A bit of "pre-trip revelry. . . ."

      To make this trip, I had to miss a Gordon Lightfoot (!! (!!)) concert—that I was REALLY looking forward to attending.  This was the second one, in the area, that I missed.  I can't keep doing that—no . . . I mean–seriously–I can't keep doing that. . . .

      The beginning of this trip, was an absolute madhouse.  (! (!)) On the way to the bus station, I realized I had forgotten my passport; my landlady drove me back, for that.  Then, at a restaurant, I realized I had forgotten my tickets.  (!!)

      At this point, my landlady lost patience with me, and just had me drive back to the apartment—and then on to the bus station (She would just pick up her car, later.).  It wasn't until (much) later—that I would come to realize, that I had forgotten the KEYS. . . .

       :p :P

      The bus schedules were not favorable—so I had to spend the night, in the airport.  I didn't even know, if I could do that, without some sort of problem(s).  I figured, there was only one way to find out. . . .

      As it turns out, there is a whole sort of separtate, "sub-culture" that has formed around, and because of, the airport nighttime scene.  At one point, four TSA gents walked by, in front of me—forming a (surprisingly) credible "Abbey Road" photographic opportunity.  I missed that one—one, because I was too slow with the camera, and two . . . I didn't know how my taking pictures of them, would be received. . . .

      There was also, this sort of "flash community" of peeps, all in similar situations—all foreign.  And then there was this dude, who was an absolute maestro, with this riding cleaning machine.  He cleaned even around and between the poles, of the barriers, in front of the ticket counters.  It was kind of amazing, to watch—seriously.  I really wish, I had gotten a video, of him, in action. . . .

      I got through the gate gestapo okay—and then the flight was hell.  I got plunked down, next to this couple, who talked incessantly—perpetually working out deep frustrations with the other, with an endless stream of "hyper-polite, yuppy, NO direct confrontation/aggression" discourse.  Seriously—it was like HOURS, of the very worst episode, or "Frasier."  :p :p :P :P :( :( :( :(

      Reaching Seattle, I considered taking pictures, of a "breast feeding pod."  No—seriously. 'T'was called a . . . breast feeding pod.

      Now what, could be more "West Coast," than THAT??!!

       :p :P

      Then . . . something odd happened.  I became convinced, that I saw three people, that I knew, in the Sea-Tac airport.  I was SOO convinced, I almost started talking, to one of them (a former cow-orker (sic)).  Of course, these were not the people I ?imagined? them to be. . . .

I attribute this to exhaustion.

      Finally, I reached Fairbanks.  To my mild surprise, Robert and Jennifer, met me at the airport.  Then, they took me to her property, and set me up in "the schoolhouse."  Arduous journey—then blissful, quiet rest. . . .

      The very next day. . . .

      Here she is (!!), ladies and germs—the MacGuffin, of our sojourning:

      "Brat" stands for: B.i-drive R.ecreational A.ll-terrain T.ransport

      –Betcha' never knew that, huh?

      :) ;)

      The horsehair fern, growing through one of the drainage holes in the bed, emphasized, just how long she had been here. . . .

      And I thought the moss (?lichen?) growing in the door strip, was a "nice Alaskan touch."

      ( :) ;) )

      At this point, I was having trouble, imagining, how all this could even possibly work.  :o :P However, upon opening the hood, I was . . . strangely comforted–and encouraged–by what I saw. . . .

      So—it was time to get her runnin'.  As I mentioned above, I managed to forget the KEYS.  (!! (!!)) :p :p :P :P So, Robert pulled out a jar of a couple of decades' worth of a Subaru fleet (NEVER throw out your old keys, John!!  You'll never know, when you might need them." (For some reason, I am reminded of "Harold and Maude. . . ."  :) ;) ))—AND what do you know. . . .

      One, worn down, smoothly, on all sides, not only fit in the ignition, but–with a bit of finagaling . . . turned in the ignition.


      Next, began quite a bit of work, just to get her moved.  I re-inflated all the tires, with compressed air.  Then I jacked her up, and placed boards, over the holes she had settled into.  (This was more involved than you might think—I had to put plywood under the jack points (as they were lonnnng gone), wrestle with a (white) spruce tree, perpetually battle mosquitoes, etc.)  Then, we started to make her as light as we could—I thought, almost obsessively so.  ("John, Jennifer's SUV, is not going to have a lot of traction on this grass.  She's not going to be able to tow a lot of weight." (or something like that).)

       . . . To which I countered: "Why don't we just see if she starts?  I mean, we're going to have to get her running, anyway."  "Gooood Luck!" Robert replied sarcastically.

      Ladies and gentlemen–various transgendered beings–we put in a charged battery, squirted some fresh gasoline into the carburetor and . . . she fired right up.


      "Do you have oil pressure?"  "It's hard for me to see, but—yes!"  "Pull her forward, then—just remember that you might not have brakes."

      And there she went.  It was THAT SIMPLE.  I DROVE her, to a workable location.

      (I did have the carburetor rebuilt, just before I put her up (a previous attempt, at getting her, to "The Lower 48"), but still.  She'd been sitting there, something like three years; starting right up–and with ancient, varnish-like gas in the tank and lines . . . seemed EXTRAORDINARY to me. . . .

      Po-nies. . . .

      (Why is it, wherever I go, I can't seem to escape . . . My Little Pony's. . . .  (??))

      Of COURSE, we went to visit the Mayflower Buffet (now the AK Buffet)!!  A view, of what a buffet in Alaska looks like:

(Sadly, (at least some of) those crabs, end up on the menu, on Fridays. . . .)

      My landlord and landlady take note: This is an actual gold dredge, disassmbled:

      ("Gold Rush" is "appointment tv," for them.  (. . .))

      Hey—life is a LOT easier, when ya' don't sweat original equipment:

       :) :) ;) ;)

      This next one, is of a cool custom-jobie, out in front of "College Collision" (I believe it's called.).

      Of note, they had some really cool/interesting paintings on the wall, in there.  The woman behind the counter, told me that they were painted by a group, that gets together—and like, paints, 'n stuff.  I found that a real "slice of Alaskan life."  (. . .)

      Wow. Pieces of a previous "Red Green Regatta" entry—unceremoniously, being taken . . . to the dump.

      Sad, really. (. . .)

On to more Men Who Stare at Brats