Move to the Mountains

Site Name change, since we’ve moved from North Pole to our new home off grid/off road I figured I better update the heading.

We moved to the cabin the 27th of December 2018 and have been enjoying a quite life style. The move in was an adventure to say the least. Two of buddies (Dean and Jake) came down and helped haul all the furniture and boxes in.

So we looked at the snow levels by the hwy and figured, ah, no biggies, load up the town behind sleds and go for it. It’s about 2.5 miles of trail to the cabin from the parking area and the trail wasn’t broken in. We made it a little more then half way and all of us presided to get stuck. Dang, more snow up here than by the road. So un-hook tow behinds, get sleds un-stuck and pack a trail so we could get moving again 🙂

All in all an experience to remember. By end of weekend the big stuff was in, couch, freezers, and beds. Jake and Dean had to head and I finished up hauling the rest of the boxes in a number of trips. Was easy at that point, the trail was packed and fun riding.

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Cabin has battery power

Another 10 days of prep at the cabin for the move. Hauled in 8 Trojan L16P batteries, dang their heavy. 115 lbs. each and I being Mr. Macho figured I could get all 8 batteries, groceries and clothes in one trip. Ha, that was a mistake. It’d been raining all week and the trail was muddy big time. I made it about a miles, 1/3 of the way, and got stuck up to the axels, unloaded the tow behind, winch out and reload. Well I actually left 4 of the batteries on the side of the trail figuring I wouldn’t make it with all 8, heck I only made it another ¾ mile with 4, and again unloaded the tow behind, winched out and then said the heck with it.

I left the tow behind buried in a mud hole and hauled the batteries 2 at a time and other gear on the ATV, so it took a few trips. But I did get the batteries, groceries and some gear in by 7:00 PM that night as was a tired boy. I still had a load to haul from the truck, cabinets, 15 gal water, and some misc items I figured could wait.

So I built a platform for the batteries and a bunch of shelves in what will be the freezer/pantry room. Came out pretty good and was originally planning on these only being temporary, but maybe not

Cabin Work Oct 2018

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Cabin Sept. getting ready to move in

Another cabin trip after Moose season and getting ready for another trip down. This last one was mostly to finish up the he 2nd floor 2nd floor flooring and work on the well some more. Flooring went OK and 2nd floor sub-flooring is in, ¾ “ OSB, now to place the carpet. Yeah, being as it is the bedroom area I figured I’d carpet it, hate putting bear feet on wood in the mornings.

The well was different issue, brought a demolition hammer with enough down force to drive the well, but being a demo hammer, electric by the way, I had to borrow a cupped concrete cutter to use since I couldn’t find one in town. Well dang it, the guide bit broke, so I ended up using the splitting maul as a sledge hammer, worked, but I think I’d of done better swinging a maul 20 years ago. Made some progress but not enough to get water, yet.
Also purchased the first set of 4 Trojan L16P batteries, so I can now finish setting them up and see how running on batteries work. Long term plan is to have 8 batteries and solar panels, but dang at $375.00 each these batteries are spendy.

Just hope it’s not to diffacult to configure the Battery Monitoring unit, Inverter Control Panel (which I’ll need to configure) and then make the connection from Inverter to main panel for the cabin. Well I’m not an electrician but I’ll figure it out.

I did get to enjoy a nice little storm while there. I was sitting on the porch having a cup of coffee and saw this black wall of clouds that went from the ground to above the mountain top and it was moving fairly quick and coming right at me. OK, go inside sit at dinning table and watch this thing come tearing down the valley and it was moving, winds kick up and when it hit hail to make everything all white.

The white stuff didn’t last and the hail was gone in 15 minutes, but the mountain top got a good dumping of snow, a good start to winter I think.

Cabin, Sept 20th 2018

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Moose Camp 2018

Moose camp and summer job

Moose camp was successful again this year and we have meat for the winter. It could have been a bit more successful except for this one black bear that showed up. Moose one is down and out and after bring it to town for processing Jake and I returned to get #2, problem is this black bear who decided to not only cleanup the gut pile from the moose, but hang around and play with the hide for 6 days. So of course no more moose came back to our hunting valley. Oh well, still got meat.


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Packing to move

So the decision has been made to move to the cabin. Fairbanks is getting to controlling in its political view and lots of regulations that in my opinion are too restrictive and an undo amount of government regulation. I figure when the local gov’t not only tells you when you can and can’t heat your home and from whom you have to buy your wood stoves and wood, its time to go. Getting to socialistic for me.

Anyway, I also needed to get some fish for the winter so a trip to Chitna was in order and off I went. Netted 10 decent sized salmon and am now working on a brine. Think I’m going to try a new brine, the one at sounds good. If not I’ll go back to my Dry Brine from last year, it was pretty good.

