Saturday, June 25, 2016

Seward Reunion (Part I)

 A few family members opted to arrive in Seward on the Alaska Railroad. They managed to get seats in one of the dome cars and the train slowed down when wildlife was spotted. Plus each car had a tour guide pointing things out as they passed. One of the other families mentioned that there were so many photo ops that it took them quite a while to make it from Anchorage to Seward due to all of the stops.

We had a light dinner available at "registration" plus they were able to pick up their t-shirts, backpacks full of Alaska necessities (mosquito repellant, snacks, etc.) and name tags. The room got pretty warm by the end of the evening. Most of the family is staying at Hotel Seward which about a block from the Alaska Sealife Center. This hotel was chosen for it's Alaska ambience and a wide choice in room styles to meet any budget. And we were able to rent the conference room for a couple of the meetups such as this. Too small for a sit down banquet which is scheduled for tomorrow a few miles down the road near Exit Glacier.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

On the Road to Seward

Where to head to. This sign at Pioneer Park aka Alaskaland suggests the "MOOON". I guess their router doesn't have spell check. I took this photo on Sunday evening when we met my cousins from Watsonvillle who decided to start the reunion early from Fairbanks. They treated us and my mom to dinner in an early celebration of her birthday. We went to the Alaska Salmon Bake which is always a treat.  

On Wednesday morning, I headed down to Anchorage on the Ural loaded with food and supplies with Bridget and my youngest son in their cars all packed with more food and supplies. On Thursday morning, we went to Sam's Club and filled up the ice chests with perishable items and headed for Seward. I believe the most recent count is 58 attendees for the family reunion which starts tomorrow late afternoon. We opted to rent a house instead of staying at the Seward Hotel so that we have a kitchen and a place to stage food out of. Tomorrow, we are providing a light dinner and on Saturday I'm doing an outdoor cookout at a rented pavilion on the beach.   

On Thursday afternoon, I rode from Anchorage to Seward and this road is really one of the most scenic in Alaska. Every way you turn there are more snow capped mountains. There was a pretty stiff headwind and the Ural was wide open and just able to maintain 55 mph. The speed limit was 65 but the wind was keeping most of the RVs going at Ural speeds. In fact, I even passed up two of them. I stopped at Turnagain pass mostly to check the cylinder head temperatures after the climb. They peaked at right around 425°F on both sides which is right at the upper limit.

About 25 miles out of Seward I stopped at Moose Pass to pick up some water. But also to add a fleece layer as the temperature had dropped and it started to rain. The rain was intermittent but occasionally heavy but let up completely by the time I arrived in Seward. Since I didn't have the address of the house, I wandered through the streets until I saw Bridget's Prius. More pictures later as the 2016 Machida Family Reunion ramps up... 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Change Comes Slowly

When I left Barrow last week, the upper corner of the phone said Astac 3G. When I arrived on Friday, it said AT&T 4G. A huge difference in data speed. Before, it was almost unusable. Now it works as good as or better than WiFi. This has been a long time coming and really needed.

Another change is that Osaka', my favorite Japanese restaurant located here in Barrow, added a bunch of photo menu entrees that aren't listed in the menu. The owners are Korean and it made sense to add some Korean dishes to the menu. Especially since they were making it for themselves anyway. The owner commented that having pictures are a better option to a traditional menu as it could be easily changed.

On Saturday evening, I tried the kimchi stew, spicy. Very tasty and made from their home-made kimchi, tofu and pork belly. Delicious with a bowl of rice on the side as well as the miso soup that is served with just about everything. They even have bibimbap, one of my favorite Korean dishes.

Anyway, I'm sitting in the airport again waiting for my flight back to Fairbanks with the laptop tethered to the phone. It's kind of overcast and foggy and was hoping that the flight wouldn't be cancelled. It wasn't as it just arrived from Pruhdoe Bay. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Midnight Sun

There was a major network problem with the wireless metro network in Barrow which needed to get fixed like immediately. So guess where I am spending the weekend. At least I got a free upgrade for the flight north. I believe I figured out the source of the problem and have most of the network back up and running. I still need to update a couple of the radios on the residential huts.

And since I am here, we replaced one of the last radios that was still running on the old Alverion system. I was not very anxious about going up on the roof of this quonset hut but the UIC Science staff managed to borrow a lift. They replaced the radio and fed the cable down into the building where I was able to terminate and test the connection. The old radio system can now be finally turned off! This was not actually part of the network problem but since we borrowed the lift to reach a radio on a tower, it was an opportunity. This building used to be the theatre when NARL was still a military facility and is still referred to as the Theatre rather than "Bldg 2".

Since it looked like we might have some nice weather, I set up the GoPro on the mirror of the truck and powered it off of my large battery pack. I set up the camera around 9:30 pm and ran it until about 9:00 this morning. I trimmed the video to around 3:30 am or so as the sun disappeared from the frame. You'll notice that the sun never really drops below the horizon. By this morning, it was raining.