Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A small village in Alaska

I am finally in Port Alsworth. It's a small village of 100 or so people, which may triple during tourist season. It's bordered by mountains and lakes, and it absolutely beautiful. The only way to get here is by small plane. Everything is flown in, from building materials to vehicles to toilet paper. There are more ATVs here than vehicles, because they're more practical and easier to fly in. Large vehicles aren't really needed, anyway. It hovers around 60* F here during the day and gets cold at night. The biggest thing is that it never gets dark, just dim. It remains light enough to see without a flashlight all night long. Even at 11:00PM, it's a twilight-ish light. It's been sort of hazy and cloudy since I've gotten here too, so it isn't super bright either.

I won't have a whole lot of internet access and no cell phone service while I'm here. I've been helping out at the camp, working on whatever needs doing. I'm actually the first of the summer staff to arrive, whereas I thought I'd be a latecomer. I'm glad to be here. For now I'm getting to know the Walshes(who run the camp/church) and eating all my meals with them since the camp staff is just them and I. Anyway, I'm having lots of fun. Here are some pics I took:


There aren't very many(or very big) because the satellite internet here is metered and I don't want to eat into anyone's limit.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

In Alaska

I'm in Alaska. Had a good day full of flying to get here. Set out this morning from Longview with some friends who drove my Montero back. I was cutting it kind of close with time, but I got checked in and through security in plenty of time. Then I remembered that I left my cell phone in the car. Oops. I needed it to call my contact in Alaska when I arrived. I was very tempted to say 'screw it' and leave it behind, but the risk was too great. I went back out through security, checked to see if they might still be there- nope. I borrowed a stranger's cell phone and called my cell phone and got Gareth(my friend driving the Montero back) to come back. My flight started boarding about this time.

Man, I was praying hard that I wouldn't miss my flight, or leave on my flight with no way of communicating with my Alaska peeps. In the end, God provided and I got my phone(and my keys, which I had forgotten also) and I made my flight. I wasn't even the last person in line. God definitely provided- the line for security was empty. Had it had a normal amount of people in it, I might have missed my flight.

Had a 4-hour layover in Denver. Watched Mythbusters in the terminal. I got my seat upgraded to an exit row, but to my dismay I was sitting in the middle, and with a guy almost twice my size (!) next to me. Fuuun. God was looking out for me again, because the other guy I was next to got bumped to first class and me and Mr. Big got to have some personal space.

Now I'm in Anchorage, and I'm staying overnight with some friends of the camp director. Tomorrow afternoon I'll fly out to Port Alsworth, which is a village on a lake far from anywhere. It's accessible only by light aircraft, and when the lake freezes over in the winter you can theoretically drive. That's how they get all the stuff that won't fit in a plane there. Anyway, it should shape up to be an exciting summer.

Also, it's 11:00PM and still mostly light out. Kind of like twilight. Neat! I promise pics; AK is beautiful.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Final leg: TN to TX

I'm safe in Longview. This leg was almost entirely uneventful. I left around 10:00AM and got into Longview around 7:30PM.

In other news, the Montero gets 23.5MPG.

Epilogue: Chilled in Longview. Moved van from LETU to Ardens and filled with all the stuff I brought back from MA. Washed and vacuumed out Montero. Hung out with friends- dinner with my ladies and later coffee with my guys. Ended up going to bed way too late both nights. Slept on couch in T3 lounge. Couch pillow smelt of unwashed nerd. Swapped for fresh one, also too tired to notice.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Second leg: MD to TN

Whew. I got up at 5:45 and I was on the road at 6:00. Pretty much, I drove all day. I got in to TN at 7:30- 13.5 hours of driving. Awesome. The first song of the day was "Every New Day" by Five Iron Frenzy, purely by chance. I thought that was neat. Mostly uneventful- you know it's going to be an exciting day when Google maps says: "Turn right. Continue 745.6 miles." I'm pretty frazzled right now. Can't think straight.

