Friday, March 12, 2010

The latest exciting happenings from the Deh Cho.....

Oh, exciting times in Fort Simpson recently folks, exciting times indeed! A couple trips to the big city, a concert by professional musicians (which included a Doppelganger sighting) and a good old fashioned jamboree!

The fun times began with a maintenance trip in the Navajo. It had developed a healthy (or unhealthy I suppose) oil leak. We would come to find out that the culprits were a leaky prop governor and a leaky turbocharger wastegate.
The destination of my maintenance run was Fort Nelson, my nemesis. Fort Nelson is a small town in the oil patch of northern BC. When most people hear mention of BC, they almost always think of beautiful unspoiled wilderness scenery. The problem with Fort Nelson is that it's an oil patch town, and looks exactly like most every other oil patch town I've ever been through which is something along the lines of this:
Ah, glorious semi's as far as the eye can see! Tankers and rig trucks and wireline trucks and frac trucks abound on dirty streets, unhindered by any signs of natural beauty. I suppose I shouldn't be so hard on Fort Nelson and oil patch towns in general, after all, they are a major engine driving our economy. It's just that after seeing so many of them when I worked on the rigs, the old "oil patch town layout" is a little stale: highway runs through the middle of a bunch of gas stations, hotels and fast-food joints and with all the money pumping through there, no one gives any thought to aesthetics or beautifying the town.
But I digress. Instead, I should be looking at the silver lining, the inevitable bright side that comes with the opportunity to make this trip to the big city. First and foremost...the sweet company ride!
Yes, that is a 1980's vintage Chevy Caprice Classic, or as I like to call it, "The Blue Boat." It reminds me of my grandmother's old 80 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. Has that same unmistakable ride. And while it looks like a piece of junk, it runs great. Sits for long stretches of time, often in minus 30 temperatures without the block heater being plugged in, and it fires right up every time with just a little pump of the gas pedal. Strangely, a cool old car.
Another upside to making the trip is the chance to get to real stores and the opportunity to buy things that you just can't find in Fort Simpson like fresh fruit and vegetables that are NOT on the verge of rotting, milk that will last in your fridge for longer than 24 hours without going sour, personal hygeine items and other variety of groceries and items at a much more reasonable price than in Fort Simpson. Oh, and ammunition for my new .45-70 shoulder cannon:
So, while Fort Nelson may not be the most beautiful or exciting spot in BC, or the north, I suppose it is not without it's advantages for someone like myself, visiting from a place like Fort Simpson.
Oh, I almost forgot...the "piece de resistance"...the glorious view from my hotel room:
Stunning, I know.
Fortuntately I made my escape from Fort Nelson just in time to make it back for one of the single biggest entertainment events I've had the chance to enjoy in Fort Simpson: "The Double D BFN Tour." My friend and co-worker Tim (also sometimes referred to as Peter-it's another story) who is himself a very talented singer/songwriter/musician has an older brother who is a professional musician from Kelowna. His brother, Dan, is the lead singer, songwriter, guitar player for his band, The Malibu Knights. Dan wanted to take a trip up to Fort Simpson to visit Tim and their other brother Tony who is a helicopter engineer in town here. Dan has an adventurous musician friend named Devon (who also has his own band) who decided to take the trip with him, in true starving artist his van. En route they would play shows together at bars in the various small northern towns until they reached their goal of Fort Simpson, hence the "Double D (Dan and Devon) BFN (butt .....I'll let you figure that one out) Tour."
The show was excellent. Needless to say, Fort Simpson doesn't see too many professional musicians pass through to put on shows. There are a few good local musicians here in town, but these two guys really were excellent and very talented and played to a very happy and excited crowd that seemed to really really enjoy the show, enough to hoot and holler and yell for an encore late in the evening just when they thought they were done, and had exhausted their repetoire.
The most remarkable moment of the evening for me happened as soon as I walked in. I witnessed a phenomenon which I had previously only heard and read about....The Doppelganger. I walked into the bar and thought for sure my eyes were playing tricks on me because I could have sworn I was looking at my good friend and former Wolverine Air pilot, Cayce. Devon is a dead ringer for Cayce. And everyone there who knew Cayce couldn't help but comment on it. I had to get a photo for proof so that you could all see what I was talking about. Below is a photo of Devon followed by a photo of Cayce. You can clearly see what I'm talking about:
Remarkable isn't it. As I understand the Doppelganger is usually a bad omen, I was happy to find out the next day that Cayce was alive and well. Strangely, he informed me he had seen my Doppelganger...a baggage handler at an airport in Alberta. Maybe 2 Doppelgangers cancel each other out and that's why we both survived the bad luck.
As you may know, me and the girlfriend moved to a new place in town. Our old place was much nicer in the looks department than our new digs. But hey, at least it's easy to explain to people where we live: "We're the second unit in the 'Remember this...Get crunk' building." "Oh, OK, I know that place."
Despite the many-year-old graffitti, the place isn't actually as bad as it seems from the outside. The convenience of living in town and being able to walk everwhere definitely has it's advantages.
But, to make the place feel a little more "homey" we decided (meaning "she decided and I didn't care either way") we should do a little decorating. So, we (meaning "she") found these crazy wall decals. Apparently we were bringing the outdoors into the kitchen. Unbeknown to me, this was to be a relationship-building event, or at least I'm reasonable certain that was an ulterior motive. But it was successful on both fronts. Not only did the decals go up well and add some much-needed feng shui to the place, but we got to practice compromise. Compromise between her approach of "We HAVE to take our time and follow the instructions TO THE LETTER!!" and my approach of "It's putting stickers on a wall for god sake we don't need instructions for that!"
Not only does the kitchen look smashing now, but it had the unintended benefit of adding a source of unexpected and unplanned entertainment.........KITCHEN HUNTING!

This weekend was the next big happening in Simpson....The Beavertail Jamboree. Just in case you HAVEN'T been living under a rock and are asking, "What in the name of all that is holy is the Beavertail Jamboree?"......well, it's ONLY the COOLEST celebration in the Deh Cho!
Obviously at the Beavertail Jamboree you can enjoy such events as a feast and drum dance and my personal favourite, one of the most exciting competitions known to modern man, the tea boiling competition. I know, I know, and you'll be even more jealous to learn that I was able to observe this pinnacle of sport from my bedroom window!

Yes, as you can imagine I am still winding down from the excitement.

Well that just about has us up to date. Obviously it has been a wild and crazy week and I know you will all be booking your trip to The Beavertail Jamboree for this time next year.

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