Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fort Nelson, BC #2, Marl and his Museum

We also toured Marl’s impressive collection of working automobiles, polished to a fare-thee-well by Marl himself.

Here’s a tire lock so that your car won’t be stolen.
And, what might be the first snowmobile.

He keeps all of his vehicles in working order and drives them himself. He’s got quite a workshop.

He’s probably got every old part that you might need.

Then we went inside the museum and were looking at all the displays when one of the young employees played the piano.
Gary was making a movie of the museum on his IPhone and got the whole thing. Like a publicity movie for the museum with a sound track. Cool.
Excellent collection of buildings and artifacts. But, now it's time to move on

Our RV is not just dirty, it is filthy. I am embarassed to look at it and, even though I’ve done the front of the RV almost everyday we’ve been on the road back to Iowa, it’s still not as clean as I would like.

But, we decided that there would be more sand along the way so - why clean it now? On the other hand, some of the dirt we’re carrying is not really just sand and dust, it is mud and, since we don’t want to wash it off into the lush grass in one of our favorite campgrounds in Iowa, we decided to try the truck wash here. Cool. It even has an upper walkway to do the roof. Ah, but we decided to just spray the sides and front,  just to get rid of the mud.
We each took a hose and began to spray. The pressure was so great that whenever Gary stopped spraying on his side, I recoiled with the force coming in on my side. We got done in about 20 minutes and figured it would cost us at least $40. but - the owner had been reading his horoscope for the day and it said to be kind to your elders and - it was free. No cost. Gratis. Complimentary. Whoopee.

Marl told us that he had owned a gas station along the Alaska Highway - until they realigned the road. The original road followed natural landmarks like rivers and often was pretty curvy. Sometimes, people who traveled it wondered what the old surveyors were thinking when they plotted its path through the wilderness. Some thought it was to confuse the Japanese should they ever land here. Others thought it was a training ground for new engineers on how to build a curve. But the real reason was pretty mundane: they were going fast and punched it through where they could.
This section of road originally had 132 curves within 35 miles. As one traveler said:

‘Winding in and winding out
Leaves my mind in serious doubt,
as to whether the man who built this route
was going to hell or coming out.’

Here’s a map showing the old road, where he had his station and the new road. The old road is the red dotted line close to the river. His station is the two black dots along this route right above the last ‘r’ in ‘river’. The new road is the solid red line in the middle.
He was out of a job, couldn’t sell his station - who wants a gas station that is not on the road - and he and his family moved to Fort Nelson.

Then we took off - just another 1 1/2 hours down the road to an old abandoned Provincial Park next to an airstrip. We read that this strip can get really active if there is a forest fire near the area since it is used as a staging area for the fire fighters and their planes.
But this is a wet summer and there are few fires. For us it was quiet, peaceful and with a view.

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