again from Mountain Mecca & Hippie Heaven!
how in action movies when the bomb is about to go off, or the spaceship is
about to self-destruct, there’s always that countdown voice? “Auto
self-destruct will occur in three minutes…auto self-destruct in two minutes and
fifty-nine seconds…auto self-destruct in three minutes and fifty-eight seconds…”
Well, when we get down to the final month before we move somewhere, that voice
seems to always be in my head. “Packing must be complete in thirty days…packing
must be complete in twenty-nine days…”
we are, the final countdown. Usually we time our packing to begin after a
certain date or event; for this move, we were to start after the departure of
Mom Nancy & Cuzzin’ Sylvia. The two ladies were passing through our little
city, on their way to the “hamlet” of Horsefly, BC, (I have no idea why it is
called a hamlet, but I do know it has a strip mall with four shops).
fitting that we cap off our year in Nelson by re-living the sightseeing tour we
took on our first visit here; this time as tour guides. Despite the chill which
has settled in, Mom & Cuzzin’ did their part in the Baker Street shops to
help keep Nelson’s economy healthy. In fact, I’ve dubbed their tour the, “Mom
& Cuz’ Economic Revitalization Tour” – small towns everywhere were grateful
to see them, and their wallets, arrive!
braved the rain and wind to visit Kaslo and tour the S.S. Moyie. On our first
trip to this picturesque lakeside town, Prez and I only viewed the restored
sternwheeler from afar, this time we toured the whole shebang. And what a
shebang! Not only did the historical society do a wonderful job of restoring
the boat to its former glory, but they recreated several scenes, complete with
sound effects and mannequins, of a typical journey onboard. The experience was
worth every penny.
Moyie was the last operating passenger sternwheeler in Canada. She began
service on the Nelson-Kootenay route in 1898 and retired, 59 years later, in
1957. The surprisingly knowledgeable and very friendly woman working at the
visitor’s center told us the day the Moyie retired it was such a big deal all
the kids were let out of school so they could go watch her final landing.
Walking through the main deck, where crates of fruit are stacked beside a 1929
Ford, Model T, and the occasional ‘hiss’ of the steam engine can be heard; or
strolling through the elegant salon as the piano plays a lively tune and you
imagine well-heeled passengers filling the red, crushed velvet seats, you can
see why an entire town would come out to say farewell, not just to a boat, but
to the end of an era.
Kaslo we crossed the mountains to see the ghost town of Sandon once more.
Again, our last visit had been quick, a mere glance really. This time we pulled
up to the big glass front of the Sandon Museum ready to explore! The man behind
the desk, who was about 6’3” and aprox. 190 lbs, looked at Prez and said,
“Prez?” and Prez said, “Andrew?”, and then there were a lot of exclamations and
some hugs. Andrew used to be an actor in Vancouver, as it turns out, and Prez
was his stunt double, and here they were meeting up in the teeny tiny town of
to Prez’s acting double, we got the dee-lux tour of the Museum. Andrew even
played us tune on one of the lovely old pianos, (he was quite good). Now, the
story of Sandon is an interesting one. Two men, Mr. Eli Carpenter & Mr. Jack
Seaton went for a walk, a very long walk, in the Slocan Mountains and
ended up in a narrow valley, beside two creeks, (the creeks, coincidentally,
are named Carpenter Creek and Seaton Creek). But they didn’t just find a nice
view; they found big, honkin’ chunks of galena ore…silver! Five years later,
Sandon was a city of 4000, with 30 hotels, several more brothels, and a booming
mining operation. This town in the mountains actually had electric street
lights before Vancouver did!
burned to the ground but was rebuilt. Sadly, by this time the price of silver
was beginning to plunge, so the town was not rebuilt to quite its original
splendor, (if ‘splendor’ is the right word to describe a mining town). And the
town also had a “flume problem”. You see, a flume was constructed as a means to
control the creek, (creeks have a nasty habit of overflowing during spring
thaw), and also as a means to dispose of waste, (send it downstream!), but the
unfortunate side effect was that the flume was a perfect trap for logs and
debris. In 1955, with town’s population down to 30, the flume plugged with
debris and heavy rains on the melting snowpack sent a torrent of water which
essentially washed out the town. Today, only a handful of buildings remain;
some restored, others lingering untouched as haunting reminders of Sandon’s
hopped over to New Denver to check out the Nikkei Center but it was closed for
the season, so we checked out Panini’s, a local eatery Andrew recommended, and
a few shops which looked in dire need of economic stimulation.
drive home along the cloud-strewn and rain-soaked Slocan Valley went something
“Try to picture a whole bunch of stunning mountain ranges behind those
I’m sure they’re beautiful.” (Sighing with boredom)
“Over there is where you’d see the glacier tops on a nice day!”
hmmm.” (Falling asleep)
there’s a town, is it good for shopping?”
“No, no more shopping, the van’s full! Now, as I was saying, see that area
over there, when it’s nice out that’s really spectacular.”
seriously, we had a maahhhhvelous time with Mom & Cuz. Great food, lotsa
laughs, and one last chance to play tourist. Loved it!!!!
they made it to Horsefly, OK. (Count four cattle-guards then turn left…)
us, packing is full steam ahead. And though I have lists up the ying yang
(ouch, very painful), I know when the countdown reaches its final days I will
be running around like the proverbial chicken-sans-head. Now begins the
questions: What to take, what to leave, what to throw away/sell/donate??? Snow boots
– storage. Snorkel – pack. Books – arggh!! Why are books so bulky and heavy?
I’ve culled my Cook Islands reading stack as ruthlessly as possible and, still,
it almost needs a separate suitcase…sigh.
the constant packing and unpacking lifestyle would drive most normal humans
nuts but I kind of like it. To me, it feels like breathing; in, out, in, out,
in, out. Our gypsy existence also keeps me focused. How many times have I had
to ask myself, “Do I really need this? Do I REALLY need this?” The answer is
most often a reluctant, “No.” There’s a cycle to it: Cull, condense, store,
remove, rediscover. I love unpacking our things after a long sojourn; Xmas
ain’t got nothin’ on opening the contents of a storage locker! Most of my
cold-weather clothing will be tucked away and, so, the next time we unpack I
will find those clothes and it will feel as if I’ve just been given a whole new
furniture is not really ours. Half of it is on loan from Ripster & BJ, a
big portion was donated by Kozy & Tweeter and a few other generous folks,
and some was even left here by the previous tenants. Aside from our tools, the
only big things we own are one king-sized piece of high-density foam (our bed),
one TV (cheap), and one barbeque. When one is trying not to accumulate “stuff”,
one learns to get creative with Rubbermaid storage containers.
I’m rambling, putting off working.
must be complete in 27 days…packing must be completed in 27 days…”
Do you REALLY need that?
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!