The plan is to move around the first of December, depending on the weather. I want 2 feet of snow down to set a good trail to haul our household goods and gear. I am working on a Solar System for electricity and trying to drive a well in for water. Driving a well by hand is a bit of a hassle but I think I’ll get it. If not I do have access to year round water, just have to filter it. The solar system for electricity is easier just more expensive.

Our North Pole home won’t be empty as I was originally planning it would be until sold, our grandson is going to move in and rent it from for a while. So for now its packing and yard sales. Going to moose camp in a couple of weeks and hopefully we’ll have full freezers of fish, moose and caribou before we move, makes winter much easier when I know the freezers are full for the year :<)Share on Facebook

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The Cabin March 2018

Made the trip down to the cabin on the 14th with Dean and Jake and the roads were terrible. Icy and slick and blowing snow to make it all so much fun to drive on. Well we made it down to the parking area around 1:00 PM. Oh yeah, Rose’s café in Healy has a great breakfast.

The trail in wasn’t broke open, so Dean as our fearless leader set a track in through a foot of nice powder. It really was a nice ride without any loads. After Dean made a pass with his Bearcat, Jake followed with the M6 and I followed him with my Bearcat, so after one run we had a nice track set, just a bit rough. Dean’s second run included a groomer we made and brought in to leave at the cabin.

After the trail was smoothed out we packed in the 2×6’s for the second floor, firewood, and barrels of fuel. Guess I should explain, the cabin was originally built with a 12 x 20 foot loft, however as our future plans have changed I decided to extend the loft all the way and make it a second floor. So we now have 960 SF of living area. The new area is going to be a great bedroom or maybe it’ll be the entertainment area for the TV and Inet J Not sure just yet.

We also had about ¾ of a cord of firewood to haul which we started doing on Wed and Thursday. Friday Dean and Jake began work on the loft extension and I hauled firewood, that’s a lot of wood to haul with an Otter sled, but it’s all in and stacked. Along with the 60 Gals of gas and 55 gal drum of heating fuel.

Friday and Saturday were construction days. Dean and I (mostly Dean) framed up the floor and Jake worked on the electric (that is getting a couple more lights working on the second floor) and tying in a new breaker for the new area. We originally figured a day to frame the floor, but as things go it took us Friday and most of Saturday, of course not starting until noon might have helped put our timeline back a bit, that and a small hangover.


Dean and Jake left around 9:00 AM Sunday, yeah I know, early. So I was now on my own and thought I’d enjoy it a bit and work on the trail to the water hole, a little spring about a mile away that has great water. Well it snowed all day with a 20 to 30 MPH wind and visibility was zero, so I decided to relax for the day and deal with it on Monday. Ha, it continued to snow all night as well and by 9:00 AM Monday I had another foot of fresh snow. Humm, so I’ve got to get a trail open to the water hole and the truck so I could make it to Wasilla Tuesday to get the materials to start our Renewable Energy System, i.e. solar power for electricity.

As it turns out Kim the local resident (den mother would be a better name) was thinking about us and getting to the water hole as well. So she calls and we agree to meet up and break trails. She’d start from her cabin and head to the water hole and I’d start from ours. She made it most of the way and then disconnected the trail drag she was pulling and left it on the trail. I meet her and we headed to get the drag and more trail broke open. Ha, she missed this one turn and got her Bearcat stuck, hey, no biggie, I’ll set a track next to her and will get her out. Dang it, so after I got stuck, right next to her we dug out the shovels and 45 minutes later we’re back in business.

So six hours later the trails are all opened and ready, well sort of, one small issue with the dog gone wind, still blowing 30 mph and filling in the trails. Kim and I tried to get to the parking area by going over the top or S pipe as it’s called. It’s the hill just north of the cabin and clear of any trees and yup blowing wind that turns into white out conditions is not what I call fun. About half way through I stopped and looked behind me, our tracks were gone as fast as we made them. OK, plan B, take the lower trail, yeah I have more than one way in and the lower trail works, it just adds a few miles to the route out. And the wind was still blowing but we got a track set, or so I thought.

Tuesday morning early, I have to be in Wasilla by 10:00 AM and it’s a 120 miles south and the roads are slick and the wind filled in the tracks set Monday, so it’s 6:00 AM and I’m headed out. The trail was OK, windblown but no biggie really as I could see the outline of the trail. The biggest pain was arriving at my truck and finding it and the trailer buried in 24 inches of snow. After getting my morning workout I took off and made it to Wasilla by 9:30, not bad.

