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By: joealaska , 6:35 AM GMT on March 06, 2013

So the last big storm was last Friday night. Saturday I had to dig out the Tahoe, where it had become stuck as I made a dive into the driveway.

Next morning it was obviously entrenched in the drift, with a drift on one side that had formed overnight. I was only about 5 feet from the CLEARED road. The Tahoe is 4 wheel drive. Piece of cake. I started shoveling.

Meanwhile the crew was busy at the warehouse, and I was getting calls as I shoveled. Work went on as scheduled. The shoveling was unscheduled. I dug out each tire to make rocking room. The first attempt I did not move one inch. I continued to shovel around the edge of the vehicle, then re-tried movement. NADA. After awhile everything was pretty well cleared out, with the tires balanced on foundations of snow. It became frustrating, as it was not clear what was still holding me up. Turns out it was the obvious... SNOW.

At one point as I was clearing snow my shovel hit the front left tire. It spun slowly, with no resistance. It was not even touching the ground. Yes, the car was stuck at an odd angle. Not unsimilar to the posture of a cheetah turning to catch a gazelle running by. Or something like that.

Evidently when I DOVE in during the tempest, I had hit deeper snow and surfed up on it. The bulk of the vehicle was sitting on a solid base of snow under the chassis. I gave up and called for help.

One of the guys came by in our new four wheel drive van (Nice). He backed the van up to the Tahoe and we strapped them together. It just took a slight tug to grant me freedom. We stopped in the middle of the road and unstrapped. As we did so we noticed that the van, in PARK and braked,was sliding down the roads. No tires spinning, just sliding on the slick hill. The hill I slid and fell on three times a few weeks prior in another storm.

The same hill I had my scariest moments during a true white out a couple years ago. Where I wrapped my van up against that yellow pole below my house, as I could not drive up that same hill. I backed down and tried to park off the road, against that pole. When I tried to walk up the hill, 200 feet away, I kept falling in the BLIZZARD. In the road. Wondering if some other idiot trying to come downhill in the white would run over me and consider me just another speed bump. It was so surreal it was funny.

Instead of JOEALASKA, I would also like SIR REAL as a pseudonym.

But I digress.

The big melt has occurred as usual. Big piles of snow, but bare ground elsewhere. Just in time for the next big storm to start the cycle anew.

OSDIANNA is right on top of it. Big storm due tomorrow night, Weds. GNU GUY trying to fly out tomorrow afternoon. That three hour trip to Anchorage may take one hour with the tail wind.

They are calling for 60 mph winds and 12 inches of snow. The 12 inches scares me. That wind can make big drifts with a few inches of snow, with 12 inches it could get interesting. The storm will last through Thursday, setting a nice stage for our BIG FRIDAY. It could be the storm of the winter. Let’s see what really happens in 24 hours...

KULLUK arrived again today. Mid-day in sunshine. I was swamped, as were my entire crew. We had a huge order from another big boat. I monitored MARINE TRACKER on the computer watching the arrival of Kulluk. Kulluk did not have on its transponder, so it did not appear on the screen. There is no crew on board. But it was hard to miss that group of SIX tugs moving in slow motion past Hog Island. I waited until the last moment and took a 20 minute break for my day off.

I drove down Airport Beach Road and found a vantage point near the entrance to Captains Bay. Just like ten other cars. It was very calm. When I was filming, the ONLY motion was the slight movement of the water in the bay. The entourage was in slow motion. One tug towing. Two tugs pushing against the Kulluk, and every one else free styling.

Now I can look up and see Kulluk back at its dock at OSI out my window.

And all is good with the world.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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13. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
6:03 AM GMT on March 08, 2013
joealaska has created a new entry.
12. dotmom
2:35 AM GMT on March 08, 2013
Code1: Are you from our neck of the woods? I was rooting for UK tonight but I couldn't do them any good. Tough night. I think if they can get in the tourney they will be tougher than what they have shown us so far.

