Friday, July 28, 2006


Bears on Bird Creek

I rode the motorcycle down to Bird Creek last night, about 25 miles south of Anchorage along Turnagain Arm. It was a gorgeous day, absolutely spectacular. I was heading down there to see if I could spot the brown bears that have been stealing fish from the fishermen. I leaned on the railing for almost an hour watching the fishing action - folks were catching pinks and silvers steady - and made a phone call to Bren for awhile. The bears didn't come out while I was there, but you can read about the crazy situation here in today's Anchorage Daily News. It's the most extreme situation of bear/human interaction I've seen in a long time - there are bears that make semi-regular appearances on the Russian River when the reds are running, but here we have brown bears and humans in very close quarters on a daily basis for the last week or two. I hope everyone - and I mean both people and bears - can behave themselves for another couple weeks until the fish run tapers off. If I would have stayed another hour or so, it sounds like I would have gotten a show!

I'm heading out to bring the camper down to Soldotna for storage and will try to post more over the weekend. My bike is still at the shop - they said they were short handed but I should have it back by Monday - let's hope so! Work is having a going away party for me at noon Monday and I was hoping I could sneak away and head out on vacation a little early - it will be a bummer to have to stick around waiting for my bike to be done!

Have a great weekend everyone, I will call you all this weekend. I have a question - should I make a separate blog for my trip and leave this one like it is, or should I just post my travel stuff here? I can go either way. I have to admit, the easiest form for me to post is the audio post (sorry Trevor) as opposed to pounding out a message on a cell phone, so there will probably be a lot of those. Let me know what you think! This blog has been a special place for me over the past year (yes, it is almost time for a blog birthday!), and I appreciate those that take the time to read on a regular basis!

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Trip To Hope

I rode the motorcycle to Hope this evening to get the last of the break-in miles on it so I can get it serviced tomorrow. You're going to have to excuse the poor picture quality but I need the practice taking pictures with the cell phone and getting them downloaded and posted to the blog.

The top picture was taken at the very end of Turnagain Arm before the road heads up into the pass. I stopped to give Dad a call before I was out of cell range and noticed a nice dead tree to frame the shot of the mountains. There is also fireweed just barely visible as well.

Here I am in the town of Hope with the bridge over Resurrection Stream visible behind my right shoulder. Many of you will remember pink salmon fishing here and the fun we had - Mom caught a salmon! The ride in to Hope was fantastic on a bike - a nice 65 through 11 miles of 35 MPH twisties with not another vehicle in sight. Lots of good memories in Hope - not just fishing but hiking/biking with the girls, Kerri and her Mom. Lydia decided she needed a break and stopped pedaling right in the middle of the trail. I was directly behind her and had to leave the trail to avoid hitting her, and tumbled about 30 feet down the mountain, end over end, laughing the whole way.
The last picture came out poorly, but those that have been there can probably see all the pinks in the water. My timing was perfect for a visit as the run was peaking on the incoming tide and the stream was choked with fish with just 4 or 5 people fishing. I didn't fish and instead stayed awhile and enjoyed the view and the memories. I got home and cooked up the last piece of king salmon that Zack caught and gave me for Father's Day last month - a fine end to a nice day and even work was enjoyable as I got to do some data analysis and spend some time on the phones finding a better supplier for part of our product line.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Downsizing Again

In just a few days I'll be leaving the cozy nest I've acclimated to in the little camper and moving into a 26 square foot tent for a couple months. As you can see, it is not an enormous change as the camper truly is little. The tent, however, will not have the lights, fridge, oven, stovetop, running water, beds, tables, bathroom, closets and stereo that the camper has, not to mention a laptop with internet connection. It will be a transition, and leaving the camper is proving to be hard emotionally for me as it is the only home I have.

I'm hoping I can capture some of the same coziness and psychological comfort I've enjoyed in the camper in the tent as well as I move around the United States. I think even when you're homeless you need a place to call home so I'm really trying to put a lot of thought into what I take for camping supplies and how I can make the transition a good one for me. See you all on the road!

Monday, July 24, 2006


Check It Out!

Look who made Employee of the Month! And, in his words "it's about time!" We couldn't agree more. I darted into his work, snapped the photo with my cell phone, grinned at him working the cash register, and took off.

Not too much new to report. I am trying to leave work in the best possible shape, trying to not forget anything important in my trip planning, and having a fair amount of time for contemplation. If you could see the mental list of all I need to get done in the next six days you would be stressing right along with me, so I'll just keep it to myself. The bike goes in for the break-in servicing Wednesday or Thursday, I still haven't quite figured out the whole luggage setup, the owner is flying in tomorrow from New York and will be here for the remainder of my employment - on a happy note, Brenda and I have agreed to meet up in the Redwood National Forest for some camping after her job ends on August 10th, and there have been no major snags in getting everything ready. I'm not really doing any route planning, although I do know where I will spend the first couple nights. I'm not in a huge hurry to leave the perfect Alaskan summer and enter the furnace which seems to be burning from one coast of the lower 48 to the other. I'm just hoping my Dad can adjust the thermostat before I get down there!

