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October 18, 2012: Road Tripping

I love road trips—can’t get enough of them. Long or short, they are my second-favorite activity, my foremost favorite being horseback riding.

So I agreed to go with my friend Patty Rosnell to take a drive out to Pt. MacKenzie, and see the sights. In part, I agreed to go because being around Patty is a lot of fun. She’s a real political animal, in every sense of the word. She’s totally committed to exposing local graft and corruption. I am not a political animal – I know zilch about such things. So I listen carefully to her. It’s quite odd, because I will say what I’m thinking – and her eyes will widen and she will say “Go-o-o-d Idea!”

We decided to check out the nearly complete Goose Bay Correctional Facility and the nearly complete Mat-Su Port Authority. The prison is going to house adult offenders. And the port is going to serve as a link between Anchorage and the Pt. MacKenzie area. It took us quite a while to get to what seemed to me to the end of the world – a desolate area replete with spruce and birch trees.

We first came to the prison – brand spanking new gray building with brand spanking new barb wire, glistening in the early morning light. As I looked around, it occurred to me that an escapee would be totally screwed. They’d have to go a long ways in order to reach civilization – it wouldn’t be worth their while unless they had a taste for tree bark.

Patty and I stood at the edge of the empty visitor parking lot, and began taking photos of the signage. Of course, within seconds a burly young fellow in a police uniform came from seemingly out of nowhere, in our direction. Patty went up to say hello and I hung back and prepared to take a photo. “No photos here!” He roared. I smiled, and took his and Patty’s picture. Then I hopped into the car and waited for the two to finish chatting. As I was sitting there, a police woman came from seemingly out of nowhere, in our direction. Patty, now realizing that these individuals meant business, headed back in the direction of the vehicle.

We continued on, to the port. A nice fellow in a pickup told us that yes, we could look around. And look around we did.

Patty has a chat with prison guard

Loading facility at Port MacKenzie

Someone had put a shim in the door of the port building, so we were able to enter and check out the inside. The building is small, but the glass windows overlooking the inlet make it feel more open.

Of course, in one corner, in a glass container, was a huge grizzly bear. Such sights make no sense to me. I looked at this fellow, who had been frozen into an upright position by a taxidermist, and I wondered if given the chance, if bears might put us in cages. I could see it, a stuffed hunter wearing a red plaid flannel shirt, jeans, and work boots. He would of course have a snarl on his face, and his fake eyes would be unblinking.

Anyhow, after checking out the port, we checked out Valley Sawmill, the Alsop Gravel Pit, and the MacKenzie General Store. The latter was closed because it had been destroyed in a fire.

My assessment of the situation is that I now have a better sense of the bigger picture. The political dumbasses-that-be are slowly working on building an infrastructure that’s in line with their irresponsible pro-development stance. Coal is going to be transported to the site, and then shipped to far off countries. And should a bridge be built, houses will go in, making the area an Anchorage bedroom community.

It’s a very daunting proposition – it means that someone has a vision, but it is seriously skewed.

Next: 313. 10/19/12: Incognito