Let The Journey Begin  

Posted by Stan Harrington

The "Welcome To Anchor Point" sign is in our review mirror as we head north by northeast prior to turning south by southwest to the smaller states "outside". After spending the night in Las Anchorage, we were on the road shortly after first light heading for the border. Found our first sign of winter as we passed through the country of Sheep Mountain. A light dusting of snow overnight. Only in Alaska can you drive a hundred miles and find a change seasons. The fall colors give away to the coming winter once you have passed through Palmer.

The moose population looks good. The last time we made this trip, we saw one moose on the round trip from Anchorage to Dawson Creek. The first day of this trip, we saw two so that looks like an increase in population of 100%. This young bull cut in front us, he would not stop long enough to get a "posed" picture.
Although the lakes in the north country are starting to freeze over, the Swans are still sticking around. Saw a several "gaggles" of them. I am assuming they hang together in gaggles.
"Dutch" is loving the trip, new sights and new smells of Indian River. Beautiful little stream, just about right to check out the Grayling fishing.
Arriving in Tok early in the afternoon, we decided to drive around town and check it out. That took about 5.5 minutes. However, we decided to stop for the day, get plenty of rest, and read the Canadian Dictionary so we do not have a language barrier. We are now 526 miles from Anchor Point. As normal, you will get a shock after you leave the Las Anchorage gas stations at $3.239 a gallon. Just to be safe, we topped off the tank in Glennallen at $3.719 a gallon, 180 miles north of LA and .48 cents difference in a gallon. That is o.k., it is just preparing us for the Alcan and computing litres to gallons.
Come first light, we will grab a "to go cup" and head for the border destined to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Alaska Was Just A Territory  

Posted by Stan Harrington

When I arrived in Alaska for the first time, I was just a child but the memories of the 1950's are vividly implanted into my memory. They were good years, I feel very fortunate to have learned my values during this time frame. Alaska was rugged, remote, and required a family to work together to survive. At the same time, you enjoyed personal freedoms like no place else.

I was just graduating from the 8th Grade in Homer, Alaska, when my father and mother leased the restaurant at the SilverKing Lodge on the Anchor River.
The SilverKing Lodge was originally built by Mr. Clark Peterson who had homestead the property extending from the present day Slide Hole Campground to the forks of the Anchor River. At the location of the current Slide Hole Campground was the original homestead house of Clark Peterson.
Mr. Peterson decided to leave Alaska and put the SilverKing Lodge on the market. It was purchased by a lawyer from Anchor, Alaska by the name of Gene Saxton. Mr. Saxton was still practicing law so he hired his brother in law, Clarence "Smitty" Smith to mange the Lodge.
In 1959, having no desire to operate the restaurant, they leased it to my parents in the spring of 1959, the year that we would relinquish our Territorial status and become the 49th state.

The Lodge consisted of the restaurant, general store, guest cabins, and gas pumps. Behind the lodge was a open "lean to" filled with saw dust. Buried beneath the saw dust were blocks of ice that were cut from the cake ice during the breakup of the Anchor River. If a visiting fisherman wanted to buy some ice to keep his fish fresh, a water hose would rinse off the saw dust to produce a beautiful block of ice.
I have always been a lover of "Bing Cherries", I recall in the summer of 1959 the manager that still operated the store brought in a lug of cherries to sell. They were sold, not by the pound but per cherry. One nickel for a cherry!
My family took over the restaurant in mid May 1959 and would operate it 24 hours a day throughout the spring and summer months. It was a family business. My mother would cook the day shift, I worked with her washing dishes and waiting tables. My brother Larry came home form attending college in Colorado and would cook the evening shift with my brother Don washing dishes and waiting tables. My father would take the graveyard shift as the cook and brother Tad would wash dishes and wait tables. His wife, Mary Jane would babysit the younger children.

Interior of the Silver King Lodge Restaurant

Sitting At the Counter: Little Sister Patricia and Little Brother Bill
In The Background
My Mother Cooking ~ Proof That I Do Dishes On Occasion
Enlargement of Sister Pat and Brother Bill

In the top picture, you will see the menu boards tacked to the wall. After a very successful summer in the restaurant, I can remember hearing my father tell my mother that we had made $10,000 that summer. When you enlarge these signs, the clearly indicate the difference between "yesterday" and "today."
A Sampling Of The Posted Menus:
16 Oz. T-Bone ~ $4.00
Shrimp Dinner ~ $2.00
Mixed Seafood Dinner ~ $3.00
Salmon Steak ~ $2.00
King Crab ~ $2.00
Halibut Steak ~ $2.00
Trout Dinner ~ $2.00
BLT Sandwich ~ $1.00
Pie ~ .40
Hot Chocolate ~ .25
Milk ~ .25
I did have to laugh at our Coffee Sign:
"No Charge For 2nd Cup Of Coffee when Served With
Pie, Sandwich, Or Meals;
2nd Cup: .1o Cents
Warm Up: .10 Cents
1/2 Cup: 10 Cents
A Little Bit: .10 Cents
One Drop: .10 Cents"

It was a long summer, but also a time to explore and learn the Anchor River and build many fond memories of my youth. It was also the year of the "flood" of homesteaders to the area of Anchor Point. With statehood looming it was known that the "Homestead Act" would become history. That particular summer I remember the homestead families of the Hansen's, Charleton's, Anderson's, Lewis's, Tietjen's, Presley, and Wilson's moving to the area.

In the fall, my parents would decide to return to our little ranch in Colorado for the winter. They would sub-lease the restaurant to a family by the name of Lucky and Betty Platt who had recently moved to Alaska from California. Through the years, the Lodge would have a variety of person's leashing the property. Gene Saxton would later sell the property to the State of Alaska for the development of the Anchor River Recreational Area as we know it today.

Prior to the sell of the Peterson Homestead to the State of Alaska, a one acre lot was sold to Arnie Murto across the Beach Road from the Lodge. Upon the sale of the property to the State of Alaska, Arnie Murto purchased the lodge building from the state and moved the building onto his lot. His intentions was to move his bar, the Scandinavian Inn, from the bluff overlooking the river and location of my current home. During that winter, it was set on fire and partially burned. The following spring it was demolished and hauled away. The only thing remaining was the sign, "SilverKing Lodge" which was partially burned. This was given to me by a friend who had saved it until the year that I opened the Anchor Angler Tackle Shop.
My family would return to Anchor Point the following spring and open our fishing cabin as a business. This was located on the Anchor Point Beach Road just a half mile from the location of the SilverKing Lodge. "Harrington's Fishing Shack" was the first tackle shop and sports fish processing business in Anchor Point. Our family would operate this business for several years, following my departure to join the Navy my parents operated it for a few more years before selling this business. Since that time, it has went through several owners and was operated under the name of "SilverKing Tackle Shop".

She Never Lies  

Posted by Stan Harrington

I am the very proud owner of a Garmin Street Pilot C330, although our love affair almost came to an abrupt halt last night. She came very close to being labeled as trash! However, after a cooling down period, I remembered that she took me on a 12,000 mile trip without a single argument, but better yet without getting me lost in some major cities.

Pending another long road trip, I thought I would treat her to a set of "new" and "updated" maps to insure that we were both working on the same highway. It sounded easy enough to go to the home page of Garmin and for a few dollars, download a set of new maps into "Suzie".

If you are a proud owner of a Garmin GPS, I would now suggest that you go buy a new one if you want to update your maps. Don't get me wrong, I like the product and it has worked well for me. However, their web site is terrible. After several attempts to download the required software in order that I could download maps to my computer and then to "Susie", I finally got to choose the maps that I desired. Really had no use for any other than North America!

After paying my "fee", I was ready to download. Hesitantly, I hit the "download" key. The download page appeared. Only one choice to make, "Continue"! No advance notice, no warning of what you were getting into until the download commenced. I thought to myself that it would take perhaps an hour to give "Susie" a new make over.

This is the point in the evening that "Susie's" life came close to expiring. The download screen informs me now that I have spent my money that the map file is 2.02 GB. I am on DSL so that is no big deal until I noticed the amount of time that was projected to download. The estimated download time was 18 hrs 56 min 45 seconds at a warp transfer rate of 38kb/second.

It was approximately 24 hours ago that the ordeal commenced. The download was finally completed at 7:36 pm this evening. Then it took another hour to feed it to "Susie" from the computer. The good news is that "Susie" is sitting here next to me, her "makeover" was successful and she just took me on a trip from my home to somewhere in New York City.

She is now ready to travel and assist me through some very beautiful country. She had better not screw up or I am going to ditch her for another. "Susie" and I will keep you posted in our travels. Perhaps, just perhaps "Susie" and my wife will get along better on this trip and keep me from having to choose sides as to you is right on that highway change that is coming up in .5 miles.

Sunday At Home  

Posted by Stan Harrington

After a busy summer and early fall, I finally spent a full day at home, well at least the majority of the day. Some would be content on sitting in the recliner and watching a little professional football. I would have like to but my "Daily To Do List" kept nagging at me. So I spent the day:

1. Had morning coffee on my deck in winds gusting to 30 knots
2. Enjoyed, but sad that the leaves were falling like snow flakes
3. Enjoyed the company of our three dogs as each of them returned from exploring the property to sit beside me.
4. Enjoyed my second cup of coffee while catching up on the news of the day.
5. Enjoyed my third cup of coffee while reviewing a change in future travel plans with my wife, Revision #4
6. Enjoyed my fourth cup of coffee, tuned in for a few minutes of a football game. Then the guilt set in.
7. Took my fifth cup of coffee in a "to go cup" and escaped to my workshop.
8. Overwhelmed by the disorganization after a busy summer and most of the tools being at the work site.
9. Spent the next hour pre-cleaning and preparing to move tools home from the work site.
10. Took the "ole snow plow" and headed to the HITW to pickup tools.
11. Full pickup load of tools that needed cleaning and organized.
12. Refilled my "to go cup" with coffee.
13. Commenced cleaning all of the tools and wiping them and their cases down with WD-40 for the next four hours. Found two extra hammers and tri-square that do not belong to me.
14. With the aide of my wife, returned to the HITW for the second load of tools, consisting of ladders, chop saw, table saw, and a very heavy generator.
15. Wife was kind enough to brew another pot of coffee and help unload one very heavy generator.
16. Spent the next hour cleaning the chop saw and table saw while enjoying a cup of coffee. I must admit, I did not clean the ladders.
17. Next two hours, re-organized the work shop and organized and stowed all the tools.
18. Set on the front steps, enjoyed my 8th cup of coffee and mentally debated myself why I have to have everything so organized.
19. To distract my thoughts, played ball with the three dogs.
20. Had a very nice pork roast dinner and a chocolate carmel malt while I watched the second half of the Dallas / Giants football game.
21. Fell asleep at the end of the third quarter. Woke up in time to watch the final four minutes of the game.
22. Made myself a cup of "instant coffee" and sat on the deck to enjoy the late evening and watch the dogs at play.
23. Noticed that the air compressor was still sitting on the deck of the workshop, unclean and not in it's proper place. Wondered to myself, how I could have missed that.
24. Contemplated on completing the task yet tonight, but then reconsidered to put it on tomorrows "to do list".
25. Checked my email and blog site list to see if anyone had posted.
26. Finding nothing, checked the Doppler Radar and tomorrows weather report.
27. Using a new site I discovered, I revamped a scheduled trip to discover that you only save 200 miles if you drive the Cassiar Highway to Prince George, BC instead of the Alcan Highway.
28. Debated myself on which highway to use, this will be my 16th trip over the Alcan and I have never driven the Cassiar. Less services on the Cassiar but country that I have not seen? Thoughts to ponder.
29. Did a variety of "computer chores"
30. Made another cup of coffee and decided to make a posting.
31. Don't know why I am not sleepy.

How I Read The News  

Posted by Stan Harrington

"War Is Declared"
The President no sooner announces the cancellation of the "Missile Defense Shield" in eastern Europe and "war is declared". Today, when the President announced his plan to scrap the program without consultation with Czech Republic and Poland, both members of NATO, he was not expecting the possibility of the declaration of war.

A few days ago, President Obama announced his decision to levy tariffs on Chinese tires. Today,the Chinese government is threatening a "trade war" and stop imports of American auto parts and chicken. However, many of those in the know consider this "sabre rattling" on the part of the Chinese. One such person in the know stated, "many Chinese consumers would miss the scrumptious chicken feet they get from this country". "We have these jumbo, juicy paws the Chinese really love," said Paul W. Aho, a poultry economist and consultant. It would only be my guess, but I would suspect that Mr. Aho will become the "Chicken Czar" in the current administration.

"Egore Is Likely Wrong, Again"
Inventor of the Internet and proclaimed authority on "Global Warming" may need to retract his statements. However, this should not be difficult as he has had to retract most of his statements that he has made in his life. That pesky little agency called NASA may have shot into space a satellite that will upset his theory of Global Warming. I would predict that Egore will likely retaliate by trying to cut their funding for collection of scientific data in outer space.
Last summer, a shot was made to the once again explore the moon. As we read, the satellite is navigating in orbit around the moon sending back some great pictures and scientific data in preparation for another moon landing by our astronauts. The latest data returned from the satellite is that they have found the coldest spot in our solar system, on our moon which is very near us in relationship to other heavenly bodies. It has always been thought that Pluto would be the coldest, however this is not the case. NASA's new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is making the first complete temperature map of the moon. They found temperatures on the moon's south pole reading a minus 397 degrees. According to Egore, that is the wind chill factor and not a true temperature. Oops, their is no wind on the moon.

"The Most Feared Man"
According to the media strategist Mark McKinnon, there are two people in the world who fear "Glenn Beck" even if "neither will admit it". The first is President Barrack Obama and the second is Rush Limbaugh.
If you do not know who Glenn Beck is, he has hosted a "talk radio" program for sometime and recently he opened his broadcast on Fox News. According to the Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb, "Everybody in town is watching him waiting to see what he will do next, who he will take down next".
If you do not get Fox News, I would at least recommend that you bring his site up on the Internet and watch some of his news videos or read some of his articles. At times, he will act a little radical and even become emotional enough to bring tears to his eyes, but unlike a lot of news media types, he has his facts laid out and clearly defined. He was one of the main instigators in the earlier "tea parties" and most recently the 9-12 march in Washington D.C. which brought out a minimum of 60,000 in protest to higher taxes, health care plan,, and assorted other complaints against the government. He was the first to lay out the framework and investigate the organizational chart of ACORN. Finally,the leadership in Washington is voting to cut funding and investigate the organization. ACORN was scheduled to get 5.8 billion dollars in stimulus funding, until Glenn Beck brought them into the spot light. He has also shed light on the number of Czar's that serve in the President's administration. Recently, the self proclaimed communist, Van Jones, the Green Jobs Czar was forced to resign from the administration because of Beck's investigating reporting. You do not have to agree with him, but he is unique, funny, and speaks from the heart.
If you are not a fan of Fox News, perhaps you should tune in on occasion. Due to the health plan debate, town hall meetings during the Congressional recess, ACORN, Czars, tea parties, and 9-12 March it is now the highest viewed news programs on television. The viewer audience of Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Susteren, and Glenn Beck on Fox News exceeds the entire audience viewers of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC combined.

"Blue Jackets Manual"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

It is likely, unless you served in the United States Navy, you have never seen nor read the Blue Jacket Manual. Each recruit entering the Navy is issued one of these manuals. The manual consists of several hundred pages that are educational in nature pertaining to life in the Navy. The copy that was issued to me in 1963, has been misplaced but I do recall having to read it from cover to cover.

This evening I came across an edition of the "Blue Jacket Manual" that my father purchased in a yard sale in the 1970's containing 784 pages. Because of the age of the book, he thought perhaps I would like to have it. This particular edition was the 10 Edition which was printed in 1940. The sailor that this book was issued to was Louis Wendell Summers, Company 1224, United States Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois 1943. During this time frame, this young "boot" was preparing to go to war during World War II.

I spent several hours skimming through the manual this evening, it did bring back many memories and how things have changed over the years, even from the time I was in the Navy. These young men going into harms way could look forward to long periods at sea during combat conditions. As a Seaman or Fireman in the lower pay grades, their monthly salary was $21.00. The highest ranking enlisted person, a Chief Petty Officer (Permanent) received $126.00 per month. Today, excluding "sea pay" and extra allowance for dependents, the base starting pay for a recruit Seaman is $1,399. If you are wondering, when I entered the Navy in October 1963, twenty years following the original owner of this manual, the base salary of a Seaman had increased considerably. My first base pay was $99.00 per month.

Today, a National Health Plan is being debated. There was such a plan in affect in the war years of the 1940's. That young Seaman, preparing to go to war in the defense of his country and being paid a base rate of $21.00 per month, had a sum of 20 cents subtracted each month for hospital expenses!

" I Have Returned"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

With the leaves turning to the color of fall, I can now find the time to devote to writing and maintaining my blog sites. Although I have many excuses for not making a post in 143 consecutive days, it simply comes down to the fact that I did not have the time. Strange that now that I have retired from the working class, I am so busy.

I did spend the early spring recuperating from some major surgery that I had completed the first week of May. Although my recovery time was less than the surgeon had projected, it was not until mid June before I started achieving any sense of energy level. It was not because I was not being nursed! I was surrounded by all of my family and friends, they were at my beckon call. I am not saying that I did not take advantage of that scenario! However, I thank them for their love and concern.

If you are a regular reader, you are no doubt aware of our family campground, the Hole In The Wall Recreational Area. Development of this area was a dream of my wife and myself, to have a place that our four children and their families could enjoy, away from the busy lives of working and raising children.
For the first several years of the campground, the families utilized camper trailers and tents. Upon my retirement in 2008, a two year renovation project commenced to build four cabins for each of the families. Two of the four cabins were completed in the summer of 2008 through a concentrated effort from family and friends.
The project was completed this summer, with the construction of two more cabins and a variety of other improvements. The concentrated effort to complete the project commenced following Memorial Day weekend and for all practical purposes concluded on August 18, 2009, one day behind schedule. So why didn't I have time to blog?
A big thanks to family and friends who really pitched in and completed this list of "Tasks To Accomplish In 2009". Throughout the summer, we had three generations of family working on
the projects, four if you include the two cute little Great Granddaughters that asked for "hugs" on a regular basis.
"Tasks Completed In 2009"
Interior Finish and Exterior Trim On "Duck House II"
Back Fill And Conversion of "Duck House I" To A Tool Shed
Cut Several Cords Of Firewood Throughout The Summer
Extraction, Reinforcement, And Replacement Of 12'x20' Cook House Flooring
Renovation Of Interior Of Cook House
Excavated Water Collection (Fire Station) Pit
Constructed and Installed Cofferdam in Water Collection Site
Constructed And Installed Decking Over The Water Collection Site
Developed Fire Station Equipped With Hoses And Hose Wheel
Installed And Constructed Several Hundred Feet Of Potable Water Line
Constructed Deck For Water Storage Tank And Connected Potable Water Line
Developed Running Water Into The Campground And Cook House
Excavated And Cleared Two Sites For Cabin Construction
Ordered Material For Construction Of Two Cabins
Construction On Two Cabins Commenced On June 10th
Two Cabins With Lofts, Completed On August 18th
(Including Electrical, Sheet Rocked And Taped)
Ran Several Hundred Feet Of Underground Electrical Wire
Cabins Connected To Electrical Power
Interior And Exterior Work On Two Cabins Built In 2008
Removed Lap Sided Wood Roof On Gazebo
Laid New Shingles On Gazebo Roof
Installed Rain Gutter System On Gazebo
Rebuilt And Improved Fire Pit
Instructed All Grandchildren The Proper Method Of Using A Hammer
Unknown Number of Forts, Cabins, And Miscellaneous Items Built By Grandchildren
Cut Several Hundred Pieces Of Scrap Wood for Grandchildren
We Still Found Time To Have Some Fun and Family Time.

I would like to thank everyone for the time and effort that you put into the project, it is something that each of us can look upon with satisfaction and pride in a "Job Well Done". Each of you put forth a lot of effort and work, a lot of it going unnoticed but witnessed and appreciated.

Now For The Good News
"Tasks To Be Completed In 2010"
To Be Completed By Memorial Day

Clear And Excavate Off Site Parking
Gravel To Final Grade The Campground And Bronco Lane
To Be Considered: Build Permanent Cook House
Play ~ Play ~ Play ~ Play

Lest We Forget  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Today, each of us will vividly remember what we were doing on September 11, 2001. On this date, our country was unmercifully attacked by radical Islamic Terrorists. The day was to be a typical day, like any other, however by sunset our world and our lives were changed forever. A total of 2,993 deaths occurred from these attacks, each of these losses affecting millions of family members and friends forever.
There are those that are calling for an end to the "War on Terrorism". Under the new administration of President Obama, the term "War on Terrorism" has been politically discarded and now referred to as "Struggle Against Violent Extremism".
Perhaps, someone should take the time to talk to our military men and women who are our first line of defense against future terrorism attacks on the United States. Ask those that are dodging bullets and and roadside bombs if they are engaged in a "war" or a "struggle"? Ask those families that have lost a loved one in combat if it is a "war" or a "struggle"?
On September 18, 2001, the U.S. Congress by unanimous consent authorized the president to:
"use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized committed, or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons."
This authorization by the U.S. Congress has not been rescinded and continues to be in affect.
We can be "politically correct" as not to offend anyone. We can "withdraw" and "curtail" our military activities in the "Struggle Against Violent Extremism". We can cut our Department of Defense budgets and use those funds for "social programs". We can investigate, identify, and charge our CIA agents for their effort in gathering critical information which curtailed further attacks against the United States. For world acceptance, we can apologize for mistakes that we have made since our founding days. We can become a "humble" nation and patiently await the next attack.
Lest We Forget 9/11/2001