Monthly Archives: February 2015

Tired Iron Weekend

Tired Iron Weekend returns to the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks. “Hot” Times and the famed Jurassic Classic race takes place on Saturday, with the other three races: The Tired Iron Classic, Wet Iron and Fun Run taking place on Sunday.

The main rule: All sleds must be from model year 1979 or earlier. The older the machine, the better.

With temps once again forecast to be near freezing on Saturday, there’s no excuse to stay inside.

A Little More on Old Mariucci

A Flashback Friday Edition:

As the Gophers face Michigan State at Mariucci Arena tonight, here’s one more view at the Old Barn. Congrats to Nick Lehr on his first collegiate win last night in place of All-American Adam Wilcox. Let’s avoid that first period scare tonight, however.

Scoreboard Wall

Here are two more shots that give a clearer picture of the sloped wall above the goal at one end of the arena.

Sloped ceiling at Mariucci

This is the wall that divides the basketball side from the hockey side of Williams Arena. The sloped ceiling above the goal at this end, is due to the seating on the other side for basketball. As far as I know, it was the only rink in the country with such a quirky feature.

Goldy’s Perch

Goldy's Perch

At the opposite end of the “cubby hole” was a high bank of windows, and right below that is Goldy’s Perch.

Goldy's Perch 2

The Gopher mascot would spend a lot of time up there by the “NE” section, which was the student section. The best part would be seeing Goldy up there on his perch, swinging his broom, while the school band played the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” after a series sweep.

Here’s a video that a Gopher fan took during the final hockey season at Old Mariucci. Notice the “clean” boards. There are very few adverts on the boards, and even center ice is clean with only “Mariucci Arena” imprinted on the ice. What a different era.

A very special thanks goes out to who took the video and photos before the Gophers moved into their new arena. It brought back a lot of good memories. Kudos!

Thursday Temps

Global Temperature Graph

The global graph shows temperatures around the world as they happened on Thursday and compare them against average. Look at that bright red glow across the NW Territories, The Yukon and Northern Alaska.

We’re back to the heat here in Alaska. It’s been over a week of lighting a fire in the wood stove before I go to bed, and letting it go out over night. Then the next night, starting a fire again, and repeating the process. The cold snap on the eastern seaboard of the United States is a long ways from Interior Alaska.

Anchorage has been forced to give up the Iditarod Dog Sled Race to Fairbanks, due to absolutely no snow on the southern route to Nome. No doubt Anchorage is seething at this, but race officials could not repeat the disaster of 2014.

The Open North American Sled Dog Race had to reroute out of downtown Fairbanks due to the Noyes Slough ice being unsafe.

Now, a Plan C is being considered for the Iditarod, because the Chena River ice is quickly becoming thin in this heat wave. The race was to be run from the Chena River in Fairbanks to the Tanana River and then onward to Nome, but now an overland route to the Tanana is being considered.

I received a text today from New York State, asking about frozen pipes and how deep water lines run in Fairbanks to avoid the frost line. As I respond from Interior Alaska, I’m dressed in tennis shoes and a light fleece jacket, and I couldn’t help but notice that I’m standing in the open water of a puddle in a parking lot.

If it wasn’t for the two weeks of -40 & -50, the tripod down in Nenana would be toppling in record time.

Get that bug dope out.

Graphic comes courtesy of the University of Maine



My classes through the University of Wisconsin ended on Sunday, and I’m happy to say I passed all my tests. I have earned a Statement of Accomplishment! Which I’m sure is one step up from a Gold Star… maybe even two steps. I was hoping for a Badger pelt, but I think one has to take a series of courses before you earn that. Maybe that trapping class…

The course was extremely well done, and I have to give credit to UW and the instructors for putting together such a well thought out and designed course.

A side element to the videos, lectures and reading material that did not have a direct bearing on my grade was the forum discussions that took place online. I simply didn’t have time to do much more than occasionally look into them, but they were lively discussions from what I saw.

Kudos to UW for formulating a course on hunting, wildlife management, conservation, and tying it into the larger picture of Leopold’s Land Ethic, as we are immersed in the challenges of this 21st century.


Defender & Series I at the beach

23 February 1945

Raising the Flag on Mt Suribachi
AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal

On this day, 70 years ago, Joe Rosenthal took his iconic photo of the U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division raising the American flag atop the 546 foot Mt Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima. There were 6 flag raisers on Suribachi, five Marines and one Navy corpsman: Mike Strank, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, and John Bradley. Strank, Block and Sousley would later die on Iwo Jima.

There would be many more weeks of fighting on Iwo Jima; the island would not be deemed secure until March 26.

