Friday, October 1, 2004

Concrete Countertop

We poured our concrete kitchen countertop in place and colored it with acid stain. My friend and craftsman Tyson checked it out and took it a step further by pouring his in forms with colored aggregate, fossils, etc., and polishing them so they look like rare stone.

Ours looks like concrete ... the concrete guy I helped pour it wanted to fill some of the edge porosity and grind off some roughness, but I wanted it to look like concrete. I figured why try to fake it? With the stain it looks a lot like old stone and reminds me of some old and constantly wetted concrete I saw in the Carribean. I still run my hand on it and marvel at the variations in the surface colors and texture.

We used a gravel roof drip edge to form the front overhang and poured the little backsplash riser in place. I wouldn't pour the backsplash in place again as the concrete kept slumping out of the form. It does make for a good seal to the countertop though.

It's about 44 linear feet and 1-5/8 thick in-field ( looks like 2-1/2 in thick because the edges are thicker) .... it was a lot of concrete (hand mixed onsite in buckets) and an unbelievable mess!

The sink is not actually underhung - it's a 'normal' sink we poured concrete around the edges of. If it ever has to come out..... I shudder to think.

The fossil detail was a last second idea created by putting a silk leaf in the form.

The island has a drop down vent that comes up from behind the burners. A ceiling vent would be better ... this one pulls heat from the burners. I had the Stainless top made from my plywood template and it came out real well - it overhangs in the back and we use it with tall barstools.

Friday, August 20, 2004

August so far

Jake and I have been having some good flying. We went up to the Kahiltna a couple nights ago and landed up near the glacier - real nice spot. I'd never been in the Kahiltna river valley before. Looked like several good landing spots. You can't see it in the photo, but there was a good view of McKinley and I think Foraker? It was overcast up the Kahiltna, but we came back over Skwentna and down the Susitna valley and it was clear, calm and beautiful.
Yesterday we went over to Olson Creek on the Beluga and it was full of silvers. The strip was really rough and it was a long walk (I had to carry Jake across 2 sloughs), and I had to scare off a bear with my .44 but no one else was there and it was full of fish. The bear was weird - I've had them come towards me until they realized what I was and they bolt, but this one was just watching us. We heard a lot of splashing getting to the fishing hole, and I suspected it was a bear so we made a lot of noise and went the long way around so we wouldn't come up on it suddenly. We were yelling so it must have heard us, but it just stared at me until I shot twice near it with the .44. Which I've never shot without earplugs before and my ears rang all day. It's a lot louder than my other one - I think because it's magnaported. Anyway, even then he just ambled off, didn't seem really frightened at all or like he'd had the bad human interaction experience I wanted. I was a little tense for the rest of the time (because I wasn't sure I could outrun Jake in hipboots!), but figured I'd never heard of a brown bear sneaking back up on you after you chased it off. It didn't take long anyway to limit out and I took them back down to the strip to clean out in the open.

Today we went over to the Kustatan and it was slow but Jake limited on some really nice ones and a little Dollie Varden. I only hooked and lost one... which I'm hearing about from Mr. superfisherman. There's been a bear around there intimidating the fisherman and taking their fish, so I took my .375, but of course we didn't even see any bears - not even flying back. There were three other planes when I got there - one guy I worked with, and two I knew through my Uncle. Small world. We saw some Beluga whales on the way down, and flew up next to Mt Spurr (volcano) then real low down the Beluga river on the way back - really pretty trip.
A friend just happened to be at the Kustatan and took this shot of us landing....


Sunday, August 15, 2004

Denali sightseeing

A few days ago Jake and I made a trip I've wanted to try for a long
time. A friend from work had a visiting friend so I took them on the
usual Knik Glacier sighteseeing trip, with an 'off airport' landing,
then the 4 of us headed up to Mt McKinley. We climbed to 11K headed
up the Kahiltna Glacier and then traversed along the base to the
Eldridge Glacier, overflying the Ruth Ampitheater. It was a beautiful
CAVU day - no wind and about 55F at altitude. Really nice. The
commercial guys were all commenting to each other how nice it was.

The plane was still climbing really well at 11K and 100 mph at near gross
weight (I'm not saying which side of gross) which is quite an
improvement over my old Cub. I had the Cub up to 10K once, but this
is the highest I've flown so far. It was fun cruising back to
Talkeetna - indicating 180mph most of the way losing the altitude.

The photo is looking at McKinley about 1/2 way up the Kahiltna. I had
the route mapped out for my GPS with a friends waypoints but forgot to
upload it to the GPS, so I wasn't exactly sure I was at all times.
They have a special map of the mountain with reporting points that
you're supposed to use because there's a lot of commercial traffic and
there was a fatal mid-air a few years ago. I wasn't the only one
reporting "I think" before my position reports, and at least I knew my
altitude. The commercial guys seemed to be using 1000 ft separation
whenever they were near anyone else.


Sunday, July 11, 2004

McCarthy 2004

A couple days ago Jake and I flew up to McCarthy. We got a late start since I fixed my Loran and had to McGyver a repair on the pilot seat. We stopped in Gulkana for gas both ways at $3.89/gallon. I could have made it fueling only once, but I'd never flown East of Chickaloon before, and because of the smoke from the Fairbanks fires visibility was pretty bad after Gulkana, so some extra gas for getting lost seemed worthwhile. It was good practice landing in the gusts on pavement in Gulkana, anyway.
I hooked up my GPS finally, which was good thing - the Loran didn't work in the Copper River valley, and the smoke made the pilotage a little difficult - I would have had to follow the road without the GPS. I'd never installed it because I didn't want the distraction while I learned to fly the 180, but I really like it now. I programmed the route into the GPS from some topographic mapping software, then I downloaded the actual flight track to the same mapping software when we got home. Very cool.
At McCarthy airport we got a ride to the Kennicott mine. I'd never been there before and it was pretty neat. The lodge is nice but pricey - I think a short stay would be worthwhile though. We walked around and looked into all the buildings and old junk piled everywhere. It's not as open as I hear it used to be - the Park Service has everything under restoration and blocked from entry. It was really hot, sunny, humid and draining.... I'm not used to the heat, but it beats the usual Alaska drizzle, and the view over the glacier and toward Chitna was awesome.. . the smoke wasn't too bad right at the mine.
We left in late afternoon and didn't even go down into the McCarthy city proper. We'll go back there some time (Jake wants to go back), and there's a strip right next to McCarthy on the city side of the river (Old McCarthy strip I think) that would be a lot shorter walk into town.
When we were leaving, 2 couples from Arizona showed up in a Maule and a new Husky... both pretty nice planes but with tiny tires - ;-). They asked where the town was, where they were exactly, if there was anywhere in town to stay, how to get there... it seemed like a great way to travel - they'd flown up all the way from Arizona apparently without planning much more than day-to-day and were stopping wherever they ended up.


Monday, June 21, 2004

Hanna in Cordova

A few days ago, Hanna and I flew over to Cordova. I hadn't ever been there before, but it was only about 70 minutes in the air. We went direct from Palmer, climbed to over 9,000 ft to clear the Knik glacier, and had a beautiful view of Prince William Sound. It was clear and in the high 70s in Cordova - lots of people were swimming in Eyak lake. It took about 30 minutes to walk into town from the 'city' strip, then we went all the way down to the marina. It was plenty long and hilly to push the stroller in the heat.