Friday, April 29, 2011

Bear Attacks in Canada

This is just what I needed to read about with 50 days to go before the Alaskapade begins.

Bear Attack in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

These are pictures of an actual polar bear attack.          
The pictures were taken while people watched and could do nothing to stop it.
Reports from the local newspaper say that the victim will make a full recovery.

The photos are below.

Monday, April 25, 2011

To the Arctic Circle (and Beyond or Back?)

This is it.  Today, I head north on the Dalton highway and into the Arctic Circle.  I'm told that the Circle officially lies about 200 miles north of Fairbanks and that the terrain isn't too bad this time of year for an experienced rider.  I suppose I'll see for myself today, but all I know is I'm so close to my goal I can taste it.  My friend Jeff has been giving me updates from the pump stations along the Trans Alaska Oil Pipeline.  I rained up there yesterday, but stopped last night when I hit Fairbanks.  Jeff advised that I wait it out today and let the sun dry out the roads.  I needed to get the tires I purchased mounted, so I heeded his advice.  With fresh rubber and new brakes, Hester is ready to roll.

Once I get there, I have some decisions to make.  My original goal was to just make it to the Circle monument and place Martin's hat there. Shortly thereafter, I expanded the journey northward and wanted to try to get as far as Deadhorse near Prudhoe Bay. I abandoned that later goal upon reading of horrific road conditions between the Circle and Deadhorse.  Now I'm rethinking the rethinking that I rethought a while back and I think (again) that I want to try to make it to Deadhorse.

I don't imagine I'll ever be up here again, so this is likely the only chance I'll have to truly ride to the top of the world.  I still haven't decided which way I'll turn after my little Arctic Circle arrival celebration. Weather, road conditions, and my general mood will all impact my decision.  If I turn right, the adventure continues and I'll go as far north as I can.  If I turn left, the adventure still continues as I head back home via the Black Hills.  I'll send a satellite check-in message from the Circle when I arrive there.  Since I won't have a means of updating this blog until I get back to civilization, you'll have to check in here and view my GPS status to see if I turn north or south when I leave the Circle.

Watch my status on the map, look for my update alerts, and wish me luck.

Second Amendment Rights & The People's Republic of Canada

This entry will probably rub some people the wrong way.  That said, please know two things:
  1. I am sensitive to your feelings and do not wish to offend you in any way.
  2. #1 is complete crap and I couldn't even type that with a straight face.  My concern over the opinion anyone disagreeing with me might have regarding the topic at hand can be measured in micro give-a-shits.
Actually, I don't intend to offend my friends in Canada. We have plenty of stupid policies down here too.

I've mentioned before that the majority of my nights on this journey will be spent camping in a tent.  I love tent camping and used to be an Olympic caliber camper.  These accommodations are as much a preference as they are a financial necessity, especially given the skyrocketing price of gas and its impact on my Alaskapade budget.  Nevertheless, when I consider the fact that Alaska boasts the highest population of bears and wolves in the United States, I have a legitimate reason to be somewhat concerned for my safety.  I don't go looking for trouble, but anyone whose read any of my stuff knows trouble and stupid situations just seem to find me.  Obviously, I can't get to Alaska without passing through Canada. The Canadian portion is not just a logistical requirement, it's also something I look forward to.  Riding through the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Lake Louise, the Signpost Forest, and the ALCAN are all aspects I am excited to see.  The one aspect I'm not looking forward to is the Canadian requirement that I travel unarmed.

All you left-wing voluntary victims can unroll your eyes now.

I have a squeaky clean past and as such, have passed FBI and local background checks and earned my Concealed Handgun License. Most states have reciprocal carrying agreements with Texas and I'm allowed to drive or ride with personal protection while in them as long as I abide by their specific requirements.  I am not paranoid; I am prepared.  I do not live in fear.  I live with the quiet yet confident knowledge that I am willing and capable of defending myself and those I love should the need arise.  I find it ironic that so many anti-gun people would throw a fit if they learned that the school they send their kids to didn't have fire extinguishers, but wouldn't tolerate that same school allowing its faculty to carry a weapon.  The irony becomes obvious when you ask yourself when the last time a student died in a school fire compared to when a student died because no one was allowed to defend them against an armed assailant.

