I finished my extra day and 1/2 of work yesterday, and caught a ride back to town on the security helicopter. Even though the mission required a knap of the earth flight (following the natural terrain) and require a lot of maneuvering to stay over the pipe as it zig-zags it's way across Alaska, and the weather wasn't the best I've ever seen this time of year pilot Matt Hanson did a masterful job. It was honestly the smoothest ever helicopter flight I've ever taken. Matt, you done good.
I took a couple of photos during the flight you might enjoy. The first is of a homestead located off the Dalton Highway (the Haul Road) between Pump Station 5 and Pump Station 6. I've seen this place from the road several times, and every time I've gone by I've wondered what would prompt someone to build so far from anything, yet right up against the pipeline right of way and out on the flats where it is inevetible that the wind will be brutal most of the year.
When I headed out I took my trailer to town with my truck to pick up my snowmachine from the mechanic. That went off without a hitch. Mike from Mike's Pro Shop did a great job. He found the headbolts had loosened over the years, causing the machine to loose compression. He tightened them up and the machine started and ran like new. While he was under the cowling he adjusted the brake and took care of a few other minor things. I am delighted with the result, and the charges were very reasonable.
After doing my grocery shopping on my way out of Fairbanks, I dropped off the machine and trailer, put my grub away, and dashed out to collect my dogs. By 8:30 I was finally settled back into my own home, surrounded by my dogs and once again appreciating the simple pleasures of home, hearth and the fur-kids.
Today I introduced the three puppies to life on a tether. I wrote about the tethering system used by most dog mushers in this region back in July. You can check it out by clicking on my archives, or by clicking here.
Although several had told me to expect a lot of whining and crying and wild antics, I saw none of that from these guys. Of course they've already had experience camping in the truck and spending time on drop chains, and I think that helped prepare them for this new experience. Mostly they seem to be enjoying themselves, playing the big dogs that are now their neighbors.
I did some other chores around the kennel today, broke out my feeder trail, changed straw in some of the dog houses, that sort of thing. Much of the day was spent on Mush with P.R.I.D.E. business. Now all that remains is to feed the team, feed the human, and catch a few hours of restful sleep in my own bed.