Saturday, September 22, 2012

So... I don't often write about normal life events, but can I just say that this summer has been absolutely insane? It has been so full of adventure and disaster and love and loss... and many, many seafood nachos.
Today in particular was a day for the books. Or the blogs. Blogs, as  the case may be, because this would actually be way too short for a book.

I digress.

This morning, I came to work for basically no purpose. I was supposed to drive people to and from the train, which wasn't coming in. Because Guess What? Last week it rained so much that there were rockslides near the tracks at Talkeetna, meaning the train couldn't get through to Denali. So we (meaning dispatch, not actually me) insanely worked to get all our guests to and from their destinations via motorcoach, which was a feat in and of itself and involved several days of overtime... But again, that was last week. Today I was also supposed to do a tour in Cantwell, which was canceled because conveniently, that area was flooded.

Then, this happened.

So, the "Dome Home Bed and Breakfast" mentioned? Less than a mile away from my apartment. I walk past it every Sunday on my way to church. In fact, I live on Healy Spur Road, right next to Parks Highway.  Mt. View Liquor and Grocery Store is where I go almost bi-daily (if that's even a word) to get snacks or something. It's literally right behind my dorm.
It's so weird to think that could have been any one of us. Me. A co-worker. A family I probably know from church. It was, not surprisingly, big news to take in.

So then things are kinda slow, obviously, since I have no train to drive for and no tour to run, so I go with Leah and Dustin about a mile down the road to take footage. Because Guess What Else? The Nenana River (which is glacier-fed and a near-constant 36 degrees) has literally risen more than 4 feet overnight. In case you didn't catch that...
The WHOLE River Has Risen.
Are you with me? That's some serious shiz.  The water was even more murky than usual (glacial silt will do that; makes it look like liquid cement), almost opaque... And the waves were SO huge, fast, and threatening. So we went to take videos, of course. We even climbed over the railing. I felt okay doing that, because there was a DOT guy there too, in an orange vest, and he didn't say anything to us about it. In one spot, the shore had been washed away up to about 5 feet from the highway. Most of the bank was much more sturdy than that. This road, by the way, is THE only accessible highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. And the only accessible road for employees working in Denali to get there from Healy, where we all live (Note: Just remember the train is also not running. For later.).

So, satisfied, we made our way back to the lodge, and I was sent home early (Someone else needed my motorcoach).

Later, I came back to Denali with my roommate. The plan was to do a little shopping and get dinner on property. But what ended up happening was this: We got pictures at the Denali National Park and Preserve sign, which I'm pretty sure someone had relocated. Because it was waaay farther away than I remember. At least, that's what my body told me. We also stopped to take pictures of the river... OH! I forgot a part! When I drove back for the day, the place Dustin and I had been standing a few hours earlier?
Washed away.

And all the shops were closed. Well, just as we were about to get dinner, I got a text from another driver saying they were having an emergency meeting because they were about to close the road and they needed to get the employees working a.m. shifts to the lodge, in case they couldn't get there via the road the next morning. Some of us, like me, stayed (or rather, returned) to Healy on the employee shuttle. There was a sign that said "ROAD DAMAGE" and they only let a few cars past at a time because of the flooding. It made for a very frenzied evening. I learned some important things, like "Always be polite, even in an emergency", "Keep a sense of humor", and "Get your food storage ready." And also, "If anyone needs a Christmas tree, I saw several float down the river today. If you're fast enough, you could find them in the Yukon River before the holidays."

Friday, March 30, 2012

Quicksand: The Best Eco-Friendly Idea Ever.

The bad news is, quicksand sucks in your children and your children's children!
The good news is, it also sucks in all your old garbage. 
Who needs landfills? Let's just invest in quicksand! 
Gosh. Sometimes I'm really very convinced I should be running something important, like a business, or the world.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mt. Everest: An extensive look at handicap accessibility

I lied. It's not extensive at all. Just wanted to post that as my university studies draw to a close, my math skills are improving proportionally. For example (and I'm sure many of you have also had a yearning to know the answer to this question as well), I wanted to know how long the ramp would need to be to legally access the peak of Mt. Everest if one were disabled. If my math serves me, at 29,028 feet from base to peak, and with a national standard of wheelchair ramps being at a 1:12 ratio, the ramp would need to be 60.3 miles long. (Just so ya know, I took Math 110 twice). 