Notes from today:
Don't freak out when the car makes slightly different noises. It's the road. Really. (Though wheels might be slightly out of balance. No biggie)
Zune has a really good battery!
Wait and buy gas later. It'll be cheaper. Use gasbuddy.com.
Bring more water next time.
When going down steep hills, cruise control will actually engine brake.
I managed not to eat any MREs today, just a sandwich and some granola bars. Dinner here. On that note, I'm going to go eat dinner.
I stayed with a family that my parents met once. They were very nice. Thank you, Gilmores! It was a little bit weird to stay with people I didn't know, but not really. Accidentally got educated on the TV show Lost through osmosis while sitting in TV room on laptop. Ooops.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

First leg: MA to MD

Some quick notes on how today went:
NYC traffic.
Cutting across 4 lanes of NYC traffic at 45MPH to make a left-hand exit.
New York smells funny.
Toll bridges are ripoff, but the NJ Turnpike is kind of nice.

All the negative things that people say about NJ are actually untrue of NJ, but COMPLETELY true of Delaware. (Panhandlers galore!)
To expound: Everything is backwards in Delaware. Stores will not give cash back from a debit transaction and there is only one ATM per town. However, unlike every other ATM in the nation, it is free. Also, gas stations are only allowed to have entrances. To leave you have to do a funky illegal U-turn and go through the stoplight again.
While heating/eating an MRE out of the back of my car, three different people asked me to give them gas money. My policy on panhandlers is to be rude and tell them to get lost. I did. I don't take no guff from beggars. This was only a problem in Delaware.

Using no AC and no windows down might save 0.1% on gas mileage, but it's not worth it.
Note: Figured out that AC does not work.
Cruise control is a virtue.
I now have a tan on my left(window) arm; but still pale otherwise.
Wasting 1.5 hours getting lost in south NJ trying to find a (totally sweet) junkyard and surplus center is not worth it if it's closed when you get there. (Otherwise yes)
I-95 is a good road, if a bit... multiple-personality disorder.
Using 16ga wire on the inverter apparently causes too much voltage drop. (Odd, worked for AZ, not now)

Tomorrow is MD-TN, Gmaps calls it 11.5 hours so I'm going to bed ASAP so I can beat the WDC traffic out (that is, 6:30AM)


Saturday, May 12, 2007


Just posting this image real quick.
Summary: DFW > BOS > DFW > ANC > LAX > AKL > BNE > KUL > ICN > NRT > IAH > DFW

Friday, May 11, 2007

Yep, Massachusetts is still boring

But in other news, I've got a job as a security officer. It's just a temp thing, though. Stereotypically, the security office had donuts. I had one I hadn't had in a long time, Boston Creme. Unsurprisingly, these are difficult to get far away from Boston. They're pretty good, but don't feel like you're missing a whole lot if you've never had one.

Wow. Boring life, boring blog posts.

I'm also trying to get a feel for the Montero, which I will be assuming ownership of soon. It's making disturbing noises during turning at speed. After some consultation, I have reason to believe that it's a CV joint. Not a fun replacement, but not terribly difficult I don't think. It sounds like there's a gremlin hanging on under the car, smacking away at something with a hammer. It happens pretty rarely- only when making sudden or tight turns at decent speed. Not super-urgent, but kind of unnerving.

I'm trying to think of something else to write; that's usually a good indication that nothing you have to say is interesting, so I'll stop now.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Good news, bad news

Good news: I cleared the hurdle of packing up and departing LETU.
Bad news: Massachusetts is extremely boring.

Seriously boring. I just took a walk. Come on, that's totally AARP territory right there. I was so bored that I took a walk for no reason whatsoever. It's not that there's anything bad about walking, but I should have something better to do. I suppose the transition from the end-of-year hustle(e.g. bustle) to doing absolutely nothing is rather jarring.

When I'm bored at LETU, I just walk down the hall, and 80% of the time someone will need to talk to you, something interesting will be happening, something. Here in MA, though, all my high school friends/acquaintances are mostly drunks. What to do? I've looked for a job, but I'm only here 2.5 weeks so nobody wants to hire for that short, and there's no temp work in a town this small.

Bonus: I just remembered that my potato cannon is in storage here. I must acquire.

What else can I do? The Montero needs to have its brakes bled. However, anytime that I have access to the Montero I'm going to be out doing something. Video games? Perhaps. I wish I hadn't gotten rid of San Andreas. Hmm. Suggestions? (Seriously, leave a comment. I'm talking to myself here)