Must have been a slow news day for a 6.4 quake in Alaska to get TV coverage. Sue, I just realized the Good Friday earthquake was the day before you turned 6 years old. The 9.2 quake in 1964, made a real mess out of lots of south central Alaska, especially Anchorage over towards Valdez. They moved Valdez to it's current location on deeper water to prevent future tsunami damage. The old location was at the head of the bay, in shallow water.
Perhaps the building codes in Alaska have improved, but most of the people I know that live in the Anchorage area are no better prepared for a disaster than they were in 1964. Much of the geography of Alaska was formed from being part of the Ring of Fire, with the accompanying volcanoes, earthquakes, etc. most of the valleys north of Mount McKinley, the Minto Flats and the Tanana valley toward Fairbanks were formed from long ago quakes. Small quakes are very common throughout most of Alaska. Very few cause any serious damage, but one day another 9+ quake will hit the state.
On my last truck, a 2002 Dodge Cummins, I put a set of Firestone 5,000 lbs lift bags on it, on board compressor and in cab controller. From normal travel pressure of about 45 psi, I could raise or lower the rear of the truck about 2 inches either direction, front to back or side to side. Many nights all we used were the air bags to level the TC. The next morning after I fired up the 5.9 Cummins and let it run for a minute or two , I would use the in cab control to get the bags back to travel pressure.
The same camper, a Lance 845, isn't heavy enough to justify putting air bags on my Chevy dully diesel, which has a 4,000 lb greater GVW than did the Dodge 3/4 ton.
When our daughters were young, birth to preteens, we lived in Nenana Alaska and had a truck camper, a Class C bunk house model and a 35 ft. 5th wheel. Very seldom did we let the girls ride in the truck camper while on the road, but early on we only had regular cab pickups with a bench seat. Four people was a bit crowded. IN the Class C, the girls road in the overhead much of the time and we never gave it a lot of thought as to safety. My philosophy has always been to not have an accident, whether driving or flying my airplanes and so far it has worked. I have over 3,000 hours of Alaska bush flying experience and we made, I believe, 6 round trips from Alaska to the lower 48, usually to Florida where my wife's parents lived. Not sure why the idea of the girls riding in the overhead of the Class C seemed OK but not so much in the TC? Must have been, we could see them better in the C.
Would never have allowed them to ride in the 5th wheel when on the road. But we soon set it up permanently on our lot on the Kenai River just upstream from Soldotna. We would then use our TC/truck to pull our jet boat down to fish and play.
Probably why families used to be larger in numbers, get that heir and a few spares and you didn't have to be so careful. LOL I still remember riding on the front fenders of my dad's pickups as we drove down the back gravel roads of rural Oklahoma where I grew up or started growing up. LOL
I know I am a lot more careful now with my grandsons than I was with my daughters at their ages. But that goes for everything not just riding in vehicles.
Whether or not the dealer will deliver, they will have access to companies that will. Probably the same ones that bring them new units from the factory. There is a storage place on Hwy 19, between Crystal River and Homosassa that does pick up and deliveries in that area to campgrounds. When we were full timing, and spent most of one winter at Nature's Resort RV park, many of the seasonal snowbirds from out of state used the storage place. The Snowbirds, many of them, would drive their cars to Florida and didn't even own a truck to move their 5th wheels. They told me the storage place was reasonable on their charges, much cheaper than owning a truck. Probably a similar type business in the Ft Meyers area that would do a delivery to the Keys. Any dealer in the area should be able to put you in touch with the haulers.
As Tony mentioned the Polaris Hotel, in Fairbanks, it had two bars in it as I remember. The Polaris Lounge was on the ground floor and the Tiki Cove was on the top or ninth floor. A real sky scraper for Fairbanks. The Tike Cove start out in the basement of the Mecca Bar down on Two Street ( real name is Second Avenue but locals have always referred to it as Two Street. LOL. We used to fly into Fairbanks from the bush, taxi to the Nordale Hotel ( which burned in the early 70s) which was within walking distance of all the drinking/eating establishments mentioned.
