Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anchored in Anchorage

After I had time to thank my Guardian Angels and get Tess safely tucked away at the local BMW dealer in Anchorage, I began to think a bit clearer.

 For a couple of days I bunked in a Super 8 motel, which was nice with a built in breakfast, but terribly expensive by my standards.  My rider friend Doug had mentioned that the Harley  Davidson shop in Anchorage  had a free tent space option for travelling riders.  I found the House of Harley, and talked to one of the managers.  Sure enough, they had a nice grassy area, and access to a shower and wi-fi.   The weather had caught up with me again, so I opted for a room in one of the local hostels.  I managed a private room for a couple of nights, and then was moved into a communal room with three other guys.

I had managed to get Tess into the shop late on a Saturday night.  The shop did not open for business until Tuesday, and through a series of communication foul ups, the parts order did not go out until the next Saturday.  I kept telling myself that it was  a small price to pay for being alive and well, rather than facing the other option that faced me on mile 150 of the Glenn highway.

At this time of year, Anchorage is full of tourists, travellers, and folks looking for work.  Accommodation is expensive and hard to find.  The city is laid out in a grid which is fairly easy to navigate, and on clear days the surrounding mountains help with navigation.  I have got more walking exercise in the past week and a bit than I ever had all winter.  A small benefit for my mistake with the bearing.

After the usual morning set of self-recriminations regarding my maintenance error, and the lack of planning regarding a phone, I set out on a walking trip to discover what is good and interesting about Anchorage.  Because a great deal of the downtown area is set up for the cruise ship tourists, there are many opportunities for sightseeing.  Wherever possible, I used the free shuttles to get to venues in and around the town.

As I walked the streets, this image below was burned into my brain. I would wonder about how many parts were destroyed in those brief moments of the wobble into traffic, how long it would take to get parts, and of course, how much all of this would cost.  Clearly, my limits on the expenses of an "Adventure" were being challenged by reality...

I wandered out of the hotel, and in the next block I found a site which I had read about on the Adventure Rider forum.  Alaska Leather had been mentioned as a go to place here in Anchorage, and sure enough here I was.  The owner was bright and cheery, and had some suggestions about places to stay.  They had a very good selection of gear, and I immediately saw a couple of jackets which would fit a couple of the Armstrong Angels.....

The hotel had a free shuttle to the airport, so I grabbed it and walked over to the Air Museum nearby.  Without a doubt, there are more small planes, float planes and pilots in Alaska than anywhere else in the world.  At any time of day, or night, there are a number of small planes flying above the city.  Apparently, one in six Alaskans has their pilots' license.

These tundra wheels on this aircraft can cost up to $4500. each.  They are designed to help the pilot land in the rough country, where air strips are few and far away.

I did not understand what was going on in the photo below.  The caption said that the pilot was doing this "on purpose."  It looked to me that he was heading into the tundra at the wrong angle for recovery...

Lots of samples of the different skis required in this country in order to service the remote and isolated communities...

There is something magical about these rotary engines...

I have read about  Stearmans, but know little about them.  This classic looked ready to fly.

 A model of death from above...

This cockpit was from a B-25 ,I believe.

The remains of a former Air Force helicopter...

A Huey from the Vietnam War era..

This bird had been restored by volunteers and was the last of its kind...

I flew on one of these on the Central Coast of British Columbia many years ago..

A First War bird. I wondered if my Grandfather ever looked up to see one of these flying over the trenches...

I figured that this was some sort of Japanese version of the "buzz bomb"

Quite a juxtaposition of aerodynamics in a couple of generations...

The museum had a flight simulator, and I managed to crash into a number of hills as well as other aircraft.

Here was another set of those tundra tires...

Lake Hood, near the Anchorage Airport is absolutely full of floatplanes.  Apparently there are over 600 docked on the lake itself, with a few thousand more parked nearby.  I have never seen so many small aircraft in one area.

I wandered over to the House of Harley to check out the accommodation issue.  They had a nice little scrambler in the the display area.

Next door was the Motoquest guys.  I chatted with the owner. I had run into some of their people in South America.

This guy is outside of the Harley Davidson dealer..

Not every day is a rainy day in Anchorage...

I had seen Captain Cook since our last encounter in Sydney, Australia.  He truly was a man for all seasons, and the more I begin to understand the depth and breadth of his accomplishments, the more I respect his memory.

Looking out over Cook Inlet.  The tidal range here is only surpassed by the Bay of Fundys' huge tides  in Nova Scotia.  They claim that the mud flats  are over 900 feet deep due to the amount of silt brought down by the river.

