Sunday 16 June 2024

Cloud Show

    Yesterday we made the 45 minute drive to Tete Jaune so that we could have a restaurant meal with friends.  As we drove, we were treated by a dramatic visual display of clouds that were building over the mountains.  On our left, on the Rocky Mountain side of the Robson Valley we watched sheets of rain arcing as they fell from the clouds (photo above).   As we drove a bit further, we did drove through a patch of rain.

    At the same time on our right, the Cariboo Mountain side of the Valley, large, puffy, cumulous clouds were building over the peaks (photo below).   The clouds on both sides of the Valley, gave us an added and interesting bit of beauty to the drive.


View my paintings at:

Saturday 15 June 2024

Valley Museum Quilt Show

    McBride’s Valley Museum has been putting on a show of quilts done by the Valley Piecemakers.  Unfortunately, the show has pretty much ended.  However, here are some photos of some of the quilts that where on display.

View my paintings at:


Friday 14 June 2024

Music At The Dunster Museum

    Every year the Dunster Museum has a musical celebration when they open for the season.  Last Sunday afternoon was this year’s Museum opening.  Like last year, they invited our Tuesday Night Jam to do a session, and the photo above, shows us in action.  

    The Dunster Museum is located right across the road from the Dunster store (which is Dunster).   The old Dunster Railway Station which is now the museum, is, as you might expect, situated right beside the railroad track, and as we were performing, a Via Passenger Train came loudly down the track, and slowed to a stop at the Station to allow the passengers to view the festivities. 

     As we continued playing our songs, I imaged what those passengers must have thought of the gathering, probably something like,  “Oh, what a quaint little cultural festival the mountain villagers are putting on.  They probably gather around the railway station and play music every Sunday afternoon.”

    It was funny to realize that what they were thinking, was exactly what I start thinking, whenever I come across something similar in a foreign country.

    Anyway, the train soon went on its way, but the music continued.  

    Locals, Jane and Keith performed on their alpine horns, although without the mountain echos.  That was followed by a rhythmic beats of a drum circle.  It was all an enjoyable afternoon in the hamlet of Dunster.

View my paintings at:


Thursday 13 June 2024

The End of Our Old Utility Trailer

    I thought that yesterday would be the last day I blogged about my old utility trailer, but there was one final chapter to its existence.  Yesterday, Micheal from up the road, came over with his cutting torch and cut the trailer’s iron frame into small enough pieces that I could haul to the metal recycling bin at the dump.  However, before I can do that, I still have to cut the rubber tires away from their rims.

    I was surprised at how quickly the trailer’s frame turned into a very small pile of scrap iron.  It didn’t take long for that physical piece of our history to no longer exist.

View my paintings:


Wednesday 12 June 2024

The Trailer With One Wheel

             Finally, I will explain the photo that was on Monday’s blog.  It is the last of my utility trailer stories, and it occurred in 1978, just a week before I took the cedar mill job.

            Purden Lake was a long way to travel for firewood, 152 km ( 94 miles), but it would also be a visit with Ebba and Severn, our neighbor Kjell’s parents, whose company we always enjoyed, plus they had offered us some birch to cut up as firewood, and I was always eager to get birch firewood.  I hooked up our utility trailer to the Scout, and we drove through a snowstorm to get to Purden Lake.

    After doing some visiting, sawing up, and loading the firewood, we were ready to haul the load back home to McBride, but Severn and Ebba insisted that we stay for supper, so we didn’t get off until 5:30 which meant driving in the dark.  All went well until we pulled onto our road in McBride.   Just a few miles from our house, I heard a noise and felt a jerk in the Scout which slowed us down, then I watched in dismay as one of the wheels from the utility trailer rolled past us, and come to rest in the ditch.

    I slammed on the breaks, stopped the car, got out and saw that the driver’s side trailer axil was wheel-less and resting on the road surface.  Not having ever experiencing such a thing, I retrieved the runaway wheel and discovered that its lug bolt holes were damaged beyond use, so I would have to figure out some other means of getting the trailer home.  Luckily, I was able to unhook the trailer from the car which allowed us to drive home, leaving the trailer where it was.

    We endured a heavy rain overnight and into the next day, but it didn’t stop me from having to deal with my abandoned utility trailer which I had left on the side of the road.  First I emptied all of the birch from the trailer and hauled it back to our house in the Scout. 

           Fortunately, I came up with a novel idea for getting the trailer back to our house.

           I positioned a long thick pole under the trailer axle where the wheel had come off, then pried up the end of the pole and lashed it to the corner of the trailer.   The bottom of the pole rested on the road, thus supporting the trailer on the wheel-less side.

           So with the trailer supported by the remaining wheel on one side and by the travois-like support on the other, I pulled/dragged the trailer back to our place.  It’s a good thing I didn’t have to go any further because the road-end of the pole began to quickly wear down as it scraped along the gravel road.   Fortunately, enough of the pole remained to get me to all the way to my driveway.

View my paintings at:

Tuesday 11 June 2024

Sometimes You Just Have To Lie

        I photoshopped the picture I used on Sunday’s blog, to make the old trailer look closer to the way it was back in 1972, when the events in today’s blog happened.  I now realize that using an “untrue” photo is a good way to premise the story I am about to tell, where I had been forced to lie about the utility trailer.

        I had gotten the utility trailer from my father, who gave it to me when we had to haul all of our possessions up to Canada when we officially immigrated.  Once we had officially entered the country, I had the trailer, full of all our possessions, shipped up to the lumber mill camp where I was teaching school.   Once there, we unloaded all of our things, and put them into the new teacherage where we lived for the next two years.  The trailer was just parked unused, beside the teacherage for those two years.