Unless someone comes up with some way to make a dollar with the Polaris building, I would guess it will be demolished in the near future sometime. Last I checked it was set up as apartments. It is steam heated with steam purchased from the city's coal fired power plant, located a few blocks west on the banks of the Chena River. I considered buying the Polaris building, years ago but could never make the numbers work out for what I had to have to make it profitable.
But when you get your RV parked in or near Fairbanks, go park your toad or take a taxi, to downtown and walk the length of Two Street, and soak in some of the history of the town, which is what Fairbanks is all about. It is not very much of a tourist place, as you have to search out your own entertainment, ride the riverboat, photo the oil pipeline north of town, pan for gold, visit Alaska Land (now called Pioneer Land, I think), stop in at the Malemute Saloon in Ester, drive out to Chena Hot Springs early in the morning, usually lots of wildlife to photo.
Good eating available at the Pump House on the Chena River, that Turtle Club in Fox, and the Three Rivers on Chena Rd. if you enjoy quirky bars, and I do, stop in at the Howling Dog Saloon, also in Fox(north side of Fairbanks). There is a good eating place owned by the same people that own the a Rivers Edge RV Park, located in walking distance of the campground.
In Anchorage, for steaks give Club Paris a try - never had a bad meal there
Steak or sea food - simon & Seaforts - prime rib is great
For a great view of town and excellent food - Crowsnest atop the Capt Cook Hotel
Where I feel Anchorage really shines, is with the large number of high quality Asian restaurants - Most all the Asian countries are represented with fine eating establishments, some mom and pop places, others much larger.
Anchorage has a very diverse population and many of the residents of the city consider their heritage to be from Asia. Japan Airlines does about 65 crew changes a week in Anchorage, of their over the pole flights, from Europe to Asia and visa versa. Most of these crew members live in Anchorage with their families. The airlines even runs a school, in Japanese, for the crew members children.
Anchorage has over 1,000 listed restaurants, so the choice is yours, for all tastes. The Arctic Roadrunner for burgers, is a guaranteed hit, take them and a blanket out to Lake Hood and watch the float planes take off and land while you picnic.
Here is a photo from about 2004 of the signs. They only have so much space and poles to use for hanging signs. So I was told at the center there, that every so often they go through and remove many of the older signs, the dilapidated ones, unreadable ones, etc to make room for people to hang new ones. How long your sign will last before removal, is anyone's guess. I hung my first sign there in 1962 and was never able to re-find it again, even though I made the round trips again in 1964, 1965, 1969 abd 1974 plus many more round trips later on. Over the years I probably hung signs a half dozen times, but never found them later, that I can remember.
Still it is a fun thing to do, great to stand in front of your sign and get your photo taken by someone. Better than leaning on your car fender, blocking most of the view in front of the camera, to prove you had been somewhere. LOL
The photo of the signs taken by Sue's dad, Jack, was how I remember it looking in the early days. This was about 5 years before Sue was born. The building in the back right is the old Watson Lake Hotel and Lounge before they added the motel onto the hotel building. The entire complex burned a few years back but had been closed to operations for a number of years. Had some real good times in that old building, on the first four trips I made before getting married in Anchorage in 1973. On a Friday or Saturday night it was the place to be.
There has never been an in flight structural failure of any Dehavilland Beaver or Otter, that I am aware of. Most/many of the planes have been converted over, to a turbo prop engine, by Viking Air out of Vancouver, the STC holder for this modification. Dehavillands are built like tanks, and look it to me, LOL. This crash will go down as a "pilot error" as do most crashes in Alaska. The mountain they hit didn't move, just the airplane and the pilot was in charge of where it flew. In poor visibility, it is very easy to get disoriented as to your exact location when flying. I have just over 3,000 hours of Alaska flying time, most of it in the bush. In my 20+ years of flying in Alaska, I think I talked to an FAA employee about twice and both of those were when I was on trips to town, Fairbanks or Anchorage. The FAA is pulling out of many remote areas to work out of centers, in the urban areas. Very little actual supervision, by FAA employees, usually from a designated person, that works for the company, not the FAA.
While the tour deaths is a tragic happening, I try to keep things like this in prospective, by remembering that over 4,000 people died in auto accidents in Florida last year. Flight seeing is a great way to see parts of Alaska. Each flight starts new each take off, just because you have flown in an airplane for the last 20 days, your odds of being in a crash are no different than the other people on the plane taking their first flight of their lifetime. But before you get on any flight, look around at the weather, and remember only take offs are optional.
