We spent the morning walking through Ft Nelson Heritage Museum, a tremendous collection of partially curated junk, some of which I think is pretty cool. The museum is organized into five or six buildings including the main building housing most of the curated displays, a large garage housing fifteen or twenty trucks and cars, an old story and half house, a trappers cabin, a post office, and a memorial to Northern Telecom and other old communications.
Perhaps the oddest think we saw is the double-steered bicycle. No, it isn’t steered by two people. It seems to be steered by the pedal crank as well as the handlebars. I had a tough time keeping the front and rear wheels aimed the same direction. This would take a day or several to get the hang of.
Old Marl, the museum owner, hopped on and skillfully steered around people and equipment obstacles. Fun to watch, difficult to copy. Not just difficult, perhaps dangerous to attempt copying. I was very glad I tried it before he showed how easy it is — when I did it I couldn’t steer or drive straight.
We spent the most time in the main building looking at more than 20 display cases full of stuff from the 1940s through 1970s, all considered old for this part of the world. The next most time we spent in the auto and truck garage looking over his many vintage vehicles including a pair of Studebakers, a few English Fords, a pair of Packards, several old trucks, and a bunch of Model Ts and Model As.
Overall the museum provides an interesting peak at parts of life in the 1940s when thousands of US Army soldiers and Canadian contractors invaded the area to build the Alaska Highway. We were able to wander at our leisure and get very close to and even touch many objects. It was interesting and helped us understand a little more what was going on during that extremely busy wartime project in Northern British Columbia.
We had our first of the caravan’s six get-acquainted meetings this evening followed by ice cream and driving instruction for tomorrow. The next two driving days, according to our driving manual, are the most scenic sections of the Alaska Highway. We’ll try to get a picture to share.
Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
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