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IM'ing from British Columbia

I got a pleasant surprise at midnight last night when I got a phone call from a friend letting me know that my hubby was online.  He had borrowed one of the other guy's laptop. I got up quickly and managed to stagger downstairs and fire up the computer for a nice little chat.  Right now they are in Ft. Nelson, BC and will be heading over to the Yukon.  Their next stop is some hot springs place where they plan to spend the night and enjoy the springs for an evening.  I think they have at least  two more days driving across Canada before reaching Alaska and then a day's drive through Alaska to reach Wasilla.

Fort Nelson, BC  Information by Rough Guides

One of the highway's key stopoffs, FORT NELSON greets you with a large poster proclaiming "Jail is only the beginning – don't drink and drive", a sobering sign that hints at the sort of extremes to which people hereabouts might go to relieve the tedium of winter's long semi-twilight. Everything in town, except a small museum devoted to the highway's construction, speaks of a frontier supplies depot, the latest in a long line of trading posts attracted to a site that is fed by four major rivers and stands in the lee of the Rockies. Dour buildings stand in a battered sprawl around a windswept grid, only a single notch up civilization's ladder from the time in the late 1950s when this was still a community without power, phones, running water or doctors. Life's clearly too tough here to be geared to anything but pragmatic survival and exploitation of its huge natural-gas deposits – the town has the world's second-largest gas-processing plant and the huge storage tanks to prove it. Aboriginal and white trappers live as they have for centuries, hunting beaver, wolf, wolverine, fox, lynx and mink, as well as the ubiquitous moose, which is still an important food source for many aboriginal people.

The town does, however, have an extraordinary claim to fame, namely that it's home to the world's largest chopstick factory, located south of the town off the highway behind the weigh scales at Industrial Park Chopstick Road (tel 774-4448 for details of tours). This has nothing to do with gargantuan demand for Chinese food in Fort Nelson – at last count there were only three Chinese restaurants in town – but more to do with the region's high-quality aspen, a wood apparently perfectly suited to producing the dream chopstick. The Canadian Chopstick Manufacturing Company produces an incredible 7.5 million pairs of chopsticks a day, or 1.95 billion a year.

The town's motels are all much the same and you'll be paying the inflated rates – about $70 for doubles worth half that – which characterize the north. On the town's southern approaches the Bluebell Inn, 3907 50th Ave S (tel 774-6961 or 1-800/663-5267, www.pris.bc.ca/bluebell; $80–100), is better looking than many of the run-of-the-mill places. The infocentre is at Mile 300.5 of the Alaska Hwy (tel 774-6868; rest of the year for information, call 774-2541; mid-May to Aug Mon–Sat 9am–5pm).



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2009 11:08 am (UTC)
Good morning
Good morning from Fort Nelson :) ...

First of all.. let your husband know that there is some serious road construction up the highway west of Fort Nelson and not to try and make up time, I hope his trip is a safe one..

Second, I feel bad that our town didn't make a better impression on him... I realize that we have allot to do to bring the outward image up but we are a very friendly community... I think having an unbiased opinion of the town will help improve it.

ps... our chopstick factory has been shutdown for awhile now and recently two other mills as well... http://bit.ly/fTVNA

and, I was pleasantly surprised when I found that our own tourism site was actually not bad http://bit.ly/V9vrK

Anyway take care :)
Aug. 2nd, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Good morning
I'm sorry if I gave the wrong impression of your town. That just happened to be the info they had on Yahoo travel. I will have to ask my husband what he thought of Ft. Nelson when he gets home. I'm sure he will have had a better impression of it than what they had on Yahoo. I wish I could have been able to go with him on the trip so I could see these places myself.

BTW, both my husband and I can sympathize with the closing of the chopstick factory and the wood mills. The only reason my husband was able to go on this trip was because he has been laid off from his forestry job since December.

Just curious, how did you run across my post?

Thanks and once again my apologies.
Aug. 2nd, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Good morning
I had a look at the Yahoo travel info for Fort Nelson http://bit.ly/1Hlrv8 and sent a suggestion to update it :)

As a community we have had a bad run, I'm sure like allot of communities (sounds like yours is no different)... our spirit is not even close to being broken :)

I think that getting first hand account of what travelers think of our town is very valuable to helping make it better... it's unfortunate that Yahoo's info was so far off the truth... (it was good that you posted it as it will be updated now)... who realistically checks travel listings on their own town :)

Anyway ... I hope your husband isn't on a bike as there is allot of gravel up the highway so please let him to to be careful.

As for the information I picked it up at whostakin.com http://bit.ly/17nGeK to be honest I have been very shocked at how useful it is at picking up recent posts listing Fort Nelson. I have read a few other travelers blogs/comments as they were passing through town or had just been in town within the last day or so (pictures and all)... really quite amazing and useful.

Take care :)
Aug. 2nd, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Good morning
That's interesting. Just goes to show you never know what will end up where on the iternet!

No, thank goodness! He's driving a car, not a bike. He is helping friends of ours move from Maine to Alaska.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )