After Ellet, I worked various minimal wage jobs, all the while trying to decide and or
decipher what life had in store for me.
I went to Akron U. that fall and again in Jan. 1976. It just didn't seem to be for me.
There were always places to go and see.
In the spring of 1978 after several small excursions, I loaded up my 69 Dodge Coronet 500
with what I felt were my worldly goods and toured the country.
I settled in Southern California for 6 months where my neighborhood buddy and Ellet Alumni
Bill Gay, (class of '76) was stationed in the Navy.
After grub staking myself, I hit the road again.
I came to Alaska in the spring of '79 and it's been my home ever since.
I found work on Kodiak Island at a salmon cannery doing construction, general maintainence,
It's seasonal work, lasting for 4 to 5 months, but given the high number of work hours,
it offered a good chunk of change to finance my nomadic lifestyle.
I worked there for over 20 years and spent many a winter traveling. You may think of
Kodiak itself as very remote: The cannery I worked at was a 20 minute float plane ride or
an 8 hour+ boat ride from the town of Kodiak, with no roads between and surrounded by a US
wildlife refuge for the Kodiak Brown Bear.
In 1982 I met a woman who lived in the bay, Uganik, where the cannery was located.
The relationship blossomed and, in 1987, we married. These were the happiest years of my
We lived a subsistence lifestyle surrounded by the refuge on the shore of the pacific
ocean. You could literally catch fish off of the front porch at high tide.
There is plenty of game, and Jeanne is an avid gardener, so the pantry was stocked.
Kodiak is at the same latitude as Scotland and has the same type of moderate climate,
so living was pretty easy.
Unfortunately for me Jeanne fell out of love, so after 15+ years of being together,
we separated. We still are friends, but she got the house in Uganik and I got to leave.
I bought a house in the town of Kodiak and base myself out of there.
I was burned out with cannery work and, having gone through a divorce,
I started a new career in 2002: construction and land surveying.
I enjoy being outdoors and survey work is less physically demanding than construction work.
We are all getting older and the years of bangs, bruises,and abuse are adding up.
I still like moving around, and survey work is at least half 'mental' so it's less boring.
I also have done some commercial fishing over the years, and still fish halibut every year.
I love being on the water, despite the weather.
Other than just living, there are no big loves in my life at this point, except for travel.
I've had the good fortune to have been in 49 of the states.
My current hobby is seeing state capitals and I have 26 in my scrap book.
I went to India + Nepal, 1983. What an eye-opening adventure!
In 1990, I went to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia to see Orangutuans + Komodo Dragons
in the wild.
In 2006 went to New Guinea to see the bird of paradise.
None of these ventures was exactly easy, but all were worth the effort.
I am currently awaiting a job doing survey work on the North Slope, ie. Pruhdoe Bay, for
one of the oil companies.
Most of the construction work takes place in the dead of winter, after the ice roads
have been layed, so as not to damage the tundra or disturb the wildlife. I went up there
in 2004 and it is well worth seeing.
Understandably, it's not a hot tourist destination and certainly not a big honeymoon spot.
d-e b 02-16-09