Anchorage Update


February 2010


Coming down to the wire .... 116 days until we pull into PA.  102 days until we leave AK.


The house is coming along.  The basement walls are poured.  The last two weeks have been slow due to the weather in PA, but I think we still should have no problem having a house to move into when we get home.


You need to check out the new videos I posted.  There is one of an injured moose that has been hanging around the house for the past month or so.  His leg is broken and he is not very mobile.  He picks out a spot close to trees where he can eat the bark and then he camps out there all day.  On one of the days that he spent in our yard, he decided to get up and limp over to the neighbor's yard.  The neighbor's annoying little dog started to bark at the moose and then the neighbor (an elderly woman) decided to take matters into her own hands.  You need to check this one out.  Click here to get to the video page and then scroll down to the "Injured Moose" video.


We have been getting quite a bit of snow here too ... but it does not make the news like it does in PA.  We got about 15 inches over the weekend.  Life just goes on.  No cancellations ... No closures.


Jacob is growing like crazy (check out the new pictures).  We found out that he is allergic to tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc ...).  We think that this is what is causing the awful rash he has on his face.  It seems like it is getting a little better since we now know what to avoid.  He is such a happy baby.  I can't wait for everyone in PA to finally meet him.


We got a call from the movers on Friday asking questions about our move.  Someone should be coming out to the house within a week to do a "survey" where they look at what we have and determine how long it will take to pack it up.


We had our fist showing of the house in Alaska today.  Our landlord asked us to have the house ready by March 1st for showing, but he said that this one family was really anxious to see it.  So we have it ready now.


The weather was absolutely beautiful today.  It was about 30 degrees and sunny.  I know it sounds crazy, but 30 degrees up here does not feel like 30 degrees in Philly.  As long as there is no wind, and the sun is out, it feels like a 50 degree day in Philly.


Well ... I had an interesting experience today ....  Today was a Bentley holiday, so I decided to take the quad out for a ride.  The weather has been really mild for the past couple of days and today it was in the high 30's and sunny.  I wanted to go higher up the mountain where we live with the quad and take some pictures.  I got to a place on the mountain that is between two peaks.  So it is a little "valley" with a steep grade down to the bottom of the valley and steep grade up to the next peak.  I have been on this trail several times in the summer and winter with no problems.  Today, I started down the steep grade towards the bottom and I started to slide out of control.


The warm temperatures made the hard packed snow very slick.  As I started down the grade, the back of the quad started to slide sideways and I got off the throttle to try to control the slide.  As I should have expected, letting go of the throttle only made it worse.  I knew that if I gave it a little throttle, I would have better control, but I was afraid that if I got going too fast I would not make the sharp curve at the bottom of the trail.  Oh yeah ... and at the bottom of the trail, right at the apex of the sharp curve, there is about a 20 or 30 foot drop straight off the side of the trail.  It was really a scary situation.


Fortunately, I was able to catch my front tire on the snow bank on the side of the trail.  The back end spun around and I was facing back up the hill, but at least I was stopped.  I climbed off the quad and immediately slipped as soon as I put my foot down.  The trail was really slippery.  I tried to drive back up because I knew that if I tried go down, I would again lose control.  The wheels just spun as I tried to go back up the hill.


So, I knew I had to winch myself back up the hill.  I let the cable out of the winch mounted on the front of the quad and attached it to my tow strap that I secured around a tree near the side of the trail.  I used the winch to pull the quad up to that tree.  Then I picked another tree and repeated the process.  I attached the tow strap and winch cable to tree after tree until I eventually made my way back up to the top of the hill.


This whole process took about an hour.  I was very tense the whole time because each time I took the tow strap off of one tree and went to attach it to the next, the quad was essentially free to slide down the hill.  Each time I had to try to block the tires with chunks of ice and snow so that the quad would not slide when I moved the strap to the next tree.


I was never more than a 1/2 mile from a house, so it was not like it was a life threatening situation, but it was still pretty scary.