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One Alaskan’s journey back in time

January 29, 2015

DSCF1304Frustration would be one word I would use for what I was feeling on Monday when my flight had been delayed for the second time in an hour, but it wasn’t the delay that gave me that chill but watching as the pilot, co-pilot and cabin crew walked out of the gate and away from the boarding area. Not many passengers noticed it and no mention was made by the two Alaska airlines ticket agents but I was now sure this would be a long day.

*No poetry or word-smithing in this post,
just a simple factual story of my journey back in time
from the modern world of hot water, cellphones, electricity and fresh vegetables
to a my home in the wilderness.

The final preparation actually started the day before with last minute packing interspersed with those precious last moments with the grandchildren. One one occasion when I disappeared outside in front of the house the Texas sun was beckoning me to one last reveling in her warm glory. It struck me then that it would be a number of months before I could stand outside in 64 degree weather with just a t-shirt and soak up some rays! Then again I do not think I would do that anyway because I would be donating many pints of blood to the newly born Alaska state bird. (aka mosquitoes)

Finally my departure day was here and an early 3:30 am wake up, (for some reason at my age and ‘temperament’ I have to have a the minimum one hour of caffeine and nicotine intake before facing another human). Then as my son drives me to the airport we both remember things we wanted to say for weeks but now have only minutes to talk about. He only lingers a short while at the airport because he doesn’t have much time before his daughter is taken to school by Claudia his wife and he will have four more hours to interact with his son before his buss arrives to take him to school.

I wish we had more time, (it always seems like we need more time when we know we do not have it), to talk but he leaves and I face the dreaded TSA. Fortunately for me I enter their world through the priority line, (courtesy of my daughter-in-law), and they treat me like a congressman instead of a sleeper member of Al Keda, and I am whisked through with nary a glance. Suffice it to say the flight went well even with a two hour delay, (maintenance problems), and a change in aircraft in Seattle.

The first shock of the day comes after we land in Fairbanks and I head outside for a cigarette. I want you to try and imagine what it is to walk out your front door from a warm, (Texas 64 degrees), to the Fairbanks -39 I was hit with, that’s over a one hundred degree difference! Suffice it to say I did not smoke for long and went back inside to claim my luggage.

A quiet night ensued with a much needed hug from my daughter, some junk food in a nice hotel and one last long hot shower. Tuesday morning was spent covering much of Fairbanks loading my truck with supplies for my cabin. For those who can not visualize wilderness living, when you leave your cabin to ‘cool’ down for weeks it literally freezes along with everything in there. So the last month before heading to texas I did not resupply but drew down all the food and liquids stored there so it would not freeze.

Now it was time for my interesting 60+ mile drive home. The reason I say interesting is because I had been away for quite a number of weeks and when you factor in being old and some would even say forgetful I had to relearn quickly how to drive on the same ice covered road that they filmed the TV series ‘Ice road truckers’ on. But that skill must be ingrained in me because the drive home presented no problem and in about an hour I was pulling into my driveway.
My neighbor’s son Paul had hand shoveled the drive and paths to areas I needed to get to and Kara his mother had gone in the cabin a day or so earlier and turned the heat on so that even though the temperature outside was minus twenty something the cabin was nice and toasty! Paul even returned to help unload what seemed like hundreds of bags into the cabin. I made a nice spaghetti dinner, wrote some emails to send out over the shortwave radio and turned in early.

Today I am easing into the cabin life and sorting the supplies I brought out with me and writing down the things I forgot to buy yesterday. Throughout the day I keep thinking that I did not accomplish this trip back in time without the help of many.

From my son and his wife for flying me down for the visit
and putting up with ‘grumpy’ for many weeks

my daughter picking up my mail every week
and letting me know what was happening back at home

to my good friend Jerry who stored my truck
and made sure my car was warm and ready to start when I got home

to Rose who owns this wonderful 80 acres of God’s country
for plowing the homestead all winter long.

to Paul for shoveling by hand a driveway that had to be frozen solid
and then coming back and unloading my full truck

to Kara his mother who ensured my home was warm and comfortable

I can think of only one way to thank people who are there when you need them
by being there if ever they should ask for anything.

Thank you to all
for making the picture below possible


3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2015 9:30 pm

    Glad you back home, safe and sound, Pete! And glad you got to fellowship with your family!


  2. Jon permalink
    January 31, 2015 4:34 am

    A story that could only come from the heart. I enjoyed it!


  3. February 2, 2015 10:37 am

    Great image Pete!! Welcome home…


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