Katahdin South

August 1st, 2018

 

Time to haul the Katahdin out for the fifth time here in Petersburg.  I’m taking her south for perhaps the last time on my watch after 16 years of Alaska cruising.

There is always the expected bouillabaisse to be found so we pressure wash her underbelly to streamline her hull.  With all this kelp, the keel coolers overheat the generators and main engine which is not good.

Here is her starboard quarter cleaned up.  I won’t paint or zinc the hull at this time as I will do all this next month in Port Townsend.  This haul is to make sure she’s seaworthy.

This includes bleeding down all the control systems which are quite sophisticated on this 1944 Washington 6-R-13 engine.  The engine is air start due to the mass that needs to turn over.  I disassemble and rebuild several of the air valves and she’s ready to go!  (To see this engine run, visit an earlier blog here:  http://www.dougleen.com/ontheroad/2011/08/30/katahdin-part-iii-the-engine/

The Katahdin didn’t run on her engine to and from the lift because of the overheating issues, so I towed her over with my new skiff (below).  Returning to the berth here, I enlisted a couple of eager and very young seine skiff operators and they towed me back (stern first) at about 10 knots, weaving through all the yachts and finally spinning me around stern end to the dock!   I was on board riding along at their whim; what a ride!  Here, I’m safely back at the dock, ready for the final launch to Seattle.  Notice the rear mast/boom has been chainsawed off after rot compromised the stability.  This mast was not historically accurate.

I also finally attend to my batteries and replaced four that had failed with new Hangchong ones that took five years to arrive!  The NiFe (Nickel Iron) battery was invented by Thomas Edison and some his batteries are still working after over 100 years.  The patent was sold in 1980 to the Chinese……If you think our trade arrangements with China are good now, just wait!

Zounds!–another big project was replacing a corner piling to the new warehouse; the original was undersized and tipped precariously vertical.  This project was not without engineering issues.  My dental school mate flew up to assist me in this replacement and all went well.  But only after cabling the building to a massive spruce tree, building a crib to stabilize this corner and finally removing the tipped corner piling.

These pilings weigh perhaps half a ton and are not easily wrestled into place, but Dennis and I enlist mechanical advantage and succeed.

Finally in place, the angle is correct and this new building is stable.  We gained 1/8″ in the process of installing this piling and lost 1/8″ after all settling occurred–a pretty good result!

Love my new skiff.   I’ll tow this south behind the Katahdin this month to allow more mobility up and down the fjords of Alaska and the BC Coast.  Isn’t life great?

Ranger Doug’s Intergalactic Headquarters

June 10th, 2018

After my NPS Centennial Roadtrip, I had to move my poster business out of a private home and into a real warehouse.  I bought this sight-unseen.  It was originally a machine shop in the 1970s with 400 amps of power at 480 VAC!  Perfect, except for the ugly mural on the door.  It turns out to be a Henry mural who is getting quite a reputation with about 150 murals around Seattle–and I’m in the art preservation business so I move this around to the back door–you can still see it there (24 Dravus St.).

The first thing I do after closing is to fill it with cars, forklifts and trailers–this place is 40′ X 50′ so you can get a lot of stuff in here.

So I move in more stuff in–whew!  These are engine parts for my tugboat which is still in Alaska.  Note the tire guards–the previous owner of the tug bought all new tires, then drilled holes in them to hang them around the tug.  But, I digress.

And more stuff–in this case it’s our card-stock shipped up from Salt Lake City….the real purpose of this warehouse.  RDE sells about half million cards a year.

To enclose an office/poster storage facility, the city, in all their infinite wisdom makes me cut the foundation in half!  Yes, it’s a footing required by law and is no deeper than the slab itself.   This is a stupid law but I do it.  The floor tips about 1 1/2″ out of plumb–not a problem for a boat builder.

But a problem for my builders, so we do this twice.  You cannot have three walls that run wild and try to level the fourth.

BCI’s are up and we pack another 2″ on top for code (stupid code).  This is a “temporary” five year structure.

I decide I want a modern bathroom with shower, washer/dryer and vanity–here’s what goes under the cement.  The cement cutter brought a gas powered cutter instead of a hydraulic one and got CO poisoning.  I hope he recovered; when he left he didn’t look well.  Even the CO alarm in the Airstream went off and it was parked across the warehouse.  Not good–this stuff can kill you.

I put on a new facade, moved a few doors and installed a spiffy awning, did some back yard landscaping and added planters.  It’s done and it’s nice!

Todd, my new warehouseman likes to organize things–this is my tugboat inventory now with the marine stove at the forefront which came out of Rupert Broom’s 100 year old schooner.  I’ve restored it and it’s beautiful.  The big steel ball is now painted and marks my house on the Wrangell Narrows in Alaska.  I’ll hang my new boat on this during the summers.

Angie’s new office–everything now has it’s place.

