Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Erline the Super Wide Track Skandic

It is snowmachine season in our little corner of the world and I have been out putting down some miles.  I recently broke out an 85 mile trail into the Brooks Range with some friends of mine and it was quite an adventure.  By "broke out" I mean there is now a 40" wide trench of snow in the middle of nowhere that you can follow until it snows or blows in and 8 weeks from now it will just melt away into nothing.  But for now it is a super highway to happiness.

Of course there were many breakdowns and setbacks along the way.  The first day one of the guys froze the shock on his track which collapsed his suspension.  We flipped the machine on its side and within 5 minutes there was a crowd of villagers around us poking around and offering advice.  A few minutes later we towed it into the fire hall's heated garage, pulled the bad shock and replaced it with a new one that was offered up on the spot.  Village hospitality can be amazing.  We hit the trail and my SWT Skandic Erline took on the mighty task.  I bought Erline 2 winters ago from a man named Earl T. Boone.  So I christened her Erline and we have formed a rocky partnership.  She breaks down every 100 miles, which is a lot.  But her track is 24" wide and most other machines are 16" wide so when she is running I love her dearly.  She mashes snow with wild abandon.
Two days into trailbreaking a massive blizzard descended upon us.  It snowed 18" and blew over 50 mph for 2 days.  We were forced to turn around and brake trail back to the village of Bettles.  It was a bitter defeat and on the way home Erline broke a ski leg which is the main vertical support for the ski.  I patched it with an alder branch and we limped home through neck deep powder.
Luckily I found a dead snowmachine in Bettles that resembled Erline and I was able to patch her back together.  I assembled another trail breaking crew and we headed back for another assault.  14 miles later Erline seized her engine.  We dragged her into the fire hall and me and a buddy (who happened to have a rebuild kit available) put new pistons, cylinders and gaskets on Erline in the middle of the night and had her running by 5:30am.  At 10am we hit the trail again.  This time there were 3 other snowmachiners with me and a sled dog team of 14 dogs.  We made it 30 miles the first day, broke out another 15 miles the next day, then 10 more miles the day after that and finished 25 miles of trail on the 4th day.  Driving Erline through fresh snow is like wrestling a couch.  It wears you out and produces a lot of bruises.
True to form Erline broke a steering arm on the return trip and I had to wire her skis up with a tree branch once again.  I'll fix that today and she should be good to go again.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fresh snowfall in Fairbanks

I shoveled the driveway again last night because a nice afternoon flurry dumped another 3 fluffy inches in Fairbanks.  I don't meditate but I realized last night as I scooped by the light of my headlamp the repetitive motion takes over and I totally get into it.  The driveway is looooooong and getting narrow now, but I think I'll make it without having to hire any heavy equipment, of course if I do it just means we got more snow which would be great.
Shoveling also gets me away from the computer where I have been following the 2011 Yukon Quest a litle too closely.  My refresh screen button is wearing out.  May have to pilgrimage to Circle this weekend and watch it up close and personal.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A Road to Nome - Seriously?

The past decade has been full of financial ruin and huge mistakes, this would be the biggest in my lifetime.

For the complete "plan" go here.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Time To Revoke Sarah Palin's Alaska Resident Status

This morning's sunrise was gorgeous and all of Fairbanks was lit up beautifully.  The Alaska Range was crystal clear in the distance and 4 inches of fresh powdery snow covers the trees from yesterday's storm.

Then I turned on the Interweb to find much murder and mayhem and not a lot of good things happening in Arizona right now.  Apparently a gunman tentatively identified as Jared Laughner opened fire on  Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a number of people near to her.

Not so coincidentally Sarah Palin had this woman in her crosshairs.  Literally.  Now I have never been a big fan of this lady but when your rhetoric mirrors violent actions there is something wrong with you.  If I was boarding an airplane and said to the pilot, "Terrorists should do something about your level of service."  I can bet TSA and possibly the FBI would pull me off that sucker and I would be on NPR and CNN just before they shipped me off to GITMO.  
While I seriously doubt the half governess will face such justice I would like to propose that her Alaska residency be stripped.  This would not only send a nice message to the world that Alaskans don't tolerate raw hatred, it would also keep more caribou safe from her bad shooteriness.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Surfing the net

The temperatures have dropped below the smiling face of the zero on my thermometer the last few days and the flatlanders are seeing -30F and perhaps a -40F in a faraway tundra pit somewhere, but I live in the hills now and such discomfort is below me.  Literally.  The coldest we have seen here on Moose Mt. is about -20F.  I still chop wood in my flip flops in -20F.  Taint nuthin'.  But cold weather means more time inside for a lot of folks which means more internet and that's what I'm installing lately and business is picking up while my fingers are falling off.

I install for Hughesnet and Alasconnect as a private contractor and most of the time folks are pretty happy to see me.  They either have no internet and can't wait to finally return to civilization, or they have been worked over bad by the local big name providers and are tired of high prices and terrible service.  ACS seems to get the most four letter words, so thanks for the business lads.  Because I'm on the fringe of Fairbanks I do see my share of NO TRESPASSING signs, so far no shotguns.
Today I installed Hughesnet at a straw bale house off Cripple Creek Rd.  Gorgeous house, beautiful view and lots of chickadees to keep me company.  The owner invited me in for pork sandwiches and coffee at lunch time which was much appreciated.

Take care of your installer and he will take care of you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stolen Truck Alert

This blog is about Fairbanks and my view of Fairbanks so I have no choice but to re-post this from the list of Craig:

Sat. Nov. 20th at approx 9-9:30 pm my 04 Dodge Ram lic # XCUZME was stolen from Lathrop st. I'm offering a $500 rerward for truck or contents. Truck had storage drive with photos of deseased loved one on it. If you have any info please call Christie at 322-1396 or if you see my truck please call
Fairbanks Police Department at 450-6500.


And to whoever stole this truck I know the Karma Fairy is coming at you like a sniper round.  Stealing photos of the deceased or diseased is pure evil.