It’s morning in Beaver Creek and fog has rolled in. Sid and I are packed and ready to head to Whitehorse. We meet outside the Visitor Information Centre. A crisp breeze hits the nape of our necks and we know winter is on its way.
“Are you ready?” Sid greets me, eager to hit the road. We’re taking his 1955 Ford Fairlane Victoria to Whitehorse. Once the bags are loaded, we say a quick goodbye to folks and head out on the open road. I ask Sid, as we are leaving Beaver Creek, where he found the new car.
“I got it from Dave James in Alaska. I’ve known him for years. We used to take you to his store when you were little and you played with his daughter.” I remember the space, the building located at the top of a hill with an old truck marking the entrance. “They sell scarves and blankets there for potlatches. He’s selling most of his cars and I got the Victoria. He’s had it since the ‘70s when he drove it up from California.”
The roadtrip in the Victoria is an adventure of its own. We swerve to avoid the potholes that infamously dot the Alaska Highway and we sputter to a halt as the vehicle tries to spit out bad gas. Other than that, the stretch of highway from Beaver Creek to Whitehorse is one of the most spectacular views in the world and we are able to enjoy such beauty in a comparable ride. We’re heading to town because Sid needs some groceries. Little does he know, the family has a surprise for him.
Over the course of a year, Sid’s youngest daughter Janet was in conversation with legendary Yukon artist Jim Robb for a commission of Bordertown Garage and Museum. Jim had visited Beaver Creek nearly seven years ago for Sid’s 75th birthday. He knew the site well and admired Sid’s ability to construct a space that looks very much like the olden days. He enthusiastically accepted the commission and had created a beautiful watercolour rendition of Sid’s treasure.
When we arrive in Whitehorse, we surprise Sid with the painting. For the first time in a long time, Sid is speechless!
“Oh my God, it’s awesome. It looks just the same–Jim Robb-style. It’s amazing.”
The next day we meet Jim at the Gold Pan Saloon. Jim, known for his exaggerated depictions of old-timey buildings, is waiting for us. “I used the photos that were taken, especially the panoramas,” Jim explains his process to us. “My favourite part was painting the wood here.” He points at the wooden tiled roof of Sid’s Museum. “This is exactly what I like to paint. I really enjoyed it.”
With a new vintage ride and a Jim Robb original, Sid heads back to his home in Beaver Creek and cannot wait to prominently display his painting next year for guests to enjoy.