Wanted for Assault of Clueless
I've been a helpless victim before.  In 1990, I woke up on the side of the freeway in east Texas, my face crispy from my own sun-dried blood and seeing blurry black dots that eventually came into focus as buzzards circling over me as laid on the highway frontage road. I had the living shit beat out of me by three guys who looked like Larry, Daryl, and Daryl because I was unaware of my surroundings.  I have also been on the other side of the fence.   In the years that followed, I took measures to learn to protect myself and those measures paid off when I successfully did so against two assailants in Chicago's O'Hare Airport.  I was arrested on the spot, but was released after witness statements were collected and ultimately exonerated when video surveillance revealed that I was actually the good guy.  In January of 1996, the State of Texas enacted its CHL program and I earned mine in May of that same year.  The way I saw it, I had been getting my head kicked in in martial arts training for the previous five years and if the State was offering me another level of defense, I would be dilatory for not taking it.

Canada offers nothing for handguns and while a rifle strapped to Hester's hip might look cool, it might also draw unwanted attention. I spent weeks researching the Canadian Firearms Center web pages looking for a legal way to carry as I make my way to up Alaska.  Canada classifies all handguns regardless of barrel length as restricted and the ones small enough to reasonably conceal are prohibited altogether. There is a special provision to the law that allows US visitors with licenses issued in the States to carry a pistol after a stack of forms are filled out and temporary license fees paid.  This provision comes with one caveat. The pistol cannot be carried for personal protection, nor for hunting.  So, unless there's a national shooting competition for which the Customs officer can verify I am registered, I'm out of luck. Don't think I didn't consider trying to sneak mine in.  I'm told by other riders who have ridden into Canada that Customs Officers at the smaller points of entry practically disassemble your motorcycle and actually make riders unpack everything for inspection before letting them through.  I know that having Hester impounded and myself tossed in jail on firearms smuggling charges would make one hell of a blog story, but I think I'll pass.

One member on mentioned that he had heard of a Canadian program wherein your handgun is sealed in a tagged container at the Canadian port of entry and allowed to be carried through by the owner.  At the exit border, the tags are verified as legitimate and unbroken and the pistol is unpacked. As unlikely as this seemed, I called around the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Customs offices and asked if such a program did indeed exist.  I received mostly laughter from everyone who answered.  Interestingly enough, I had a few private emails telling me several places along my route where I could buy a pistol from individuals on the street.  I suppose the old saying is true: If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

I have a workaround though.  I found a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer in Tok who will receive my weapon for me. Tok is the first town I'll reach after I enter Alaska.  I'll ship it from a FFL dealer near my home a week before I depart and it will be waiting for me when I arrive. I found another FFL in Washington and will have my Tok FFL ship it there so I'll have it for my return trip.

It seems not only unfair, but puerile that I have to expend so much energy and money just to exercise my Constitutional right to self defense.  I know, I know.  Canada doesn't care any more about our Constitution than I do about their maple syrup or Celine Dion (the two of which I find equally interesting). Still, it's not like they can't completely check me out in mere seconds while I'm at their station. I read about a rider who was denied entry into Canada because he had a DUI over five years prior and had to seek a Canadian Minister's Approval of Rehabilitation and pay a hefty fee to enter.  I've never had a DUI nor a record of any kind other than a traffic ticket years ago. My point is that with existing INTERPOL networking capabilities, they clearly have the ability to look into the legal records of American citizens whereupon in my case they will see that I have passed an US FBI background check and have been issued a CHL.  Admittedly, that alone will probably incite them to crawl up my butt with a microscope.  Nevertheless, I find it incongruous that as a proven law abiding citizen I must be subjected to the same obligatory victim status to which they subject their own citizens when all I'm trying to do is get to my country's state of Alaska or back to the lower 48.

