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View Full Version : Barrow, Alaska Trip



NightTrain
02-25-2017, 10:37 AM
Just got back from Barrow last night... didn't get any free time to speak of to wander around and explore, but I did take a few shots here and there. That's one of the downsides to operating like we do - we hit town and work hard & fast until we're exhausted, sleep for a couple of hours and do it again until we wrap up and haul ass out of there. That doesn't leave much time to be a shutterbug and load up on pics or go see cool areas.

First, a pic of where I am in relation to where Barrow is - I'm about 50 miles North of Anchorage.

It's 723 miles as the crow flies from Anchorage to Barrow.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9702&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 10:41 AM
A pic of the sunrise somewhere halfway to Barrow... a couple of lonely mountains poking up through the clouds into a pink sunrise. It was beautiful to watch as I sipped my coffee.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9703&stc=1



http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9704&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 10:49 AM
The ice pack over the Arctic Ocean as we swung around over the water on approach to Barrow.

When the wind and tides work together, the ice breaks and hundreds of square miles of ice float away from land... there's been many cases of people out on the ice pack on their snowmachines or dogsled and suddenly find themselves on an ice island with no way to get back. That's kind of a big deal, especially when there's bad weather preventing an air rescue via airplanes or helicopters.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9705&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 10:55 AM
And here is the Northernmost point in the United States. Possibly North America, too - I don't know if Canada has a more Northern location or not.

I think the stop sign is quite fitting.

You can't really see it in the distance in this shot, but out on the water it's a forest of broken ice jumbled together 30 feet high as far as you can see, making what looked like an impassible barrier. I studied it and didn't see any possible route to take a snowmachine through, but I'm sure there are areas to sneak through.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9706&stc=1

Kathianne
02-25-2017, 10:59 AM
It looks very, very cold! Brrrrr!

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 11:05 AM
Typical Barrow scenery.

Note all of the Aerial power & telephone lines. Everything is aerial up in this region because it's pretty much sea level, and because of the permafrost. These lines really take a beating from the storms that roll through and power outages are frequent.

All of the internet and communications here is via Satellite. There's a major fiber project scheduled to arrive in Barrow this Summer and when that happens they'll have lightning fast comm with fiber to all the residential - but until then the internet is brutally slow. It took about 2 - 3 minutes just to load the Fox News website in my hotel room, and when you're trying to talk on your cell phone, there's a several-second delay which makes having a conversation extremely difficult. The best way is to treat it like a 2-way radio : say what you need to say, then wait 7 or 8 seconds for the response.

It was about 15 below zero in this shot.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9707&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 11:11 AM
Almost all of the structures this far North are built up on pilings. I spotted a couple of buildings on the ground, but almost every one of them were abandoned after a couple of years when the floors turned into some crazy madhouse angling up, down and sideways.

This is because of the permafrost - the ground stays frozen year round. If you don't build up on pilings like this, the heat from the building melts the ground and the structure begins settling in weird ways. So the solution is to keep heat away from the permafrost and keep it frozen.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9708&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 11:17 AM
My hotel room's kitchen. I was very impressed with our accommodations - usually out in villages like this the hotel rooms are complete dives... but this one was awesome! We lucked out and that's where we'll be staying every time in the future.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9709&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 11:24 AM
And a PSA for all the noobs in town who think they're cuddly.

http://i.imgur.com/mdtBtdu.jpg
jimnyc can you rotate this for me, please? Win10 is so stupid sometimes.

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 11:30 AM
Sunrise, 30 below zero.

The fencing is to help mitigate snow drifts from burying the roads. They help, but the wind is almost always blowing up there because there's no trees or terrain to block it - so the snow is constantly drifting and the heavy equipment is always removing it. The big front end loaders are running 24/7 right about now all over town this time of year.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9712&stc=1

Kathianne
02-25-2017, 11:46 AM
and I complained about Chicago winters! :laugh:

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 11:55 AM
2 of the guys on the team. One is our Electrician and one is our Construction guy - very hard workers and extremely knowledgeable.

We found this little hole-in-the-wall Mexican takeout place, and his wife is a superb baker. The guys zeroed in on these decadent goodies and shamelessly rammed 5,000 calories on the spot while we waited for our chimichangas. The food was outstanding - it was probably the best chimi I've ever had.


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9713&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9714&stc=1



The Mexican owner said he's been there for 26 years... kind of an extreme difference in climate! He was happy as hell to chat with us, and I think it's because the locals still view him as an outsider and are unfriendly. We almost had to force him to take our money - he kept trying to give us food and drinks and desserts, which gained him a couple of bleak stares from his hardworking wife and he probably got a good ass chewing after we left.

Even though we're a bunch of white guys, we don't usually get any racial bullshit from native locals because we're there to give them upgraded internet and cell service... and everyone loves that idea so usually anything that they can do to help us out, they do. When we run across the uncommon racist anti-whitey sentiment, it's almost always from the younger crowd, like the 15 - 22 year old age group... and when the Elders catch wind of that crap, they put a stop to it, fast.

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 12:09 PM
Blizzard yesterday morning.

This didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped... the windshield wiper is pushed out 4" from the windshield by ice building up underneath it from melting when it hits the glass and then freezing.