I have been trying to remember how long it has been since this area of the state burned. The Alaska forest burn about every 40 years from what I have read, some places more often and others less. SE Alaska, being it is a rain forest doesn't have forest fires so about the only place to harvest marketable sized timber.
Most Alaska forest fires are started by lightning strikes in the summer time. The majority of them are just allowed to burn themselves out, if towns or property of value is not involved. Along the highways and near urban areas many of the fires are started by humans, in one way or the other.
The policy of the BLM, Bureau of Land Management, is normally not to hire fire crews from close to the fires, too much temptation for some not to help get summer jobs going for themselves. I read that one of the Hot Shot fire crews is from Chena, up by Fairbanks.
Like one Alaska Ledgislator said, most of the sacred cows didn't even get much of a hair cut this budget year, next year many will be facing the butcher's block. A couple of built in problems the state has to solve, one is how to reduce the operating budget, which has been growing at a 9% rate per year or a 45% increase in operating cost the last 5 years, give or take. The current budget still goes up by 1% which is an improvement, but no where near enough cuts.
Because Alaska is one of the lowest taxing states in the nation, the money being spent by the state is like a gift from Santa Clause to most citizens. Therefore very little public oversight of the money spent by the state. This is going to have to change, IMHO, as the state is going to have to come up with priorities and timeline to complete same.
Education, I believe is the largest expenditure of state funds and the teachers union is a very powerful special interests group. Facilities were built, without regard of how these would be kept up in the future. The list goes far beyond the Education expenditures, such as the Anchorage bicycle trails, etc. without local taxes, the towns and cities are dependent on the state and federal governments to fund city government.
Not an easy solution to the problems and I don't have to get re-elected by pleasing the special interest money groups, both in state and out of state. Future year's budgeting is going to be unpleasant to see.
Depends on how high you are talking. My truck camper Ginny is in the rear, passenger side, so I attach my Gen-Turi to the vertical ladder supports. It extends about a ft above the roof line. If I wanted to extend it another 3 or 4 ft higher, I would install some support wires to the extension. Not sure why I would ever want it that high though.
The Gen-Turi is not a direct connection from the generator exhaust pipe, but has a break to allow cooling air to be sucked into the exhaust stream going up the vertical pipe. In theory, in very cold weather, with a taller extension added on, the warm exhaust might fail to rise out the top of the pipe and try to settle down, causing the exhaust to come out at the bottom where it joins the generator exhaust pipe. Not likely but I have seen it happen with wood stoves with non-insulated stove pipes in super cold weather, as the smoke cools to the point it stops rising in the pipe and the stove stops drafting. Smoke filled house is the result.
Many years ago when I was living about 300 miles west of Fairbanks on the Yukon River, I took a summer contract hauling supplies, mail, a person or two from Galena to their mining camp located on the Nowitna River, above the village of Ruby, Alaska. I had a 24 ft flat bottomed plywood boat, with 1/2 on the bottom and 3/8 on the sides, just to keep the weight down and pushed it with a 55 HP Evinrude kicker engine. It would carry a couple of thousand pounds. The mining company would ship food, supplies, mail, etc. out to Galena by air freight to me, then I would load it onto my boat and head up the Yukon River to the mouth of the Nowitna River. All told it was about a 6 or 8 hour run up to the mine operation from Galena loaded and a couple of hours less empty on the way back.
Made the trip weekly that summer, good money to be made. LOL On one of the trips when I came around a bend in the Nowitna River, I hit this foul stench or something rotten. Looked around to figure where I was and planned to stop on the way back out headed home, when my boat was empty. Made it to the mine, off loaded their supplies to them and headed back downstream, by myself. If there was too many supplies for one boat, a friend of mine would come along with his boat to haul half the load.
