Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alaska Attacks!!!

Hi Rodney Drive Readers - I started writing this when I was still in Alaska, but didn't finish it while I was there.

My trip to Alaska is coming to a close shortly, and I’m now at the point where I’m counting down the hours until my flight…at the moment, it’s 25 hours…

I’ve been busy trying to watch tapes and figure out what we’ve got on our hands (and so far, there’s still a lot of tape to watch.) I’ve been landlocked the last couple of days, which is fine. It can get overwhelming looking at the stack of work, so I can easily get lost for hours just screening things.

Yesterday, I got an opportunity to get away from my tapes for a few hours – myself and some of the crew took a skiff upriver (sorry, don't know the name of it) to shoot some beauty shots for the show.

The sun was out. It was early and there was a bit of an early morning chill. But it didn’t matter – I was going upriver, something that everyone here says we needed to do.

After carefully navigating the sandbars near the beach, our driver, Paul, began speeding upriver. It was one of the most amazing boat rides I’ve ever been on – around every bend, there was yet a more spectacular view of the snow-topped mountains. The river was hugged by trees and marshland.
As we neared one bank, I heard shouts of, “MOOSE!” No, Mike Mussina wasn’t in the marshland – it was a pregnant female moose. (Not only cool, but a good score for B-Roll!) Luckily, we caught the moose as she was crossing the stream, and got to see her climb out and stumble into the marshlands.
We also spotted an Eagle, standing proud above us. My first thought, of course, was that it must be Stephen Colbert’s Eagle, Stephen Junior. He then flew off into the sky, probably off to protect America or something.
I can't fly higher than an Eagle...

After driving upriver a while longer, we stopped to do a little fishing. Instead of fishing at this stop, I wandered into the marshland, exploring slightly…and by exploring, I mean walking about 50-yards through the brush.
Our driver pointed out moose droppings, and thought bears could be nearby. This is why I only explored about 50-yards.
Isn't "Moose Droppings" a Ben & Jerry's flavor?

We headed upriver to yet another fishing spot. Our guide caught a fish within minutes, but our crew was not having much success…that is, until I grabbed the rod.
A casting session in Alaska...get it...casting!
I cast about 5 or 6 times, and was about to hand it off, when I did one more for the hell of it. The water was so clear, I could see my lure coming in towards the skiff. About five feet away from the engine, I saw something shiny go after my lure – A FISH!!! HOLY SHIT, A FISH!!!
This became a deep fried appetizer.

Sure, enough, that sonofabitch grabbed hold and I brought it up. It was a dolly – a delicious fish I had tried earlier in the week. If anything, this trip has turned me from a wuss, to a slightly more outdoorsy wuss.

After taking our trip, one of our shooter/producers and I walked through town to meet the Mayor and do an interview with him. We found him – working in the general store. I guess he owns/runs the store. As we set up for the interview, I was talking to him about the election. He initially got involved by getting elected to the town council – the position was up for grabs and he beat someone else by winning a coin flip. Then, when the Mayor’s office was up for grabs, the council voted whether he or another guy should become mayor. It was a tie vote about 5 or 6 times, he said, and that’s when he finally switched and voted for himself.

The one thing I’ve talked a little bit about is the shopping in Togiak – there really isn’t much “commerce” there – two stores, a post office, a couple of B&B’s, and people selling their homemade beaded jewelry and ivory.

Anytime I go on a trip, I love going to the local markets to see what things they carry and how much things are. Obviously, since this town is so remote, everything is beyond expensive. So, I decided to take some pics to share the cost of living with you…

Shotguns anyone?

Also, he's some pics from the brush fire across the street from the house - yes, the locals put it out using buckets and the fire department arrived when it was all done.

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