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At the Lake of the Ozarks

Last Wednesday morning, Alden and I drove to BWI.

Said goodbye to Robbi.

And embarked on our latest adventure.

Our destination: Kansas City, to visit with my dad and Judy.

Last Thursday and Friday, Dad and Alden had all sorts of adventures, such as learning about bees.

Acquiring blue food items not permitted at home.

Shopping while lounging.

Sewing with determination.

And going on enormous water slides. I did not take photos because I was not invited to attend.

On Friday afternoon, we hopped in the car and drove to the Lake of the Ozarks. If you are not aware of the Lake of the Ozarks, it is a man-made phenomenon, created by the damming of the Osage River back in the 1930s. The lake is 100 miles long, and its shores are lined with cabins.

Including this boat house where Alden and I were lucky enough to have been offered beds for the weekend.

The interior is even more stunning.

We had been invited by friends of Dad and Judy’s to spend a few days playing on the water. Alden was particularly excited because these friends just happen to have two little girls, Avery and Bret Mae.

The three wasted no time in establishing rapport.

The place was a kid wonderland, offering such treasures as a raised play house.

An enormous trampoline (with lake view).

And a lakeside pool.

With water slide.

And here is the main house, hand-built by our hosts, who are the handy/artistic/visionary/capable sort of people I admire most.

After some preliminary splashing and sliding, Alden and Avery declared that it was time to swim in the lake.

The first few jumps were joint affairs.

But then Alden decided to go solo for a while.

Eventually, I joined the fun and took the opportunity to practice my kid-tossing technique.

After swimming, it was time for boating. So our host fired up the pontoon boat.

Once we were out on the water, the big girls climbed onto the inner tube.

And had the ride of their lives.

Please excuse the blur. The boat was not cooperating in my attempts to get a clear shot.

After the boating, the girls slipped into something more comfortable and entered the next phase of the day’s activities,

A progression of events that culminated in a rousing performance.

After dinner, we headed back down to the lake for a different kind of ride.

Our hosts own a 1965 Correct Craft, a descendant of the PT boat and precursor to some of the high-end ski boats used for competition today. The boat has a V-8 engine, and from what I understand, is basically the boat equivalent of a muscle car.

We took a cruise, creating no small amount of wake.

The sun was setting as we returned to the dock.

In spite of the luxuriousness of the boat house’s offerings, Alden opted to spend the night with her new friends instead.

And so I turned in, slept like the dead, and did not wake until the morning.

We had spent so much time on the water the day before, that, after breakfast, we took the boat in to the lakeside gas station.

At first, it looked very much like any other gas station. Pumps. Flags. Exhortations not to smoke.

But when the gas attendant showed up and started filling the tank, I realized that marketing strategies on the Lake of the Ozarks take an entirely different form.

For example, Alden was provided with a free Capris Sun to sip while we waited for the tank to fill.

Back home again, we did more swimming, more tubing, and more splashing. I don’t know if there is an official quota on fun, but if there is, I am certain that Alden surpassed it.

Before going home last night, we took a cruise a few miles up the lake and parked along a pier.

Belonging to the Bear Bottom resort.

Where I had the most magnificent plate of nachos I have ever encountered.

And did not hesitate to show them who was boss.

With sunburned skin and tired eyes, we said our farewells, promising to return again as soon as we possibly can.

Thanks to the Hotle clan for showing us Swansons such a wonderful time.

I suspect that Alden is going to sleep in this morning.

 

Matthew Draws 31

I am going to let you in on a little secret. Big things are happening on the Matthew Draws front. Huge things. Unprecedented things. In a few short weeks, Matthew Draws will no longer be just a thing you do on your computer when you’re bored at work. It will no longer be something that you fret about throughout the week. It will no longer be just a source of joy, excitement, and crushing disappointment every other Friday when you log on to see how many (or few) your guessed correctly.

All that is about to change. Within a fortnight (or two), Matthew Draws will be a book.

That’s right. The very next Idiots’Books volume is the first (and quite possibly, the last) Matthew Draws Anthology. Featuring your favorite (or most loathed) drawings from across the past few years, the Anthology will give you the opportunity to relive the thrills and horrors of Matthew Draws past.

It will also feature a never-before-available interview with the artist, documentary glimpse inside the studio, and a critical essay by Robbi, she who is most consistently baffled and derailed by proximity to Matthew’s awful art.

There is more to be said about Matthew Draws Anthology, and we will say it when the time is right. But I wanted to let you know what was afoot so that you can take the necessary precautions.

For now, shall we proceed with some guessing?

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Idiots on Inc. (Insight into the

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about it here, but a few years ago we were the subject of intense scrutiny by our friend Joshua Wolf Shenk, a nonfiction writer who has devoted the past few years of his life to researching and writing a book about collaboration.

 

Back when the book was in its very preliminary stages, Josh tested his theories in a four-part series about Robbi’s and my collaboration on Slate.com.

Now, four years later, the book is done and due out August 5.

It’s called Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. You should get this book, not only because it is a fascinating and ground-breaking exploration of the collaborative dynamic, but also because Robbi and I are included. We have not yet read the finished version, but apparently we play a supporting role to such other, slightly better known duos as Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Marie and Pierre Curie, and Vincent and Theo Van Gogh.

The book is kind of a big deal. So much so that it was excerpted for the cover story of last month’s Atlantic.

As the release date approaches, various folks in the media are reading the book and either reviewing it or writing smart things about it. Just yesterday on Inc.com, writer Ilan Mochari posted an article about a pair of collaborative co-foudners named Renee Robbie and Giorgia Rossi. After introducing their story and describing their tendency to buoy one another emotionally, he jumped into discussion of Josh’s book and made specific reference to the “symbiotic emotional management” of the “Behr-Swanson” relationship,” which is, apparently “archetypal of how healthy creative pairs often help each other through role playing and turn-taking.”

In simpler terms, Robbi and I almost never get depressed or demoralized at the same time. We take turns crashing, and when either one of us is having a bad day, the other, almost reflexively, steps in and picks the sad one up. It’s an incredibly useful (and seemingly intuitive) aspect of our relationship and partnership. And now it is being discussed by writers and scholars we don’t even know.

The fun thing about being about being included in someone’s book is getting to read a smart and scholarly breakdown of one’s inner mechanisms. Which is to say, Thanks, Josh.

Here’s the article. It’s pretty interesting, and not just because our names are in it.

And here’s the link to Powers of Two.

He Likes Mickey

We all have things that we like. I like Chipotle burritos. Robbi likes me.

Well, August likes Mickey Mouse. We know this because he tells us all the time. Whether or not there is an obvious Mickey reference in sight, we’ll often hear him make the proclamation, whether sitting in his booster seat at dinner or opining from the back seat of the car. “I like Mickey,” he’ll say. And when we do not respond with affirmation with sufficient alacrity, he’ll say it again. And again. “I like Mickey. I LIKE MICKEY!”

One day in Alaska, he started doing this. I thought it was amusing. And endearing. But I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

It was a pose I’d never seen before. “What’s up with the kid?” I said to Robbi. She shrugged. We are used to such antics, untethered from reason or rhyme.

The performance continued, August closing his eyes while smiling with delight, thrusting one fist up into the air while curling the other down in front of his body. Clearly something was afoot, but what? What?

Of course, we needn’t have pursued the answer any further than Mickey. Glancing down, I saw that he was merely gleaning inspiration from his coloring book. As Mickey does, so does his most stalwart admirer.

I was grateful for that coloring book. It got us through many an afternoon on the tundra. I may never understand the reasons behind August’s devotion, but I see no reason to question it.

The boy likes Mickey. And I like the boy.

Smoking the Fish

Robbi got home last night, which makes us all happy. The kids and I endured the week without her as gracefully as could be expected, which is to say, we did not eat square meals and bathed seldom. Which, come to think of it, sounds a lot like how things go when she is home. But we’re all just a bit more cheerful this morning.

But I’m thinking back to a week or so ago, when Robbi and the other fisherman woke early to fish the morning tide. They returned to the compound midmorning with 15 fish for us to smoke.

The first step is to take them to the table out behind the water tower for some good old fashioned filleting.

Robbi and her sister Maiko work in tandem. Robbi, the lefty, fillets one side of the fish.

Maiko does the other. My job throughout this process is to bring cool drinks and swat the mosquitos away.

Eventually, we end up with one bucket full of fillets.

And another full of heads, spines, and guts.

The next step is to cut the fillets into strips and then to brine them for a short time. I neglected to photograph that step. I think I was busy making macaroni.

Once the fish is brined, we hang it on metal hooks and leave it out in the breeze to glaze. Basically, this means the outside layer of the fish dries and hardens just a bit, to protect the fish from the heat of the smokehouse.

Being a lover of sashimi, I am always tempted to eat the fish right then and there.

But someone always seems to be there to keep me from doing so.

Once the glazing is done, that same someone and I moved the fish from the laundry line to the smokehouse.