When I got to the foul smelling place, I tied up the boat, grabbed my rifle and walked back into the willows that lined the river, more like a big creek in most places. Soon I came to a place where the willows were torn up, smashed down and there lay a dead brown bear, big male, one of the biggest I had ever seen. He had been dead for a week give or take. All around, on the ground were moose tracks, which I also found a pair of moose calves so knew the grown moose was their mother. For what I could tell the bear had gone after one or both of the calves and the mother defended them. Her hooves had busted bear ribs, his jaw and had cut his hide like someone had used a knife on him. There was a blood trail leading away from the fight, which I followed for a mile or so to see if the cow moose made it. I found where she and he calves had bedded down for a couple of nights and moved on. So she appeared to have survived the altercation with the grizzly.
It made a believer out of me on the power of a moose and the long reach of those front legs. I got back to Galena and stopped at the AF base, NCO club for a beer, and told some of the airmen about the dead bear. They had me draw out the location on a map and the next day, 4 or 5 of them rented a boat from the base recreation dept and headed up to see the bear. They wanted the claws and the teeth out of Mr bear. They found the bear and got the teeth and claws but did a lot of throwing up in the process. One sick bunch of airmen on the boat ride back the two or three hours to their base at Galena.
I spent a big part of my adult life involved in Alaska politics and economics. For most of the 25+ years I lived in Alaska, I would normally spend 25 to 35 nights a year in Juneau when the legislature was in session, working as a resource person.
Alaska is so huge, it can be viewed as at least six (6) distinct regions, the Arctic Slope, the Bering coast, western Alaska (out around Dillingham), South East, The Interior of the state and the Railbelt region (from Fairbanks down to Homer)all the area served by the Alaska Railroad.
The Alaska Legislature has 20 Senators and 40 House members. The problem this years on getting a budget is having a new governor and a house that doesn't have a super majority of either political party. (3/4 vote needed there to take money out of the emergency budget fund) While one party does have a simple majority of members in the house, actually they have almost enough for a super majority to decide how much money to take out of the emergency fund, but not quite the votes, so the minority party is blocking the withdrawl till they get what they want money spent on.
The ferry system is just collateral damage from the fight of how much is going to be spent in the Railbelt area of the state, mainly Anchorage. Of the 40 Alaska house members, 28 of them are from the Railbelt areas, which only leaves 12 house members to represent the rest of the state. It is what happens when the Anchorage Bowl area has over half the state's population.
The ferry system doesn't serve the larger towns/cities of Alaska, only some of the smaller ones so how much does anyone think the voters of Anchorage and Fairbanks care about what happens in South East. The majority of tourist businesses are not Alaska resident owned, most are out of state owners, there is no Alaska owned cruise ship line, all out of state, and some folks that will tell you they are Alaskans, are only in the state in the summer to run their businesses and then they head outside to live for the winter. Since Alaska has very few taxes, the tourist industry pays very little in taxes to the state revenue. Alaska gets it's money on extraction type industries, mining, petroleum, fishing and timber, all located in the bush but the money gets spent in the urban areas. This past year the flow of oil in the Alaska pipeline dropped off enough in value that the state's share from oil was number two on the revenue stream. Interest earned on the emergency reserve funds was number one and not they are talking about withdrawing some of the principal from those funds, about $4 billion dollars to fund the current state operation. Short sighted thinking in my opinion.
Some of you may have noticed there is not any talk about cutting back on the Alaska Railroad, because it serves the Railbelt, Fairbanks to Anchorage to the Kenai, all the population centers. Funny how the elected notice what effects the voters in their district.
The bottom line is that Alaska is broke and the days of spending oil revenues like a bunch of drunken sailors is over but the elected in Juneau are trying to put this off as long as possible, lots of talk of new taxes, such as putting the income tax back into operation but not popular with the voters at all.
All Alaska government services, even the ferry, the AMHS, is going to see cuts in the next few years, how much, who knows. But as long as getting re-elected is the number one priority of most in Juneau, they are not going to deal with unpopular ideas anytime in the next couple of years.
FYI - PA12 was born and raised in Alaska and Trackrig has lived there for over 50 years. They have seen Juneau in action for a long time.
Many/most RV parks in Florida that allow park models require a professional set up, doing a permanent connection to the sewer, water and electrical connections. Plus they require all park models to be skirted. I suspect to have a park model delivered to a park by the dealer and set up, you could be looking at $1,000 to $1,500 each time. Then to move it would be about the same. Many park models are wide enough to require a permit to move them on public roads, not something most of us would want to try with our pickups.
