By: joealaska , 6:53 AM GMT on February 20, 2012

I am happy to see the local newspaper back in the racks at Safeway. After being missing for several months, The Dutch Harbor Fisherman is back under a longer name... The Bristol Bay Times / The Dutch harbor Fisherman.

Years ago the papers existed in just this same combined way. Then they split for awhile. Last year the company owning both was sold, and it has been quiet ever since. Now they are back, almost as a surprise. Let’s face it, printed papers are about to join the dinosaurs and passenger pigeons.

Especially small town versions.

I am old fashioned and prefer the printed papers. Of course, I also could not tweet or text if my life depended on it...

The Police Beat is back.

There was a good article on the gas field at Point Thompson, 50 miles east of Prudhoe Bay in far northern Alaska. The HUGE natural gas field has sat untapped because oil is also in that area. The gas and oil are difficult to produce, as they are under extreme high pressure and other reasons, which could lead to safety issues in production.

Big name companies have invested BILLIONS in testing and research, yet feel the production will be to difficult and expensive.

So the state wants them to drill, or get off the well. Now it is in the courts where the state wants to revoke all the leases and start over. It is a huge power battle, and your gas price at the pump may be at stake. Thanks to North Dakota for kicking in lately, but Alaska oil production is down lately. That pipeline is not always full now. And the much BALLYHOOed new gas pipeline is still only a dream in these days of ecological studies. We gots the gas, we gots the oil. Got Drill?

The state feels the lack of development could be on purpose by big oil/gas to suppress supply and increase prices of what is already flowing upward.

But that’s crazy talk...

The Chow Porch is back in action on a regular basis. FRANK is the regular. 4 out of 5 nights he is there. And this morning he was lurking for leftovers. At first he was just like all the others, circling forever before sniffing up and snarffing down. Cat leftovers, hard or soft, it was chowed. But last night it went Hoppyesque. He was on the porch with me just inside the wide open door flashing pictures. No fear.

GOLDEN ROD is a bit irregular in his appearances, but he is already friendly, coming right up to inquire about the daily special. It is posted on the door, but alas, fox cannot read.

I just bought plane tickets for my next trip. Flying to Albuquerque to golf a cuppla days with CASA, mainly because I could use the money. Then taking the usual road trip and golfing on the way. Albuquerque NE to Mackinac Straits Bridge in Michigan, then south to Louisville. Right across the heart of America.

Snowing again.

May not need the valet tonight. But HEY, he has been complaining about the tips lately anyway...

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7. DHaupt
9:19 AM GMT on February 22, 2012
It was 70F in Livermore yesterday afternoon and supposed to be 75F this coming afternoon. The almond trees are in bloom, trees are beginning to bud and no rain. Thanks for the good wish, Arbie.

The last time I saw the Mackinac Straits, there was no bridge. We crossed it on a family camping trip when I was a third grader. My family spent the entire month of August, 1950 camping our way completely around Lake Michigan. We spent time at some of the interior lakes as well; I think I remember an Indian Lake and a Higgins Lake. But, the crossing of the Straits was my first ever ride on a vessel larger than a outboard motor boat. Come to think of it, I think it was my last too. But, the ferry didn't sink as they are so prone to do. I have no desire whatever to get on a cruise ship. They're disasters waiting to happen.

Do I remember something about a rusty tub of a fishing vessel, oriental I think it was, that was not allowed to dock in Dutch because of rats on board? I recall that it and its crew were quarantined until the vessel was deratted and certified.

Hang in there Rotty. Very best of pluck and luck.
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1258
6. dotmom
4:13 AM GMT on February 21, 2012
Rotty, it sounds like you have done a lot of work to further your education. I hope when it is over it is all worth it. You have a lot of stamina to continue.
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1618
5. MissNadia
11:38 PM GMT on February 20, 2012
Evening Joe,

Are there any rats in Dutch?.... don't see any "Rat Guards" on the mooring lines.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 3003
4. Arbie
6:26 PM GMT on February 20, 2012
Driving from New Mexico to Michigan sounds like fun to me. I've been to Mackinac, but not since I was a kid. Lots of flat, kind of uneventful countryside between the UP and Kentucky though. I bet Joe will find an interesting side to it.

