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US 395 Epilogue: BC 395

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[US 395, BC 395(?) and BC A, 1938.] Hey, you've reached the "DVD extra" portion of the travelogue! US 395 may officially end at the Canadian border, but there's more fun to be had on the other side since the number lives on! Actually, this isn't all that unusual -- among others, US 59, US 83, US 93, US 95 and US 97 all continue on as like-numbered provincial routes into Canada, and even though US 99 is now long defunct, its replacement I-5 becomes BC 99 when it crosses the border too. (For that matter, there are a few state routes that do the same, such as MN 61, but Interstate 95 in Maine is the only Interstate route in this category.) BC 395 seems to have had an unknown (possibly unsigned) letter designation during the first iteration of British Columbian provincial highways, later adopting the same number as its southern cousin when BC highways were switched from a lettered system to the numbered network presently in use in the latter half of the 1930s. The modern highway seems to date from the 1970s; it is not known if BC 395 was actually signed BC 395 between these two periods. The thumbnail at left shows the junction of "BC 395" with BC A Crowsnest Hwy in 1938, just before BC A became BC 3.

BC 395 is quite short, barely a mile in length (there are no mileposts, so this is inferred from odometre count and distance signage; I refuse to count this out in km even though we're in metric territory now), and functions purely as a stub to BC 3 Crowsnest Hwy a/k/a former route A as depicted in the map at right. This is a little disheartening, as some of these dual-citizen routes have stupendously long routings within Canada long after their US designations have since disappeared in the rear-view mirror. As one such example, US 93 continues as BC 93 and AB 93 all the way into Jasper, AB to intersect with Trans-Canada 16, but US 97 is the real whopper, continuing as BC 97 until it crosses into the Northwest Territories and Watson Lake, YT as YT 1 for an additional 500+ miles of Canadian routing. At one time, it was even proposed to keep the number all the way into Alaska! -- see Robert Droz's page on Alaska US 97.

Nevertheless, BC 395 is the only place where we will truly find the "END" (capital letters intentional) of either US 395 or BC 395, so for the sake of completeness, we shall follow where it leads.


Welcome to British Columbia and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (unsigned here), incorporated in 1966 with its seat in Trail (population 7,575 [2001]). The RDKB has a present population of 31,843 [2001].

Kootenay (Kootenai) comes from the name of the Indian tribe that inhabits the southeastern corner of the province. Originally, the Kootenay lived east of the Rockies but were driven over the range sometime in the 18th century by the Blackfoot to their present area.

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First BC 395 shield.

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Thinkmetric, kids!

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Just to make the point, this and the following distance signs for BC 3 Crowsnest Highway clearly state km. The other distance signs do not. Here's EB BC 3; note the distinctive crow emblem on the shield.

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And WB BC 3.

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A tourist kiosk of sorts for Boundary Country. On my 2007 and 2008 trips, I stayed in the Ramada Inn in Grand Forks, but that's a story for another exhibit.

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Note how hazard signage is hung instead of posted, and uses a starburst pattern for sudden changes.

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Continuing NB BC 395.

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Coming up to the Kettle River crossing.

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This crossing has a modest but pretty falls (looking to the left as we cross the bridge).

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Historical marker for Cascade. Cascade during the late 1890s was another town in the mold of the Gold Rush, but the draw here was not gold, but electricity. Although established as a railroad town by the Columbia & Western Railway, the real story was the Cascade Water, Power & Light Co. which built a powerhouse and dam at the turn of the 20th century that was an important proving ground for Nikola Tesla's 3-phase, 60-cycle alternating current generation system. Cascade boasted a startling 17 hotels at its height, with a corresponding level of industrial and construction might; however, as construction waned and industry shifted further west, the town withered and the old powerhouse was later abandoned, leaving only the name to the region today.

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Just past the historical marker is the END, the only one on either US 395 or BC 395, on an older shield type.

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And now, a small personal note: my dear beloved 2002 Saturn SL2 Sedan's last US 395 trip, in 2008. Vaya con Dios, old paint. I love my 2008 Civic Si Sedan, but you were my first Landship, and you will always be Landship One.

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A little GPS photography to mark the occasion.

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Just beyond the ENDS marker, advance signage for BC 3 Crowsnest Highway (note: not Crow's Nest).

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Control city signage.

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Terminus and junction with BC 3 and absolutely, positively, the end of anything 395. Congratulations. We made it!

Since we're here, let's take a little look at BC 3.

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BC 3

Turning west and back again, we see this trailblazer set for BC 395 and the distinctive crow cutout shields for the Crowsnest used in British Columbia. The Crowsnest Hwy is one of the major arteries in southwestern Canada; a British Columbian and Albertan interprovincial route and an "unsigned" branch/spur of the Trans-Canada Highway between Hope, BC and Medicine Hat, AB, it courses approximately 730 miles through some beautiful territory and small-to-medium towns in the extreme south of the country. BC 3/AB 3 was first established by merger of the then-"Red Route" (AB 3) and portions of the "Black Route" (specifically BC A) in 1932, although it appears to have remained signed in British Columbia as lettered route BC A as late as 1938-9. Originally based on a 19th-century mining trail established by engineer, provincial lieutenant governor and Canadian MP Edgar Dewdney, the route takes its name from the Crowsnest Pass over the continental divide from British Columbia to Alberta which it traverses at 4,455' (1358m); it is also noteworthy for its crossing over the Kootenay Pass at 5,820' (1774m), the highest paved highway pass in Canada -- compare this with the Tioga Pass back in Part 8. This website is entirely dedicated to the Crowsnest Hwy.

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Overhead at the separation. There is no mention of BC 395 or, for that matter, US 395; it is simply signed as "CAN.-USA. BDY. SPOKANE" [sic]. Note the non-standard font.

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Continuing east and then turning around there, here is the other trailblazer set. Notice that this set is hung rather than bolted like the last set was.

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Overhead approaching the junction from the west. This is clearly an older sign, using the unique typeface BC employed until their later use of congruent FHWA shapes. Other signs like this can be found along BC 3 as it gets in toward its western terminus at TC 1 near Hope.

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Passing the junction.

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Distance signage along BC 3 for Grand Forks and Osoyoos. Beautiful towns, but that is also part of said future exhibit. :)

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Turning back towards the border, passing advance signage for BC 395 on BC 3 EB.

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BC 395 South

Going south from the Crowsnest, here is the first southbound BC 395 shield and yours truly mugging for the camera after my 2005 trip. This is what 14 hours of straight driving will do to you, too. I am told that the stubble only enhances my sizeable sex appeal.

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Back to Spokane and Part 30 (184km).

Resume Part 30

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