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By: joealaska , 3:11 AM GMT on May 28, 2013

22 days later, I am back in Derby City / Falls City / L-Ville / Louisville.

The trip has gone by very quickly. If needed, I could do it over and over. Just slow down even more, spend a few days here and there. Do not forget, I enjoy cruising. I can do it for many hours and enjoy it. Recently I have backed off. But I still want to get a few quality hours in on a daily basis.

Last night I stayed in MT VERNON. Illinois. Best known for being an intersection of two major freeways.

Today I tried to play golf, even though I was close to home and almost there. Everything was packed. The HOLIDAY you know. I had gotten used to wide open courses as I cruised the wide open spaces the last couple weeks.

Not today.

I drove 18 miles out of my way checking out a course in ENGLISH, INDIANA. Packed. I followed the directions of the GPS and it lead me to another golf course chained up and shut down, for some time it appeared. (The previous day it lead me far out into corn fields in Illinois, one lane roads in a canyon of corn. Lead me out then just abandoned me. One minute it was leading me to a specific golf course, then suddenly it was just telling me exactly where I was way out in all that corn. No mention of any golf course. I tried it again with another golf course, same thing happened. Corn City.)

No golf that afternoon, but I saw some interesting cobs. And it was a nice afternoon for a ride.

So I gave up on golf

Turned in the car a couple hours early, now back in downtown Prospect, KY. A beautiful Holiday Monday. We spent a good part of the afternoon watching a robins nest outside the kitchen window. There were 3 babies in it, but they were mature and were OUTTA THERE today. So we sat and watched the progress of the kids as they hopped around the immediate area and tested their wings.

OK. I got a ticket to Dutch. Fly all day to get there Thursday. A rare opportunity to fly it in one day versus an all night deal. At least this is the plan as of now.

Stay tuned.

I can GUARANTEE YOU this will be an interesting week.

After having been babbling here for 5+ years, I will be making not one, but TWO monster announcements. The status of the blog is at stake.

This is a chapter in mid-write.

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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16. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
1:53 AM GMT on May 30, 2013
joealaska has created a new entry.
15. miyuki
1:21 AM GMT on May 30, 2013
I hope the announcements aren't too much of a shocker, I have a heart condition !!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
14. ladyhomer
4:05 PM GMT on May 29, 2013
I too am waiting waiting waiting for the 2 big announcements!!!! I have so enjoyed this blog even tho I'm on the silent side. I do read it everyday & enjoy it. I think we are all in suspense!!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
12. cybersuze
2:12 PM GMT on May 29, 2013
Wow UK -- great update on the doins in Dutch! Avoiding the tax man, shame on them! Now I too wait with baited breath -- isn't tomorrow Thursday?

Magic with the pic!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
11. OGal
8:13 PM GMT on May 28, 2013

Have been here on this blog for a long time. Now two major announcements. Wow I can't wait.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. osdianna
4:48 PM GMT on May 28, 2013
Well Joe, you wouldn't be going straight back to Dutch without a good reason...so I assume I get to keep the cats a while longer, which is a good thing for us as I have become very attached to both. (I knew that would happen! I'm such a pushover.)

Yesterday, while it poured all day, Dutchie still insisted on going outside, and then disappeared around the side of the house. I was understandably nervous as there is a young Rottweiler in the next yard...visiting for the extended weekend. I was refilling the hummingbird feeder upstairs when I happened to look down, and there was Dutchie under the window...and under some old windows leaning against the back of the house...looking up at me. She found a safe dry spot, out of danger, out of the wet, and out of Sadie's sight. Meanwhile, Fluff has commandeered my recliner for her most-of-the-day snooze. They have definitely settled in.

I hope all goes well with your return to Dutch...and I can't help it...around our family "bated breath" became "meat on my tongue"...ha...so I have meat on my tongue regarding the BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS!!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. dotmom
2:34 PM GMT on May 28, 2013
SI: Now that I look at that putt again, how could it miss! Also, it looks like a stunned face on Joe, so it must have gone in!!! :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
8. dotmom
2:32 PM GMT on May 28, 2013
Well UK, I think you just about covered it all. 'Cept maybe the exchange of some simple Christmas gifts after the toasting.
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6. dotmom
2:22 PM GMT on May 28, 2013
SI: I can't remember if I sunk the putt or not - probably not! That is our home course, here where we live in KY.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. insideuk
1:30 PM GMT on May 28, 2013

Wonderful in theory. Corn fields in practice? In the movies, if someone roams into corn fields they are in really big trubba.

I suspect it was just the rental car that took a bashing in this case. Poor (now valueless) car.

It seems the sat nav firms can update the road maps with reasonable accuracy but they aren’t going to the bother of finding out which of your HELPFULLY NEARBY businesses have gone to cob in recent years.

WAY TOO MUCH WORK (a job for Joe?????)

I have the same problem with now defunct petrol (gas) stations on mine. Only in this country it’s not corn fields you get dragged towards but ‘pop-up’ car wash sites. Virtually every former petrol station forecourt now has a small band of eastern Europeans offering to wash your car for a few pounds. Which is terrific, unless you actually need FUEL more than a wash.

I think they should start selling fuel at Subway sandwich stores, those damn things are popping up everywhere – along with your American coffee shops. In a tea drinking country! Sacrilegious! I find it ridiculous that people are frequently seen on British streets clasping these giant expensive coffees as some kind of trendy status symbol. It seems you can’t be seen walking into the office without a bucket full of skinny cinnamon dolce latte topped with whipped cream and mini marshmallows with cookie crumbles plus a caramel squiggle for good measure.

