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NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:03 AM
Forgot to post the Kodiak pics when I got back a couple months ago... this is the trip where the Ferry unexpectedly cancelled on Christmas Eve due to big weather out in the Gulf of Alaska, making us spend Christmas in our hotel rooms eating popcorn out of a funky old vending machine. I think we made it back on the 26th. Good times!

We were in an F-250 Super Duty, driving from Anchorage to Homer, then jumped on the Ferry to Kodiak. We did it this way because we had a heavy load of gear, batteries and tools with us and airfreighting is expensive. It's about 300 miles from Anchorage to Homer, then a 10 hour boat ride IIRC.

Couple of shots on the drive down, this is South of Anchorage about 30 miles :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9721&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9722&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:06 AM
Usually on the Ferry all that's needed to secure the cars & trucks are wheel chocks - but that's along protected waters like the Inside Passage where the water doesn't get very rough.

Going to Kodiak you're out in the Gulf of AK and the waves can get very nasty out there, so all vehicles are cross-chained with binders like this on our rig - it wouldn't do to have 40 cars and trucks slamming around below decks in a storm :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9723&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:08 AM
Kodiak in the distance from the Ferry :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9724&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:13 AM
Kodiak small boat harbor across the street from the hotel :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9725&stc=1


Downtown Kodiak :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9726&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9727&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:23 AM
One of the sites where we upgraded battery backup for the cell system at the Coast Guard base - they've got a nice little scenic BBQ area set up :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9728&stc=1


You know, out of all the branches of service that I've dealt with over the years, I think the Coasties have been the friendliest and most helpful to civilian contractors like me disrupting their schedules and working weird hours. Granted, they were all Privates or equivalent providing 'escort' and didn't have a choice, but they always had the best attitude... Kodiak was no different. At 2am they still kept bringing us coffee as we did our thing and bullshitted with us while we worked.

There are no Marine bases up here, so I've not had the pleasure... but now that I know Gunny, I expect they'd be hell. :laugh:

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:25 AM
South of town.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9729&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:30 AM
This windfarm was part of a big troubleshooting testbed for WindGen.

Because of the extreme weather, icing is a huge problem and when those big blades ice up, they stop turning. They finally hit on a solution by building in heating elements on the blades, preventing any ice buildup. It took a few years to get it figured out and implemented, and these work just fine year round. And it's always blowing up there on top.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9730&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:32 AM
Sunrise, South of town.


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9731&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:34 AM
Our hotel, this is where you want to stay - the others are not as comfy.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9732&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:41 AM
My wife spent quite a bit of time in Kodiak 20 years ago, and this was her favorite place... Monk's Rock. It's a little hole-in-the-wall cafe and bookstore.

One of her Christmas presents this year was a hoodie from here and I was rewarded with a "Squee!" when she opened it.... mission accomplished. She was stopped by a random stranger while wearing that hoodie in LAX about a month ago who was another fan of Monk's Rock and they both reminisced about that little store - funny how small the world really is.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9733&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:52 AM
One of the projects replacing batteries. These babies are 355# each.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9734&stc=1


One of the big benefits to upgrading telecom equipment beyond the additional actual capability is the power usage - 282 amps is a huge draw and this facility would draw less than 50 amps with modern technology. The cost in electricity will quickly pay for the upgrade.

Another benefit is that all the equipment would fit in one small 12" x 19" x 7' rack, instead of filling the room with a 20' x 30' footprint. It is a big expense up front, though, and telecom companies are reluctant to do this when the old dinosaur equipment is paid for and working fine.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9735&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:56 AM
Bald Eagles. Hundreds of them, hanging out on a miserably cold rainy day.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9736&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 10:58 AM
Let the conspiracy theories begin!


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9737&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 11:11 AM
This is the oldest surviving Russian structure in the United States, built in 1808 back when Russia owned Alaska.

Unfortunately, they were closed on Christmas Eve, so we didn't get a chance to go in and see all the artifacts in the museum. I'll try again next time.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9738&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9739&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9740&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9741&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9742&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 11:14 AM
Our Ferry, the Tustamena, docked. This was taken right after we found out we'd be spending Christmas in Kodiak.


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9743&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 11:18 AM
A nice Kodiak Bear inside the local sporting goods store.

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9744&stc=1


I put a pack of cigarettes next to the claws to show reference :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9746&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9745&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 11:29 AM
Sorry for the quality of some of these pics, it was raining like hell and I was tired of getting splashed as we killed time and explored. The visibility was very poor as you can see, so there wasn't much noteworthy. Still, some of you might be interested so I'll post the crappy ones anyway.

Random scenery South of town 30 miles :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9747&stc=1


This is where most documentaries discussing Kodiak Bears take their footage. When the salmon are running, hundreds of them congregate to feast. No fishing is allowed to the left of this picture due to the very high population of bears - this rule was instituted after a bunch of people got mauled or worse.
http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9748&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9749&stc=1


An old shipwreck out in the bay :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9750&stc=1

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 11:32 AM
Elessar Bilgerat

Here's the main Kodiak Coast Guard Base you guys have talked about :

http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9751&stc=1


http://www.debatepolicy.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=9752&stc=1

Abbey
02-26-2017, 01:06 PM
NT, since you have unusual experience in doing telecom work in difficult/hardy places, maybe you do some temp work in a far different place. Like Ushuaia, or the Brazilian jungle?
For a change of pace.
And a fat salary...

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 01:21 PM
NT, since you have unusual experience in doing telecom work in difficult/hardy places, maybe you do some temp work in a far different place. Like Ushuaia, or the Brazilian jungle?
For a change of pace.
And a fat salary...