Rotty, I didn't know you were so close to finishing until you starting talking about it a little while back. So close and yet so far, huh? Just keep plugging; we will be thinking of you.

So nice to see the foxes again.

We seem to have racoons visiting our attic again. This time, so far, it seems they are just coming in out of the rain. It looks like they have found a loose panel on the underside of the overhang that they can lift up like a door. We haven't actually seen them, but have heard the chirpy noises and nothing else is strong enough to lift boards like that.

Texas, at least East Texas, has enough rain now that I wish I could send you some, Dave.

We have a new curbside recycling program that includes a big 98-gallon bin with a lid. We can recycle to our heart's content.
Member Since: December 3, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 1213
3. Rotty3
4:24 PM GMT on February 20, 2012
when's the trip planned, Joe? sounds like a fun journey. Enjoy it.

Thank you for the update on the vulpines. Lovely pics, as I already said. Hope everyone has a great week. Me? Just stressing in the back stretch (home stretch should be coming up soon--too quickly for my taste methinks... Alas...).
Member Since: January 6, 2005 Posts: 18 Comments: 1649
2. bearpaints
2:17 PM GMT on February 20, 2012
Sure glad to hear of all the dining going on at your house. I would be so excited and keep the pictures coming, love them.

What is it saying about already buying your vacation tickets? Tired of that snow yet? AZ had snow again last week and hubby says very cold up north. I'm ready for alot warmer weather. Wish I could go on some road trips, I love road trips. Just hang that camera, video out the window so we can all go with ya. Like a life web cam. Now that would be cool.

Have a great week and enjoy your company.
Member Since: January 15, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 281
1. insideuk
9:34 AM GMT on February 20, 2012
Albuquerque to the Mackinac Bridge is approximately 1700 miles if you stick to the paved roads, which you won't.


You have grown used to the sound of loose gravel accompanying your travels, a cruise without leaving a cloud of dust in your wake seems unthinkable. Your idea of a good road trip is to confound the sat nav with routes hitherto unknown to 4 wheels.

You rarely use all 4 wheels at the same time anyway, at least one is feeling deflated in the repair shop at any given time as a rule.

I think this is the major reason for your avoidance of the hard asphalt surface on your travels.

Sparks. You merely seek to obey the fire risk laws. Isn't that right?

Clearly you will be needing to take some money off Casa for the trip, fuel stops, sandwich stops, repair shops, the odd rollercoaster ride – it all adds up.

It gives Casa time to save up some cash if he knows what's expected of him...

And then there is the $4 toll on the Mackinac Bridge itself.

The bridge website also helpfully offers all kinds of interesting facts and figures.

There is 42,000 miles of wire in the main cables, each of which is 24 and a half inches diameter. The five mile long bridge weighs in at 1,024,500 tons before lunch, and has 4,851,700 steel rivets which were hammered home by 3,500 men employed during the build. The bridge opened to traffic the day before JoeAlaskas 3rd birthday...

It doesn't actually say that last bit in the website. An oversight.

It does say the depth to rock at midspan is 'unknown'.

Hence the need for the “Drivers Assistance Program” - intended for all those of a nervous disposition (formally known as 'the rivet counters') who fear they may make that little discovery for themselves. A free driver is provided to take you across. Available 24/7.

You're not allowed to walk across, except on the annual bridge walk day (the 55th bridge walk is scheduled for September 3, 2012). On this day you can walk, but not jog. You are absolutely forbidden to play tag.

Or pee.

You gotta hold it 'til you reach the other side.

Same goes for tyres Pudden Head.

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I have just taken a new job in Great Falls, Montana. A new state and new areas to explore.

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