Our compound is surrounded by alders. We collect downed branches and start a fire.

But as soon as the fire is started, we smother it.

…by putting sheets of corrugated aluminum over the top of the fire pit. The point is keeping the interior from getting too hot. The point is not to cook the fish but to cure it slowly with smoke.

The process takes a few days. So my job was continually feeding the fire, just a bit at a time so that the flame would stay low and the smoke would be thick.

Because bears like smoked fish almost as much as we do, part of the daily ritual was bringing the fish in from the smokehouse to one of the outbuildings every night. Not that any self-respecting bear would have had much trouble breaking into the outbuilding if properly motivated.

Every morning, it was my job to go fetch the fish and put it back into the smoke house.

Kato, my early riser, would often come along and help me carry the box of kindling from the garage.

After three days of smoking, we started wondering if the fish was done. Really, there’s only one way to find out.

Active chewing followed by active contemplation.

Not content to be a spectator, Kato demanded to partake.

The verdict was affirmative, even if his expression was not.

True men of the tundra know never to smile when expressing enthusiasm.

Once the fish was done. Robbi carried it off  for final processing, by which I mean removing it from the hooks and chopping off the nubs to make nice, clean-looking strips of salmon jerky.

Which we bring home and use throughout the year to make a special smoked salmon cream cheese dip perfected by Robbi’s mom Seiko. It has been delighting party goers for more than three decades now.

Of course, in addition to the smoked fish, we bring home plenty of fillets as well.

They are filleted within hours of being caught and are immediately vacuum-sealed to preserve freshness.

We may not make much money from the fishing, but we do get to bring home little pieces of gold. The same fish we sell up on the tundra would sell for ten times that much back in the states.

And there’s no finer fish to be found on the planet.

Which makes me suddenly start thinking about lunch.

Matthew Draws 30 - The Answers

Hello, all. Welcome back to Matthew Draws. I am pleased to actually be in Maryland this week, with the internet, instead of tucked away on the tundra, unable to provide you the thoughtful, detailed post you clearly deserve.

Let’s dive right in. I gave you this guy.

And we got a fair sampling of wrong answers, including:

  • Ben Kingsley
  • Barack Obama. Or that old guy from The Sopranos.
  • Kareem Abdul Jabar.
  • Jason Stratham.
  • Tim Howard
  • James Carville on his way down

I also appreciated whoever said, “I don’t know. But I’m scared of him.”

And I’d like to give a special prize to whichever of you said, “A post office flier guy? wanted for Sad Staring?”

But he who said this, said it best “This guy is John Malcovich.”

To which I say, indeed. And thank you.

I have always wondered if Matthew Draws would cease to be interesting if my drawing improved to a level at which I could consistently create a convincing likeness. Clearly, I’m not all the way there. But almost every one of you correctly guessed the following person.

 

In fact, only two of you guessed wrong. And those guesses were entirely reasonable ones.

  • Diane Sawyer
  • Hilary Clinton

No one mistook her gender or race. Not even a little. What almost all of you knew (and some with surprising confidence) is that this is none other than Martha Stewart.

  • Martha Stewart. Clearly, after doing time…boy she aged.
  • Martha Stewart! (Yeesh – is she wearing a scarf or is that her neck?)
  • Martha Stewart! Now I must go bake a cake.
  • Spot on, this is clearly Martha Stewart!! But does she have a mess of decoupage glue on her neck? I think she is smiling broadly because she is glad to be out of the slammer, where orange was the new pale turquoise.
  •  Martha Stewart. Obviously (a word one cannot apply to Matthew Draws w/o serious chutzpah & laughaby misplaced confidence).

But before I get too full of myself for my Martha success, let’s turn to this week’s “young and lovely.”

Yes, this is where my worries that I’m getting too skilled for this Matthew Draws nonsense crumble into tiny bits of shame. Suddenly the tables are turned and wrong answers are crashing down upon me like avalanche of insults.

Why don’t we review some of them?

  • This one is some young singer that I don’t know anything about.
  • Katy Perry? this is a wild guess…
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • I have no idea, but that tank top screams for Robbi’s pointy boob job.
  • Widenose Mascaraeyes
  • Another young thing I can’t identify.
  • Tyranny banks
  • Kristin Stewart
  • Deer in headlights longface girl.
  • Madonna
  • Katy Perry???
  • Uma Thurman (in “Kill Bill” immediately prior to her lopping off several of your limbs whose stumps will then cartoonishly spurt)
But one of you…just one of you correctly identified (or recklessly guessed) that the subject of my awful drawing was none other than Mila Kunis. Can you see it now?

