The Big Ride – The gift of remembering when (Dawson Creek, BC)

Being back in western Canada is all about visiting family and friends.  My first stop was in Edmonton where I spent a few days visiting my sisters Phyllis and Lori, along with other family members, such as my favourite niece Shirley.  The stop also included installing new tires on my bike and having it serviced at one of the local Harley dealers….and yes they have “oil field” service rates…ouch!

From there my intention was to ride  just south of the Yukon border, where my Dad rests.  Given the current situation with a number of major forest fires in the area I reluctantly left my bike in Edmonton in safe keeping at my sister’s and instead rented a car to make the trip.  In hindsight it was a wise choice as I’m currently in norther BC and the Alaska Highway is closed to the south of me preventing my return – stay tuned as that’s another post!

This is what I looked like after leaving my bike in Edmonton - but with the forest fires and road closure it was a wise decision!
) This is what I looked like after leaving my bike in Edmonton – but with the forest fires and recent road closure it was a wise decision!

When I left Edmonton I headed north to Dawson Creek, BC where you can find the start of the legendary Alaska Highway.

The Historical Alaska Highway was built during World War II as a way of connecting Alaska with the rest of the United States in a joint effort to protect both Canada and the US after the invasion of Pearl Harbour by the Japanese. The highway begins in Dawson Creek, BC and continues into Alaska via Whitehorse in the Yukon. It was built between 1942 and 1948 and originally was about 2,700 km (1,700 mi) in length. Since that time the road continues to undergo constant reconstruction and is now just over 2200 km (1,400 mi) long. The legendary highway was known for being a rough, challenging drive, however it is now paved and continues to be straightened.

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The Historic Alaska Highway Mile 0 sign in Dawson Creek, BC
The Historic Alaska Highway Mile 0 sign in Dawson Creek, BC
Dawson Creek - Mile 0 on the Historic Alaska Highway
Dawson Creek – Mile 0 on the Historic Alaska Highway
Dawson Creek Mile 0 on the Historic Alaska Highway where I started my career with Service Canada (formerly CEIC)
Dawson Creek Mile 0 on the Historic Alaska Highway – It’s where I also started my career with the Federal Government

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The Art Gallery in Dawson Creek
The Art Gallery in Dawson Creek is located in the “retired” grain elevator

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While passing through Dawson Creek I returned to the location where my career with the Federal Government began over 34 years ago!

I worked here for a very short period in 1980 when it was Cargill Grain - I left to start my career with Canada Employment and Immigration Commission aka known today as Service Canada.
I worked here for a very short period in 1980 – at the time it was Cargill Grain – I left my employment there to start my career with Canada Employment and Immigration Commission which today is known as Service Canada
This is where my career with the Federal Government began more than 34 years ago.  It was then the  Dawson Creek Post Office and housed the Canada Employment Immigration Commission - in those days aka the
This is where my career with the Federal Government began more than 34 years ago. It was then the Dawson Creek Post Office and housed the Canada Employment Immigration Commission – aka the “UIC Office”
If you were ever at the Employment Insurance Office in Dawson Creek this would be familiar to you - and it makes where my career in government began more than 34 years ago!
If you were ever at the EI Office in Dawson Creek this would be familiar to you and is where my career in government began!
This is where my career with the Federal Government began.  It was the former location of the  Dawson Creek Post Office and office for the Canada Employment Immigration Commission - also known as the Employment Insurance Office - it's now and arts centre.
Having recently retired from the Federal Government after an amazing 34 year career, it felt like I had come full circle by  returning to the  location where it all began.
To complete the circle, I visited the current location of the Service Canada office in Dawson Creek - I know I'm biased in saying that I like the former location better :)
To complete the circle, I visited the current location of the Service Canada office in Dawson Creek – I know I’m biased in saying that I like the former location better 🙂

During my quick stop in Dawson Creek I did a drive-by past the first house I owned.  Yup…it’s a little cutie.  It was nice to see that its owners have taken care of her over the years.

This was the first house I owned - I was a proud home owner at 23 years of age - and I'm still feeling grateful  :)
This was the first house I owned – I was a proud home owner at 23 years of age – and I’m still feeling grateful 🙂

I didn’t have much time for visiting on my way up the highway so I’m looking forward to connecting with a few folks in Dawson Creek  on my way back to Edmonton where I’ll be picking up my bike.

When leaving Dawson Creek, I deviated from the beaten path and followed the historic route where the original highway had once been  in order to visit the first “curved” bridge of its kind which spans the Kistatinaw river located at “Mile 21” on the Historic Alaska Highway.

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Kiskatinaw Bridge – Mile 21 on the Historic Alaska Highway – This curved bridge was the first of its kind when built in 1942.

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Kiskatinaw River and Campsite  - Mile 21 on the Historic Alaska Highway - home of the curved bridge!
Kiskatinaw River and Campsite – Mile 21 on the Historic Alaska Highway – home of the curved bridge!

From here I traveled north towards Fort Nelson where I spent a number of years while growing up.  This took me over the Alaska Highway, through Pink Mountain and beyond.

A stop in Pink Mountain...wildlife galore :)
A stop at Pink Mountain…wildlife galore 🙂
Outside the Fort Nelson Laundromat owned by my friend Cheryl
Outside the Fort Nelson Laundromat owned by my friend Cheryl
An artistic touch outside of the laundromat in Fort Nelson - nice touch Cheryl!
An artistic touch outside of the laundromat in Fort Nelson – nice touch Cheryl!
Snugglying wildlife in Fort Nelson
Snuggling wildlife in Fort Nelson

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Feel the grip :)
This place has quite the bang! 🙂

My visit to Fort Nelson, BC was filled rich with memories and is worthy of a post unto itself so stay tuned for my upcoming blog.

Until then be safe and remember that when you smile at life it smiles back at you!

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Bonnie St Julien

Bonnie St Julien provides personal development and professional leadership coaching and mentoring, to support individuals who aspire to make a positive and meaningful difference in who they are, in what they do and how they do it. Bonnie is an accredited certified Coach and a certified Professional Behaviours (DISC) and Driving Forces (Motivators) Analyst, with over 25 years of public sector management experience, including as an Executive Director. In addition to her professional experience, Bonnie has overcome a number of personal challenges, providing her the determination and inner strength needed to get though whatever life hands her. Bonnie is also an avid motorcyclist who embraces life and lives it fully! Calling on Bonnie's extensive professional and life experience, individuals who work with Bonnie are transformed through the coaching process by gaining self-awareness and by taking incremental concrete action steps to achieve their desired goal and create meaningful and sustainable results in their lives, their work, their organizations, and their world! If you are looking to transform your life, Bonnie is the coach for you!

3 thoughts on “The Big Ride – The gift of remembering when (Dawson Creek, BC)

  1. Glad to hear you are in a car, not on the bike, in the midst of the fire. It must feel strange though after all those miles on the bike. No twisting the throttle or leaning into curves. Safe travels.

    Liked by 1 person

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