson: be careful where you end up on a Sunday! Of my three Sundays here, or was it four? Yes, four. Two have been ‘downers’

1)   Pitlochry, being a ‘tourist town’, everything was open

2)   Skye. Good thing there was lots of walking country!

3)   Perth. Scone. Need I say more?!

4)   Dumfries. Nothing much happening!

Oh, I have had the most incredible month of my whole entire life!!! I actually feel different, more brave, more adventurous. Life is wonderful, I’ve allowed myself so many opportunities. I’m in Scotland for pete’s sake! Yes, no one can take this experience away from me. It belongs to me. Maybe I could get back here next spring break…!


I’m on my way to Glasgow!!! I got to Carlisle with 5 min to spare. This bus requires reservations, but since there was room, they made an exception, no fuss at all, and very courteously.  I’ll be in Glasgow at two rather than 3:45. I might still be able to catch 1.25 hours of the transport museum! Things do work out for me. I’m starting to think that I might have a guardian angel !


I’m home!!! (That’s Glasgow!) I can’t believe how ‘far’ I’ve come in the last month. I navigated myself from the bus station with a minimum of map reading and no detours whatsoever. The youth hostel costs a £ more/night in July and August, so it’ll be £25/  nights. At least it includes breakfast!

I did make it to the transport museum and I had almost 1.5 hours to explore. It was sufficient. I liked the recreated street (the museum invented a street and lined it with shops and businesses from, I think, the 1920s. It included a fascinating history of the underground), and I can’t believe just how fascinated I am with old cars! Of course, the model boats display (it was huge) was my favourite. An hour more would have been great, but this was better than not going at all! So, my day wasn’t a ‘waste’ after all. I just hope I won’t have a hard time getting to Lanark tomorrow (I didn’t get a chance to go to the rail station, but I figure there should be several on a weekday). One day left. Boohoo!

A final note on Dumfries (that’s Dumfreece (like ‘fleece’), not Dum-freeze): I go to Scotland to get away from the Americans (not true!) and they ‘follow’ me here for a 4th of July celebration in the town square ! A final note on Galashiels: their travel agency featured a display on Canada with special importance placed on ‘tourisme Québec’ !