I found the Anchorage Museum and enjoyed the variety of exhibits.  The artifacts are of a very high quality and the staff have done an excellent job of detailing and explaining the intracies of the different but associated First Nations groups.

The boards on this screen were "sewn" together.  It reminded me of a repair that I had made on Blondy after an encounter with  a couple of deer.

This necklace looks like it was made from dentilium shells.

I wonder where that leather jacket went...

The Chilcat blankets are amazing examples of weaving.

The patina on this piece was exquisite as well as  the carving it self.

A Shamans' headpiece..

Not only was this chest an excellent example of the bent box design, the front piece was incredibly detailed.

Can you imagine the chief who wore this headpiece?

The ivory carving was a detailed double eagle or raven design.

This neckalace was made from lynx teeth.  That is a lot of cats.

I was intrigued by this Shaman's mask. The eyes were made with Chinese trade coins.

A three man operation, apparently an adaptation brought about by the Russian traders.

An interesting tribute to Elizabeth Peratrovich, an early Alaskan feminist, and human rights activist.  The artist has modeled the piece on the "Rosie the Riveter" campaign of the Second War.

An interesting 3D salmon

The silver and gold piece was exquisite in that each mask was an example of art in itself.

This bowl was about 5 feet in length.

An example of argillite carving.

This piece evoked a Maori influence for me.

Here is Captain Cook again, looking very thoughtful as he plans his next adventure.

The double bow is an innovation that is practical and necessary.  The first bow breaks the wave, allowing for a smoother transit into the waves.

This is how I want to see a Grizzly up close: stuffed.

I think that this copper was an original.  A very rare piece.

 A model of a larger boat used to hunt whales in northern Alaska and in the Bering Sea.

These umiaks were quite large, and because they were skin covered, flexible in the heavy water.

A model of a fish boat from days gone by.

I worked with these boom cats on a number of pipelines in northern Canada.

 A Three D otter. Perhaps he was a cousin to those Alaskan otters that were used to replenish the west coast otters of Vancouver Island.

Our malamute, Nootka, was the gentlest and kindest of dogs. He loved my Sons.

A model of Cooks' ship, "Resolution".   After his visit to northern Alaska and the Bering straits, he headed to his fate in Hawaii.

I happened upon an Antique store in downtown Anchorage.  Where did that leather jacket go?  This shirt was one hundred and fifty years old.

Owning an Antique shop would be a hoarders dream occupation, I would imagine.

It was another sunny day, and I could not resist another shot of Captain Cook.

This piece reminded me of my brother-in-laws' skill at glass art..

I imagine that when the snow comes to town, the plows have a heck of a time..

Somebody drove up from Cuba...don't think so.

Some cabins near the hostel..

I found yet another museum.  This one was managed by Anchorage veterans.

I have a friend who is a veteran of the Korean war.  He served in the PPCLI as part of the Canadian contingent.  His stories of the nightly attacks by the North Koreans on the hilltop outposts were chilling.  The ridges in this photo reminded me of the trials those men faced.

An American Garand built up in that beautiful beechwood furniture that I like so much.

What?  Another signpost to point my way...

The roof of the tourist center is done up in the typical sod roof style.

You have to have bears in Alaska, and why not throw in the odd Sasquatch too?

This little guy was used to push the moose off the tracks.

More small aircraft and the mountains beyond..

This Beaver was for sale for $750,000.00 USD

She was part of a Iditarod team.

You do not want to be swimmng with this guy.

The Alaskan Brown bear is what I would call a Grizzly.  I have yet to see a model of a Kodiak bear, apparently larger yet.

The story of my life.  The Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

These three guys were a little rough around the edges, but I don't think anybody was going to be volunteering to curry comb them..

Unfortunately,there is nothing to provide context for the size of this guy.  I don't think my head would reach the height of his paws.  He was huge and clearly interested in eating something next door.

I think the claws tell the story.

On the other hand, the more familiar and predicatbly over-fed Black Bear.


Back on the streets of Anchorage, an example of perhaps a somewhat less complex ride.

To complete this course in under 10 days is some sort of miracle in my books..

As I said, they have some tall bears up here.

I recalled the adventure my boys and I had while we recovered the remains of a small Grey Whale from Ferrer Point, many years ago.

The frontage of the museum was very reminiscent of the structure of the Bella Bella Community School, in Waglisla.  Both buildings evoked the image of giant eagles.

The Sunday market in Achorage was an interesting collection of local artists.  This fellow specialized in capturing the Aurora Borealis.  One of his cameras was absolutely huge.

What would a street market be without a folkie?