As for #4…

And here, mere moments after the near-perfection of my Martha and the near-shutout of my Mila, I am delighted (and somewhat worried) to announce the first-ever 100% correct answer result in the history of Matthew Draws. (At least I think this is the case. Perhaps those of you who pay better attention to these things will want to correct me if this has, in fact, happened before.)

I see no reason in delaying what is so obvious to you all. This is the one and only Stephen Colbert.

Though two of you chose to embellish a bit:

  • Stephen Colbert…thinking about being naked.
  • Stephen Colbert, looking serious, but in an uncharacteristically unironic manner

 

AS FOR THE BONUS QUESTION: Which of these folks is actually a cyborg from the future living among us to change the course of history? What is their plan? How will we know?

  • It’s clearly number 3. Because I don’t know who it is. Which means that this person doesn’t really exist yet since we haven’t yet been to the future. But we will know that history is about to change once we get the answers to this week’s Matthew Draws and you reveal her to be an actual person, which means she has now arrived from the future and is ready to change the world.
  • Obviously Martha Stewart has long been preparing Earth for alien colonization. She claims to be from Nutley NJ, but that is and always has been a load of hooey. It is high time we have an open dialog about this “elephant in the room” Martha…
  • Whoever #1 is. He is the cyborg. He is taking things way too seriously, must be plotting something.
  • Ben Kingsley. He wants to make us Sexy Beasts. His plan is flattery, “I love you, Gal. You’re lovable. Big lovable bloke. Loveable lump. Loveable lummox. Gal Dove, party boy. Big oaf.” It’s brilliant really, as his agenda is oddly world peace.
  • Stephen Hawking, clearly. Also, I’m pretty sure you’re racist against the disabled for calling him a cyborg.
  • Colbert. Cuz he’s awesome.
  • Colbert. Cyborgs from the future have the telltale bent ear. Did you know?
  • Stephen colbert is already changing the course of history, so why not just call a cyborg a cyborg.
  • Martha Stewart is planning world domination via gardening tools. We will know when her head starts spinning.
  • Steven Colbert… His plan is to mock Bill O’Reilly until he and his similarly toxic buddies see the error of their ways and start behaving like human beings with hearts and souls… when that happens, the unicorns will return and we’ll all sleep better at night.
  • Martha Stewart, whose mission will be complete when emotions have been eliminated from the human experience & the place settings for EVERY meal will feature natural materials spraypainted & artfully arranged by the hostess
And that’s it, folks. Thanks, as always for your guesses. Thank you for the roller coaster ride from self-satisfaction to humiliation to near-redemption. Ultimately, I know I have miles to go, but somewhere in the midst of this exercise, I seem to be doing something slightly better, at least occasionally.
Am I getting to be better at drawing? I honestly can’t tell. All I know is I have four more to do. Until next Friday…

 

 

Fishing with Mama

With apologies if I am shattering your image of me as a hardened scourge of the north Pacific waterways, but the truth is, my fishing career ended (or at least hit a long hiatus) a few years ago when the children started demanding tundra daycare.

My Alaska days now are spent changing diapers and making macaroni while Robbi hauls in fish.

Naturally, the kids are curious about what their mother is doing down on the beach, so on one particularly warm and sunny day, we went down to check it out.

I suppose I should clarify: we went down to the beach to participate. To fish. Alden didn’t want to just watch, she wanted to get in on the action.

She’s old enough to know that every fisherman needs a permit.

Fortunately, she’s not old enough to realize that hers expired in 2003.

The permit looks kind of like a credit card and is basically a license to fish, issued on an annual basis by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game.

We got bundled up and drove down to the beach with the other fishermen. While they got the nets set up, my band of small brigands explored the tall grasses at the base of the bluff in search of treasures that might have been swept in by the tide.

“Treasures” are in the eye of the beholder, apparently. Alden and company found a bit of green foam, a empty plastic bottle, and a rusted-out tobacco can.

Once the treasure hunt was complete, we ran down to the water’s edge. There was still so much work to be done before the fishing could begin.

Tracy and Robbi were “stacking” the net (so that it could be easily pulled into the water at the appointed hour).

Alden helped.

Specifically, she removed a caribiner from one end of the net.

And attached it to another.

Finally, she used another caribiner to attach one end of the net to the ring that would pull the net into the water when the fishing began.

There was a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Followed by a moment of celebration.