My wife and I considered buying a park model when we were full timing in our Class A motor home. Went up to Ocala, FL where several factories build them. But we ended up buying a double wide, in Homosassa FL, already set up in a park for the same money and got more room, an extra bedroom, etc.
Mobility, to me would be the main difference to me in a fifth wheel over a park model. More room, full sized appliances and bath room, would be the strong point of a park model. A fifth wheel allows you to move if you get hit with a large increase in lot rent, to a different campground, in a park model, you basically just have to grin and pay the increase.
Good looking rainbow. What are you doing with a dog box on in the summer? LOL I always found my team to be just work for me in the summer months. At one time I had 29 running dogs and probably that many pups. Sure fun when there is snow on the ground and the creeks and rivers become ice highways.
Here is a reference to one of the software programs I downloaded a demo of and played with for a week or so. http://www.campground-master.com/ (standard disclaimers apply, no financial interest in the product and don't know the owners of the product) One of the many things I liked about the software, is that it allows a quick visual look at your campground to see what sites are reserved and for how many days. This could help alleviate the problem mentioned by Jaxdad of specific site requests. Often times, I am sure the one night person could be moved to another site, that fits the reservations request, such as a pull thru, back in by the lake, etc. But I know some places that allow the computer to have the final say create uncalled for problems for themselves and their customers.
Other campgrounds I have been at, have a minimum stay to request a specific site, such as 4 or 5 days commitment. Dealing with work campers, would have to be like trying to paint a train as it slowly passes through the station. Or dealing with a parade. Our favorite campground in western Colorado, where we often spend a month at a time, has a stable staff of work campers, the same people for the most part, year after year. Both workers and the owners have a commitment to each other a year ahead of time. This campground is fortunate in being in a location where they can charge a price that allows them to make a good profit and still pay their staff well, above normal wages. The owners have been there about 20 years and while not RVers themselves, they are excellent business managers and have figured out what their customers want and need in the way of services. The owners are cruise ship people and live in Florida in the winter time, hotel travel in Europe often, as their campground is seasonal and closes for the winter there in Colorado.
On the other hand, we stopped at a place in Tennessee, where we had previously stayed and found a new owner, a woman in her late 30s with a 16 year old son. They were the staff of the place, she tried to run the office 16 hours a day and the 16 year old was the maintenance man, after school and on weekends. They were so far behind it was sad, maintenance being deferred everywhere I looked, etc. The CG was getting run down in the short time she had owned it and I doubt she made it through the first year of operation.Not only was her dream shattered, but so was the stay of anyone that tried to stay there after she bought the place and didn't have the capital to operate it till it became profitable. Can't imagine the problems the people that ended up with it after her, in trying to reestablish a positive reputation for the place.
My wife and I owned a gift shop in a tourist town, in western Colorado prior to moving here to the swamp country of Florida. We also owned a group of 4 plex apartments in Anchorage Alaska for just over 30 years, plus a working ranch in southern Oklahoma. So I do have a bit of business experience and try to see both sides, but I find incompetence, in any business to be frustrating to have to deal with personally.
While some jobs require lots of training, such as being a doctor or a jet aircraft technician, owning a campground on seems to be tied to the size of a person check book account. I would like to see as I said before, all campground reviews allow for comments about poorly managed campgrounds. When we get away from the franchise operations, the amount of training and experience of the owner, is anyone's guess. In this day of computers, I still run into some campgrounds where the reservations, etc. are kept on post it notes stuck on a calendar.
I even ran into one a couple of summers back where I had called for a reservation about a week ahead but when I got there and gave the owner my name. He just stared at me and told me he was trying to remember my reservation. Said he had a photographic memory and kept all reservations in his head, was a fairly new owner/operator. Several others came in to check in and it was chaos. If the guy had a photographic memory, his camera either didn't have any film in it or his computer chip was full and needed changed..
There are a number of good software programs to help manage a campground and since I enjoy software, I have downloaded a free trial or two, just to check them out. I liked one where you could even blackball some campers. Put in their name and it would pop up that the campground was full the nights they wanted to stay.
Most of the franchise places, maybe all of them, use that companies software and usually very few snafus when checking in.