Go Cards!!! :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
11. code1
1:45 AM GMT on March 08, 2013
I'm sooo very enamored of UK (pun definitely intended), it's a UK thing! Dot Mom, you get it. ;-) Good luck Cards, er umph, cough, cough from a UK CAT! Stay safe Joe. Facinating blog to follow! Thx Joe, for ed & fun!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. Arbie
12:52 AM GMT on March 08, 2013
Gonzaga sounds like a neat school.

UK, where on earth is that photo from? (no pun intended)

I love the way the fresh snow looks (in Joe's pictures).

Joe's pictures are making me shiver. And I'm going up to Calgary (Alberta, Canada) for about a week in about a week, for business. They seem to still be in the middle of winter too, so I bought a parka. :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. beell
4:30 PM GMT on March 07, 2013
And you're too kind, Mrs.dotmom. The story does not need much help to be funny!
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8. osdianna
4:16 PM GMT on March 07, 2013
Dotmom...10 yrs ago even I didn't know much about Gonzaga! I have a friend who used to teach there...a poet. They sort of sneaked up on us! They are a four-year Catholic university in Spokane...I know very little about the east side of the Cascades. I DO know that Dr. Jane Goodall will be speaking there April 9th....not that it has anything to do with basketball!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. dotmom
2:45 PM GMT on March 07, 2013
PS: Beell - you are too funny!
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6. dotmom
2:44 PM GMT on March 07, 2013
OSDiana: Go Zags. Do you know that 10 years ago we barely knew Gonzaga and look where they are today - at least in basketball. Really know nothing about the school other than how well they have done with basketball. I had a friend (who is now deceased) who first introduced me to Gonzaga. Her brother went there years and years ago. She was so excited for them when they started to make a name for themselves here in the East. I hope they do well (but I have to be honest) except for the Cardinals!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. beell
11:50 AM GMT on March 07, 2013
And a sidebar to the Foss Maritime/Crowley Maritime tow to Dutch a couple weeks back.
Two Tugs Expected to Tow Kulluk Collide in Kiliuda Bay/KTUU.com-02/20/2013

I'm sure the planned operation to load the Kulluk on a barge for the trip to Asia for repairs will be flawless.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. Ylee
5:33 AM GMT on March 07, 2013
A 10" lift, a snowplow, and a 500hp crate engine for the Tahoe. Problem solved! :' )
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. osdianna
4:45 PM GMT on March 06, 2013
Dear Sir Real....would it help to assess the situation early next time, turn on the engine and melt the snow/ice from under the Tahoe? Perhaps a flamethrower can be purchased by the company to get you off the hill without endangering half your crew.

I'm making light of a really bad situation, and I apologize. I can't even imagine going through any of that, but then I'm 68 and unashamedly female...not girly-girly, but not as tough as Rotty and a few others from your blog.

C'mon April 1st...I just hope you and the girls get off the island in a timely fashion. You really need a vacation!

Oh, I forgot to post this last time...Go Zags!!!

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. insideuk
3:03 PM GMT on March 06, 2013

I've been wondering...

Is the Kulluk still the same shape as her custom built dock? Square peg round hole?
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1. insideuk
2:59 PM GMT on March 06, 2013
You make your Tahoe Turtle Teetertotter sound like one of those coin operated rides you get for toddlers outside supermarkets. Did it tilt back and forth slightly, flash lights and play some shockingly bad nursery rhyme tunes at a thousand decibels when you turned the ignition on?


Was it a Gentle Giant track then?

I'd ask for my money back.

Did the sliding GNU VAN come to rest on your famous little yellow marker pole then? It has become tradition to brand all your company vehicles with a smudge of yellow paint has it not?

It must have been a really big yellow marker stick at some point...right up until your Michelin truck slid up to it.. Painted the whole damn thing bright yellow.

Perhaps that was in the last FOOT DEEP storm system? Before your time?

Let's see. Heavy snow and strong winds on an exposed stretch of driveway...what's the worst that could happen come Friday morning?


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About joealaska

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

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