Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In My 'Office', leaving Anchorage Sat. a.m. (in the Fog)

Received the following via email.  Location is Anchorage, Alaska, date is probably 9-14-13, but the photographer is not identified in the email.  Also, the author of the text is unclear. 

Here we were, last Saturday, approaching a highway overpass departing Anchorage in light fog. This was not the 'tight' bridge for which we actually have to briefly lower the load deck to fit (at a 'crawl') the nearly 2 1/2 stories-tall load beneath. After we get beyond the obstruction, we lift the deck and 630,000-pound load back up to running height and continue on. We are normally alone, up on our respective ends of the 20 axle railcar, linked by radio headsets, but on Saturday, I had the company of a hired video crew riding along up there.

On Tuesday, they're going to chase the freshly-reloaded (today) car north by helicopter, again. They had two video cameras on the Saturday trip: one large 'news-cam' type for documenting my operating the hydraulic lifting and shifting mechanisms and to interview me; the other was a smaller but still-Hi-Def cam on a 20-foot Fiberglas extension pole. The latter was used to 'fly' the lens along, above, beside and (almost) underneath the car and load. I have seen some out-takes, and it is utterly breathtaking footage of us leaving the urban surroundings of the port and trekking out into the wilderness. It's like strapping a camera to a pigeon that is trained to fly all around the load while moving.

Though it was foggy as we headed up to Eklutna after sunup on Saturday, it burned off within an hour. (We saw two bears on an aspen tree next to the Right-of-Way, as we climbed the grade up out of Anchorage.) By that afternoon, it is crystal-clear blue with bright sun illuminating the snow atop Mt. McKinley in shades of pink and orange, visible here from 125 miles away! After I got back to Anchorage with our empty railcar, I went up the hill into downtown and took photos of the fabled (and North America's tallest) mountain, with the iconic Alaska Railroad headquarters building in the foreground.