Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just Like Opening Day...

You're a little rusty and you just have to pull it all back into shape before opening day. Getting a camp, especially a gold camp ready to open is a lot like the opening day of the ball season. Too much to do in too little time and all in the off season cooler weather. It's actually been quite nice though, relatively speaking. Night temps are still dipping down but we haven't hit freezing for a couple nights now and that's good. Marilyn has been helping ready the gift shop and cafe. I've pretty much taken over the chores of getting the greenhouse ready to put our flowering plants out (after June 10 -last anticipated frost) and getting the vegetable seedling going for "fresh" produce for the workers and the cafe. This is a labor of love, as it's really the main thing I miss about being on the road. Growing food works for me. Having flowers works for Marilyn. The camp gets the best of both. I've also done a bunch of panning lessons and some guiding up on Myers Fork Gold Claim, although that is not yet in full swing. There's still plenty of frozen banks along the creek and the perma frost has not given way at all in some areas where it will "yield" a little bit later on. Right now even the big bull dozer can not move overburden we would like to get rid of to make more workable territory. But the first prospectors on the claim are ALL finding some color. Mike and I went up the other day and did some scouting and we located a few spots where the color was pretty good. A couple pans fell into the "moneymaker" category- pretty good this early in the season. The dirt at the panning trough has been pretty consistantly producing a few pieces every pan- which is really good for the newcomers (and I like it too at the end of the work day.) It's not like it gets dark at bed time!

There are a couple of real stories I am working on that will take shape later. We've had several prospectors stay with us that have done exceptioanlly well and I will detail their efforts in a couple weeks. These self poclaimed "weekend warriors" come up from Tok each weekend, work really hard, at hard to get to locations on the claim...and have reaped the rewards. When I get more photos of them and more results I'll do a feature on them.

Already people we met along the way have been venturing to Chicken for a look around. Don't think anyone has been disappointed yet.

There will also be some nature tales to tell once they have some time to play out. Writing about things where we are basically "staying put" is quite different from when we are constantly on the go. It feels good to "do" without having to write every single day, but I'm sure the pace of that will pick up once we get a lot more people in here and the summer activities begin.

For now we are putting in long days to help get ready...and loving every minute of it. My hands are sore from working in the greenhouse and building extra capacity on - especially for outside cool weather crops. I'm peppered with cuts and scratches. I'm working this job alone so I don't stop to take pictures. It's pretty much utilitarian work and I don't take my own picture, but a few sooner rather than later will be coming. Still not too much to "see." Seeds in dirt! The outside gardens have to be protected primarily from rabbits ( the snowshoes are abundant here) and the moose. So even though the perimeter won't be fancy, it must protect both high and low. Rabbit low, moose high- they both eat whatever they can wrap their teeth and tongues around!

If you are traveling this way- remember our music festival, Cickenstock 2009, will be a two day event on June 12 and 13. The t-shirts are already here and under wraps as they go like hot cakes once they are actually out for sale. Sorry, no advance sales on collector items!

Here's a look back at a couple posts from the "That Was Then" series of our trip two years ago. Lots and lots of folks have written in to say how helpful that is for planning their trips and we're glad to oblige. I should also mention that our dear friend, Chris Guld's article about our travels, called Blogging To Alaska has made the top ten articles of the month for RV.Net and has been e mailed to just about everone who spends time on the road like they do, like we do. And while the story does happen to feature us (thanks everso, Chris) it is really a tribute to the way Chris and her husband, partner, and all around great guy, Jim, have built their business and their presence in the enormous RV community at large. We don't call 'em Geeks On Wheels for nothing, ya know! From their modest rig they do monumentally huge services for folks who live or play on wheels!

Before you get to Alaska (that is to say North To Alaska) it is actually quite possible to go South To Alaska. This tells about our trip to Skagway:

South To Alaska, Huh?

In Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, salmon that want to spawn ( and trust me thay all do- want to, that is) must get aroung the hydro electric dam in the middle of town. See what that's all about here:

A Ladder Runs Through It

I'll try to write again asI can. Please be patient while we get the bugs out of the system and deal with what we have going on pretty much full time this week. We have guests and prospectors here at camp already, and they deserve the same quality comfort, services, cleanliness and Alaskan hospitality that made the Chicken Gold Camp and Outpost famous all over the world. We're mighty proud to be a small part of all that... Our friends Lynn and Judy are also elbows to the wall in this all out effort. And as for Mike and Lou and their fully engaged in the business daughter, Josea....I've seen them eat, but I'm not too sure they EVER stop to sleep.

Oh, I forgot to tell you what I use to keep the rabbits AND mosse out of our seedling beds! You know, don't you? C'mon say it with me! CHICKEN wire, of course!

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