Sunday, October 16, 2011

A little eye candy.

As promised, here are the first of many pics I will post of dad and mines' trip into the bush back in August.  The next few posts will take you to places that are only accessible by float plane, and are some of the most secluded and beautiful scenery I have ever seen.  Some of these, at least the obvious aerials, were taken from the plane window, so the quality is a little obscured, but gives detail to some spectacular glacier and alluvial flow as well as untouched beauty as far as the lens would let me see.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going Down The Road

It was a great night....a highlight of this trip, and a trip indeed!  Since Jerry Garcia died back in 1995, and the Grateful Dead disbanded, several incarnations of the band have come and gone, and we have been there to experience most of it all.  There was Phil Lesh & Friends, the Grateful Deads' bassist and his band of very talented and well rehearsed musicians.  There was Bob Weir the Deads' rhythm guitarist and his band RatDogPlanet Drum was an interesting post Garcia effort by one of  the Deads' drummer's, Mickey Hart.  Surviving former Grateful Dead members would later unite for the first time since Jerry's passing to form The Other Ones, and then a year or so later 'The Dead'.  Each band was unique and they expanded on beliefs, the music and the vibes that the Grateful Dead taught us all.  Although we have been to several of these shows, and have seen at least one show of each band....with the exception of the latter mentioned, The Dead, due to our life in a far away land, and the utter lack of ability to attend.

But this night would be different.  This night would prove to be a night of memories both old and new ones made, awesome music, smiles and all of the incredible vibes and spirit that could only be found at a Grateful Dead concert.  There was always a very profound energy shared by band and audience.  The band would drive the audience, and the audience would return the energized vibes back to the band which would propel the evolving circle into an experience unlike any you could ever experience anywhere else.

Yes, this night in Monterey, California would be special to us and showcased our vacation.  And, on the same stage as the historic Monterey Pop Festival in 1967!  In fact this would be the first time since any member of the Grateful Dead would perform on the same stage since their less than memorable performance 44 years ago.  The scorch mark still sits on the stage floor from where Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire with lighter fluid in front of an audience of up to 90,000 people.  A small venue by standards, the Fairgrounds sits where now exists an airport runway.  This simple presence only amplified the crowds excitement each time a plane would come in just yards above the audience for a landing, about every half hour, which would be accompanied by the crowd clapping and simultaneously roaring it's landing with approval. 

The latest post Garcia incarnation is a band called Further.  With the Grateful Deads' rhythm guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil Lesh, the line-up of old familiar Dead tunes and some selections brought out of the vault proved to be a show worth seeing.  The bands lead guitarist, John Kadlecik of the Darkstar Orchestra at times can have a very echoed replication of Jerry Garcia's voice and in some songs such as "Morning Dew", just sent chills up our could close your eyes and flash back to 20 years ago.  An incredible feeling.

I would be lying if I said we planned our trip around this show, however, I would be lying if I said we didn't!  In the past, we always tend to kick ourselves in the ass because we find out we just missed a good band or concert, so this time we scanned the web and there it was....Further!  So, we made our plans for the trip around the show!  Well worth it all!  For those who we missed seeing this time around....there is always the next.  Sometimes it isn't easy being on vacation!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Wher did the time go?

Somewhere over Canada, it occurs to me….it has been months since my last post!  I believe that only a blogger could truly appreciate the reasoning behind such a phenomenon!  It has nothing to do with writers block, but rather….who knows!  Just really busy I suppose.  I think that burn out creates a level of unmotivation, or ….burn out!  What worried me is how many people are running around  thinking I perished from botulism from the canning experience I wrote about back at the beginning of summer.  About the time our seasonal house guest, Tyler, showed up.  Holy crap…Tyler.  Now there is a story in itself that has completely fallen through the cracks.  Sometimes you just need a break from the things you do, and this summer has been a break from blogging.  Even pottery has kind of taken a bit of a back seat.  Yes, our summer consisted of a lot of hard and diligent work, fishing, a couple of really good trips into the gulf and out into the bush, and some good accomplishment of summer maintenance and winter prep around the compound.

Status report:

We hauled and bucked around 12 cords of wood for the winter, mostly storm and dead fall on the lower property.  It is 97% stacked and covered, ready to go and we began burning fires in the woodstove a little more consistently about two weeks ago.  The temps are falling at night, about down to 21F, and somewhere in the 40’s by day, a lot of clouds, wind and afternoon rains.  The days are getting shorter, which typically after a summer of so much daylight starts to feel pretty weird about now, and somewhat depressing to see it all go.

