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#272507 - 10/27/14 07:21 AM Up on the slope
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
Been gone for a while now. Figured I would catch up a bit. Been galavanting around up above the arctic circle since July. I may have found my calling, finally.

Looks like the beat goes on while I am away. Keep up the good work. Lots of interesting reading material as usual.

Survival is a bit different up north. Dealing with a more "controlled environment". I can't provision the way I would like to. But it is not so bad. I take advantage when I can.

Anyways, I will try and post some while I am in town. We are just starting to get snow on the ground here in Anchorage.

Cheers
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#272513 - 10/27/14 04:20 PM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2807
Loc: La-USA
Welcome back home Big Ben. You sound good!
_________________________
QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#272514 - 10/27/14 05:47 PM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
Greg_Sackett Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 225
Loc: KC, MO
Good to hear from you Ben.

Growing season is kinda short above the Arctic circle. Might learn how to can seal meat though. laugh

Stay warm!

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#272519 - 10/27/14 09:06 PM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2091
Loc: Great Plains
Sounds like you had a good time! Take any pics?
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#272528 - 10/28/14 01:15 AM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2887
Loc: USA
Glad to see your smiling pixels. When you have a chance, please expand upon how things are different up North, I for one would be quite interested.

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#272565 - 10/29/14 07:16 AM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
Not too much to take pictures of. I haven't seen much in the way of wildlife this year. A few foxes here and there, but the rabies rate on them is running about 80%, so you don't get too close.

Deadhorse is essentially an industrial zone. Flat land sprouting with pipe, corrugated steel buildings, gravel (sometimes muddy, sometimes snowbound) roads, lots of conexes and big rolling stock. No trees, no big rocks, no retail facades of any kind. The bigger complexes are set on pilings and still just corrugated or sheet metal siding. Lots of the structures are throwbacks from the 70s and 80s, as there is no real desire to replace or upgrade. In the summer, the ground is just tundra grass and water impoundments only loosely referred to as ponds and lakes. A short ride north, and you come to the edge of the sea. It is a barren waveless rocky beach. There are two rivers that flow through the area and both contain plenty of grayling and rainbow.

East is Badami, and then Point Thomson, just small depot type operating areas with an airfield and some storage space. At various times, these operating areas get busy with new exploration and development going on. But it is all just temporary. West is the Anwar refuge, no-man's land. The road ends a short distance out of Deadhorse going both directions, and no one drives on the tundra up here except in dire emergency or during ice road season. So you take helo transport or fixed wing if your destination is near an airfield. Not much to see anyways. Far enough west and you get to Barrow. I haven't been there yet.

Right now snow's on the ground. The air is getting dry, and the prevailing wind from the northeast comes and goes.

The food in the facilities is pretty good, albeit a bit rich. You can try and eat healthy. But every meal is a buffet, and they have "spike camps" open 24/7. Lots of fresh fruit, yogurt, carrot and celery sticks, but also lots of chips, hot dogs, soft serve ice cream with hot fudge sauce, and a 6 shelf cabinet full of cookies and pastries. They have a phrase in camp called the north slope 30, which like freshmen at college is about how many pounds people put on when they get up there. I have done well to stay within 10, but on my frame that is not much of a consequence. They have workout areas with decent equipment. If your schedule allows you can make use of them anytime of day.

In camp, the work schedule is 12 hours a day (minimum), 7 days a week. Usually the work day is a bit longer. Sometimes it is quite a bit longer. But the work is good. This far away from civilization, the politics and the bureaucracy don't interfere so much. It is still there, it is everywhere nowadays, but it is easier to get things done away from town. You have to be on top of your game to do the work without so much "supervision" and micro-management. At this point in my career, I am not interested in the politics or the management stuff; been there, done that. I want to keep my hands dirty and keep my edge. In town, sitting in meetings and debating endlessly who is supposed to do what will make you dull.

I think I will finish out my career on this assignment. It is as close to retirement as I will ever care to get. Despite the fact that it is against the rules to bring weapons up with us, there really isn't much need. It will take some time for the golden horde to reach us, and if the Russkies come over the top, nothing I could bring with me would change that outcome. My living quarters are smaller than what I had in Baghdad, and I share a bathroom, but no one is trying to shoot me or blow me up, and that is a good thing. At night I read or watch a little tv if I am not doing laundry, working out, or sleeping. Some days I stay late to play guitar as the hootch is not very soundproof and my neighbors would get annoyed with my practicing. To get from the hootch to the office is a 10 minute shuttle bus ride. The airport is 30 minutes away. The speed limit is 35 max, but in most places it is 25 or 20. It is down to 5 anytime you are around anyone walking or big equipment plowing snow or some such. They are all about safety now. Too much bad history.

Speaking of which, apparently things have changed quite a bit over the years. It is not the rough and tumble roughneck hangout it's reputation would have you think. There is no booze, no drugs, except by prescription, and no violence. Troublemakers get removed quickly, and security is fairly thorough about contraband. Nothing more than a 2" blade pocket knife, unless your work requires tools. Stuff still makes it in, but it is not nearly as common, and people are held accountable, potential employees are screened and vetted, so things have indeed changed.

3 weeks on, 3 weeks off. That's the deal. Work 26 weeks a year, get paid like it's a full time gig. Cut my expenses half the year while I am up there to boot. Now if I could just find a way to get my wife on with the same deal, the next decade would be pretty slick.

Any questions?
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#272609 - 10/30/14 08:16 AM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2091
Loc: Great Plains
Sounds like a good gig!
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#272640 - 10/31/14 03:07 AM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
Yes, a good gig. Of course, my rotation schedule has me away from home at Christmas, but the family agreed to hold "2nd Christmas" for me when I get back home on Jan 5.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#272641 - 10/31/14 03:10 AM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
It's hard to get that I am actually looking forward to going back to work next Monday. Not that I want to leave home, but for once I am not dreading returning to my assignment. Things just keep getting better up here for me.
_________________________
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

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#272642 - 10/31/14 03:21 AM Re: Up on the slope [Re: benjammin]
Newsman Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 66
Loc: NW Arkansas
Ben, I look forward to your report about the cold and darkness after your January rotation.

If you can say, what's your job duties?

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