Giant coffee in one hand and smart phone in the other, tapping out a message to friends and followers:

status update – the carpal tunnel was a bugger getting into work this morning…

One area of British business that is seeing a big growth in sales is in automated doors. Can’t think why…

There have been interesting developments in Anchorage regarding the Kulluk and the Coasties investigation. The ADN news website has had great coverage of the details that are trickling out during the formal hearing into WHAT WENT WRONG.

It got loose, it buggered off, it beached…

Ok, that’s just my personal abbreviated version.

It has been going on for a few days already, and many of those involved in the towage have been giving their evidence/ version of events, under probing questioning by many interested parties. I can briefly let you know the juicy titbits so far are thusly:-

1) Everyone who should/ would/ could have known better was away on their Christmas vacation and therefore beyond reproach. And lawsuits.

2) When Shell spokespeople implied the Kulluk wasn’t being moved to avoid paying tax on January 1, or that avoiding tax was only a ‘minor consideration’ - they lied. Shells operation manager, having done a mahoosive U-TURN, now accepts it was moved to avoid paying millions in tax to the state of Alaska. The crane repairs they planned in a Seattle shipyard would not have taken place until their slot opened up in February.

3) It seems only a cursory glimpse was taken at the Kulluks tow connecting shackles before leaving town in December, despite the fact they had previously come under significant strain during violent seas on the trip north from Dutch Harbor. A critical connecting shackle somehow fell off and disappeared at sea, this was the starting point for all the trubba that followed.

4) The Kulluks operations manual shows a 6 degree tolerance for pitching and rolling under tow, after which you are supposed to stop towing or slow right down. As the weather picked up log notes declare a pitch of between 8 and 10 degrees, occasionally up to 15 degrees. The man in charge of the Kulluk was apparently unaware of this tolerance limit at the time of the incident.

5) The Aiviq lost its generator power and suffered a blackout during the November tow from the drilling sites. Also an Aiviq engine failed and couldn’t be restarted. On a 30 minute or 2 hour inspection (depending on whom you believe) a full pre-tow check was carried out where just one question was asked of the Aiviqs engineer – “ANY MAJOR PROBLEMS?” – “NOPE” was his reply. It was considered that no second tug would be necessary for the trip south. They have now concurred it would have been a very good idea to have a second tug (with engines that worked reliably) for a winter tow.

6) Shell ‘didn’t anticipate’ the winter storm. They had great weather as they departed Dutch Harbor on the 21st of December and they barbecued on the Kulluk deck on Christmas day. The waves kicked up after the tow line broke on the 27th December. Their Houston based weather service forecast gave a 1% chance of 35 foot seas. They expected to be ahead of any bad weather, despite a slow 4mph average speed. Their BRILLIANT plan for any severe weather was to ‘divert around it, stop before it or ride it out’. As it happens they did all 3, though not by choice. Shell’s Marine Manager was asked if they had factored the possibility of big storm waves into the calculations for the strength of the tow gear. He never gave a direct answer. The strength of the Kulluks Weber mini deck grill was never in doubt.

7) OK, I made that last bit up.

8) The Aiviq lost all 4 engines due to unexplained goo-coated fuel filters or ‘slime’ in the diesel. They are using specialist technical language at this hearing that even I can follow. As yet, nobody has come forth with test results as to the cause, though algae is a common problem, the ships engineer considers a fuel additive was at fault. He (and his attorney) declined to say where the ships fuel came from. There was talk of water getting into the tanks on a previous trip when fuel vents became submerged, but the engineer said he never found much water – just a ‘jelly like substance’ – and they cleaned out the tanks. They are now ‘reworking the procedure manual’ for the Aiviq. Such as remember to pack spare fuel filters and shove the fuel vents higher up the sides of the boat.

9) Possibly.

The hearing continues today and can be followed on ADN.com if you want the more sensible unabridged version.

Though nothing could be as riveting as

Are seatbelts mandatory for this?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
4. bearpaints
1:30 PM GMT on May 28, 2013
Gee this scares me. Hopefully and I know you wanted to quit before but we're out on a limb here with bated breath what is going to happen. Where would I go to have such great friends and different lifes all brought together? It took awhile to believe you were leaving my beloved Dutch and would see no more pictures of DC boats, big boats and foxs. I have this feeling your pulling the plug and we're going down the drain.

On another note it's understanding if you do. Have to grow and move on. Wait maybe tour book is out?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. dotmom
11:57 AM GMT on May 28, 2013
Dave: I bet by now that club has figured out how profitable it is to sell golf balls. Reload between "nines."
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. DHaupt
7:57 AM GMT on May 28, 2013
Glad that you are home.

If, in your rambling, you should happen to go near Reinbeck, IA, there is a beautiful small golf course there called Oakleaf Golf and Country Club. My dad and his brother Bob played it just after it had been created; that was over 50 years ago. It is rather heavily wooded and was originally surrounded by close-by corn fields; in fact many of the fairways ran along the corn fields. There is this also lovely little stream, Black Hawk Creek that you have to shoot across on several of the holes.

By about the 7th hole, Dad and his brother were so depleted of golf balls that they had to dump out their bags and play with whatever shook out. By the time they finished they were out spotting for balls in the cornfields and bushes. They swore that it was the most costly game they had ever played anywhere. I was beside myself with mirth. I'm sure it's much nicer now; there appears to be a club house and amenities. You can look it up on Google maps. The trees are still there, and the creek, though.

I will wait with bated breath to hear what's cooking in Dutch and what the big surprises are. I do hope that this isn't the end of your blogging and our babbling.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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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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