A summer visit from my family brought some really good memories as pops and I went on an ultimate expedition into the bush!  The day brought some spectacular sights, great fishing experiences for species such as lake trout, arctic char, and grayling.  Dad’s dream came true as the float plane landed at Dick Prenike’s cabin over in Lake Clark.  Flying along the contours of alluvial flow, and spectacular glaciers abound was a definite highlight for us both!  I have craploads of pictures and will post them in a couple of posts to come.

As well as plenty of salmon fishing  locally on the Kenai river and stocking our deep freezer, myself, Jennifer, Tyler and the lodge attendant Jason took a halibut fishing trip out into the Gulf Of Alaska and although they were small ‘chickens’, we did all get our limit and added to our personal stocks.  It was a fun day with ‘the kids’ for me!  And sometimes, ‘the kids’ are a hell of a lot more fun than adult’s!!!  I have to say,, this would be the first time since I watched the documentary, “Food Inc” almost 2 years ago, that I ate at Mc Donald’s after the trip was up.  Tyler, our official junk food junkie needed a Mc Donald’s fix.  Let me just say, the meal was hollow, unfilling and tasted about close to crap as far as “real” food could go.  Yukko!

We got to do some canning through the summer.  As well as salmon we canned some “real” peaches thanks to the contraband smuggling efforts of the folks!  Now, unless you have had the mis-opportunity of eating fruit and vegetables here in Alaska, you could never appreciate what fresh ripe peaches from the Central Valley of California can do to you.  When the box hit the counter in the kitchen and was opened, you have never seen so many hands molest a box full of fruit in your life!  You would have honestly have thought we had never had fruit before.  The same scene occurred when my best friend Brad, Tylers’ uncle, sent some plums and pluotts up!  Produce is generally shipped from the lower 48, unripe and just losses the romance of the phrase ‘fresh fruit’, somewhere along the way.  Just sucks really!  But it is the price you pay, and a worthy trade off for what we do have here in this ‘great land’.  What really sucked, is that after seeing the bruhaha that ensued over who was getting how many peaches between John/Jennifer  vs. Maryann and I, dad thought it from his heart to ship up a lug via the good old United States Postal Service.  Yes, another wonderful story about the complete ineptness of the Postal Service to ‘deliver’.  In short, the first box arrived 3 days late, which turned the peaches into a state of complete despair.  We spared enough to make a peach pie, and discarded all of the rest of the fermenting mess.  The second box never did arrive.  In fact, after the first 9 days, they disappeared off of the Postal Service tracking system,  what was received was a letter from the Postal Service that the second box had expired en route and would go where expired fruit boxes go.  Swine’s!

Tyler.  Now here is a story.  The boy was supposed to live with us for the summer.  What happened was, he lived with us for the first couple of weeks, while the lodge was coming together for the season.  Then, someone came up with the bright idea of Tyler having the option to stay at the lodge for a couple of days to be ‘on-site’ or the ‘on-call person’.  This worked out great as the first customers and guests arrived.  What was to be a couple of days turned into a permanent deal for him.  The benefits:  He pulled the excess heat off of Maryann after hours.  The woman deals with enough almost 14 hours a day and this was a welcomed relief.  This fact alone increased his hours immensely, plus he raked in tips galore!

His first weeks went great.  He was dependable, hard working and staff and guests alike loved his personable ways and unique sense of humor.  He apparently impressed the president of the lodge enough that he began to go on all of the fly-outs as like the on board assistant and fishing bitch for the pilots.  Now, this in itself was incredible.  He was going out into the bush.  He was seeing things that most people only dream of or watch on Discovery Channel.  This all happened in the course of a few weeks!  What followed was unprecedented for the lodge.  He became a certified and licensed fishing guide!  He began to make the flight plans according to his picked fishing locations, and would guide the guests on their fishing expeditions.  Made bank, in addition to hourly wages working on the grounds when he wasn’t flying or guiding, tips, and the on-call person.  Where he was supposed to go back to the lower 48 in August, he actually ended up staying on until the end of September and came back down with us.  The unofficial story is that he will definitely be back up in March to take his ‘river guide’ certification for the Kenai River guides and will be moving to Alaska permanently.

There is so much more to catch up on.  Pictures….  Stay tuned as I will try to be a little more aggressive in my posting.  Sometimes you just need a change of pace.  That is the best I can say!  Take care all.