We call up the local papers and hold a hot-cider open house and invite our neighboring businesses, friendly bankers at Heritage Bank, and the locals.  We have a great time and I keep plugging our WPA products.  I set up camp in the trailer complete with green AstroTurf!

This our “Wall of Color” with all our 45 designs and a photo history of my Centennial Roadtrip.  A light-storage area is above…..I’m still looking for a ladder.  The forklifts are gone.  Some California sold me one that was spray painted into Old Cat Yellow (Caterpillar) when it was a Mitsubishi–and disconnected all the warning lights.  Upon inspection, I sent it back to California and demanded a refund and got it.  In the business, it’s called a Swedish overhaul…..   And I’m Norwegian!

Below, Sally Jewell, former Secretary of the Interior sends her regrets to our open warehouse invitation but SOI #2 shows up and has a great time (last photo below).   We are located at 25 Nickerson Street now (and also 24 Dravus) and will give tours only by appointment.  Locally, our products are sold at Annie’s Art & Frame in Ballard, Frame Up in Fremont and downtown REI.

Ranger Doug goes to Washington–Trip 5

June 3rd, 2018

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted so it’s time to fill you in on my wanderings (I’ll fill in the hiatus over the next few months).  Here goes:

It’s another trip to Washington for Ranger Doug–my fifth and the mission is the same–to make positive changes to our country.  As a former NPS Seasonal Ranger (7 years), and six in the US Navy Reserves, I’ve devoted 13 years in public service and if you throw in another 15 years  working for public health (Native Corporations here in Alaska), that totals 28 years.  I’ve a vested interested in fixing what’s wrong with our country–and there is plenty.  This trip was two fold:  to make a donation of my private collection of WPA artwork and secondly, to meet with the NPS and the Department of the Interior.  I did both.

Acting Director of the NPS is Dan Smith who attended my talk–in fact he sat in the front row.  A newly restored WPA triptych (stage behind me) greeted me also.

…..and later signed the paperwork to receive my collection.   Tracy Baetz, DOI Museum Curator is to my left.   Here’s the math:  During my 25 years of searching for WPA prints, I’ve located a total of 42 survivors out of about 1400 initially printed (100 copies  x 14 designs).  I have purchased six of these and also secured two more through legal action that were taken from the artist’s estate by an impersonator of me–you can read more about this chase here.  The last auction of a poster was in 2005 for $9000!  Today, with these prints on the front page, they are worth many more times that figure.  Some are only copies–and they belong back in the public domain.

In the first slide, you can see 11 of the 14 that were printed–all in one room–behind us here!  Two still missing are Wind Cave and Great Smoky Mountains (I have black & white photos of them which I used for the reconstruction).  It gets more confusing.  My original Teton print I donated to that park, but they chose to keep another Teton print that I later purchased, and pass the one I found in the park burn pile on to the Library of Congress–it’s here in this room.  Also on display here are Glacier (one of two known), Mt. Rainier (one of six), Yellowstone Geyser (3) and Falls (only known copy).   Fort Marion, Lassen and Grand Canyon were loaned to this ceremony by the Library of Congress which came out of a discovery in LA.  The LOC bought five of nine at public auction, (I bought two–Glacier and the second Grand Teton).  Petrified Forest came from that park and is also the only known copy;  (thanks PeFo and Matt Smith!).  Bandelier turned up in my art files when I forgot to return it, so I arranged to keep it for the 2014 exhibition and then donate it on to the NPS archives.  Pictured above are representatives from the NPS/DOI, Library of Congress and Smithsonian (who have had two on exhibit over the past two years)–thank you all for your help.  Finally–nearly all are in one room!

As I was checking through security I got a call from the Secretary’s office.  When Museum Registrar Jason Jurgena (here, on the right) was freshening up the artwork in his office, SOI Zinke elected to keep my posters in the entrance hallway.  Jason explained that I was coming to town and giving a talk on the history of these so he called me up for a fireside chat (without the fire).  Secretary Zinke should be in the movies (and not at Interior, but that’s to be discussed over a beer in a Montana bar).  As a former Navy Seal, he definitely has that military bearing so we chatted about our military careers among other things.

I found him to be somewhat defensive about issues that the news has focused upon:  the $130,000 door replacement, raising park entrance fees, etc.  I reminded him that the people already own these parks and raising the entrance fees won’t wash.  I also reminded him that the recently launched Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier cost the American taxpayers $13.5B (the amount our NPS is in financial arrears) and GRF and his daughter, Susan, were park rangers!   Priorities–to which he agreed….   Number two in command, Mike Argo, attends this discussion with us and gives me his Navy Seal pin as a gift (thanks Mike–I’ll buy the first round of beer!).  Zinke hands me a challenge medal:

We pledged to meet in a Montana bar over a Snake River Lager (see label here) which I aided in designing.

The wall of fame–and the Glacier WPA poster art.   Military, and public lands crusader buddies….to be continued………