I then spent 3 hours with 907Solar and the owner Coley, great guy and excellent service and help. He and I put the Inverter/Charger together and he walked me through the configuration of the system to add the batteries and solar panels after I buy them. This is a piece meal project, just don’t have the $9,000.00 to do it all at once. So Inverter/charger first for $4,000.00 then the batteries next and then solar panels. After I get the batteries, next purchase, I can use the generator to charge them and the Inverter to run the cabin on the batteries. Not the best solution, but it’ll work until I get the solar panels and reduce my generator use from 24/7 to about 2 to 3 hours a day at most, maybe even less.

A nice evening at the cabin watching the wind blow off the mountain tops and fill in the trails again. But it was a productive and enjoyable trip, wish I didn’t have to come back to the rat race. Soon, oh so soon until we move.

Next trip I’ll bring in the 3/4 plywood for the sub-floor and some flooring to finish up the second floor and move the bedroom up stairs.

If you look at the photos below you can see the wind blowing the snow off the mountains tops.

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Pizza Run in March

It was nice day and the temps were above zero. This was what I call Stoney’s annual Pizza Run. Stoney, our fearless ride leader took us all though the local back trails starting about 3 miles from our home. The snow this year is great and deep, lots of powder and a couple of “Stuck Feast” times during the ride.

We rode 63 miles in all, some of it on trails, some of it on what should be trails that we broke open, some on the river and some play time in wide open fields. A variety of riding for everyone and as I said the temps were great, at one point folks were stripping off layer to cool down.

We also had a variety of riders aging from 11 to 70 with a variety of experience, Pizza was at the Two Rivers Lodge and they did a great job on service and cooking, great pizza.

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Sweetheart Run 2018

It was a cold start to a great day. As I drove to Chena Pump Landing to meet up with everyone for the ride I really didn’t expect to find anyone else. Alvin was already there, ready and waiting as I parked my rig others started to show up. So why you ask didn’t I expect anyone else, well my truck said it was -22 Below (f) and Mike C. said -26 Below (f) and as our normal ride cancelation cut off is between -15 and -20 below (f) depending on ride leader, I just didn’t think anyone would show up.

It ended up with 9 us of riding to Nenana and it was cold start but surprisingly it warmed up as we got farther down the river. Normally it gets colder, so I was happy to feel the warmer temps. Heck, Zero is down right balmy after unloading at -22 or so below.

The ride was easy, Roger and others have been running the trail to Nenana to get it in for the Iron Dog and we saw some stakes already in place. Not a lot of stakes and many more will be required before the 24th, but a good start.

About a third of the way down, say around the 16 mile mark we had this one little issue, no biggie for Iron Doggers, but thrilling for trail riders. As their fearless leader I came up on a small break in the ice with some water, ha, no biggie, the ice dropped a bit, but not enough I couldn’t get over it. So I roll over it and up on the trail on the other side, well the guy behind did what I did and went a little slow and as soon as his sled was on the ice, just before the crack, it broke and fall another foot or so.

Little hard to see from the angle, but it was about a 2 foot drop in elevation from where the pictures were taken to the ice on the other side. Hey, what’s a ride without a little diversion to keep your mind sharp. So we all made it across and kept on going. We did run into some areas similar to the one where the ice broke, a little tense but the trail ice held all the way to the Mondo.

Our waitress at the Mondo mentioned that the ice was thin compared to past years. This conversation got going when we were talking about the Nenana Ice Classic and when the ice would go out. She thinks it’ll be early, we’ll see.

Anyway, we stopped for gas in Nenana on the way back and now have a new ride slogan, “Evan Look Up”

It was a fast ride back to town and we got to our rigs around 4:00 PM, all in all a great day to be outside enjoying the sun and not a bad 110 mile ride.

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12 Mile Summit Ride

The last FST ATV ride of the season, next club rides will on snowmachine, snow is almost here. It was a good ride with Mike C, Evan, Jake and myself. We rode the trail out of 12 Mile Summit towards Circle, the trail was so rough we only made it 8.5 miles in and turned around. Once we reached the ridge above Birch Creek, Mike wanted to go down into the valley and ride out to the rode and go back via the highway, Jake of course figured we’d get stuck in the mud and be out till midnight. So we returned the same way we went in, over the very solid and extremely rough trail. By time I got home it was a 3 Aleve night, man was I sore.

But it was a good ride, never got rained on which was a plus.

Aug 2017 FST ride 12 Mile Summit

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Silver Fishing at Valdez

Had a blast dipnetting Reds and got a call from Dean that he was going to Valdez with family to fish for Silvers, so another trip for more fish. Fishing was good and the company excellent. We had a nice if wet 4 days. Silvers are in the smoker and taste really good 🙂

Silver Fishing at Valdez, 8_2017

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