g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
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Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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 3/28/2005 -   4/3/2005
 3/21/2005 -  3/27/2005
 3/14/2005 -  3/20/2005
  3/7/2005 -  3/13/2005
 2/28/2005 -   3/6/2005
 2/21/2005 -  2/27/2005
 2/14/2005 -  2/20/2005
  2/7/2005 -  2/13/2005
 1/31/2005 -   2/6/2005
 1/24/2005 -  1/30/2005
 1/17/2005 -  1/23/2005
 1/10/2005 -  1/16/2005
  1/3/2005 -   1/9/2005
12/27/2004 -   1/2/2004
12/20/2004 - 12/26/2004
12/13/2004 - 12/19/2004
 12/6/2004 - 12/12/2004
11/29/2004 -  12/5/2004
11/22/2004 - 11/28/2004
11/15/2004 - 11/21/2004
 11/8/2004 - 11/14/2004
 11/1/2004 -  11/7/2004
10/25/2004 - 10/31/2004
10/18/2004 - 10/24/2004
10/11/2004 - 10/17/2004
 10/4/2004 - 10/10/2004
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 9/20/2004 -  9/26/2004
 9/13/2004 -  9/19/2004
  9/6/2004 -  9/12/2004
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 8/23/2004 -  8/29/2004
 8/16/2004 -  8/22/2004
  8/9/2004 -  8/15/2004
  8/2/2004 -   8/8/2004
 7/26/2004 -   8/1/2004
 7/19/2004 -  7/25/2004
 7/12/2004 -  7/18/2004
  7/5/2004 -  7/11/2004
 6/28/2004 -   7/4/2004
 6/21/2004 -  6/27/2004
 6/14/2004 -  6/20/2004
  6/7/2004 -  6/13/2004
 5/31/2004 -   6/6/2004
 5/24/2004 -  5/30/2004
 5/17/2004 -  5/23/2004
 5/10/2004 -  5/16/2004
  5/3/2004 -   5/9/2004
 4/26/2004 -   5/2/2004
 4/19/2004 -  4/25/2004
 4/12/2004 -  4/18/2004
  4/5/2004 -  4/11/2004
 3/29/2004 -   4/4/2004
 3/22/2004 -  3/28/2004
 3/15/2004 -  3/21/2004
  3/8/2004 -  3/14/2004
  3/1/2004 -   3/7/2004
 2/23/2004 -  2/29/2004
 2/16/2004 -  2/22/2004
  2/9/2004 -  2/15/2004
  2/2/2004 -   2/8/2004
 1/26/2004 -   2/1/2004
 1/19/2004 -  1/25/2004
 1/12/2004 -  1/18/2004
  1/5/2004 -  1/11/2004
12/29/2003 -   1/4/2004
12/22/2003 - 12/28/2003
12/15/2003 - 12/21/2003
 12/8/2003 - 12/14/2003
 12/1/2003 -  12/7/2003
11/24/2003 - 11/30/2003
11/17/2003 - 11/23/2003
11/10/2003 - 11/16/2003
 11/3/2003 -  11/9/2003
10/27/2003 -  11/2/2003
10/20/2003 - 10/26/2003
10/13/2003 - 10/19/2003
 10/6/2003 - 10/12/2003
 9/29/2003 -  10/5/2003
 9/22/2003 -  9/28/2003
 9/15/2003 -  9/21/2003
  9/8/2003 -  9/14/2003
  9/1/2003 -   9/7/2003
 8/25/2003 -  8/31/2003
 8/18/2003 -  8/24/2003
 8/11/2003 -  8/17/2003
  8/4/2003 -  8/10/2003
 7/28/2003 -   8/3/2003
 7/21/2003 -  7/27/2003
 7/14/2003 -  7/20/2003
  7/7/2003 -  7/13/2003
 6/30/2003 -   7/6/2003
 6/23/2003 -  6/29/2003
 6/16/2003 -  6/22/2003
  6/9/2003 -  6/15/2003
  6/2/2003 -   6/8/2003
 5/26/2003 -   6/1/2003
 5/19/2003 -  5/25/2003
 5/12/2003 -  5/18/2003
  5/5/2003 -  5/11/2003
 4/28/2003 -   5/4/2003
 4/21/2003 -  4/27/2003
 4/14/2003 -  4/20/2003
  4/7/2003 -  4/13/2003
 3/31/2003 -   4/6/2003
 3/24/2003 -  3/30/2003
 3/17/2003 -  3/23/2003
 3/10/2003 -  3/16/2003
  3/3/2003 -   3/9/2003
 2/24/2003 -   3/2/2003
 2/17/2003 -  2/23/2003
 2/10/2003 -  2/16/2003
  2/3/2003 -   2/9/2003
 1/27/2003 -   2/2/2003
 1/20/2003 -  1/26/2003
 1/13/2003 -  1/19/2003
  1/6/2003 -  1/12/2003
12/30/2002 -   1/5/2003
12/23/2002 - 12/29/2002
12/16/2002 - 12/22/2002
 12/9/2002 - 12/15/2002
 12/2/2002 -  12/8/2002
11/25/2002 -  12/1/2002
11/18/2002 - 11/24/2002
11/11/2002 - 11/17/2002
 11/4/2002 - 11/10/2002
10/28/2002 -  11/3/2002
10/21/2002 - 10/27/2002
10/14/2002 - 10/20/2002
 10/7/2002 - 10/13/2002
 9/30/2002 -  10/6/2002
 9/23/2002 -  9/29/2002
 9/16/2002 -  9/22/2002
  9/9/2002 -  9/15/2002
  9/2/2002 -   9/8/2002
 8/26/2002 -   9/1/2002
 8/19/2002 -  8/25/2002
 8/12/2002 -  8/18/2002
  8/5/2002 -  8/11/2002
 7/29/2002 -   8/4/2002
 7/22/2002 -  7/28/2002
 7/15/2002 -  7/21/2002
  7/8/2002 -  7/14/2002
  7/1/2002 -   7/7/2002
 6/24/2002 -  6/30/2002
 6/17/2002 -  6/23/2002
 6/10/2002 -  6/16/2002
  6/3/2002 -   6/9/2002
 5/27/2002 -   6/2/2002
 5/20/2002 -  5/26/2002
 5/13/2002 -  5/19/2002
  5/6/2002 -  5/12/2002
 4/29/2002 -   5/5/2002
 4/22/2002 -  4/28/2002
 4/15/2002 -  4/21/2002
  4/8/2002 -  4/14/2002
  4/1/2002 -   4/7/2002
 3/25/2002 -  3/31/2002
 3/18/2002 -  3/24/2002
 3/11/2002 -  3/17/2002
  3/4/2002 -  3/10/2002
 2/25/2002 -   3/3/2002
 2/18/2002 -  2/24/2002
 2/11/2002 -  2/17/2002
  2/4/2002 -  2/10/2002
 1/28/2002 -   2/3/2002
 1/21/2002 -  1/27/2002
 1/14/2002 -  1/20/2002
  1/7/2002 -  1/13/2002
12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Sunday, August 14, 2005
06:00 - AUTO-POST: Skagway: Gateway to Juneau