I'll stop whining now.  A few hours of my time and some cash are minor annoyances compared to the experiences I'll have on this journey. At the very worse, it gave me fodder to vent here. As if I needed that...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This week, I was asked if taking this journey is just me going through "manopause".  I suppose that's a contemporary slang term for what was once referred to as a man's mid-life crisis.  I looked it up at and found this:

\ ma-no-pȯz
A mental condition typically found in men in their mid to late 50's brought on by the realization that old age is just around the corner. Symptoms include: frequent reminiscing about the “good ol’ days”, cranky judgmental attitude and a closed minded approach to anything new. Usually punctuated by the chronic need to play a lot golf and vote republican. The condition is difficult to cure and almost always progresses into oldtimers disease. 

Personally, I don't think that definition comes close to describing me.  First, I'm only 48 and although my hair may be in its mid to late 50s, it's all still there. Nevertheless, I embrace age. I don't think how old you are matters. I think it's how you are old that counts.  I don't believe I'm cranky, but I have been labeled judgmental a time or two.  I don't think I judge people per se.  I simply form resolute opinions based on astute observations. I'm very open-minded and love to try new things. I have no desire to chase a ball across finely manicured lawns and I think they named it golf because all the good four-letter words were already taken. Finally, I never simply vote for a political party. I generally vote for fiscally conservative candidates without regard for their political affiliation.

So why can't a man pursue an adventurous dream without his sanity or commitment to his family being called into question? It's not like this idea just sprang up. I am many things, but spontaneous is not one of them.  I've thought about Alaska for years and over the last six months, have taken a systematic approach preparing myself physically, mentally, financially, and equipment-wise to see it through to fruition. Nevertheless, people see my growing hair and shrinking belly and then look around expecting to see a new Porsche and a twenty-something girlfriend.

I haven't gone off the deep end, nor have I lost my mind.  I have lost the willingness to suppress my goals to the benefit of those who don't share them and for those who possess an irrational sense of entitlement to the time and freedom for which I've worked so hard my entire adult life.  Furthermore, I refuse to act old just because I'm getting old.  I'm chasing a dream. I'm going to Alaska!

"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.- John Galt/Ayn Rand

I'm trying to apply this mantra to my life, one aspect at a time...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alaskapade on Twitter

I have been asked by several readers to set up a Twitter account for the Alaskapade updates.  It seems to me that there are already plenty of other ways to keep up with me on the road, but I appreciate the interest.  It was minor effort to set up the Twitter account and I linked my Spot GPS transponder to the account.

So, if you're into the Tweeting scene and you prefer to keep up with Hester and I that way, you can follow me on Twitter under the username @Alaskapade. I don't plan on tweeting directly to the account. The updates will come from the messages sent from My Spot transponder.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stupid Part Three - Senior Prom Sabotage

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 Is Up

I'm not ditching Google Blogspot completely because I like their authoring interface.  But I've managed to port my writing over to my own site and since Google AdSense screwed me, I'd rather not send them any traffic.

Nothing changes from the reader's perspective except that you can reach the site the following ways:


Friday, April 8, 2011

Stupid - Part Two

For those of you jumping in without reading the articles in chronological order and wondering what the hell this has to do with the Alaskapade, the next paragraph is a repeat from a previous entry.

I was sitting in a client's conference room in the midst of pre-meeting smalltalk when a co-worker brought up the Alaskapade and asked when I was leaving.  One of my clients asked what he was talking about and my co-worker pulled up the page on the conference room's projection screen.  We had but moments before the meeting kicked off, so there wasn't much time for me to explain.  There was time, however for my client to express his opinion that "this has to be the stupidist thing [I've] ever done".  My first instinct was to argue the purpose for my trip, but this is my customer and IBM probably wouldn't appreciate that.  So, I just grinned, nodded, and bit my lip as the meeting started.