I'm off to read my niece's blog and see what she has been up to - love and prayers to you all from Alaska!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

this is an audio post - click to play


Test Post From Cell Phone

I took a great motorcycle ride down Turnagain Arm
after work today. It was perfect! This is a test message from my cell phone as a text message emailed to my blog to get the details worked out so I can use this as an option from the road. Hope everyone is having a great week - just 11 more days!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


No More Multi-Part Stories!

Hey everyone, thanks for your kind words - both emailed and posted as comments - on the Legend of the Feather story. That was both fun and frustrating for me - fun to try something different, and frustrating because some nights I just wanted to post something silly or quick and couldn't because I wanted all three parts to be consecutive posts, for clarity.

I was looking at this photo of the quiet man and Grey Bear on the lower slope of the mountain and smiled - the odd pattern of still dry shirt makes it look like the quiet man has a big heart, right in the center of his chest - and I guess maybe he does.

I got to talk to both sons today - I went to see Zack at work (and admired his mug on the Employee of the Month board), and Trevor called and talked a long time. Trevor and Megan have officially set the date for the wedding - May 19, 2007. I'm excited! He wanted to know who he should invite, and I told him to invite everyone! On both sides of the family! I'm hoping Bro and Bren can make it, and maybe Dad and Penny if they aren't busy. Should be a great time - Trevor is so excited. They also hope the girls can be there, and so do I.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Legend of the Eagle Feather - Part III

The quiet man and Grey Bear searched along the exposed bedrock beside the trail for a hiding place where they could leave the feather and pick it back up on the way down the mountain. Such was the level of quiet man's greed and paranoia over the wondrous feather, he could find no satisfactory hiding spot. He considered burying it in the snow, then finally out of desperation he placed it down a den hole of an arctic ground squirrel. Marking the spot carefully in his mind, the quiet man and Grey Bear continued climbing the great mountain. They met interesting people and had grand adventures that day but those are tales for another time for this story is about a feather, a very particular feather, that of a bald eagle.

The quiet man and Grey Bear used up all their reserves of energy that day in climbing the mountain and the ever present breeze had died completely, leaving them at the mercy of great clouds of mosquitoes. As they descended the mountain, what had been an amazing experience of life changing proportions was becoming a hellish death march, the damage wrought by the relentless hordes of mosquitoes more psychological than physical, but very real all the same. The quiet man was reaching the end of his rope and was ready to collapse in despair when he noticed they were almost descended to the spot where he had hid his glorious eagle feather. Using the last bit of strength he possessed, he dropped his pack and stumbled to the snowfield to refill his water bottles, checking that the feather was still safe where he had hid it on the way up that morning. He dropped to the ground by his pack, completely spent. The day's hike of 18 hours covering a dozen miles, gaining over a mile in elevation and then part-way down, had left him nothing in reserve. The mosquitoes closed in hungrily and he could do little to resist.

The quiet man knew he had to get shelter, and soon. He had to strip off his drenched shirt and shorts and change into his fleece pants and hooded sweatshirt, get some food in his belly, and get into his sleeping bag, covered with a survival blanket to keep the mosquitoes away. Night was falling, or what passed for night in July this close to the Arctic Circle, and his body needed rest and fluids and food, but the mosquitoes were slowly driving him mad, sapping the last of his will. They had been pestering him constantly on the descent making good use of the still air and his gradually weakening state to gain maximum advantage. It all seemed too much, more than he could bear, even with such a loyal very small companion. The quiet man gave voice to his despair and tried to find hidden reserves of strength to accomplish what he knew needed to be done but could not even find the energy to swat them away and they had long ago proven to be all but immune to the repellent he lathered on all exposed skin. Things looked very bad for quiet man and Grey Bear. They wondered if they would see their small cave by the winding river of asphalt ever again. The quiet man closed his eyes in exhaustion but moments later snapped them back open as he felt the air quicken around him as a breeze began to stir the stillness. Eyes at ground level, he watched in amazement as the breeze blew just hard enough to keep the mosquitoes at bay - they were flying directly at him, dozens, maybe hundreds outlined against the darkening sky, but the breeze exactly matched their flying speed.

The quiet man lay in stunned silence, watching the wall of mosquitoes in disbelief for perhaps a full minute, maybe two. His exhausted mind struggled to process what he was seeing but in a moment of clarity he grabbed for his backpack and, eyes still on the cloud of bugs fighting the headwind, he began frantically pulling gear out of his pack and changing into dry clothes. He laid out a ground cloth, rolled out his sleeping bag, and was crawling in and pulling the survival blanket over the top when the breeze died as suddenly as it began and the mosquitoes resumed their attack. The quiet man and Grey Bear fell asleep almost instantly despite the incessant drone of the frustrated insects denied their meal.

