Thankfully, the Bad Fashion Statement alluded to in the title of this blog was not my error, but it is definitely noteworthy. I have never been accused of being a fashion plate, and am normally outfitted in casual wear appropriate to the outdoor activity in which I am currently engaged. On this day, however, I was totally appalled by this campground patron walking back from the office to his RV. C’mon, dude, let your wife dress you in the morning before you go out in public!
You meet some very interesting people in campgrounds. I met this younger guy yesterday wearing an Alyeska Pipeline tee-shirt. Alyeska is the company that operates and maintains the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. His job is building ice highways (in the winter) across permafrost and maintaining heavy equipment year-round. He normally works 3 weeks on and 3 off, but if equipment breaks, it could be 5 weeks on and one off. His family, including three young daughters, lives in Oregon, so he loses a few days per cycle commuting.
I have always been impressed by the Trans-Alaska Pipeline’s amazing engineering accomplishments, safety record, minimal environmental impact, and contribution to our national security. I may get some flack from my readers who are Sierra Club anti-pipeliners, but that’s life. In fact, I used to be a member of the Sierra Club when it was still a hiker/backpacker organization, and quit when they became too radical. As Sgt Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, “Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts.” So here are a few quick facts about the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Alyeska:
– since 1977, it has safely and successfully moved almost 17 billion barrels (42 gallons per barrel) of crude oil through the Trans Alaska Pipeline system
– air temperature along the pipeline ranges from minus 80 degrees F to plus 95 degrees F
– their reliability factor for 2014: 99.78%
– amount of oil spilled in 2012: 6 barrels
– total area covered by pipeline: 16.3 square miles
– river and stream crossings: 34 major rivers, 500 streams total
– mountain ranges crossed: three (Brooks, Alaska, and Chucach)
– pipeline length: 800 miles
– right-of-way widths: federal land: 54 to 64 feet; state land 100 feet; private land 54-300 feet max
– Caribou: the Sierra Club predicted that the 6,000 caribou in the central Alaska herd would become extinct because of the pipeline. The herd has actually grown to over 27,000. Anecdotal reports indicate that some caribou even lean against the pipeline to stay warm in winter. Snicker….
I don’t have a real photo for the next vignette, but I assure you it happened exactly like I’ll tell it… My Lovely Bride and I were walking the puppies in our campground, and she said, “Ty, look at that camper being unloaded. They have two blenders. They must really like margaritas and pina coladas!” I glanced that direction, smiled, and replied, “Sweetheart, those are Coleman lanterns.” A brief silence ensued, and she said, “Oh.”
I am now in an Army campground at Fort Lewis, Washington, taking care of Rudy and Gretchen while Suzanne is in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a keynote speaker at the 38th Annual Conference of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies. The title of this year’s event is New Developments in Afterlife Communications. The conference just began Thursday afternoon, and she has already seen many friends there. You can follow Suzanne on her web site and blog at www.LoveAtTheCenter.com.