The recent big snow fall we were blessed with here on the Kenai Peninsula the past few days reminded me of growing up in Wisconsin or living in and working in the oil fields of North Dakota. Considering that my father ran the local wrecker service in west central Wisconsin gave me plenty of opportunity to drive or simply be out in all kinds of inclimate weather. I could never even begin to count the amount of times I heard my father's voice holler up from the foot of the stairs "John you want to help me on a wrecker call?" At all hours of the night and in all kinds of different weather I found myself out in the cold, snow, mud, rain, thunderstorms, floods, and even a tornado, helping rescue people who were involved in an accident or were stranded or simply broke down.
I have been involved in cleaning up many accidents that involved automobiles, trains, snow machines, motorcycles, buses, farm tractors and semi-tractors. I have raked up accident scenes and hauled a few cars away in wash tubs as well as several snow machines and motorcycles. We have dug tractors out that went through the ice in the winter and fished out several pick-ups and cars that were runaways at boat launches and ended up on the bottom of several lakes. I have seen big milk trucks pulled out of the mud that were pushing mud with their headlights as they were winched to high ground. So having to deal with the elements of our weather are nothing new to me as I have been involved in all kinds of situations where you simply do what you have to do to get the job done. I once waited too long to get my fishing shack off the ice in Wisconsin, and I had to get my Amish neighbor William Hershberger to pull it off with his team of horses! My 4-wheel drive F-250 pick-up would not pull it in a foot of water!
Each time we are involved in dealing with the elements of our everchanging weather here in Alaska half the battle is being prepared for it. Having the right equipment for the situation that you are involved in and when things don't go right, thoroughly think through the safest and best way to deal with the problems your facing. For example if you are stranded in severe cold the first thing you should have done was to prepare your vehicle to hopefully prevent a break down. The second thing you need is to prepare your vehicle with the necessary items to protect you if it does break down. And the last thing is to make sure you stay in your vehicle, as it may be your only chance of surviving severe cold. A few candles, water, candy bars and some type of blanket could be enough to protect you in a very serious emergency. A cell phone and a few small items that don't take up much room could be the difference in life and death for you and the members of your family. Perhaps in severe cold the most important thing to consider is this "Do I really have to venture out at this time?" Removing yourself from that desolate lightly traveled area in severe weather might be the best decision you could make. If you really don't have to go, DON'T!
As many of you know February is the Trustworthy Fishing Derby and kids all over the peninsula are begging their parents to get them out on the ice so they too can have a chance at winning some of the many prizes everyone's favorite store gives out each year. My children are no different as they are just as excited about this time of the year as the rest of the kids here on the peninsula.
I talked Steve Carpenter out of his deluxe fishing shack that he and Neil Murray built a few years ago. After several trips to the so-called "bargaining table" at Carp's humble abode on Mackey Lake we finally agreed on a price. I feel I survived the dealings with Carp pretty well and left with a very quality product for a very fair price. I think perhaps I now have the finest fishing shack or should I say portable fishing lodge in Alaska. On my final trip to finalize this big transaction I simply told the other members of my family here that I was buying 4 aluminum beds from Carp. Yes we have 4 bunks in the mansion that fold up and out of the way, a 10 x 12 insulated aluminum and herculite mansion that is also wired and folds down into a 4x10 sled mounted on skis.
The only problem was the day after I bought it we got about 15 inches of snow dumped on us making it very difficult to even be able to get out on the ice anywhere. Hopefully we will figure out something and get a whole bunch of kids out on the ice. You do the same, I will look for your pictures at Trustworthy and you look for mine. I will hopefully be the only one in the under ten age group with a beard! If your going to take your kids out and do not have a decent place for them to fish out of the weather I will loan you a 4x8 portable fishing shack!
See you next week!
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