Archive for the ‘Ranger Doug Roadtrips’ Category

Jackson Hole Airport

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

I’m back in Jackson en route to Tucson (where I’ll make a presentation to the Historical Society and elsewhere) but my first stop is Jackson Hole where I’ve visited now for 52 years. I am driving but many people fly in and out.  The Jackson Hole Airport is unique–it is the only airport within a National Park; a huge intrusion to this sensitive valley. 

One night back in the 1930s a couple cowboys cleared some brush on what then was the center of the valley; not in the current park but on Rockefeller land, and flew a few planes in.  They never left and Rockefeller looked the other way.  Today, the airport complex has grown, sitting on 533 acres and has expanded in every capacity except the runway length which Grand Teton National Park refuses to allow (the park expanded around this land when Rockefeller donated it).  Also increasing is the lease terms–the last signed lease in 1983 was for 50 years (30 + 10 +10) and signed off by none other than James Watt.

Albeit, this is holiday season but this parking lot was absolutely full with likely 500 cars.  Last year (2017), there were nearly 29,000 aircraft operations according to Wikipedia.  It’s Wyoming’s busiest airport with about 1/3 of a million people passing through.  It’s also built on sensitive sage grouse habitat which our current SOI has nixed protections for.

Yesterday’s flight statistics for the later half of the day.  The approach route us usually directly over the Moose Visitors Center.  During my drive up to Moose and back, I tracked about 10 flights booming overhead.  Very intrusive and getting worse.  If you read the lease (https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/management/upload/JH-Airport-ROD-SIGNED-FINAL-2.pdf) much of it relates to mitigating intrusive noise.  Now, how do you do that with jets?  My solution is to remove the airport.

In the 1970s many of us tried to do just that, moving the whole thing over to Idaho (Idaho wanted it then, but not now) and punching an all season tunnel under the steepest part of Teton Pass.  It never happened and Wyoming #22 forged over the summit instead placing a bridge spanning Glory Bowl–a textbook avalanche chute.  The bridge lasted one year.  Opportunity lost.

Four jets exchange passengers.

This is a pet friendly airport……

And a smelly one.  Why do people have to bring their dogs everywhere?  I sat next to a dog on my last first class flight back from Hawaii.  I quit flying that day–Alaska Airline  gave me 400 ff miles–oh gee whiz!  They also lost a long time customer.  Alaska Airlines also allows  miniature horses!

Service animal?  Horsefeathers!  It’s selfishness.  I sneezed the whole way…OK, I’m on a rant again…..  Time to go back home, light a fire, pour a stiff drink, and take in the sunset on the Grand Teton.  Happy Holidays!

 

Ranger Doug’s Intergalactic Headquarters

Sunday, 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.

Grand Canyon History Symposium

Monday, November 7th, 2016

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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…….

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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!

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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.

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

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What’s this on top?

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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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?

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

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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).

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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!