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………

Grand Canyon History Symposium

November 7th, 2016

IMG_2057

From Santa Fe, it’s back on the road to Moab, Grand Canyon and Zion national parks.  At Montecello I find another roadside attraction with a fantastic boutique ice cream parlor.  Screech!  On Doctor’s orders (mine), I sooth my sore throat with big dollop of Chocolate/Peanutbutter ice cream…….

IMG_2068

Just south of Moab is Church Rock where Mormon pioneers stopped to worship.  Not sure what they were worshiping about but at least it was out of the sun.  This should be included in the nearby national parks.  Southern Utah and northern Arizona are the best kept secrets–although they’re not secret any more.  Let’s go hiking!

DSCN7966

I’d always read and heard (and driven by) Fisher Towers but never hiked in to view them.  Titan is the biggest monolith in this group.  It’s about 2 miles in to the base of some of the most fantastic spires ever.

DSCN7935

These four smaller towers are named “Ancient Art with the right-hand one called The Corckscrew and for obvious reasons

DSCN7934

What’s this on top?

DSCN7937

I hike around the base to the other side–it looks more like a crankshaft to me, but somehow Crankshaft Tower doesn’t ring true.

DSCN7951

Zooming in I spot a climber–this tower is the most popular climb in Moab–rated at 5.9 which back in the 1960s was the hardest rating.  Today, that has fudged, inflated, and earned harder grades…. to 5.15a,b,c, etc…..  Where will this grade inflation end?  True, the climbers today are way, way better, with better equipment, too.  And here I am a 27 year old trapped in a 70 year old body–someone get me out!

DSCN7952

What exhilaration!–this climb can be viewed on Youtube here.

DSCN7929

After my hike I drive around to Castleton Tower, the Priest and the Nuns and discover another old Airstream.

DSCN7975

Serial #57!  Identical to mine but manufactured a year later in 1949. And still going strong!

IMG_2075

I’m invited to give the keynote talk at the fourth Grand Canyon History Symposium.  I greet about 300 Grand Canyon enthusiasts and learn a lot!  Many of these folks have spent time in Antarctica.  I’m hooked on old river boats now and am planning a trip down the Canyon.  Why have I waited so long?

P1180506_ps_Presenters

Here’s the group of presenters.  I forgot to take off my hat…..  (photo by Tom Martin, GCHS)

DSCN7992 copy

One big surprise was to find another original copy of the Grand Canyon WPA poster.   This makes five known surviving copies now out of 100 printed.  This was donated to the park by a woman in Sedona who worked for the park beginning in 1951 which is when the US Mint building in San Francisco shipped the remnants back to parks.  This is likely one of these?  It was quite faded which surprised me as other duplicate copies–some hidden away and some in frames exhibited pretty stable colors–a question I get asked at all my talks (since I describe my re-coloration efforts beginning with black and white photographs).

DSCN7986

Here is a light relief (tilting 89 degrees to sunlight) which shows the ink layers much better.  The mint green was likely the first color with the pink second.  The light purple was a very thick layer; the dark purple very thin.  These were wonderfully made all by hand–this is a great find and I’m lobbying for moving this print within the system to the NPS Archives in Harpers Ferry where I’m trying to build a set.  Forty-two prints have now turned up; 12 of the 14 designs of which 11 have been returned to the public domain.

I’m still searching for Wind Cave and Great Smoky Mountain–one known Yosemite slipped through my fingers at auction 10 years ago.  I’m offering a $5000 reward for each of these three and will donate these to the NPS.

Stand by!