alaska odds and ends
One of the best things about going to Elmendorf AFB is the base itself. No, not the usual yellowish and brown buildings, but the rest of the base. The area considered the 'base' is huge - multiple thousands of acres I believe. I tried to look this up but failed miserably, so sorry about the lack of precision there :) Anyhow, so you just drive back behind the airfield and find the odd spectacular view:
The pictures above are a lake whose name escapes me, but it is the one on base that you can use if you own a float plane (which, it sometimes seems, every 2nd person in Alaska does). Those indistinct blotches to the left of the lake are tethered planes (yeah, OK, we didn't get the expanded webspace until after I'd shrunk these pictures, so they're a bit small I suppose).
At the right time of year you can see salmon trying to head upstream to spawn. To assist in this where roads are involved, Elmendorf has some fish ladders:
Believe it or not that red thing is a salmon ;)
There is also other wildlife (in this case, a grouse):
And Jason was once lucky enough to see a lynx!
If you drive a bit around the back roads, you can happily discover Cook Inlet, on which Anchorage is sited:
OK this is a pretty crap picture of Denali (the highest peak in North America for those of you who do pub quizzes!) but it does prove you can see it from the base :)
On a more mundane note, unfortunately work occasionally had to be done whilst in Alaska. So here's a couple of pictures from the place where I used to earn a few dollars - it shall remain nameless so I can be rude about it :) Although I met a handful of people there I still consider good friends, it wasn't the best job in the world if you had a conscience. One of my mates there, when he left, said he was "looking for a job that didn't expect you to maintain the ethical standards of a seedy secondhand car dealership" ;)
Above is a pic of my cubical, a place where I gradually came to realise that not only were the Dilbert cartoons funny (I'd known that), but they were also DISTURBINGLY TRUE! As you can see, I took very seriously the company directive to only have business items in one's cubicle........ hats off to Mr Snake, for the piece de resistance, the penguin surrounding the monitor :D Other highlights include NZ calendars, Star Trek pictures, my miniature Stormtrooper Platoon, the fisheye mirror on the monitor so I could see supervision lurking, and of course the pin-up note bearing the age-old truth "Two thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other third is covered by Jonty Rhodes". Um, that's enough of that ;)
The view from the old workplace - money was deducted if you looked outside during working hours however ;)
Once upon a time the Collings Foundation brought their B-24 Liberator to town. It's name is "The Dragon and His Tail", complete with non-PC artwork :)
I hate minivans:
It was convenient living under the approach for Elmendorf...... instead of being part of the standard USAF glee-club style welcome when Jason got back from TDY, I could just wait until I saw the plane arriving (this picture was taken from our little balcony) (and that's a C-5, so it can be assumed he was returning at least 3 days late) ;)
If you go to Australia for 3 weeks in January/February, you often have to deal with the consequences upon return:
I'd just like to say at this point that those godawful chrome wheels were on Karl the Mustang when we bought it, and they're not our fault ;) (Although as you can see, the Alaskan roads toned them down somewhat!)
The inlaws came up to visit, and we went on a trip down the Kenai Peninsula and on a boat trip out of the port of Seward. IT was beautiful, and the wildlife was interesting too.
If you look closely there are seals on them thar rocks.....aaarrhh.
The boat stirred up a few jellyfish - apparently this is something the captains enjoy doing!
We were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to have some Orcas come under the boat. Apparently the law is you can't steer your boat alongside them or follow along with them, you just have to either (a) get lucky, or (b) get a radio call about where a pod is going, park in front of them, switch off the engines, and hope they don't change course. We did the latter, and it worked!
We got even luckier on the way back, and managed to see a humpback whale leaping about :)
Then off to see the main point of the boat trip, some glaciers:
The last one of those I'm including for scale - the boat gives you a better idea about just how huge these are! That boat probably carries about 80 people, so you can see how it's dwarfed by the ice.
And on back to port. Just one last picture, then, one of the best of Cook Inlet taken from the base:
So farewell from Alaska!
Go back if you want to see anything else :)