When people talk about it is a dry year in the Fairbanks area, it is important to remember, this is all relative. Fairbanks gets less precipitation a year than does Tucson Arizona, so every year is dry for both places, LOL. The heat is what makes the difference. Fairbanks is classified as a subarctic climate and could be labeled as a northern desert with the little amount of precipitation they receive. But at Tony mentioned, with the underlying permafrost of the Interior of Alaska, any moisture received, tends to stick around. Water can't get through the layer of permafrost so it just sits around on top of it, and with the muskeg vegetation on top, which is an excellent insulation, you end up with lots of lakes and swamp like areas. Sometimes the permafrost starts a few inches below the ground surface and sometimes several feet, it can be a layer a few feet thick or it can be hundreds of feet thick. Once the insulation is scraped off to build a road or to build a building, it starts the frost to melt and most has the consistency of a bowl of jello. To build on it successfully, you have to keep the frost frozen, and that is not easy or cheap to do. You put insulation down before you pave or put in freeze piling to support the building. The freeze piling work in the same manner as do most of our RV refrigerators, by absorption and don't require electricity to operate, like running on propane in our rigs.
There is a very interesting permafrost tunnel in the Fairbanks area, run jointly by the U of A, Fairbanks and the US Army. I have been able to tour it a few times but don't remember who I had to talk into letting me go in it. A large railroad sized tunnel, going back into a hill side several hundred feet with all sorts of insulated doors to keep out the heat of summer. It has one of the foulest smells, of any place I can remember but very interesting if you can get access to it.
A lot of verbiage to say, even if it doesn't rain the normal amount in the summer time, there is still plenty of moisture in the muskeg/tundra/brush to raise large crops of bugs. The bugs, mosquitoes, no see ums, gnats, white sox, horse flys, etc. are a staple food of all the migratory birds that come to the north each summer to lay their eggs and raise their chicks. So they, the bugs, do serve a useful purpose, but at times, I do wonder, when being devoured by them.
Again it is all about location, stay on gravel, in the breeze, in towns, on thawed soil, out of the trees and you can keep to bug population to a manageable number. But what fun is that to go back home to the lower 48 and not have any good mosquito stories to tell. The Denali highway is often a great source for bug stories or anywhere out in the tundra vegetation.
We have a number of campground owners that are members of this forum but I don't believe I have ever heard any of them mention going camping, owning an RV or ever having owned an RV. I like to talk to the staff/owners/managers while I am in their campgrounds to see what their back ground is regarding running a CG. Most had little or no experience with RVing, it just looked like a good way to make a living to them. My wife and I many years back considered buying a campground, even attended a seminar in Montana at one of the big franchise chains. After about two days we were asking ourselves why we would give up RVing to run a campground and put up with RVers? LOL
I did a lot of travel with my last job prior to retiring and usually stayed in hotels/motels, and found most of the management had prior experience at that line of work, or had at least stayed at a hotel themselves and knew what people might want in a hotel. But not so with campground owners, many have never camped at an RV park because they have never owned an RV.
My pet peeve, especially when we are towing our 5th wheel, is to request a level site from to back and side to side, when making our reservations. But only to arrive at the campground to find the, so called level sites anything but level, in any direction. For a one night stop, we often will not unhook our rig for the night, but when they are unlevel you end up having to do so.
When discussing this with the campground owner, to him, a non RV person the site was level. If I held my head tilted to almost touch my shoulder and looked down, I could almost make it look level also. LOL
I often will ask to see the site prior to committing to rent it. As someone mentioned above, some owners/managers will load up their bad sites first, so if someone later asked to see the sites, they have some good ones to show.
Seems to me, on this forum we read more complaints from campers regarding how they are/were treated poorly at some campground than complaints about actual physical problems at the campgrounds.
The lack of training of some of the campground staff is appalling, at some places. No one in the office seems to have ever walked through the campground, have no idea which sites will work with the different sized RVs, which sites get muddy when it rains and the list goes on. Others are well run and have great employees, but it is all up to the owners to see which group they have at their campground, IMHO.
We tend to spend about 100 nights a year, in our RVs and have done so for many years. I was looking at my KOA account and saw that last summer, we spend nights at 27 different KOAs over the summer months and one of them we stayed at a month, in western Colorado.