They awoke the next morning to a world of wonder for they were sleeping right on top of the clouds. The lower half of the quiet man's sleeping bag was damp from the cloud and his face has in the bright sunshine! The quiet man and Grey Bear could hardly move from their exertions the previous day and their only reminder from the horror of the mosquitoes the night before was dozens and dozens of bites on the back of the quiet man's left hand which must have slipped out from under the shelter during the night. There were so many bites it looked like some form of tribal marking. The quiet man and Grey Bear slowly stood up, their feet in the cloud and their heads in the sun, and looked out over the whole expanse of white as far as the eye could see. After eating a bit and drinking some of the melted snow, the quiet man got changed and re-packed his gear. He knew the rest of the descent was going to be a challenge, but the sleep and food had charged his spirits and he knew he could make it down before another nightfall.

The quiet man and Grey Bear once again filled their water bottles with snow and went to retrieve their treasure from its hiding place. Looking into the hole the quiet man and Grey Bear saw their prized eagle feather was gone, and was no where to be seen on the surrounding tundra. The quiet man looked out over the expanse of white and smiled. "Fair enough" he said softly. The quiet man and Grey Bear hobbled slowly towards the trail and began heading down the mountain, gradually swallowed by the mist. The quiet man began to whistle happily as the last of the sunlight was blotted out and he descended into the cloud for the dark spot on his heart was gone, and he had a secret - a secret that he still carries with him in the small cave by the winding river of asphalt where he lives to this day with his very small companion Grey Bear.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Legend of the Eagle Feather - Part II

. . . . the quiet man and Grey Bear decided to join the travelers on the winding river of asphalt. They traveled west, and then north, to where the fresh water mixed with the sea at the base of a great mountain.

The quiet man in the quiet land who lived in a small cave by a winding river of asphalt with his very small companion Grey Bear was very excited as he stood at the base of this great mountain, the highest in the area. The quiet man had dreamed of this time for many years, even before he met Grey Bear, perhaps even before there was a Grey Bear. The quiet man had never met a traveler of the winding river of asphalt who had climbed this great mountain, and he did not know what to expect, but the quiet man and Grey Bear knew that what lay above them was certainly much different than their small cave, and for that they were glad.

The quiet man and Grey Bear climbed upwards all that day, spending the night wrapped in blankets on the side of the mountain. They met interesting people and saw many interesting things along their route but those are tales for another time for this story is about a feather, a very particular feather, that of a bald eagle. The quiet man and Grey Bear had watched bald eagles soaring above the great mountain as they climbed, marveling at their ease and grace as they rode the updrafts higher and higher until they were just dark specks against the clouds. It was halfway through the second day, on the way to a patch of snow to fill their water bottles, when the quiet man and Grey Bear spotted a feather on the ground. Not just any feather, but an eagle feather, almost a foot and a half long.

The quiet man could not believe his eyes and he sat down on the alpine tundra next to the feather, picking it up breathlessly with both hands and holding it up to the light. The quiet man and his very small companion Grey Bear marveled at the size, symmetry and coloration of the eagle feather and in the quiet man's heart began to grow a tiny spot of darkness, for the quiet man knew he could not leave this feather on the mountain for others to find and take from him. For you see, the laws of the quiet land were very clear about the penalties for possessing such a wondrous feather, and the comforts of the little cave by the winding river of asphalt were positively palatial compared to the steel cage where the quiet man and Grey Bear would have to live if their feather were ever found out. The quiet man did not care what the penalty was, for even as he turned the feather in the sunlight, the spot of darkness continued to grow and his eyes narrowed and darted around the alpine meadow furtively, making sure no one had witnessed his wonderful discovery. He realized he could not carry the feather the rest of the way up the mountain, for others might see it if he carried it outside his pack, and to carry it inside his pack would surely destroy it, so he began to search for a place to hide his treasure . . . .

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Legend of the Eagle Feather - Part I

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a man. This man was a quiet man, and lived a quiet life of what the poet William Blake calls firm persuasion. The land in which this quiet man lived was a quiet land, compared to some, and had a great many fewer Starbucks scattered about than the busier, more self-important lands.

This quiet man in the quiet land lived quietly in a small cave by a winding river of asphalt. In the isolation of the evenings and nights the quiet man listened to the passage of many voyagers along this river in conveyances of every size, color and shape, all apparently heading to very important places on very important errands. The quiet man paid keen attention to all these comings and goings, the ebb and flow along the asphalt river, and he began to be able to tell time without a clock by listening to these currents cycle though their daily surges from his cave on the bank of the river.

The quiet man in the quiet land lived in the small cave by the asphalt river with his very small companion Grey Bear. Both the quiet man and Grey Bear were tattered and torn and much the worse for wear from life's circumstances and the time in the small cave was a time for healing and introspection and self-reflection for them both. During the days the quiet man ventured forth to a much larger cave nearby and toiled diligently there to provide life's essentials for himself and Grey Bear. The quiet man and Grey Bear rarely looked beyond their small cave on the banks of the asphalt river, not even to see what might be on the other side. In their fashion, the quiet man and Grey Bear were content with their life in the quiet land in the small cave by the banks of the winding river of asphalt. And then one day . . . .


Happy 4th Of July!

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday. I spent my weekend hauling my butt up Pioneer Peak to about the 6000 foot level - had a fabulous time, still recovering and pondering all that I learned. I be blogging more about it over the next few days as it was a very meaningful time for me. I'm just checking in and posting quickly before bed - stay tuned for more!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?