I almost took a job in the Virgin Islands a few years ago, but the money wasn't there and we couldn't agree. Still, it was tempting because of the whole 'tropical paradise' thing and those beaches were gorgeous.

I wouldn't mind doing jobs in other remote locations, but our base of operations is here and logistics is a huge part of doing successful jobs. So, if there were a job in Brazil on a lonely mountain, I wouldn't know who the players are to get the job done, such as the best helicopter outfit or reliable freight carriers. Another big part of doing jobs in 3rd world countries is knowing who to bribe to make things go smoothly.

My biggest reluctance to do jobs in tropical areas is my fear of snakes. I can deal with grizzlies all day long and be comfortable in their turf, but snakes are treacherous. Spiders don't bother me, but the possibility of being bitten by a snake give me the heebie jeebies.

Abbey
02-26-2017, 01:24 PM
I almost took a job in the Virgin Islands a few years ago, but the money wasn't there and we couldn't agree. Still, it was tempting because of the whole 'tropical paradise' thing and those beaches were gorgeous.

I wouldn't mind doing jobs in other remote locations, but our base of operations is here and logistics is a huge part of doing successful jobs. So, if there were a job in Brazil on a lonely mountain, I wouldn't know who the players are to get the job done, such as the best helicopter outfit or reliable freight carriers. Another big part of doing jobs in 3rd world countries is knowing who to bribe to make things go smoothly.

My biggest reluctance to do jobs in tropical areas is my fear of snakes. I can deal with grizzlies all day long and be comfortable in their turf, but snakes are treacherous. Spiders don't bother me, but the possibility of being bitten by a snake give me the heebie jeebies.


Lol, we all have our thang. For me, the huge bugs alone would keep me out of the jungle.
As for bears, I think I'd faint.

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 01:32 PM
Lol, we all have our thang. For me, the huge bugs alone would keep me out of the jungle.
As for bears, I think I'd faint.

Really, you just treat bears like you would a large, aggressive dog. If you show fear, that will trigger an attack when the bear is deciding whether or not to bring the pain. I will admit that holding a large caliber weapon makes being brave a lot easier in the face of a pissed off bruin!

I've been caught a few times without a weapon and it's hard as hell to stand your ground and not show fear when you know that in reality you're completely defenseless in hand-to-hand combat and all that's protecting you is your bluffing show of courage.

Abbey
02-26-2017, 01:46 PM
Really, you just treat bears like you would a large, aggressive dog. If you show fear, that will trigger an attack when the bear is deciding whether or not to bring the pain. I will admit that holding a large caliber weapon makes being brave a lot easier in the face of a pissed off bruin!

I've been caught a few times without a weapon and it's hard as hell to stand your ground and not show fear when you know that in reality you're completely defenseless in hand-to-hand combat and all that's protecting you is your bluffing show of courage.


https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ2Q64JPWhWme3RmG4qlpQPG1orpJX37 0kfYhQvyx-KLPVyRbCm

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 01:58 PM
https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ2Q64JPWhWme3RmG4qlpQPG1orpJX37 0kfYhQvyx-KLPVyRbCm

:laugh:

Thanks, but I always thought it was monumentally stupid of me to get caught without!

How does that saying go? God protects fools, drunks and children?

Abbey
02-26-2017, 02:03 PM
:laugh:

Thanks, but I always thought it was monumentally stupid of me to get caught without!

How does that saying go? God protects fools, drunks and children?

I like this one, too:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d6/41/73/d64173651a250aa33dfa3cdd8d7e7906.jpg

Balu
02-26-2017, 02:58 PM
Another excellent thread. Thank you again, NT! :clap:
Some of your pics show the places and landscapes very similar to those of Finland and Northern parts of Russia.
I have one question - when traveling to the Northern part of Alaska have you ever tasted the traditional cuisine of the Aleuts and Eskimos - dishes of stroganina (slices of frozen fish or meat served cold)?

NightTrain
02-26-2017, 03:14 PM
Another excellent thread. Thank you again, NT! :clap:
Some of your pics show the places and landscapes very similar to those of Finland and Northern parts of Russia.
I have one question - when traveling to the Northern part of Alaska have you ever tasted the traditional cuisine of the Aleuts and Eskimos - dishes of stroganina (slices of frozen fish or meat served cold)?

You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed.

No, I definitely steer clear of traditional native dishes like Muktuk or fermented Beaver tail & feet, or whale. There's lots of horror stories floating around with white guys trying out traditional dishes and the resulting explosive reactions or even hospital visits. I'm of German descent and my biology isn't tuned to such foodstuffs.

Besides, the thought of burying Beaver tail & feet in the ground for a few weeks, then digging it up and eating it strikes me as very repulsive! :laugh:

I'll stick to hamburgers, pizza and steak.

Balu
02-26-2017, 03:32 PM
You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed.

No, I definitely steer clear of traditional native dishes like Muktuk or fermented Beaver tail & feet, or whale. There's lots of horror stories floating around with white guys trying out traditional dishes and the resulting explosive reactions or even hospital visits. I'm of German descent and my biology isn't tuned to such foodstuffs.

Besides, the thought of burying Beaver tail & feet in the ground for a few weeks, then digging it up and eating it strikes me as very repulsive! :laugh:

I'll stick to hamburgers, pizza and steak.
It is a pity. On the contrary, I always taste local cuisine wherever I find myself, no matter how exotic they may be for Russians.
Americans have a good saying - "See America first!', and I am glad that you have the possibility to travel, see everything yourself and acquaint the others with what you've seen. It is a good basis for further comparisons. And in this respect I am very lucky man as before starting 'traveling' abroad I saw Russia from Carpathians to Kamchatka, from the Arctic areas with there 'White Nights' to Turkmenian deserts and Pamir mountains. :slap: