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.
I too like RVparky.com and have their iPhone app as well one of my favorite things about RVparky is that the comments made by campers are not censored/edited by the site owners as one of the bigger sites does. Guess it keeps their advertisers happy and buying ads.
Woodalls book is good but very bulky. A few years back they put out a CD of their campground guide. I still have that one but don't know if they still sell it or not.
Warmer weather in Alaska will lead to more snow fall and hence, more spring flooding when that extra snow melts. If it warms up in the Interior and coastal Mountain ranges, they too will get more snow fall. The ole adage of it can get too cold to snow is basically true as the super cold air can't contain much water vapor. Warm that air up a bit and it can hold a lot more water vapor to lead to snow. More snow in the Coastal Mountain ranges will lead to more glacier formation and more glacier movement. Some scientists think this is what happened about 10,000 years ago when the last Ice Age occurred and sent glaciers as far south as Kansas. If that happened again, that would be one large urban renewal project for any cities north of Kansas. LOL But if we are on a 10,000 to 20,000 year cycle with Arctic temperatures, probably not much for those of us currently here to worry about. What caused it to warm up in the Arctic 10,000 years ago, who knows? This is a strange planet we live on at times that we don't understand, IMHO.
Keep in mind when we are talking warming, it may be from the -70 below zero we had in the mid 1970s to the -40 belows of this past winter in the Interior of Fairbanks and Tok areas. Both still colder than a well diggers arse in Siberia or to remove the appendages off a brass monkey.
While Petersburh is a nice SE town, it is one of the least tourist oriented. It is a commercial fishing community. Petersburg and Wrangell are not normally thought of as sports fishing areas. Sure there is some but not to the scale you will find in places like Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Homer, Valdez, Seward, etc. check on line to see if Petersburg has a Chamber of Commerce page, or just google sports halibut fishing in Petersburg, Alaska.
Boat tours are something that we seldom hear of any bad reviews from tourists. Another highly recommended tour in Valdez is the Lu Lu Belle run by Capt Fred. But with that said, I have never been on it, but have talked to Capt Fred face to face several times. Real nice guy and very knowledgeable about the area. Now he, like many of the other summer business owners in Alaska, doesn't live in Alaska in the winter time. They are there to work the tourist season and they head back out to the lower 48 to their homes. His boat is his home in the winter in Washington, so he runs back and forth from there to Alaska.
I have been on the Stan Stephens long tour several times, so need to give Capt Fred a try one of these trips to Valdez.
As far as I know, the Stephens family does live in Alaska in the winter. But it is a much larger operation with multiple tour boats. Not sure if Stan, himself still runs any of them but if not it would probably be some family member. The food they serve on the Meares Glacier, 2 Glacier tour, is really very good, comfortable boat, etc.
If the weather is rainy, foggy, just plain nasty, getting a few miles out of new Valdez and it may clear up and have a beautiful day. Not sure what causes this, but where they relocated Valdez after the Good Friday Earthquake, traps bad weather it seems.
It is the least touristy of any of the coastal towns that are on the road system, Far enough away from Anchorage that you don't have the weekend crowds from there as you do on the Kenai.
Real bummer on the ferry cuts. Read that they pulled the Taku off the schedule entirely. The bottom line is that Alaska is broke and instead of slowly starting to cut back on spending years back, they kept spending like a bunch of drunken sailors right up to the cliff edge. Last year the state earned more revenues off the interest of the budget emergency fund than they received from their oil sales out of the pipeline. Now they are talking about taking 4 billion dollars out of the emergency fund to fund the current budget. So there will be less interest earned off the budget surplus fund in the future. Glad I am not still working as a consultant up in the north country this year.
Don't know how much the cuts in runs out of Prince Rupert will hurt the local economy there, as most of the economy appears to be based upon shipping large volumes of coal and grain to the Asia, via large cargo ships. The last time we were in PR, the cargo ships were lined up, one behind another, waiting their turn to load. Must have been close to a dozen of them in line or at the loading docks. PR is our favorite departure port for the Alaska Ferry system, headed north.
Make sure you only frequent bars that have seat belts on their bar stools. Some of those stools are really high for an older fellow to safely use late at night. LOL. Very considerate of you to fall off your roof during a slow time on this forum. Gave all of us a chance to live vicariously through your experience. Somewhat like our old boy scout prayer, we said on camping trips in Oklahoma. It went, Dear God, don't let any of us get bit by a rattle snake, but if they do, don't let it be me. Amen