It did get me thinking though.  I know I'm firmly resolved in my purpose for the trip and I also know that I've done many things more stupid than this.  There are too many to list without starting another blog, so I thought I would describe my top three in no particular order.As promised in a previous post, here is another of the three dumbest things I've ever done.

 Shooting My Mouth Off to a Prison Camp Guard

"That - Mr. Wilson - is going to cost you."

Many years ago, I served in the U.S. Air Force. My primary job was an Electronic Warfare Systems Technician and in that capacity, I serviced aircraft-mounted electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment. The gear's purpose was to jam or deceive enemy radar by altering the apparent location and/or quantity of our aircraft as they flew over threat radar systems. We also maintained radar warning receivers that alerted aircrews to the presence of various ground and air based radar-guided missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. In their day, these systems were on the absolute bleeding edge of microwave and RF signal processing technology and as technicians on them, we were the geekiest of geeks. Training for and working with these systems required serious security clearances beyond what the general public even knew existed.  While I was in basic electronics tech school, I was constantly hearing from friends and even high school teachers back home telling me that strange people in suits with badges showed up at their doorstep asking questions about my background. I was squeaky clean - the Air Force's wet dream, so securing the necessary clearances necessary to move on to the specific equipment was a breeze for me. I also happened to do really well in the school. Classes ran six hours a day, five days a week for 18 months, at the end of which I had carved out a 98% test score average. My point isn't that I'm some smart guy. Hell, I flunked algebra in high school.  I just got the concepts and excelled in the training.  Nevertheless, that average earned me honor grad status and that status offered me my choice of base assignments as well as opportunities to join Special Operations forces.  In one of the few conversations my father and I had regarding my career, he strongly advised (based on his own experiences) that I stay away from any special duties that involved National security or Special Ops.

I couldn't wait to get into National security or Special Ops.

I took an assignment at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas and worked in an ECM shop in the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing's Component Repair Squadron (CRS). Many there claimed ECM stood for "Easy Chair Maintenance" and that CRS stood for "Can't Repair Shit".  To a certain degree, they were correct.  So when I was offered an opportunity to step outside the box and work in field intelligence, I jumped at the chance.  I would work in my shop until notice of an assignment came to me. These notifications usually consisted of temporary duty (TDY) orders with the location blanked out. Then, I would disappear for a few days and no one in my shop or immediate command structure was allowed to ask where I was. It was a perfect racket.

These assignments had ancillary training prerequisites that were not overly technical.  Short classes in Falls Church, VA were common. You can determine the Government agencies there and put two and two together.  Less common were the field survival courses which were usually conducted in remote locations in the pacific northwest. One of these courses was essentially a prison camp experience wherein the trainees were dropped-in to the forest, captured by "enemy forces", interrogated, and subsequently evaluated on our ability to cope and maintain military discipline throughout the induced stress. There was one other tech in my shop who had been to "prison" and he had related his experiences to some of us.  So when my turn came up, I had an idea what to expect.  In fact, I was pretty sure that I had the entire game figured out.  Hell, at 24 years old, I thought I knew everything.

I was fortunate to be scheduled in the summer months when surviving in the forest is easier.  There were six of us from various armed services in my drop group.  When I said "dropped-in", I meant it.  We bailed from the back of a C-130 cargo aircraft and parachuted into the forest.  They didn't just strap a chute to us and push us out the door.  I had been a sport sky diver in years past and had some Air Force training as well.  We could see the camp facility from above during our descent and we knew they could see us parachuting in. We had been told that once we were on the ground we would most certainly be captured immediately and taken to the camp.

