Monday, October 24, 2016

A Place at the Table

A week or more ago I posted … somewhere … about an event that the Peace Region Songwriters are putting on December 2nd, 2016 with the assistance of the First Baptist Church, at 1400 – 113th Ave. in Dawson Creek. We put together a concert with performances by some of the members and support of others. We also have door prizes donated by local business. Admission is by donation and proceeds go to charity in an effort to see that at least some of the less fortunate have “a place at the table” during the Christmas season.
The doors are scheduled to open at 6:30 pm with presentation to begin at 7:00.
I have with the help of Brady MacTavish (edit) and Duart Stark (posting) some excerpts of “A Place at the Table” from 2015, primarily my own contribution (since clearance isn’t a problem) but with the theme song itself written by Linda and Bill Studley.
You can get an idea of what we offer at

Monday, October 17, 2016

More early Alaska Highway

Here are a few pictures I've come across over the years of the way things looked when the Alaska Highway was built. After the first rough trail was opened, a trail that took several days and often several weeks to negotiate, freight was hauled as was required. Sometimes to the various army camps, most of which where US Army but there where also civilian camps for those who followed the first trail and in later years Canadian Army camps.
Once there was a pioneer road that would (almost, or sometimes) hold up a truck there where civilian trucks hauling for commercial enterprises, trading posts and the army.
Both the US Army and the several civilian contractors who followed them used similar equipment so the Cat in this picture could be from either source. However, since there doesn't appear to be very many stumps in the trail I suspect this one is civilian.

Mechanics from the 93rd Engineers, 1942

341st Engineers on a structure they undoubtedly built and ...

... what it looks like driving over such a structure.
This depicts early attempts at civilian travel in 1943.
A great many things have changed since '43 such as the pavement that can be seen between the snow banks from this picture of Km 1639 taken on Feb.26, 2013. Something that hasn't changed is the marvelous scenery; that is the St. Elias Mountains in the background.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Road That Couldn't Be Done

There is an anthology (CD) being done by those who have written songs about the Alaska Highway. Recording is in process and a couple of weeks ago I went and recorded a short (4 line) voice over for Barb Munro’s song, “97th Regiment”.
            By the way, the 97th Regiment of the US Army Engineers was one of several regiments who helped build the Alaska Highway. At the time enlisted within the 97th where all black and may still be for all I know. Most were from the south and the winter of ’42-’43 was not a pleasant time for these young men.
            While I was at the studio I was asked if I knew someone with a poem or rhyme that would fit in with this anthology. I had to say no but thought it was a great idea and over the next few days wrote something. It wasn’t great but with some help and tweaking from Karen it turned out alright.

            Here it is.

The Road That Couldn’t Be Done
D.M. & K.L. McGowan

They came to build a road
That some said couldn’t be done
But they did it damn it and did it fast
And even had some fun

The US Army Engineers
Several regiments strong
Cut and slashed through timber
And laid it across the bogs

With local trappers, packers and guides
And with sightings to the sky
They found a way through passes
And over mountains where eagles fly

Civilians from all walks of life
From all across the land
From Labrador, Ontario
And down to the Rio Grande

They dropped them off at end of rail,
A place called Dawson Creek
A bunch of young eastern boys
Too excited to sleep

The final push to build it came
December seventh, Forty One
And before Christmas the following year
There laid the road that couldn’t be done.

Oh, and sure it was only a trail
With decades of work to be done
But now millions of travelers
Use the road that couldn’t be done.

I also have a couple of pics from back in the day …
Charlie Lake Store 1942

Fort St. John, 1942

Army Barracks, Fort St. John, 1943