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Thursday, January 27, 2011

33 Days Gone from Home

Hello All,
I left the cabin on 12-23-2010 and returned @ 10:20pm on 1-25-2011. Myra had gotten home just 4 days prior to me even though I flew to Michigan for eight days. With it being so cold that she cold not travel, she ended up spending several days in Anchorage with friends of ours. Thanks Joe and Janette.
Where do we start talking after 33 days away. The snow is building up!The dogs trying to find their old paths.
I flew from Detroit to Anchorage on Monday, arriving at the airport at 1:00 in the morning. I was too cheap to buy a motel room so I attempted to sleep in my truck in the parking lot of a store in Eagle River. I was up and on my way to Wasilla to do the stock up shopping by 7:00am. Several hours of shopping and picking up a new recliner for the Dogs and Myra and off to the landing I went.
At the landing I had to dig out the freight sled and snowmachine. Fill the fuel barrels with gas then load everything onto the sled. By the time I was done with preparation work it was 4:00 before I was headed up river.
The trip up river to Yentna Station was filled with a pretty hard snowfall then the last five miles it rained. I got soaking wet. I stopped at Yentna Station and had supper and debated spending the night, but the rain changed back to snow and I really wanted to get home so I forged on. This was a good thing and a bad thing all in the same decision.
The good thing first; The rain and wet snow makes the river ice very heavy so it sinks a little and water runs up above the ice, under the snow. This is called overflow, and it is very hard to drive through or over. It was a good thing I went home because there was a lot of overflow on Wednesday and I avoided that by going on home on Tuesday night.
The bad things; It snowed very hard so there were no fresh tracks to follow. I had to watch the trail very closely and trust the trail markers, and choose the right paths. Things went pretty well until I got about 6 miles from home. I ran out of gas in the snowmachine. I was hauling the heaviest load I have ever pulled and this was the first time I did not make it in one tank of gas. I was hauling 125 gallons of gas so I did have gas with me, just none in the snowmachine.
I unloaded one of the barrels of gas from the freight sled and opened it up. I did not have a syphon tube or gas cans just barrels of gas. I found a plastic bag under the seat of the snowmachine, that had been holding some spare parts. I took the bag and stuffed it into the opening of the barrel and shook it up and down to fill it with gas. then pulled it out, discovered it was full of pin holes and ran to the gas tank to pour it in. I repeated this about twenty times to get enough gas into the machine to get home.
Now I reloaded the barrel and headed home. I took the path into Fish Lakes Creek and followed the trail markers. Come to find out THE HARD WAY, the bank of the creek had collapsed and created a straight up 6 or 7 foot cliff. I hit that cliff at about 15 mile an hour, pulling about 1500 lbs. The snowmachine shot straight up and over the bank, the freight sled followed half way. As you can see in the pictures I stopped about 6' sideways from where the trail is heading into the bank. I flew and went sideways at the same time.

Once I got over the shock I got out the cell phone and IT WORKED. I called Myra and she came to get me with the two person snowmachine. I was still about three and a half miles from home. It would have been a heck of a walk in this fresh snow. I did walk about a half mile toward home, with my snow shoes while she was coming my way.
I got home about 10:15pm. I was one tired puppy!
Upon arrival at the cabin I took a quick look around and all looked good except I told Myra I need to shovel roofs first thing tomorrow.

As you can see by the picture, I should have shoveled that night. Crap! The snow that fell over night was just too much for the roof of the Barn.
I thought I would throw in a picture of what it looked like when we left just for fun.
Myra and I spent Wednesday morning packing snow in the yard and the trails so we could get the freight home by using the two up snowmachine and the skwagon.Myra got too far toward the edge of the packed snow and fell into the fluff. She was partially on packed yard and partially on fluff, that does not work.
I love that "What just happened" look!
I also spent time shoveling the rest of the roofs. We spent the afternoon hauling freight to the house, until help showed up in the way of our neighbors Tom and Willie. They helped finish with the freight and we used Tom's snowmachine to pull mine the rest of the way up the bank. They were a great help because those 30 gallon fuel barrels were on the back of the sled hanging over the edge of the bank. That would have been a real challenge for Myra and I by ourselves.
I spent today pulling things that I could get to out of the barn, then shoveling the snow off of the top of it. That was a real challenge since I had to climb onto this vinyl "bowl" of slippery snow and then operate a shovel while trying to stand up. It took a long time. Then got out a barrel fuel oil and filled up the house tank for the little furnace. We are shutting down the wood burner tonight so we can clean the chimney on Friday. I also have to get the rest of the stuff out of the barn or figure out how to raise the roof and support it with pine poles or something.
Lots and Lots of work to get caught up. We will keep you "Posted", pun intended.
Thank You, to all who follow our adventure. It makes all of this challenge and work a lot more fun when we are able to share the events.
Talk to you soon,


  1. Wow, what an adventure, I am so glad you made it home safe to Myra, I am sure she was relieved too, love the pics, I think they are my favorite, since I check out the pictures first then go back and read.

  2. I seem to read your posts in groups and I hadn't read any of January's posts until today.
    You had mentioned that December may not be the best time of year to leave your new home empty, but then I read about your dad losing your stepmom. It is such a blessing that you were 'in the lower 48' for your dad.
    I met your dad at your auction. He seems much younger that his years.
    Aren't you about a full year now from when you visited Alaska and decided it was your 'next adventure'.
    You always have been a stubborn son of a gun Roger. That's what makes this journey so fulfilling for you.
    Please continue to share you and Myra's experience. You help me to remember to not 'sweat the small stuff'. Most everything is 'small stuff'.
    Myra I have to smile everytime I get a Farmville post from you. I love that we both play for stress relief. I find myself feeling sorry for myself that I don't live as close to my kids now that they are grown and sometimes go a couple months at a time between visits.
    Bill and I need to find fulfillment with each other at this stage of our lives...don't think we will be moving to Alaska anytime soon though.