Having had some idea of what to expect, I packed peanut butter crackers and a heating bladder of water to live on in case I wasn't immediately apprehended. The course had a finite schedule and I figured every hour I was on the lam was an hour I wouldn't spend in "enemy" hands. I also knew the forest was wired and our location would be known as soon as we started moving.  So when I hit the ground, I buried my chute, dug a hole, covered myself with leaves,and laid there. I wasn't alone.  I discreetly shared my sustenance stash with an Army soldier before we jumped. We shared a warped sense of humor and clicked in the hours prior to our flight departure. Beyond that, I figured if I was caught with the goodies, splitting the blame between two of us might make my life easier.

We laid in the woods through the night and were awakened from the pre-dawn silence by an announcement blasted through a loudspeaker system in the trees instructing us to turn ourselves in. Specifically, the instructions were to walk south until we saw a white marker in the trees and then turn left, and to keep turning left at each marker until we received further instructions.  Looking back, I assume they always knew where we were.  They were just to lazy to come get us.  Essentially, they had us following an inward spiral which terminated at a clearing in the forest. The fort was straight ahead of us in this clearing.

Prior to our flight, we were given details of fake missions, nonexistent technologies, call signs, passwords, and other minutia to memorize. This would be the information that our captors would attempt to extract from us during the interrogations that were almost certain to take place in the days ahead.  The instructors actually used Dale Carnegie memorization techniques to force feed the information to us.

My Army co-fugitive and I exited the forest and made our way towards the fort.  After sleeping in the dirt among insects and Lord knows what else and having consumed only stale crackers and warm rubbery water for the last 30 hours, even prison quarters and inmate chow was starting to sound appealing.  The fort looked like a fort I would have constructed as a kid.  It appeared to be a two-story wooden structure with guard posts on each corner and a row of razor wire surrounding the entire place. As we approached the fort, a person appeared in one of the guard towers and yelled to us through a megaphone, ordering us to stop. It reminded me of the French guard in Monty Python's Holy Grail. That movie cracks me up to this day.  Unfortunately, the association of events cracked me up then too and I started laughing. The night before, we had been discussing the tactics they might employ to get to us and surmised that although they would try to scare us, they weren't going to physically harm us.  We assumed were way to valuable for that. This would turn out to be but one of many invalid assumptions that I will have made by the end of this experience. Another guard appeared on the other end of the wall before us and told us to keep walking. We started walking again and the first guard yelled to us to stop. Again, the other guard said to keep walking and we did.  About then, the most realistic bullets-hitting-the-sand-around-us-effect stopped us dead in our tracks. Apparently, when the first guard said to stop, he meant it.  The other guard was unarmed, or at least never showed a weapon. You can guess which orders we followed. The doors about fifty feet in front of us burst open and several people came running toward us with weapons drawn and yelling in some language neither of us understood.

Instinctively, I dropped to my knees with my hands in the air.  The afternoon before, I was leaping into thin air form a cargo plane and was as cool as a cucumber.  Now, here I was firmly planted on terra firma and my heart was pounding so loud I'm sure the guards could hear it from their posts.  We were instructed to turn to face away from the fort.  My hands were bound to the sides of our waists and my elbows strapped so close together behind me that I thought my arms would snap out of my shoulder sockets. They bound my feet together and them bound my right ankle to the left of my Army buddy.  One of the soldier's placed a black cloth on the ground in front of us and told us to put our faces in it.  Picture me on my knees with my arms and legs bound and try to imagine how I could comply with their order.  All I could do was lean forward and let gravity do its thing. I managed to turn my head to the right so I wouldn't face plant into the dirt and so I could see what was happening next to me.  That was the last I saw for what seemed like several hours.  The thick, opaque, black cloth was wrapped around my face and its base duct-taped around my neck. I couldn't see anything, but I remember hearing the tape being unrolled and torn.  We were brought to our feet, turned around, and instructed to walk forward. Still bound at the ankles, it must have resembled a drunken three-legged race.  I had no idea which direction I was stumbling. We clumsily stepped up into something and I felt cooler air surrounding me.  I assumed we were inside the fort.

