Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Miss Your Flight

For your edification I explain in detail, various methods by which you can miss your flight (or at least come close to missing your flight.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Car Wash

Here's a cold weather tip folks: when taking your car through the car wash ensure that you select the "power dry" option.

Otherwise in 14 degree temperatures the residual water from the wash freezes.  Yes, ice droplets cover your car, thin sheets of ice obscure your side view mirrors, and an interesting crunch alerts you to your mistake when you open the door.

I should have let a moose take care of it for me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

From the Banks of the Yukon

My latest trip was to Tanana, about a 45 min flight northeast of Fairbanks. My road trip partner Susan, will tell you that while driving to Fairbanks this summer, I tortured her with saying "Tananaaahhhhh" every time the word came entered conversation. I thought I was hilarious. I'm sure Susan has a different version of that story. 

Adak Island

Two weeks ago I spent four days in the town of Adak on Adak Island. The island is one of the more easterly islands in the Aleutian Chain. At one time there was a naval base operating here and a population of 6000 people. Now there's a lot of abandoned buildings and a population of 109.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


The safety briefing on a Piper PA 31-350 is not the same as that on a Boeing 737-800.

My ride to Tanana.
Instead of hearing, "use your seat cushion as a flotation device"  it's "If we have an emergency landing make sure the emergency beacon locator light above my left knee is flashing."

Translation: If the plane crashes, don't count on the pilot surviving.

And instead of "lights will illuminate the aisle" it's "there's a fire extinguisher under my seat."

Sometimes being able to see everything your pilot does isn't comforting. Like when he drinks his coffee and rifles through paperwork (and no one is manning the plane!) Or when a red light flashes on the dash (with accompanying alarm) and he casually flips a switch before resuming his comfort position of arm draped over the back of the seat beside him.

I played it cool and went to sleep. I refused to think about the fact that I was the sole passenger on the plane. Had the plane gone down, and the pilot not survived, it would have been all up to me. (Notice my optimism though in assuming that I would survive.)

PIlot doing who knows what on the flight back to Fairbanks.

Yes, these small flights are fun (I love take-offs) but there is something to be said for blissful ignorance in coach with your mini-vodka and sprite zero.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

...And we're back

Back to snow that is. The first real snowfall in Fairbanks arrived last weekend. As predicted, my neighborhood is vastly improved with snow! Old cars, wood piles, and rusted empty barrels in the yard are now merely white bumps adding texture and interest to the landscape.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cordova in Pictures

Last week I was in Cordova -- little fishing town on Prince William Sound that is only accessible by boat or plane. The scenery is spectacular. Apparently I brought the good weather as there were unprecedented days of sunshine while I was there. An added bonus was the full moon.

My flight to Cordova began with equisite views of Mt. Foraker (left) and Denali (right).

VIew flying in to Cordova.

One of the glaciers in the area, as seen from the plane.

Elementary school

Fuel tank

Main Street

Angry Fisherman. I stayed at the Reluctant Fisherman Inn.
I'm sensing some pent up feelings.

The decades old, not to code, sprinkler system in my "renovated" room
(which also smelled of mold and dead animal).
Good thing the adjoining restaurant and bar are nice!

So many sea otters!
View of the harbor and town from the harbor break wall.

My view from the bar.
I go to Cordova every month -- I'll be seeing this view a lot!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Dump

This post has nothing to do with my time in Fairbanks, but I wanted to share.

When I was a child, my sisters and I loved going to the dump with my dad. We piled into the front seat of his pickup and off we'd go to the dump. We loved looking through the discarded junk, finding treasures for our playhouse. Sometimes on the way home, we'd stop and get a coke.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Back from the Bush

I made my first trip out to the bush this week. Galena, AK is an Athabascan village accessible only by air and boat. Galena is a small village of approximately 675 people and sits on the edge of the Yukon river. And that about sums up Galena!