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Day 16, Sunday, 8/14: The ferry leaves at 10:00 AM, so we have a little time to wander around Skagway and see the sights (or maybe sleep in). After that, the super-fast brand-new ferry heads down the Inside Passage to Juneau, which it reaches in 2.5 hours. We get off, eat lunch, and... meander around Juneau for the rest of the day, being one of the lucky few who has a car there. The next leg of the ferry sets sail at 1:15 AM, so we have to just wait for that rather than finding a place to sleep.
Friday, August 12, 2005
06:00 - AUTO-POST: Meet Me in Dawson City


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Day 14, Friday, 8/12: Not a lazy day! This may not even be physically possible, but the plan for this day is to drive up the Richardson Highway (Alaska 4) to where it joins the Tok Cutoff, then up to Tok and across it up into the interior on the Taylor Highway. The destination, after visiting Chicken and Eagle, is Dawson City, deep in the heart of the Yukon. It's not exactly in easy striking distance, but it's possible—the main worry is not getting over the border before the trailer hosting Customs closes up shop at 9:00 PM. If they do, though, we just head back to Tok and skip Dawson City.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
20:36 - Anchorage Aweigh

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Now we're in Valdez. Hooray!

Yesterday we did the Kenai Peninsula—a nice scenic drive down to Seward on the southern coast, and lunch at a place where the waitress seemed genuinely interested in making sure we got a good impression of the place (the chili burgers did a good enough job of that on their own).

