Long Weekends in Fort Nelson

By Bryan • blog, canada, fort nelson, personal, small town, urban planning, work • 2 Sep 2012

“A guy in Fort Nelson without a truck is like a hipster in New York without a fixie”…how is either suppose to get around and look cool doing it?

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Russian UAZ-452 “Bukhanka” or “Loaf of Bread” – Mongolia (Why we don’t have these bad boys in Canada is an interesting question)

My old Dodge has been receiving some auto body TLC following a series of unfortunate vandal events a couple of months ago and I’ve been making good use of my feet as a substitute.  Walking or riding was always my preferred choice for commuting and running errands around town and I generally go way out of my way to find living arrangements which can foster these forms of transportation.  Unfortunately, ever since I shifted departments at my organization, my 24-hour on-call status has me firmly tethered to my work truck whether I enjoy it or not.  A good week of walking to work and other activities (despite the inaccessible nature of my office) has certainly brought back fond memories of this lifestyle.  Active transportation was one of my interests at planning school, and while I may not get to walk the talk as much as I used to, I still like to take advantage of the options to use feet or a pair of wheels to scoot around.  A small town, Fort Nelson remains very compact, with a low traffic volume (with the exception for those damn ATV’s), a fledging sidewalk network and a generally centralized shopping/service area.  It’s basically your typical neighbourhood unit,  which makes walking to the store, grabbing a coffee, lounging at the library or drinking beer at Dan’s  Pub a fairly easy endeavour.  Encouraging people to get out of their vehicles and to utilize active transpiration is a target for these activities, not commuting, and that is where the compact nature of small towns really should shine.  But the usually don’t.

Where the truck comes in handy is for the weekends.  As I’ve mentioned before, the star of Northern Rockies Regional Municipality is the Northern Rockies, and other wilderness areas of note throughout the region.  I do see intrepid cyclists on the Alaska Highway, but there are few of us who will weekend warrior ourselves up to Muncho Lake or Liard hot springs on a pair of non-motorized wheels.  Long weekends merely pad this problem. It’s fairly easy to fill a normal weekend on the foot in Fort Nelson.  Errands, library raiding missions, study time combined with gym, gaming and movie activities can easily pass the time.  However, with a couple of extra days padding the weekend, one begins truly understand the limits of small communities (and the library is closed on statutory weekends).  Wheels and some sort of fuel are important components of a sane lifestyle in northern British Columbia.

I spent a considerable amount of time working on this blog this weekend as I strive to rebuilt my photo gallery.  The India section is rebuilt and I’ve also created some individual pages collecting certain categories of blog entries.  My random galley widget is now functioning with the new template as well.

*the Russian UAZ-452 and it’s variants are one of the work horses found in Mongolia and throughout Russia.  It’s one of those unique vehicles that manages to keep itself in production with only minor variations to the original 1960’s design (none of which appear to be aesthetic).  The only vehicle in North America that I can think of that compares in longevity is the yellow school bus, but I’ve noticed that some of the newer models actually look quite a bit more compact than their predecessors.

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