Monday, February 29, 2016

All Alaskan

Well I don't know what in the world is going on around here but as strange and different that we've always known Alaska to be...it keeps getting stranger. Right now we appear to be going through the earliest ' break-up ' season ever recorded. It's as warm as 45 in the days and freezing at night with which we throw in a little...or a lot...of rain and walla...the slickest roads known to man. Here's a pic of the road to Rancho Deluxe and then another of our gate and drive way. Yikes, is all I can say. As you can tell it's not just solid ice, it's solid glare ice.
But being all Alaskan we weren't going to miss the Alaska Fur Rendezvous and World Sled dog Championships just because prudent people stay off the roads when it's like this. Chris and Melinda invited us up and as always rolled out the red carpet and we had a magnum dose of Alaska hospitality. But, it's amazing to me that it was clear but a bit drizzly when we left their house Sunday morning and just a few miles south as you looked to Turnagin the sky is black and you can tell....the big bend at Portage Glacier must be the epi-center in the world for wind/rain/sleet/hydo-planning / pot holes / white caps, you name it....here's pic out the wind shield at about 5 miles south of the Feje's house.
For all of you non Alaskans Fur Rondezvous is kind of a winter State Fair that got it's origins from trappers selling furs and dogs racing for money...these things are still the life blood of the event but it's also grown into an excuse to do what Alaskan's do so well....party. When our kids were in elementary school it was the big event for us. We'd stay at the Holiday so the boys could swim in the pool and me and MP would escape for a night on the town and we'd do all the events....H.O. train display, arts and crafts, ice bowling, parade , shopping ,...and well, me and MP still got what it takes. We got to Anchorage just in time for the Parade and they had the usual Royalty of course.
But my favorite Alaskan's in the parade where these guys....the ' sourdough cycler ' was out of control, I kinda figure him for a guy who lives in Talkeetna, maybe Trapper Creek. Then the 4-wheeler club has it  going on....I had no idea you could do that with a truck so I'm figuring to show this to the guys at the boat launch this summer and maybe see if we can get Adam and Dan or some of the guys to give it a try.
And then a nice lady from a church group came by and gave MPeasy a million bucks...She offered me a million to and of course I turned it down, greed is one of the things I dislike in life so if you got a mill, why would ya need two ????  I had no idea that Brigham Young was on the Million dollar bill.
We spent 5 hours on our feet exploring. After we watched Coyote hides sell for 40 bucks a piece we wondered down to Ship Creek for the snow sculptures that are usually ultra cool. But....the warm weather was taking it's toll. As you can see from this pic the snow blocks that were delivered were pitting and melting and it was just the kind of challenge Alaska snow artists are up to.
Some people had given up on the snow carving but most soldiered on. As you can see some of them turned out pretty darn good and these guys I expect were to win the big money. They were pro ice and snow carvers from Minnesota and they knew the tricks and had all the right tools. The water that melted out of the snow was replaced by spray bottles and rubbing water into it when the shape was complete. Then they'd cover it with a tarp until judging....they were great guys and we shared a pretty good laugh when I took a pic of the saws and they told me it was classified info. Being a fishing guide I know what they know...ain't no secrets at work.
Nobody has commented on my last few videos which is kind of a new twist on the Blog @ Mile 14. But I think I'll try it again because I think any of you that haven't been to a Sled Dog race will be impressed, those darn things are so fast I could hardly get a video....It's a short movie.
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This next 30 second video will give you an idea of the pandemonium at a dog race that is Alaska. I remember back in the 80's we watched the end of a race and after sprinting 25 miles a dog fight got started, and stopped. But I told MP, those ARE some spirited athletes. Make sure your audio is turned up.
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I don't know, maybe it's coincidence but lately I've been feeling like I'm living in some 5th dimension world where the dogs are running the people...a kinda Bizzarro world for all you Superman fans. So I just had to get this pic of one of my neighbors houses. Just when you think you've seen it all...can you imagine the dog owner...." now Fido, you be careful up on that roof "  ,  " and PLEASE, don't do you business up there, it looks sooooo tacky "....


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Those darn bridges

Last week I kinda had some fun posting a few video's of music (and I found another I forgot ). I guess I saw the potential for the i-phone video mode when I got that fantastic footage of the Caribou rut / joust that I published in the fall. So lately when I want to travel light I always keep the phone with me and try to mind full to use it. So, in P.V. last month I got some pretty chuckly scenes of everything you need to know about Mexican Suspension bridges....PLEASE don't be tooooo mad at me M.P....I love you.

