Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fort Nelson, BC #1 - What a Cool Day

So what can I say about a day that began with a reflected rainbow, segued to a cinnamon roll, turned into a most unusual museum, free truck wash and finally ended with a free campground in the woods? I mean, what a cool day. We awoke early and, when we opened our front shade, we found this over Reflection Lake, outside our door. Well, the lake was aptly named.


We got ready to go but I keyed into our GPS the ooordinates of the Center of the Galactic Cluster Cinnamon Bun at a roadhouse along the Alaska Highway. Gotta try something with that tag - though that’s a pretty tough description to live up to. I’ll admit that Gar’s was a bit dry and mine was a bit cinnamon-soupy so we traded. I like dry and Gar likes soupy so that worked out perfect. Those who travel the Alaska Highway quickly realize that not only is the highway an icon but the cinnamon rolls found in the roadhouses along the route are also icons. We meant to try every one but quickly realized that we would roll home in September so tried only a few. (but that’s another blog.)


After the cinnamon roll we found some cool views of the Canadian Rockies and a picture of a mountain lake at the highest point in the highway. Nice campground on its shores - maybe next time.





Then, just off the road were these two checking out the road.


Then they climbed over the guard rail and meandered on their way.


We then landed in Fort Nelson where we stopped at the Visitor Center and then headed over to the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum.

We saw this vehicle in the parking lot. They’ve got their adventure gear on top and in the truck. Kayaks and an ATV.


Just a bit about Fort Nelson. It was originally inhabited by an Athabascan aboriginal group. The Northwest Fur Trading Company established a post here in 1805 about 80 mile south of where Fort Nelson is now but the third fort was located near where the airport is now. It first great growth was in the early 1940’s when 2000 soldiers assigned to build the Alaska Highway were stationed here. Here they began one of the most ardurous parts of the highway.

The second great economic boom was in the 1990’s when a massive discovery of shale gas 60 miles north of Fort Nelson spurred further interest in the area. However, recently, with the prices of oil and gas much lower many of those who worked in the gas and oil industries have lost their jobs. Of course, when they lost their jobs many of the businesses in town closed and left also. We were told that Fort Nelson has had booms and busts before and they hope it will pull out of this one too.

There was lots of equipment that was used in the building of the highway outside the museum.



Nice paddy wagon for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.




OK, back to the museum. Here’s where we met this cool dude, Marl Brown, who is the owner, curator and main refurbisher. Fun museum and Marl showed us his working saw and log splitter. And, he was demonstrating how they worked by making some logs for the winter fires.



We saw the home of a friend who left it to Marl and his museum. Inside are the original furnishings pretty much as the friend left them - even the closet is full.



And, the cupboards - that list in the upper center is his shopping list. Buttermilk pancake recipe is the red bordered sheet.


There was also a Royal Canadian Mounted Police superintendent’s home and several other buildings furnished in period styles.

Next we headed over to his car collection which is quite impressive.

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