Monday, February 27, 2012

Turn Right at the Tree

It's often a joke that in rural areas directions are based on the terrain, not street signs. Things like, "it's the house just past the oak tree that burned in 1963." 

Out here in the bush that is exactly what happens. In Galena, I use this tree as my landmark to remember where to turn to get back to my dorm.

With all the snow, everything looks the same and I would drive past the turn every time. I don't dare slam on my breaks and hang a quick right. One, because I can't. The ghetto van I drive has no power steering. Turning of any sort is a well-planned, thought about in advance, process. Secondly, the Yukon is on the other side of the road, and frozen or not, I don't want to slide into it.

Of course every village had a snow machine crossing (aka snow go) sign

While hanging out in the airport there was much to-do about the Iron Dog (a snow machine race), in particular Darrick Johnson. Apparently Darrick crashed and was medevaced to Anchorage with five broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and a damaged kidney.  A doctor (aka cutie pie sitting across the room from me in front of the red painting) who had been involved, knew all about it. I was all ears.

The Anchorage channel 2 news team was also there and wanted to know what the doc knew. Meanwhile, Darrick's partner Donald West rode up to the airport on his snow machine and the news reporter ran outside to interview him. Click here to see the video. It's a bit long but it is filmed in front of the Galena airport giving you a flavor of what I witness on a monthly basis.   

The usual walk to the airplane. I was practically running since moments before the airline agent had announced that there were more than 16 people booked for the plane and only the following people would be leaving on the first flight. Fortunately my name was on the list. As soon as I heard my name I was out the door. I had afternoon beverages waiting for me in Fairbanks! Besides, Dr. McCutie was also on my plane.