One thing I love about Mexico is that function is job #1. In the states we'd engineer, we'd have OSHA people give hand rail specifications, we'd get the local chamber to meet and see if it matches their 'envision 2050 ' program, we'd even have an 'environmental impact statement' done.....but in Mexico they just want to cross the creek. SO, it was to my great delight to run into not 1 but 2 suspension bridges....and, it ain't as easy as it looks. Here's MP on a really busy one.

And video low and behold we ran into another bridge in the jungle. I hope you got the audio turned up because for some odd reason MP seems to think I'm always clowning around....you decide.
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One thing I believe in with life is what I call 'momentum' and it really comes into play on these kind of bridges.  Once you get a little  out of sync, well everything becomes more difficult. So I guess that's maybe one of life's simple lessons...before outside influences get to  making things unpredictable ya just gotta walk a little faster, ya gotta  move . And here's me doing just exactly that...but, I did get a little unbalanced along the way....man,.. there's a song in that.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Breath in, Breath out

Being a 100 % guy sometimes I get to feeling ahhhh...well.... a little overwhelmed by life.  I'm at the job site working to make Jeff King the best guy I can so I have goals and aspirations and standards that are so high I sometimes am disappointed in myself and very often disappointed in other people. Sometimes it's just life's lessons, no matter how good or right I am at steering the ship I have no control over the ocean...and so, sometimes I just need a break, to get away, to exit , to heal. And lucky for me I have something in my life that I hope all of you have either the same thing or the personal equivalent of to smooth the bumps in the road....my passion for music. A steady friend that's always ready to take my mind away. Sometimes when I rehearse I immerse my self in the story and think of my life through it. Sometimes when I sing a song I know so well that I sing it almost reflexively my mind wanders to places and events, fishing , and MP and....Sometimes when I need to communicate I imagine myself singing to hundreds and this song is what I want them to know, it's kind of like a problem solving technique I heard of where you right a letter and then don't send it.

This man below I had just sang a country song for. He was an instructor at the museum in Puerto Vallarta and like so many wonderful things in my life I met him by accident. We were looking for the natural history stuff or maybe even the Cultural Pavilion and what did we find ? ..magic.
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Home made music is everywhere in Mexico. Sometimes as you walk the streets of old town you can here different sounds coming from different houses that all meet on the street to sound only like Mexico. When I run into guys like this guy I always hand him some peso's and say thank you.
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Sometimes when I need out, when I need  a deep breath in life it helps me to really belt out the song. I like to sing it so we don't just hear it but we also feel it....we experience it. Here's a you tube video of me doing just that at my friend Enrique's house...man did that feel good.
So that's what I've been doing...if you get by Mile 14 stop by for a song....

Monday, February 8, 2016

Exit Stage left

It was the only thing to do. MPeasy and I jumped the jet and I don't mind telling that we're back in the happy confines of Mile 14 a little earlier than usual but just as happy to be here never the less. There's just so much different here and I guess that if I've learned anything lately it's this... some places I just don't fit in... but here, well, it's different. At the Seattle Airport they were hocking new Ford trucks, in L.A. it's just mass confusion...But at Ted Stevens International it all makes sense, they're showing off a brand spankin new sno-cat.
We get on the Caravan to fly to Kenai and the pilot is one of the Lindeman girls from Ninilchik. We talk basketball as she was part of that stunning run of State Championships back in the 90's and her dad was the wrestling coach in the 70's that mentored my friend Bruce Passe...it just all feels right, I know these people, and they know me.
As we fly over the Moose Range I look down at the harsh environment and it seems so much gentler and approachable than where I  just left, I guess home looks like that no matter if it's the wilderness of Alaska or a High rise in New York City.  What you really see is safety and comfort, a safety that comes from at least knowing for sure how this one part of the world works, your home. It's a great feeling and somehow seems real honest to me right now when I need some of that in my life to draw on.
There's only three of us on the plane and the pilot does a landing approach from the south to the north so we bank hard over the mouth of the Kenai River...mine and so many's favorite place. It's just a gorgeous flight. I'm thinking that little ol creek down there has done so much for me, through it I found the way. We supported ourselves, we raised healthy and happy kids, we've had fun and I hope we've kept the faith, I hope we've stayed true to this wonderful place. As a River Board member I worked for healthier use of the river. We started the yearly clean-up, we pushed to end Hydro Carbon contamination, we've suggested more drift boat use to give the old river a chance to breath and I hope it's all helped and I especially hope that it's both helped and not hurt anybody.  I hope my back yard knows that I've been true and that I stood up, I really do.
Naturally when we hit Mile 14 I had to get down the hill and visit with this place. It's strange to see the River unfrozen , it seems to be like this a little more and more each year. Maybe that will be good for the fish and all the creatures like us but I think maybe not. This day it's I just listen and look. It's a dark and grey day, the little drop below our house lets off a nice little gurgle sound and there's an Eagle in the last good Cottonwood on the island and the tracks indicate we've had many coyotes and a wolf walk through and.....it all seems to say, welcome home .
Like I said I've learned a lot lately. I could go on and on about the code of the west and how friends, real friends stand up.  And I could write about those selfish few that put themselves above everybody so often that it makes their numbers seem more than they really are....I guess that's how we lose faith in people. I could, I really could go on and on an on and on and....but what I've really learned is that I just don't fit in and ya know I guess I never have. I just needed to be reminded.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Max effort, yup...a fish story