Joe Rosenthal on Iwo Jima
Joe Rosenthal on the island of Iwo Jima. 7 March 1945 AP Photo/US Marine Corps

Rosenthal’s iconic photo would win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1945.

US Marines on Suribachi
US Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division atop Mt Suribachi AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal

Also on Suribachi at the flag raising were US Marine photographers Sgt Bill Genaust and Pfc. Bob Campbell. Genaust captured the event using his 16mm motion picture camera. Sgt. Genaust would be killed by small arms fire on March 4, 1945, along with another Marine. Their bodies were never recovered.

35th Anniversary

USA beats the Soviets 4-3 in semifinals

It was 35 years ago, when the United States Olympic hockey team beat the Soviets 4-3 in the 1980 semi-finals. The Soviet team was heavily favored, in fact they had pummeled the U.S. team 10-3 just two weeks earlier. Dave Anderson wrote of the U.S. chances in the New York Times the day before the big game: “Unless the ice melts, or unless the United States team or another team performs a miracle, as did the American squad in 1960, the Russians are expected to easily win the Olympic gold medal for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments.”

The Soviets were the best team of that entire era, and arguably, by a large margin, but it would be a mistake to categorize the U.S. team as lacking talent. Of the 20 players suiting up for Team U.S.A., 13 would go on to play in the NHL, with three of those playing in over 1000 professional games: Neal Broten (1099); Mike Ramsey (1070); and Dave Christian (1009).
At least five members of the Soviet team would also go on to play in the NHL.

Team U.S.A. would meet Finland for the gold medal. Without a win in the finals, the U.S. would not have medaled at all. The U.S. would beat Finland 4-2 for the gold.

The Soviets would crush Sweden 9-2 for the silver.

Bob Suter's jersey raised at Herb Brooks Arena

Surviving members of the 1980 Olympic hockey team were in Lake Placid this weekend to commemorate the victory 35 years ago.
Two members of the team are no longer with us: coach Herb Brooks who died in 2003, and defenseman Bob Suter who died this past September. Suter’s jersey was raised to the roof of the Lake Placid ice rink, now named the Herb Brooks Arena, where it all happened.


Ras-ta-ra-tion: Part 2

Marley's Land Rover
Bob Marley’s Land Rover before restoration.

Bob Marley’s 1973 Series III Land Rover has been undergoing a complete restoration by Sandals Resorts International and their affiliate ATL Automotive in Jamaica.

Marley Land Rover after restoration
The Series III after restoration.

ATL really did quite the job. There is a video that I will also post. It’s just over 10 minutes long, but they go into the restoration fairly well for a clip. When you look at the condition the truck was in prior to ATL getting their hands on it, you really get a feel for how much work they put into it.

70 Years Ago: Iwo Jima

Armada heading towards Iwo Jima Beaches
19 February 1945 US Marines head for Iwo Jima beaches. Photo by AP/US Navy

70 years ago Thursday, US forces landed on the beaches of the Japanese Island of Iwo Jima, engaging in what would become one of the fiercest fought battles of WWII.

US Marines on Iwo Jima
US Marines trudging through the black, volcanic sand of Iwo Jima. 1945 Photo credit AP

Operation Detachment, as the assault was officially designated in 1945, would go on for five weeks. The Japanese Army had heavily fortified the island long before the Marines landed. A dense network of bunkers, and artillery positions were supported by 11 miles of underground tunnels.

Graves of the 5th Division Marines
Graves of the 5th Division Marines on Iwo Jima 23 March 1945. AP Photo

The assault on Iwo Jima resulted in over 26,000 American casualties, with 6800 dead. It was the only US Marine Corp battle where American casualties outnumbered the Japanese.
There were 22,000 Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima at the start of the battle. 18,844 died either by fighting or suicide. Only 216 were captured. An estimated 3000 Japanese soldiers continued to fight, hide and evade, using the tunnel system and caves on the island. The last of these surrendered almost 4 years after the battle started in January of 1949.

Dogtags Mt Suribachi Memorial
Dogtags at a memorial on Mt Suribachi. Photo credit AP/Greg Baker

Happy Alaskans

Brown Bears Fishing Alaska
Fishing in Alaska

In their annual “State of the States” poll, Gallup came to the conclusion that Alaska ranked #1 for overall well being of its residents out of all 50 states.

In Gallup’s Well-Being Index, on a scale between 0 and 100, Alaskans had a score of 64.7. We also had the number one score of “sense of purpose” out of all America.

It is the first time Alaska has ranked #1 in this poll. I believe that is due directly to the recent warmer winters.

Since Alaska is already too crowded as it is, I suggest checking out the #2 ranked state: Hawaii.