At this point, we were separated and I was led into a musty smelling room. The door closed behind me and the room was silent except for the thundering sound of my heart and pulse. I was still bound with my head covered. For all I knew the lights could have been on with a roomful of people watching me, so I just stood like a mummy.  I could hear conversations in adjacent rooms, but couldn't make out what was being said.

After what felt like hours, I heard the door open behind me.  My feet, elbows, and hands were unbound and that damn hood was finally removed. In the room was a table with a chair on opposite sides facing each other. Behind the table was a window into a smaller room with a big, old-school video camera.  Two older Asian-looking men in foreign military uniforms walked in. One spoke perfect English, the other said nothing. The English speaker spoke softly and invited me to take a seat.  I was offered a cigarette and a glass of water.  I declined the smoke, but took the water.  We were permitted to accept basic living necessities, but were instructed to decline luxuries that might lead the other prisoners to think we were receiving special treatment in exchange for information or cooperation. I sat at the table and drank the hard water.

The non-English speaker spoke to the other in what sounded like an Asian dialect.  The other nodded, opened a binder on the table, and pushed it toward me.  I was instructed to sign a pre-written statement or write my own and then read to in front of the camera. I replied that I didn't wish to make a statement.  The non-English speaker said something to the other and he then told me that it was not a request. "You must make a statement." I thought about if for a moment and reached for the pen. It was a standard issue black Bic Click pen with "Property of the U.S. Government" embossed in the barrel.  That pen totally ruined the environmental mood effect.

I scribbled out a short sentence, closed the book, and slid it across the table.  Without looking at it, the English speaker motioned to someone in the camera room and stepped out leaving me alone with the other officer.  A large red light on the camera illuminated and the officer pointed at the book and then at the camera and said something I didn't understand.  I opened the book, looked toward the camera and read the following statement which I had written moments before.

"My name is U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Scott Wilson. the Geneva Convention dictates that I tell you nothing more."  That was the written statement.  At this point, I thought about that pen and the smart ass in me piped up and I added "Do whatever you want to me, but remember; You never found me out there. I came to you."

I could hear someone in the camera room burst out in laughter and then stifle it.  The Asian speaking officer leaned over to me and with a straight face said very quietly in perfect, unaccented English. "That - Mr. Wilson - is going to cost you."

It occurred to me at that very instant that that might not have been smartest thing I had done up to that point in my life.  The events that occurred afterward would confirm this thought. In fact, I would learn during my time there that I was wrong on many things concerning this experience.  We figured we were too expensive and important to take serious abuse from these guys.  We were wrong.

I was led to a cell wherein my feet and hands were bound to the outside of the bars as I sat on the concrete floor on the other side of the bars. From that position, I learned shortly thereafter that if the bottom of your feet are beat with a pliable rubber paddle, the bones don't break and there's no bruising for evidence.  I also learned that it hurts like a motherf*cker.

They uncovered my water bladder and peanut butter wrappers from the forest where we hid out.  I paid for that too and there was no blame sharing discount.

I towed the line and did my best to play by the rules for the rest of my time there. Once again, I thought I could outsmart them during an interrogation session, so I made up details and lied.  I later learned that they already knew all of the information I was given beforehand, so they knew I was full of it.  I learned also that the reason telling lies doesn't work is because your captors could assume it's true and word will get out among the other prisoners that you are cooperating. Morale suffers as a result. It's not like everyone's morale was high to begin with, but I got the point.

I learned that they had called back to my shop at Bergstrom and asked for dirt on me. They asked about things like gambling and drinking habits, girlfriends, pilfering from the paint locker; anything with which they could claim to know about and use to try to get me to talk.  When I said above that I was squeaky clean, I meant it. So when I was told that someone from my shop reported some lame story that I forged my semi-annual physical fitness test results, I knew it was crap and thought (silently to myself this time) "is that the best you got?" and refused to talk.

