A few recent, inexpensive improvements have greatly enhanced our workaday situation:
- The morning after the freeze-out of my poor feet and the ice-stinging of my painful fingers, Chris and I drove directly to the boot and glove store and got me a pair of affordable winter boots rated to -65 degrees that have held up nicely each night and been downright delightful with a couple of foot warmers squished into the toes. The gloves are only liners made of polypropylene which Chris and I agree are the warmest gloves we've ever owned.Total cost: $74
- After toting the goddamned unnecessarily heavy marine battery around from site to site while Chris decided where best to shoot, I got us a cheap plastic sled to hold all of our gear, and a length of 25' rope to tie it to my waist so as we're trekking off into No-Man's Land I can drag everything behind me. Even though I've made things easier on myself, for Chris' money I think he gets a helluva kick out of watching me pull his stuff around like a sled-dog.
- Mr. Bob Stefko has brought an element of professionalism and peer-competition that I think has upped Chris' game and really has us all going for the gold on this one. It doesn't hurt that he also brought with him nearly 30 positive degrees in temperature. We haven't seen a negative reading since he arrived.
Total cost: $15
- Bob's girlfriend, Shelby, has brought with her a sense of humor and calm assurance that plays incredibly well with three guys running around like madmen trying to catch something as it flies through the sky in the dark of night. She is the Sacagawea to our Lewis and Clark (and Clark's sled-dog, Erik).
Total cost: free!
- For versatility we've added to our gear a 25' length of arctic-rated extension chord that allows Chris greater freedom of movement to set up a third shot out of range of Bob's cameras, which have in them lenses so wide they can virtually see behind them. The chord moonlights (or daylights, actually) as a replacement for the engine-block warmer chord that I pulled out without dis-attaching again and apparently ran over repeatedly until the poor thing let loose somewhere in the greater Fairbanks area.
Total cost: (also) free!!
- The growler I bought in the airport in Anchorage is fillable at the last outpost heading north, (our preferred direction for shooting) at the Silver Gulch Brewery in Fox, 10 miles north of Fairbanks. While this is not a new improvement, I cannot overstate its role in improving my personal outlook on the nights we fill it. It is the fuel that pulls the sled.Total cost: At just $10 per 64 oz. fill, it's the cheapest dog food you'll find around Fairbanks ;)
Total cost: $22