Thursday, July 10, 2008

Should I buy a scanner to use for the day and then just give it away? Or should I just skip my trip to the Alaska Railroad archives at the museum? As I ate my breakfast PB and J sandwich, I called Best Buy, Office Depot and Wal-Mart in search of an inexpensive scanner. The cheapest was $120. Slightly disgusted, I decided to take a hit in quality and instead use my digital camera.

Derek dropped me off at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art at 10:30 AM and I immediately went to Kathleen Hertel-Baker's office. One of Kathleen's duties is to oversee access to the Alaska Railroad archives which consist of a drawers and drawers of prints, negatives and newspaper articles. Once she turned me loose, I spent the next four hours salivating and photographing over 80 photos. Someday I hope to get these online for you to enjoy. You might want to keep reminding me.

historical historical historical
historical historical historical

As I emerged from the museum, I noticed the weather was absolutely gorgeous with sunny almost cloudless skies. Of course the weather is beautiful. I am not riding or photographing trains today. If it weren't for bad luck…. So I decided to walk the twelve blocks back to Don's condo. Taking the streets less traveled I was intrigued by not only the architecture of these older homes, but also their interesting paint schemes. Back at Don's we ate a late lunch and spent quite a bit of time looking at my Alaska Railroad website. This lead to an impromptu visit to eBay where I spent a dollar or two.

557 Anchorage home
No. 556 now resides in a park Interesting choice of colors

Some people just never learn. I met Frank again to do some more geocaching. I was still nursing my shredded legs from last time while he confessed to getting ill from the bizillion mosquito bites he had received. We decided to limit ourselves to more urban caches. The first one was at a piece of movie art along A street. We then found one at the Fish Creek watershed at Northwood Park and another along Chester Creek. So far so good. Three caches and nary a bug bite. However, our luck was about to change. We went after a cache in a woods along Strawberry Road and were greeted by not only an army of blood thirsty mosquitoes, but an invisible fleet of no-see-um's. "Bring it on!" I shouted. I felt confident this time since the only exposed flesh was my face and it had received a healthy dose of DEET. However, these insects apparently had been raised on DEET for they seemed totally immune. After signing the log sheet, I made a mad dash back to Frank's truck.

MosquitoWe did two more caches in city parks and were again pummeled by swarms of hungry female mosquitoes. Maybe someone should try to create vegetarian mosquitoes that would cross breed in the wild. Anyway, I decided to do one final cache and call it a day. This one appeared safe since it was within ten feet of the road on a bike/jogging path. On the other side of the path was a dense woods which we wouldn't need to enter. Cyclists were traveling both ways on the path so it couldn't be that bad. Right? Frank and I didn't even make it to the path. We swatted wildly and ran frantically back to his truck. At one point, I thought this squadron of insects might succeed in pulling us back into the woods! We just barely made it into the truck and we immediately locked the doors in case they tried the door handles. Hundreds of them bumped against the windows and windshield. I thanked my lucky stars that they weren't able to break the glass and get in. Need to extract the truth from a terrorist? Put said terrorist in a closet with several thousand Alaskan mosquitoes. You'll have your answers in minutes.

Since the airport was close by, Frank made a quick plane spotting sweep. At one of the freight terminals, we spied an AWACS. Since I didn't have my camera with me, I used my cell phone camera instead. The photos look pretty grainy in low light, but at least I was able to capture the moment (1, 2). Frank dropped me off at the condo where I spent the remainder of the evening making tons of phone calls to set up next week's activities, visiting with Don and eating ice cream.

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