When our "sentence" was complete, they blew a horn throughout the camp and it was as if the world around us went from black and white to color.  The entire staff spoke perfect English as they opened up the cells and walked the grounds calling everyone to assemble in the courtyard.  We were told that our training was complete and sent to shower and get back in uniform and meet up for our individual evaluations.

I remember being struck by the fact that the instructor staff were all older and were all veterans who had spent real time in real POW camps during the Vietnam war. At that moment, I felt like a heel for the attitude I displayed more so than I felt like a pussy for whining when my feet were beaten the days before.  These guys were the real deal and I felt like I had disrespected them.

The key thing I took away from it all was a comment I received from the "Asian" officer.  All he said to me was "You could stand to take all of this a bit more seriously".  I'm fortunate that although I faced some wild stuff in my last couple of years of Air Force service that followed my prison camp experience, I never faced the circumstances that were presented to me in the camp.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Updates From the Road - Please Read

One of the (many) devices I will have on board with me on the Alaskapade is a GPS transponder unit which will uplink my location via satellite and will allow me to send short updates from the road during the trip.  A great portion of this trip will be ridden through remote areas beyond the range of cellular service and this device will let me keep friends and family abreast of my location and status via short (max 41 character) messages. The messages will include a link to a scrollable, zoom in/out map with my current location and a track line of my trip from its inception.  Viewers can move their cursor over the track line to see when I was at that location.  This device will also be the source for a similar map with the same features which will be placed atop my page.  Readers not receiving the messages from the road can still see my progress.

The unit does not receive messages.  I will only receive text and messages when I'm under cellular coverage or stopped at a location with internet services.

The device also provides 911/SOS monitoring and emergency dispatch through the dedicated International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center (IERCC) based in Houston, Texas. If I happen to find myself in serious trouble, (assuming I'm physically capable) I can press a button and activate the rescue process. While the safety/rescue feature is this device's primary purpose, I prefer to concentrate on the messaging capabilities and think of it as a means of keeping in touch with my friends and family back in the lower 48.

The routine status messages can be sent to predetermined groups of recipients who can receive the information via text or email. If you want to receive these updates, I need you to send me an email with the following information.

Your preference for contact - Text or Email (or both)
Email Address
Cell Phone Number & Carrier (if text is your preference)

Email this information to me at

Please do so sooner than later because updating the network is a bit cumbersome and I expect to be really busy in the days preceding my departure.
Neither I nor the service provider will distribute or otherwise compromise your personal information.  Transmissions will begin on my scheduled June 18th departure date and will cease when I return to Dallas, upon which I will delete the recipient group and your information. I don't expect more than one or two messages per day unless something extraordinary happens.  Recipients can opt out at any time by, but I will have to be in a location with internet access to edit the list, so you may receive a few messages after you opt out.

Finally, if you're into the geek speak for this stuff, you can find details on this device here.


Apparently, I didn't make it clear enough at the end of my last post that the Alaskapade is not postponed. It was just an April Fools joke.  Come hell or high water, I'm hitting the road on June 18th and I'm sure I'll have plenty to write about here before I leave.  I hope to have "Stupid Part 2" up on Friday.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Alaskapade is Postponed

I hate even having to type this.  It was tough enough just making the decision, but I had to address it and move on.  I've decided to postpone the Alaskapade until the summer of 2012.  The reason is primarily financial.

Some of you are aware that I am an avid stamp collector. Last week, I was offered the opportunity to purchase the coveted Netherlands #12, og, hinged stamp for only $2,300.  If you're into the stamp collecting scene, you can imagine my excitement.  Dropping the cash on the stamp drained my Alaskapade fund and I refuse to use credit cards for a vacation. Therefore, the financially responsible thing for me to do is to postpone the trip.  I'll continue writing the blog as the months pass and the year will go by before we know it.

If you're as disappointed as I am, saying these two words to yourself will make you feel better: April Fools!  Stamps?  Really?