Sunday, September 29, 2013

There's Hope

When I was a kid, my dad would take us on a drive (mainly for mom) to see the fall colors in rural Maryland and Pennsylvania. I guess that's where I get it from. The fall colors, especially in Alaska, are breath taking. A few years ago, the color change seemed to last quite a while, but this year it's happening fast.
So a friend of mine who just moved to Alaska and I decided to take a day trip to Hope, Alaska and see what is on the way. The fall colors and bird migration was in full swing. It was hard to decide where to stop and take it all in. Above is Bird Point. There we saw a pod of Beluga whales feeding. They we fare enough out though that I couldn't get good photos.
Swans and a duck along the highway with a gorgeous background as we went trough Girdwood. There were actually 3 immature and two adult Tundra Swans, some were behind the tall grass. We saw them again on the trip back, but they had moved along to a larger pond.
These 2 were alone just south of Portage. I can't get over their gracefulness along with the stunning fall colors.
 There was plenty of highway noise, so they moved further away.
 Don't jump Susan! You'll see the view in the next photo. This is kind of a hidden spot outside of Hope, but not too hidden. A few people were pulling up as we left, cameras in hand.
After this short breath taking hike, we headed into Hope. Click the link below for more photos and a look at a Alaskan town in no hurry. It was a good day with good company and a good dinner at Fire Tap after we got back to Anchorage.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Inside Fairbanks

I make it to Fairbanks usually a couple times a year on personnel trips and now on business. I went a couple weeks ago and had a little more free time then I thought I would. That works out good for photography and a little sight seeing.

Being a history buff, I love memorials. They tell the history of the place your visiting. The Lend-Lease program flew planes and supplies through Alaska and Siberia to Europe during World War II, and the aircraft stopped in both Fairbanks and Yakutsk. 

This awesome monument and fountain of the first settlers was really moving.

The old Northern Lights Hotel is looking for a little love. There's all sorts of stories about paranormal activity and deaths. She was built in 1953, so I bet it has some stories to tell.

Creamer's Field is always a must stop. It was a little late in the season and late afternoon, so birding wasn't good. But hiking the trails you do meet some neat people.

Fountainhead Resort has the biggest pots for their flowers.

The next week I was back home, but it snowed 3 inches in Fairbanks. I doubt the flowers look this good anymore.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In Remembrance of Yukla 27

I hope you don't mind me reposting this in remembrance of those lost on Yukla 27 on Sept. 22, 1995.

It was 14 years ago today, September 22nd, that an AWACS plane carrying U.S. and Canadian military personnel crashed after takeoff from Elmendorf Air Force Base, killing all 24 people aboard.

Their aircraft call sign was Yukla 27. Yukla is a Tanaina Indian name for "Eagle". On 22 September 1995, Yukla 27 began rolling down runway 05 at 0746 Alaska Standard Time. The E-3B did not fly far after take off, remaining airborne only 42 seconds. Losing most port (left) wing thrust, Yukla 27 banked into an inescapable crisis, reaching an altitude of no more than 270 feet, and disappeared into the timbered hills 3,500 feet Northeast of the runway at precisely 0747:12. Having wrestled the E-3 to the edge of the laws of physics well below stall speed, pilot Capt Glenn "Skip" Rogers' last transmission was "We're goin' in, we're going down."

Each chose to answer the highest calling of citizenship by risking his personal safety in defense of his country. There is no more selfless act. All who die in the line of duty do so that others might live in peace and prosperity. It is a profound sacrifice and a priceless gift. The tragic accident which claimed Yukla 27 transformed its 24 man crew into the stuff of legend. They were 24 of the best. The day of their loss will be forever marked into history and my memory.

The investigation into the accident revealed that geese, being sucked into the jet's engines, caused the crash.

I knew most of the crew of Yukla 27. I was the crew chief of the aircraft it replaced after I retired. Funny thing is that I knew most of the crew from the time spent deployed to Panama, not our time in Alaska. Aircraft Commander, Capt. Skip Rodgers was a real professional. TSgt Bart L. Holmes was the flight engineer, and one of the best. These two I worked with the most, the rest I saw in the halls at work, at squadron picnics, etc. They were the best of the best and won't be forgotten.

"High Flight"


John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of--wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence, Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew,
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thanks for the goodtime Blackberry

Today is the first day in I don't know how many years, that I don't have a Blackberry in my pocket. I became a fan of BB when I got my first Pearl years ago. Being able to synchronize easily with my pc is a must and that's when it started. It was also the first phone that I had that didn't die before the contract was up.
BB has always made a good product. You could feel the quality in your hand. Their software always had something to be desired though. I always had update problems, locking up, deletions and BB caused high blood pressure. I was hoping with the relaunch of RIM as Blackberry, this would go away like a bad dream, but no. Again the product was awesome. The Z10 had a larger screen, felt awesome, etc. But now to sync with your pc was a huge challenge. BB said they would fix this issue soon, but never did.
Quality product and organizing my day is why I stayed with them. This is why I always upgraded to the newer Blackberry, to stay ahead, never to retreat. I always amazed people that I still had a personnel BB. Well, no more.
Yesterday while I was in the AT&T store, Blackberry announced that they had over a million of unsold phones that were designed to save the company. They will announce a quarterly loss of $1 billion. They were laying off 4,500 people to cut expenses in half and their sale of stock dropped 17% with BB halting trading of their shares. They're going to give up on the personnel market and focus on the corporate market. So I gave up on them.
I got the new Apple 5S. It's smaller, but lighter. It is very fast and soooo many apps. And the most important part is that my contacts, calendar and task list match what is on my pc and my new IPad.
Blackberry, it was fun. Now life goes on. I only hope Microsoft learns from BB's mistakes.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fall in Fairbanks

I went to Fairbanks on Business this week and of course I took my camera. Fairbanks is another place I like to do photography. There's always something different around each corner.

I took off with a photography friend on the only night it wasn't raining and we found some good colors and reflections.

Fall was really starting to take off.

We were starting to loose the light real fast,

so it turned into an early night. It was good to get out and see fall arriving in Fairbanks.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Macy and I discover mushrooms on our morning walk

Macy and I take two long walks a day. One in the morning and one before bedtime. Lately we've been getting a lot of rain, which means mushrooms. Though I don't know one from another, they are beautiful in their own way. Macy tolerates my trips into nerdism.

Out of tree stumps and out of the ground.

Their cups reversed and

some really shiny.

I was getting many a strange looks from people walking by, as I took these photos.

But I'm use to that.

The above I did id as Fly Agaric / Amanita Moscaria. Vey common around my neighborhood.

Some of them reminded me of my breakfast this morning in a way.

Mushrooms of the National Forest in Alaska is an excellent brochure helping to identify mushrooms. Obviously they aren't limited to the National Forest. The University of Alaska Fairbanks, UAF, published the Alaska Mushroom Guide to Harvesting Morels , if your interested. There's also the Alaska Mushroom Slideshow on You Tube. The music is a little creepy, but he covers a lot of fungi.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 2, 2013


It's fall, it's pre-winter. It's raining most of the time right now. The fireweed has bloomed out. The leaves are beginning to change. The temperatures rarely get to 60° anymore. When it's not raining, there's been a morning dew.

We had an awesome summer and now we pay for it. That's OK with me. Winter will be here by the end of next month.
Next weekend I'll take Macy on a road trip and get some fall photos.
Posted by Picasa