So.... That's all handy dandy, but can you imagine actually looking up at that and being like, wow, I have to wheel over 60 miles? ALL UPHILL? That's more than Mt. Everest itself! And on the way back, well, you'd be a human bowling ball, without bumpers. Yipes. But here's to equal opportunity!

Napoleon Dynamite Legislation: I Am Really Not Making This Up.

I came upon this legitimate bill from 2005, passed by the Idaho House of Representatives about our very own home-grown Napoleon Dynamite. Given that I worked as a page for the legislature in high school, I found this bill particularly, well... it made me giggle. Enjoy!!!



BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:

WHEREAS, the State of Idaho recognizes the vision, talent and creativity of Jared and Jerusha Hess in the writing and production of "Napoleon Dynamite"; and

WHEREAS, the scenic and beautiful city of Preston, County of Franklin and the State of Idaho are experiencing increased tourism and economic growth; and

WHEREAS, film maker Jared Hess is a native Idahoan who was educated in the Idaho public school system; and

WHEREAS, the Preston High School administration and staff, particularly the cafeteria staff, have enjoyed notoriety and worldwide attention; and

WHEREAS, tater tots figure prominently in this film thus promoting Idaho's most famous export; and

WHEREAS, the friendship between Napoleon and Pedro has furthered multiethnic relationships; and

WHEREAS, Uncle Rico's football skills are a testament to Idaho athletics; and

WHEREAS, Napoleon's bicycle and Kip's skateboard promote better air quality and carpooling as alternatives to fuel-dependent methods of transportation; and

WHEREAS, Grandma's trip to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes highlights a long-honored Idaho vacation destination; and

WHEREAS, Rico and Kip's Tupperware sales and Deb's keychains and  glamour shots promote entrepreneurism and self-sufficiency in Idaho's small towns; and

WHEREAS, Napoleon's artistic rendition of Trisha is an example of the importance of the visual arts in K-12 education; and

WHEREAS, the school-wide Preston High School student body elections foster an awareness in Idaho's youth of public service  and civic duty; and

WHEREAS, the "Happy Hands" club and the requirements that candidates for school president present a skit is an example of the importance of theater arts in K-12 education; and

WHEREAS, Pedro's efforts to bake a cake for Summer illustrate the positive connection between culinary skills to lifelong relationships; and

WHEREAS, Kip's relationship with LaFawnduh is a tribute to e-commerce and Idaho's technology-driven industry; and

WHEREAS, Kip and LaFawnduh's wedding shows Idaho's commitment to healthy marriages; and

WHEREAS, the prevalence of cooked steak as a primary food group pays tribute to Idaho's beef industry; and

WHEREAS, Napoleon's tetherball dexterity emphasizes the importance of physical education in Idaho public schools; and

WHEREAS, Tina the llama, the chickens with large talons, the 4-H  milk cows, and the Honeymoon Stallion showcase Idaho's animal husbandry; and

WHEREAS, any member of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote "Nay" on this concurrent resolution are "FREAKIN' IDIOTS!" and run the  risk of having the "Worst Day of Their Lives!"

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the First Regular Session of the Fifty-eighth Idaho Legislature, the House  of Representatives and the Senate concurring therein, that we commend Jared and Jerusha Hess and the City of Preston for showcasing the positive aspects of Idaho's youth, rural culture, education system, athletics, economic prosperity and diversity.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we, the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the State of Idaho, advocate always following your heart, and thus we eagerly await the next cinematic undertaking of Idaho's Hess family.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives be, and she is hereby authorized and directed to forward a copy of this resolution to Jared and Jerusha Hess, the  Mayor of the City of Preston and the Principal of Preston High School.

PASSED by the Idaho State Legislature on April 6, 2005.
YEA votes: 69
NAY votes: 0

My favorite parts: 1: Steak is now a food group. 2: The veiled threat at the end. 3: CHICKENS WITH LARGE TALONS AND THE HONEYMOON STALLION! Kills me every time! 4: Napoleon's artistic rendition of Trisha 5: Kip was on rollerblades (I'm totally writing to my local government officials for an amendment to this bill) 6:Pulling your brother behind your bike also counts as carpooling. 7: "A long honored Idaho vacation destination (I burned my math book there once... Does that count?)