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Logbook entry: I leave home to go home - transition from Wasilla to the surf of Barrow

As always, the day was a big rush as I floundered at accomplishing all that needed to be done before I left home, but still I got to the airport with extra time to catch my flight. Good thing, too, because after I checked my bags in I realized I had left my laptop computer in the car - and my iPad, too. I called Margie, but she did not answer. I thought she had forgotten her phone and I was cooked.

But somewhere between five and ten minutes later she called me back, then she and Lynxton rushed back to the airport and gave me my computer.

Going through security was bad, though. I have told you about all the weight I lost after my surgery. I have gained a fair amount of it back but still my pants are a bit too big and if I do not have my belt cinched, they will fall down to my ankles.

I had to take my belt off to go through security, so I held my pants up with one hand. Then, for the first time since I got it in 2008, my titanium shoulder tripped the metal detector. The guy insisted that I raise both hands into the air to get x-ray scanned or whatever scan it is they run on you.

I told him, no, I had just lost a bunch of weight due to surgery and if I lifted my hands in the air without my belt my pants would fall down. He didn't care - he said to lift my hands.

My pants will fall down, I said.

Lift your hands, he said.

My pants will fall down, I said.

Lift your hands, he said.

I hitched my pants up as high as I could pull them. Then, holding on to a belt loop with my left hand and with my legs spread apart a bit so my feet could fit on the foot impressions detailed on the floor, I quickly shot my left hand up, too. The fact that my legs were spread helped a bit, he quickly zapped the machine and I quickly grabbed my pants before they could slip down more than about two inches.

Denali - one year ago I had been entertaining thoughts of making a climb up this mountain this past spring. Ha! 

Now I am entertaining making a climb in 2014. 2013 is already out, due to the followup surgery I have tentatively scheduled to get the huge hernia inflicted upon my belly by all the complications that followed this round of surgeries taken care of.

And boy! This flight turned out to be rough on me. I had a seat in the row just in front of the emergency exit row. Those seats do not lean back. Not only that, but the pitch of the seat seemed to me to be farther forward than normal - so far forward that the edge of my pants, belt and buckle were pressing right in to the most senstive and painful spot - the spot where the hole still heals. The bleeding had finally stopped completely a bit over a week ago, but Sunday night the huge scab that had formed fell off, exposing a bit of raw flesh and now there is a bit of bleeding going again and this seat just aggravated everything.

It still hurts.

I would have been okay in a regular lean-back seat, I think.













And then, finally, I was back in Barrow. I hated to leave my home, but it felt so good to get off the plane and feel the stiff, cold, wind of Barrow and to walk about the little city at the top of the world once again. The steeple is that of the Utiaqvik Presbyterian Church; the flags fly from the main office building of the North Slope Borough.

The Chukchi Sea of the Arctic Ocean - Barrow, Alaska.

This summer marked the greatest retreat of Arctic sea ice ever noted by man. Some speculate the time is coming soon - possibly even 2020 - when the Arctic Ocean will be completely ice free in the summer time and ships will pass by in the hundreds - as much as 25 percent of all shipping in the world.

Some say Barrow could grow like mad and become a big city.

This is a very hard thing for me to think about.

Dutch Royal Shell is a ways out there, but today they gave up on their plans to drill deep enough to hit oil this season. Too many things have gone wrong for them - both from the workings of nature and their own technological problems.

Reader Comments (6)

I thought you said "surf" as a joke ... but NOES!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Lewis

I saw you at the beach the other day. Good to see you up and about in the neighborhood. :) Not sure I like the idea of Barrow becoming a real city.., but then again I don't really have control over that. See you around. =D

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharene

the disappearing of the ice fills me with dread...i hope you have a good stay

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertwain12

It is nice you are back in your element, again.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMirage

You need a pair of fancy suspenders to hold your britches up Bill!! Or some smaller britches! :-) Hope you have a wonderful visit! Hope you get a better seat that reclines on the return trip. The melting ice is very worrisome. Our old neighbor worked for Dutch Shell during and after WW2. He was from Holland and still wore his wooden shoes for gardening! He was an engineer with Shell. They were drilling off of Venezuela and Curosau (sp)West Indies then. They could only work 6 months in the tropics in those days without air conditioning then had to take holiday to readjust their bodies for 3 months. Wonder if they will have to do that now with the cold of the Arctic? They paid $1 a day for maids to do all the work in their homes and raise their children. If they require domestic help in Barrow, I hope their wages are higher now!! All this drilling in the ocean scares me! The Last Frontier!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Gunka

have fun Uncle... I think your adventure already has begun = right from the laptop till the security! :) You take care and the Artic melt is all over the news in BBC too... I hope shell never comes baclk..

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuji

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