Kato (whose license expired in 1999) felt more comfortable in a supervisory role.

August, on the other hand, was doing pushups in the surf. Literally. Against my better judgment, I decided to let him continue his fun. It’s not every day that they get to play on the shores of Bristol Bay.

    

Meanwhile, Robbi did her best impression of a pack mule and moved a heavy cart with her own brute strength.

While Daryl and Maiko prowled the shoreline for any sign of menace.

Once the nets were all set up, the kids and I retreated to the safety of the “snack raft,” strategically positioned so as to be out of harm’s reach when the fishing began. At that moment (a time determined by Fish and Game and announced via radio broadcast), trucks and ropes move very quickly.

All the while, Iggy stood guard, ready to growl at anything that might threaten or bewilder us.

For example, the light breeze that was rolling in off the water .

The clock struck 10:00, and the fishing began. Tracy drove a truck that pulled a rope that pulled the net into the water. Robbi’s brother set his net while pulling toward the shore along a rope from a buoy 150 yards or so off shore, letting his net fall into the water behind him as he went. When he got to the shore, he dragged the other end of the net up on the beach and tied it to the rope. Cousin Raiden helped (courtesy a license that expired in 1997).

After the initial excitement died down, the kids and I walked over to check out Robbi’s net.

The fish were hitting.

Robbi presented Alden with the fruits of her labor.

They shared a moment. It was a big deal. The first of tens of thousands of sockeye that Alden is likely to catch in her lifetime.

While Kato kept careful watch, Robbi, Alden, and August went along the net and “picked” out the fish we had caught..

Later, Alden demonstrated that “fisherman” and “sass” do not have to be incompatible concepts.

And August refined his shoreline pushup technique to include a no-hands variety. Seriously, I have no idea what he was thinking (or wasn’t), but he did this about 20 times. I promise I did not put him up to it.

The kid is tough. Or nuts. Or just plain weird. I am not sure. In any case, he got rather wet and sandy.

He fell asleep on the four-wheeler on the way back up the beach.

And he remained asleep as I stripped off his wet clothes and hung them on the line.

The fishing had been a success. By which I mean, some fish were caught and no one got injured. Not even I!

It’s exciting to think of the day as even the faintest hint of things to come. So much of who Robbi is has been shaped by her 37 summers on the tundra. At six years old, Alden has already been there seven times. It’s already a part of who she is.

I look forward to seeing her grow into a fisherman: tough, resourceful, intuitive, relentless.

She has no idea how lucky she is to get to spend time up there. I’m just glad we’re able to give her the opportuniyt.

Having one fisherman in my life for the past 15 years has been a revelation. Suddenly, I have a growing handful.

 

 

Cloudy Day in Alaska

Our second day in Alaska began where the first day ended: on the back of a truck. After eating his breakfast and getting bundled to meet the brisk tundra air, August crawled up onto the bed of the yellow truck and stood there with his impression of a badass. The likeness was uncanny, and for a moment I felt something like actual alarm.

But then Alden and Kato showed up and things returned to their usual state of weirdness.

The threat passed quickly, replaced by something much more ridiculous.

Once everyone was properly bundled, we headed down the road to the beach.

The beach is like the mall of the tundra. It’s awesome at the beach. It’s where things happen. It’s where you go to hang out.

There are, for example, a lot of dead flounders.

And some almost dead ones that cause Robbi’s heartstrings to clench and drive her to do crazily counterintuitive things such as save the flounder’s lives even though they are the bane of every fisherman’s existence.

She enlisted Aunt Tracy’s help in collecting a few not-dead flounders and carrying them down to the water’s edge where they could live to be washed up on the beach another day.

We hadn’t been on the beach long when something awesome happened. Our friend George drove up and gave us all sorts of news.

We see our friends from Alaska for about three weeks each year and generally don’t talk to them over the summer, so there is always a lot of catching up to do.

George was on his way to set out his nets, so we let him go and continued our walk on the beach. Mere moments later, a second awesome thing happened. We ran into Aunt Maiko, who was filling up water buckets at the spring.

After thoroughly filling Maiko in on all the excitement (not-dead flounders, seeing George, etc.), we headed up a road that lead to the top of the bluff.

Just as we reached the top, another incredibly awesome thing happened. George had gone back to his fishing camp and had acquired a bunch of Hershey’s bars for us. The kids are like candy magnets on the tundra. We are regularly able to leverage their novelty for candy, which we then take from them and eat ourselves.

In case you’re wondering why we have so many kids.

