Monthly Archives: June 2013

“Large-leaved and many-footed shadowing, what god rules over Africa, what shape, What avuncular cloud-man beamier than spears?”

———Wallace Stevens   “The Greenest Continent”


“All news out of Africa is bad.  It made me want to go there…”

——–Paul Theroux   “Dark Star Safari”



Clear Skies

Alaska from Space

Here is another great, even rare, shot from NASA of Alaska.  Taken last week, during Part 1 of the 90 degree heat wave, this space shot shows Alaska almost completely devoid of clouds.   Judging from the edge of the photo, I’m guessing that the Aleutians were not cloud free.  Still, it is unusual to even see Mainland Alaska with so little cloud cover.

River Crossing

LR River Crosser

The Rover has Full Flaps

Half Flaps Full Flaps

It was a vehicle weekend here in The ‘Banks.  On Saturday, after recuperating from the Solstice fun, I installed a new master cylinder in the Beetle, as well as a couple of new lines.  Luckily, I also installed a set of speed bleeders, because the “friend” who I had to bribe with beer to help bleed the brakes, showed up once I had already bled the vehicle solo.  “Anything I can do to help?”  Nope.  “Where’s the beer?”  You don’t get any.  “Why the hell not?”  You didn’t help, ya slimey bastard.

For those of you who thought The Rover’s mud flaps left a little to be desired, you’ll be happy to know that I installed a new set of those on Sunday, as well as a spiffy new interior mirror.  In the 10 years or so that I have driven The Rover, it has never had a rear view mirror… until Sunday.  Not that I’ve thought about using it yet, but it is there, hanging from the windscreen, looking completely out of place.

Summer Solstice

Midnight Sun

Eagle Summit at 1am

The mosquitos were fierce, but we went up to Eagle Summit anyway.  Small children and dogs were carried away by the hoard of blood suckers.  It’s one of the worst mosquito years I have ever experienced.  This year I realized that Deet not only keeps the mosquitos somewhat at bay, it also takes dried paint off your flesh.

Enjoy the Solstice Weekend; it’s all downhill from here.

Ferruccio Lamborghini & Miura 1966

Just a cool photo: Ferruccio Lamborghini and the newly introduced Miura in 1966.

That’s A Lot of Red

We’ve been in a bit of a heat wave here in Interior Alaska.  In fact, it’s been near 90 for days, and my thermometer was at 91 this afternoon.  Over 90 is again forecast for tomorrow, and on Thursday before we drop back down to the upper 80’s.  Talk about a motorcycle kind of summer.  Two mornings ago, my thermometer read 73 degs at 7am.  That happens here about as often as cicadas make an appearance in Lower 48 locales.

I masked a house today for a repaint tomorrow.  I wonder how many of the windows will have the plastic torn off when I go in tomorrow morning…

There Goes the Neighborhood

Alaska Updates:


Photo courtesy of K. L. Wallace and AVO

Another volcano on the Alaska Peninsula has gone the dreaded Orange. Mount Veniaminof has now joined Pavlof and is currently in an erupting state.  The stratovolcano is named after Ivan Popov Veniaminov, a Russian Orthodox missionary priest who lived from 1797 to 1879.

Buhach Goes Dark!


Living in Interior Alaska has its unique challenges. We can deal with earthquakes, volcanos, minus 50 degree weather for weeks at a time, bears coming in to steal steaks off the grill, moose blocking the way to the outhouse.  None of that matters, as long as we have the faint, burning-grass smell of Buhach wafting about us during the summer months. For the second time since 2000, The Buhach Company has gone silent, and it is causing a panic.

Buhach is an ochre-colored powder made up of crushed pyrethrum flowers that works as a natural, totally kick-ass, insecticide.  It clobbers ants, fleas, roaches and lice.  But Interior Alaskans burn it by the case load, because the incense drives away the mosquitos like no other product we’ve ever seen, short of nuclear weapons.  Buhach started out in 1873, and came to Alaska in the Gold Rush.  Alaskans have been in love with the golden powder ever since.

Unfortunately, just like in 2000, Buhach is “currently not available”.  Back then, the Buhach Company, a small family owed business from Mercer Island, WA, could not get the pyrethrum flowers from Africa due to drought, then flood, and then political unrest.  The shelves were empty for 3 years.  85% of the world’s pyrethrum supply comes from Africa.  60% of Buhach is shipped to Alaska.

I witnessed the panic at the hardware store this morning, as people called, walked in and begged to get some Buhach they assumed was hidden in the back somewhere.  It’s a nasty mosquito year too, and people are desperate.  I still have three cans left from last year, so I should be okay if I ration it, but I won’t be leaving it outside unguarded.

Series I Race Car Carrier

Land Rover Race Car Carrier

For the race car fans out there.  This 1953 photo shows Stuart Lewis-Evans and Tony Harris lowering their Cooper Mk VIIa 500cc Formula 3 from the carrier atop a Series I.  The track was Crystal Palace in London.

Tragically, Lewis-Evans died in 1958 at the Moroccan Grand Prix when his engine seized, sending him into the wall at high speed, where his car burst into flames.

Photo creds: Reg Speller, Fox Photos, Getty Images