We had the rental Ford pickup's heater / defroster working overtime but it just couldn't keep up with conditions.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9715&stc=1

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9716&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 12:13 PM
So, because you can't bury anything up here, this is the sewer / fresh water pipes that run above ground.

To keep these from freezing, it's all circulating 24/7.


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9717&stc=1


And below the water / sewer system runs the power and comm lines... the orange one would be the Fiber.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9718&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 12:17 PM
Think you've got unreasonable gas prices?

$5.90 a gallon! Yeah, I'd be rolling in a Subaru if I lived there.

This was the bill filling up the rental yesterday before returning it :



http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9719&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 12:20 PM
And, finally, a picture of the mighty Yukon River yesterday as I flew home.


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9720&stc=1

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 12:33 PM
It looks very, very cold! Brrrrr!

Yeah, it was. The ambient 30 below isn't that bad, but it's the wind that knifes right through you that really sucks!

I'd never live up there... it would suck! I have to have trees and mountains around me to be happy.

Elessar
02-25-2017, 01:01 PM
Very nice pics, NT!

Abbey
02-25-2017, 02:54 PM
2 of the guys on the team. One is our Electrician and one is our Construction guy - very hard workers and extremely knowledgeable.

We found this little hole-in-the-wall Mexican takeout place, and his wife is a superb baker. The guys zeroed in on these decadent goodies and shamelessly rammed 5,000 calories on the spot while we waited for our chimichangas. The food was outstanding - it was probably the best chimi I've ever had.


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9713&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9714&stc=1



The Mexican owner said he's been there for 26 years... kind of an extreme difference in climate! He was happy as hell to chat with us, and I think it's because the locals still view him as an outsider and are unfriendly. We almost had to force him to take our money - he kept trying to give us food and drinks and desserts, which gained him a couple of bleak stares from his hardworking wife and he probably got a good ass chewing after we left.

Even though we're a bunch of white guys, we don't usually get any racial bullshit from native locals because we're there to give them upgraded internet and cell service... and everyone loves that idea so usually anything that they can do to help us out, they do. When we run across the uncommon racist anti-whitey sentiment, it's almost always from the younger crowd, like the 15 - 22 year old age group... and when the Elders catch wind of that crap, they put a stop to it, fast.

Are they Innuit?

Abbey
02-25-2017, 02:57 PM
Thanks for the fascinating pics!!

NightTrain
02-25-2017, 03:04 PM
Are they Innuit?

Yeah, Eskimos... Inupiat to be exact - a sub group of the Inuit. They've been hanging out in Barrow for 1,500 years or so.

Balu
02-25-2017, 04:18 PM
It was an excellent thread with marvelous pics, NT. Thank you so much. I really adored it and am very glad that you felt yourself how is the 3/4 of the territory of Russia in winter time (October-March). :slap:

Russ
02-26-2017, 02:24 PM
Even though we're a bunch of white guys, we don't usually get any racial bullshit from native locals because we're there to give them upgraded internet and cell service... and everyone loves that idea so usually anything that they can do to help us out, they do. When we run across the uncommon racist anti-whitey sentiment, it's almost always from the younger crowd, like the 15 - 22 year old age group... and when the Elders catch wind of that crap, they put a stop to it, fast.

Just curious - why do the people of Barrow not like white or Mexican people?

Russ
02-26-2017, 02:25 PM
Think you've got unreasonable gas prices?

$5.90 a gallon! Yeah, I'd be rolling in a Subaru if I lived there.

This was the bill filling up the rental yesterday before returning it :



http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9719&stc=1


Isn't Barrow a town full of oil companies? I would think gas would be cheaper.

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 02:30 PM
Just curious - why do the people of Barrow not like white or Mexican people?

No, I didn't mean that specifically regarding Barrow... I was speaking generally, out in remote villages around the State. Mexicans or other races are viewed less favorably than white, and I don't know why.

It's hard to describe... my theory is the younger ones love the hip-hop / rap culture and of course, the underlying message of much of that is the Hate Whitey thing. Not all do, by any means, but a bunch do subscribe to that crap.

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 02:34 PM
Isn't Barrow a town full of oil companies? I would think gas would be cheaper.

Barrow isn't far from the North Slope, that's true.

The reason is that there isn't a refinery up in Prudhoe Bay. The closest refinery is down in Kenai, which is 150 miles South of Anchorage - so the crude oil is refined down in Kenai (or even the Lower 48) and then shipped back up via barge in the short summer season. All that shipping adds up fast!

Russ
02-26-2017, 02:36 PM
No, I didn't mean that specifically regarding Barrow... I was speaking generally, out in remote villages around the State. Mexicans or other races are viewed less favorably than white, and I don't know why.

It's hard to describe... my theory is the younger ones love the hip-hop / rap culture and of course, the underlying message of much of that is the Hate Whitey thing. Not all do, by any means, but a bunch do subscribe to that crap.

Interesting. I suppose it is an all-too-common part of human nature.

Thanks for all the great pics, Rick! :salute:

jimnyc
02-26-2017, 07:24 PM
jimnyc can you rotate this for me, please? Win10 is so stupid sometimes.

Done! :)