        After those two years of teaching in the one-room school, we had enough of the isolation, of living in the lumber camp without any roads in or out.  I resigned the teaching job, and sought a position in a location that at least had a highway going to it.  I was hired to be the Head Teacher in a two-room school in Avola, BC, which was on Highway 5.

            I realized that when the school year ended, we would have to move all of our possessions out of the lumber camp.  Again, shipping the trailer loaded with all of our things out of the camp on a BC Rail flatbed car, to Ft. St. James, BC, where our car was parked.   I also realized that once I got the trailer out, there would be a problem, something I needed to deal with before any of that happened.

        The trailer still had the two year old Indiana license plate on it, and I needed to get a BC license plate, before we started to haul our things to the teacherage at my new job in Avola.

        During the Spring Break before the end of the school year, we were in Williams Lake, and so I took the opportunity to go to the BC License Branch there, to get a BC license plate for the trailer .  At the counter told them what I needed,  but I was confronted with a big complication.  They told me I would have to show the bill of sale from my father, and also a card from Canada Customs showing I had brought the trailer into the country , before I could get a BC license plate.  This presented a huge problem for me, and I didn’t know how to solve it.

        Two years earlier when we had immigrated with all of our things, I hadn’t even thought about putting the trailer on the list of items we were bringing into the country; I had only listed the stuff we brought in the utility trailer, totally overlooking the trailer itself, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the needed Canada Customs card.  I pleaded with the license branch bureaucrats, but they were unsympathetic and unbending.

        What could I do?   I needed a license for the trailer.  It was a real dilemma, and I could see no way out.  

        The next day as we drove up to Prince George and I came up with an idea.  I went to the License Branch there, and told them that I had made a utility trailer, and I needed to license it.  No sweat, they quickly gave me the license without any trouble.

        I am an honest person and I really hated lying, but sometimes you just have to.

You can see my paintings at:


Monday 10 June 2024

Adventures With Our Old Utility Trailer

            I mentioned yesterday, about how instrumental our old utility trailer had been to our lives and how its usefulness was over and I was disassembling it so I could take the pieces to the dump.  Above you can see the skeleton of the old trailer.

            Here is the story of us entering Canada with the trailer full of our possessions when we immigrated:.

            We were dreading the border crossing into Canada, since we didn’t really know what expect, crossing with all of our possessions, but I handed my official immigrant forms to the Canada Custom Officer, and a list of all of the possessions we were bringing into Canada, and waited.  He gave a cursory look to the list, then peaked under the tarp on the trailer to see what was there.  He nodded his head and seemed okay with everything.   

                 I was secretly giving myself a sigh of relief, when the Canadian Custom Agent asked, “What about the trailer?”

                My heart sank, “The trailer, I forgot all about putting the trailer on the list.”  I explained about how my father gave it to me and answered all of the questions he had, and he said, “Okay” and then waved us on, across the border.

            We then gave a genuine sigh of relief as headed toward Fort St. James, BC, but we still had a few things to worry about.  Since we didn’t really have a home in Canada and had been living in a small camping trailer in the lumber mill camp where I was teaching, we had been depending upon the school district’s promised that a new full-sized mobile home would be there as a teacherage for the upcoming school year, but we hadn’t received any conformation that that had actually happened, and that there was a mobile home in camp waiting for us.   If it wasn’t, what were we going to do with all of the possessions we had just brought into Canada.  It included a lot of big items,  like furniture.  We would have no place to put it.

        I was relieved when I called the school district office and it was confirmed that the mobile home had been moved into camp, so all we had to do was to get all our possessions up to the camp, which had no road into the place. 

                The only way to do that was by train.  I contacted BC Rail, and made arrangement for a flatbed train car to carry our utility trailer from Fort St. James up to the Silvacan Resources camp on Takla Lake.

            This being done, I drove over to the train yard, and had a flatbed rail car moved to the loading ramp, then carefully backed the trailer up onto the flatbed.  I then had the job of securing the trailer to the flatbed.  I did that using metal cables which I had purchased.  I also blocked the wheels to prevent the utility trailer from rolling back an forth on its train ride.

            The train wasn’t scheduled to leave until the following day, and we were paranoid about leaving all of our worldly possessions just sitting there unguarded, in the empty train yard overnight, so we decided that we would spend the night sleeping in the Scout, which I parked beside the flatbed train car holding  our trailer, to keep an eye on it.

                We spent a pretty miserable night trying to sleep in the car, while at the same time watching for nothing, and by the time the sun began to come up, we were both feeling horrible, but with the daylight, some railroad workers appeared, and so we felt we could safely drive into town for some breakfast and last minute preparations before we returned to the railroad, and climbed onto the passenger car on the train for our trip into camp.

                The train finally left at 1:00 in the afternoon.  We, and all of our possessions, gently and slowly rocked our way back and forth, wondering what the new teacher age would be like, and thinking about all the preparations that would need to be done for the upcoming school year.

                In the passenger car there were about 10 other people, mostly Native who were making the trip, and after a bit of small talk, we settled in, lulled by the motion and click-clacking of the wheels on the track, nodded off and then suddenly jerking back to consciousness, for the next 10 hours, as forests, rivers, and lakes slid across the window.

            Upon arriving at camp at 11:00 at night, we hung around until we were sure that the flatbed carrying our trailer, was going to be transferred to the siding, then we slowly headed to the camp office, where we got the keys to the new teacherage, and let ourselves in. 

                The mobile home had the water hooked up, but not the electricity or heat, and since our bed and bedding were still on our trailer, we just ended up sleeping on the green shag carpet on the living room floor of our brand new home.

            The photo below shows the teacherage, a brand new mobile home.

You can look at my paintings at: