Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Fairbanks, Alaska, United States
Jul 22, 2019 - Decision Day
Today I had a total reversal of my mindset. I think knowing I had another monitor to set up and test, followed by another flight to install two monitors....just took a toll. I did finally get permission from everyone involved to end my assignment here. My dispatcher in VA said she even thought I would likely get a paid ticket home, but she was wrong. I was correct in my understanding of that rule and I would willingly pay for the return trip, but when I considered all my plans and added up all my costs I finally decided just to go straight...Jump to full entry
Jul 21, 2019 - Oreo Day? (Nice surprise in the middle)
Well my day started out pretty roughly. I headed into the base and got pulled over for an inspection by the guards at the gate. It was just random and not all that rigorous, but I was supposed to meet my trainee at the door to the office (because we go in before the doors are unlocked and she doesn't have an entrance key) so I knew the inspection would make me late. It was also a little humiliating because the guards wanted ME to open all the doors, the back hatch, and the hood. Since this is just a rental I had no idea where the release...Jump to full entry
Jul 21, 2019 - A monitor-less day
Lucy and I declared a day off from monitors. We are scheduled to receive the new transmitter tomorrow and one of us will take it, plus 3 more big cases, back up to Fort Yukon on Tuesday. Between now and then we will assemble and test the back-up monitor. So there can't be much of a monitoring break but I was getting pretty concerned that I've had no time to work with Lucy in the office and there is a lot of material I thought we should cover. So today - NO MONITORS!!! This morning we mostly had meetings and she filled in for me in one, by...Jump to full entry
Jul 19, 2019 - Fort Yukon Day
I'm too tired to type much. In our safety training we are taught that cumulative sleep deprivation is makes your ability to function as impaired as if you were legally drunk. I can believe it because I am finding I make more incorrect keystrokes than correct ones. And I know how to type. Three hours of sleep last night just wasn't enough after all my other short nights. So I'm heading to bed and should be able to sleep 9 hours. YAY! The monitor is working which is somewhat miraculous and I will try to explain that, maybe by tomorrow....Jump to full entry
Jul 17, 2019 - Food, Rest, or Recreation?
I was determined to finish a little earlier tonight so I could get more rest and I think I will be asleep before 10 which is an improvement. I really want to rest well because my trainee comes tomorrow so my brain will be juggling all my responsibilities with all her questions. I think it will be fun to have her here, but any "free" time, which is already almost non-existent, will probably be even more scarce. So I skipped supper on base (BUT guess what?! I can actually get money for meals I miss so I can choose to buy my own dinner and...Jump to full entry
Jul 16, 2019 - Dramamine After All?
It is late and my brain is overworked so this will be short - and no pictures. I thought today might be an easy day with possibly a return trip to Denali, but it turns out my boss had different ideas about flying a monitor out than Trent and I did. I thought Trent had talked to him about our decision but apparently not. So when I told Pete I was concerned there were some remote areas without any monitors and I was working on wording to address that on my outlook, he said if there were places that needed monitors I should fly them out there....Jump to full entry
Jul 15, 2019 - Day 6, I think....
If I am counting correctly (a big "if" at this point) tomorrow with be my midway point on this assignment. The fires have died down quite a bit and I was wondering whether I might even leave early but instead I am getting a trainee - my first! Well actually my first official one. I've done some training unofficially for 3 people so far. It will be good to have help with some things but on the other hand, none of my time will really feel like my own. And in the meantime, the monitor at Denali has quit working so someone (Me??? the trainee???...Jump to full entry
Jul 14, 2019 - MMMmmm...Lava Cake
Whew... today has been a little bit slower. I think it is a combination of less smoke (thanks to rain and cooler temperatures) and a few people staying out of the office on Sunday. Apparently SOME people get days off during fire duty. Ha! Not me! Seriously, though, I do think some people were off today which means fewer questions get channeled my way. Our building is on an army base but the building itself is for the Alaska Inter-Agency Coordination Center for Wildfire, and about half the people who work here are full-time employees. The...Jump to full entry
Jul 13, 2019 - Weekend? What weekend?
Once again I find that this job makes it almost impossible to keep track of what day it is. I am starting work at 6:00 here in the hotel because it allows me to publish the smoke outlook earlier in the day than if I took time to drive to the office before doing it. So I got up, worked a couple hours, grabbed some yogurt and fruit from the hotel breakfast room, drove in and worked a couple more hours before getting on a conference call at 11:30. Several people were missing from the call and someone remarked that maybe they weren't...Jump to full entry
Jul 12, 2019 - Just BREATHE
Well today was an improvement in several ways, the most significant of which was air quality. We got some drizzle that lasted all day. Rain is nature's air scrubber and the improvement was quite noticeable. The rain is not enough to put out any of the very large, very hot fires but it is enough to knock down their growth for a day or two, giving everyone a break from the worst of the smoke. It was enough to improve our air quality from very unhealthy to "just" unhealthy. It was also pretty chilly. I have a jacket with me but didn't wear it...Jump to full entry
Jul 11, 2019 - Settled In
Every day I look forward to writing my journal entries and think of entertaining things to write during most of the day, but then my energy runs out and my creativity goes with it. Anyway, here is somewhat of a recap of things I've been too tired to write. This has been my third consecutive REALLY LONG day. On Tuesday I left home at 3:30 am Eastern time, traveled from home to Fairbanks, then worked 5 hours. That is at least as hard to do as to believe. The hardest part yet was that the 5 hours of work time included learning how to do some...Jump to full entry
Jun 30, 2019 - Fairbanks AK
Day 43, June 29 The forecast for today says it is going to be another hot one with temps in the upper 80s. This morning we took the doggies to Creamers Field just north of town. It was a dairy farm that is now converted to a wildlife refuge mainly for migratory birds. When we arrived there was around a hundred sandhill cranes in the front field but they were a ways in the distance and not good for a photo. After dropping in the visitor center we started walking one of the trails but Dianna got tired a couple of hundred yards down the trail...Jump to full entry