The story don't start with that pic, I just thought it was pretty cool when I snapped it off late in the day while coming home from work. I got my gear satchel. my sun gator, long sleeve shirt....I could pass for somebody who knows what he's doing.

Team X has not been mobilizing much, it's just that the fishing has been so slow and it takes all day and lots of $$$$ to go to our favorite spots. But last week we met at 4:00 am and at sunset we were at our favorite spot near Dimas, 45 miles from Mazatlan. This place has produced some loads and I mean loads and we could really use one today. We stop at the river first and after 3 hours of hard throwing the Ern has one...as in 1....small Corvina and Slah decides to get us to the point for high tide. we fish hard and notta. Around 11;30 I get the tug  and holy moly I'm feeling a powerful fish. The pic below you'll see just how rocky it is and how difficult it is 'ride' one into a rocky channel and lift him to safety. Several times this fish got stuck in the rocks and as I've been taught I go slack for several long minutes and then walla, he's free. All the time I'm working this fish my buddies who could grab a gaff and help are talking. But finally I tighten up on him and get him into a channel and after ten minutes get a look.....Toro....I was hoping for nice robalo. Now I'm not complaining because this guy is a noble fish so I set up my tri-pod and take a pic then let him swim free.
So after comida Slah wants to walk about 2 miles to a another rocky point where he's heard Corvina are caught from a cliff but he's never been there. Ern is tired and Welle wants to fish at the truck and I can't let Slah go alone so we grab water and off we go....my first lesson in technical rock climbing. Naturally I'm a little gun shy when it comes to rocks but I went as far as my safety gene allowed me and stopped when Slah found this ' chimney ' to climb down the last 40 feet to the water. After doing my Carl Wallenda on New Years eve I promised and kept my promise to MP that I would evaluate the importance of a fish better.
Here's a pic of the view north from our new ' I'll never fish there again' fishing spot. What a beautiful spot to broil in the sun for several hours.
Of course Slah is like me, he makes friends everywhere he goes. This lobster diver swam by and hauled out at the risk of his life and they had a wonderful visit. I was especially impressed when he got hung up on the bottom and got the diver to go free the lure. Yikes.
Just as I was thinking ol Slah had fished long enough with no bites and that  maybe he's ready to go home and to safety he did what he always does, caught a fish. Darn it. So I snap a pic , give him a thumbs up and settle back for another hour or so.
Eventually he climbs back up and I give him a hand up the last lift and I don't mind telling you that I'm pretty relieved because although I'd have gone for sure I got the feeling that unless you're the lobster guy that last 10 feet to the h2o might be you last swim...and oh, he doesn't know how to swim I think.
We high five, I tell him that's the most ' earned ' fish I'd ever seen. We laugh and know it's us, doing kid stuff and we're together out in the middle of Mexico, alone. He later gave me that Max effort fish and it will always be one of the most important fish in my fish life memory. Here's pic to the south on the way back, the truck is waiting just a bit farther than the point.
Years ago when I started at LaMarina Condo's I told people it looked like the maids were running the place.....boy was I wrong. This pic below is Sophie ( creative name for a Poodle eh? ) and she is by far the most important Dogerson here . That's a cross between a dog and a person of course.
Sophie has 842 friends on here Facebook page, not bad eh ?....She has a credit line at the bar of who knows how much and even her own chair on the North Terrace. She's just magnetic with new Dogerson's so her social skills are amazing and unlike any Dogerson you've ever met, she's never made a mistake and poo poo ed in the wrong place,  I wish I had a Dogerson just like her because very seldom do you meet a Dogerson that's more important and fascinating that it's close cousin, the human.

We're headed back to Mile 14 on Thursday.....hope you check back.