We went to our neighbor’s house to pay a visit. August climbed a ramp and then ran back down again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the kids played on swings made of old tires and buoys.

Since nothing particularly awesome had happened for a few minutes, Alden decided to just BE awesome for a while.

Alaska is weird. Everything is made by hand. Nothing can be thrown away. All the buildings look ad hoc and haphazard and all the empty spaces are strewn with old junk. Or stacks of lumber, just waiting to be made into something.

Also, there are enormous earth-moving machines just sitting around.

So, naturally, Kato decided to drive one.

Of course, there are no gas stations on the beach (there is no electric grid and no public plumbing; there are no roads), so people have to set up their own fuel depots.

Here’s our neighbor’s house. Four people live here, but he decided to build it to the code standards of a cannery in case anyone ever wants to use it as such. Also, he has a lot of free time in the winter when it’s dark 20 hours a day.

As we contemplated a return home and anticipated lunch, we paused briefly to settle an argument.

The dispute in question regarded the matter of whether Robbi or Raiden was larger. Though it was hard to tell with the untrained eye, by placing then both next to the same tire, we seemed to have the answer.

Robbi by a hair.

But we’re guessing that, this time next year, the result could be very different.

Alaska 2014: Feels Like We Just Left

The kids and I have returned from Alaska. We got home Friday night, after 28 hours of travel. Robbi stayed behind to finish up the fishing and pack up the compound, so I got the chance to polish my advanced parenting skills, such as they are.

But today, I’ll rewind the clock two weeks to the day we departed. And over the next week or so, I’ll share some stories of our adventures this year.

I believe I already told you about the first few hours of our trip, but to recap, we departed from Philadelphia on June 27, knowing full well that we would not arrive on the tundra until June 28.

Eventually, we landed in Seattle, where exhaustion ensued.

Even more eventually, we landed in Anchorage, a thing which pleased almost no one.

It was the middle of the night, but the sky didn’t seem to notice.

We set up camp in the baggage claim, and settled in for a 14-hour layover.

The next day, we boarded a jet for King Salmon, a small town at the top of the Alaskan Peninsula, a major jumping-off point for fishermen heading to various places on the bush.

On the way, we passed over snowy mountains.

The one-room King Salmon airport is evenly divided between two types of fishermen: those who are working for commercial fishing outfits and those who are embarking on exotic sport fishing expeditions. The two groups are dressed differently, carry different types of luggage, and tend to smell differently, though this latter difference is far less pronounced at the start of the season than it is on the way home.

In King Salmon, we picked up another cooler and an extra member of the family. Cousin Raiden and Aunt Tracy joined us for the final leg of the journey.

Kato opted not to join us for the final leg of the journey.

Because there were six of us, we opted to charter a plane to get to our final destination, a strip of flat beach about six miles from our compound.

If you think this sounds rather fancy and that we are rather important people, then you need to spend more time in Alaskan bush planes, which err on the side of not being luxurious.

But they sure do afford some spectacular views.

I’m not sure how it happens, but the tundra invents meandering streams that seem that seem bent on carving the path of greatest resistance.

Conditions were foggy, so we had to fly low.

The pilot followed the river until we got to the bay, and then turned a sharp angle across the point up to the place where we would land. Below is a shot of Ward’s Cove, a place three miles upriver from our compound, the turnaround point for my daily run.

About 20 minutes after departing King Salmon, we arrived at ISA (the name of a company that used to be located there, International Seafoods of Alaska; even though the processing plant is now owned by Coffee Point Seafoods, I guess no one feels like changing the name of the place).

Robbi’s brother was waiting with a truck to carry us up the beach. We loaded our stuff into the back…

…and the people into the cab.

Well, most of the people. One of us was asked to sit on the coolers and take photos of the people enjoying the warm, dry confines of the interior.

The view was worth the sacrifice.

About 30 minutes later, we reached our compound, unloaded our coolers, and settled in. But that is a story for another day.

 

Matthew Draws 30

Hello everyone! Yes, in spite of the fact that we are off the grid in the Alaskan wilderness, we know that we could not leave you without Matthew Draws for two weeks in a row. Because we did not want to return to an inbox full of rabid complaints, Matthew warmed up his pen a week in advance to put these babies together. And I tell you, I think there must be a bit of me in Matthew—the pressure of the deadline gave him a keen eye and a steady hand. This might be his best execution yet.

This isn’t to say, of course, that any of these folks are actually identifiable. Just that when you hear who they are, you’ll say, “Oh, okay, I kinda see it.”

Do your worst:

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