Today we drove down Turnagain Arm again, went through the one-lane railroad/car tunnel at Portage Lake, and arrived at Whittier in time to check in at the ferry terminal, park our car in line in the boarding staging area, and get lunch at one of the cute little windswept food shops that make up the entirety of Whittier. Then it was the Alaska Marine Highway—the M/V Aurora—across Prince William Sound to Valdez. We saw quite a bit of wildlife, including sea otters and Dall porpoises, and lots of outstanding views of glaciers and steep wooded islands. It was pretty hazy, from a combination of the forest fires that have dogged us since Fairbanis, and general sea haze, so the air wasn't as clear as it could have been; but that was only a small drawback to what was otherwise a fantastic day. I don't think I sat down at all for the entire six-hour trip, I was taking so many pictures.

We're in the Best Western Harbor Inn, which had a one-star super-negative review on the hotel reservation site I used to book it a month ago; I have no idea what the reviewer was thinking, because this place is awesome. Wireless network, great harbor view, DVD player, soap dispensers in the shower, lavish decor, and a rate lower than we paid for our mediocre place in Fairbanks. I'm going to go issue my own review and see if it can override the older one.

Tomorrow is a long day of driving—the last big road adventure, a trip up to Tok (which we last saw a week ago) and beyond to Dawson City. We'll have to get up early for it. I'd also better call ahead and make motel reservations; Dawson City isn't a place I want to get marooned without a room.




Oh yes—quote of the day, from a couple of guys who seemed to be traveling together, in the Aurora's observation lounge:

"So the ferry system is owned by the state, then?"
"Yeah. But it's not the ferry system, it's the Alaska Marine Highway."
"It's a ferry system."
"It's the Alaska Marine Highway."
"It's a bunch of ferries."
"You're a ferry."


06:00 - AUTO-POST: To ride the ferry cost a nickel; and in those days...


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Day 13, Thursday, 8/11: Alaska State Ferry across the Prince William Sound starting at Whittier (there's now a road sharing the railroad tunnel through the mountain—a one-lane affair that travels on the same surface as the train tracks, and they have to meter cars and trains through it in turns). It's a slow boat, and it lands at Valdez at 8:00 PM. Nice lazy day.
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
01:41 - "Clearer than I've seen it in weeks"

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I tell you, there's nothing quite like driving due north... into the setting sun.

Especially after spending the day seeing this:



The tour guide said Mt. McKinley yesterday was clearer than it's been in literally weeks—it's the first day that it's been unobscured by clouds. This is the view from Stony Hill, where our bus turned around (at mile 62 into the park).




Our tour bus—a vintage Blue Bird, perhaps from the original stable of buses my dad drove 33 years ago.




A caribou cooling his heels in Savage River.




Dall sheep on Sable Mountain.




Caribou wading across East Fork Toklat River.




Polychrome Pass. Don't let the foreground fool you—those flats behind me are about 1000 feet below the viewpoint. Maybe more.




Caribou on the Sable Pass hill, on the way back.




More caribou, part of a gathering of about nine that we found in the Teklanika River valley.




Ptarmigan near the group of caribou.




The real highlight of the tour: a lynx that was waiting right on the road near Primrose.




Denali from the south, on today's route from Fairbanks to Anchorage. Today was even more cloudless than yesterday.




Long shot of the McKinkey peak.




Wide shot from the Denali Viewpoint South.




Moose right at the side of the road in the Susitna Valley. She had a baby with her; we didn't hang around long.



Oh yes: before we leave Fairbanks behind for good... here's us driving due north, into the setting sun.





And now we're in Anchorage; who knows what tomorrow will bring...


06:00 - AUTO-POST: Alaska's Heart and Soul


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Day 11, Tuesday, 8/9—Day 12, Wednesday, 8/10: Two days to take in the road down to Anchorage and the surrounding points of interest. Perhaps a side trip down the Kenai Peninsula, or just some resting and recuperation.
Monday, August 8, 2005
06:00 - AUTO-POST: Denali ain't just a river in Egypt


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Day 10, Monday, 8/8: Bus tour of Denali National Park, on what's as close as I can find to be the same tour that my dad used to drive back when he worked here.
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© Brian Tiemann