Saturday, July 14, 2012
Thursday, July 12: (Happy Birthday to me!) Up about 6am, but our host, Sue, already has coffee ready and I do a little writing and chatting till Ron gets up for breakfast at 7am—quiche and strawberries with blueberry scones—yum! Sue presents me (literally) with chocolate-covered cherries and a copy of her book, and then packs us up the rest of the scones and quiche for my lunch—she’s amazing. Make a stop at the Peace Canyon dam site; there's an interpretive center about the workings of the dam, and we see casts and rocks with dinosaur fossils found when they drained the river to put in the dam. Then we head up-river to the WAC Bennett Dam, one of the largest earthfill dams in the world, with BC’s largest reservoir, Williston Lake. (They were named after politician’s of the time.) There is a third dam planned, the Site C Project, and there are "no Site C" signs all over town just like our ATC controversy. Ron decides to take the tour; I find a spot in the sun and read; such a life! Ron reports: "I'm asked on occasion to put pen to paper and give a brief accounting of a "boy" stop. The stop at hand is the a dirt dam that, with the Peace Valley dam, supplies 25% of Canada’s power. The project started in 1961 and was finished in 1967. It employed 1000 workers at the peak. I went on a real cool tour into the bowels of the place and observed the ten big generators of which three were being overhauled. You can actually watch the water as it is leaving the turbines and feeding into the penstocks that carry the ejected water into the river below the dam. That water is then dammed up again downstream to make more juice and the project coming up will use that same water for a third dam making electricity to put on the USA grid--thank you very much." We continue on the loop back to Dawson Creek, “0” on the Alcan Highway; I think this means we’ve done it all! There’s a haze and smell of smoke in the air; forest fires or pollution, maybe we’ll find out when we stop for lunch in Dawson Creek, our last stop in BC. Several big river valleys and bridges through here, though the land is flattening out; and hugh canola fields--my favorite margarine, Canola, is from Canada. Chinese food for my birthday lunch (we say, “she-she) and then across this ag country toward Edmonton, capitol of Alberta. Lots more canola fields and dinosaur remains in the old inland sea country. We decide to stop at Whitecourt and see how our luck holds out. Not so good here either ‘cause of contractors and workers in oil and gas exploration. We finally find an old Howard Johnson Hotel (Walter Hooper used to like to stay at them) that had seen better days. Oh well, it’ll do for one night. Bedtime entertainment consists of us watching out our fourth floor window (floors three and four are non-smoking?) three patrol officers empty a car of three young men, put one in cuffs and impound the vehicle. Sweet dreams!