Friday, December 24, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Diane over at Artstanding Stranger sent these great photo postcards. "Trapper's Cabin" is an "alaska joe" original postcard. The other shows the Continental Divide in Yellowstone National Park. Thanks Diane, I didn't have either card but do remember crossing the great divide as a kid on a family vacation and seeing that same sign. Sod roofs are traditional structures with many native peoples who populate the Alaskan region and with modern day trappers and National Park Service restrooms in remote locations.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Alaska is so big you can put Texas, California, Montana within its borders and still have plenty of room for Idaho. Now that's big.
Compared to the world's countries, Alaska ranks 15th in size, just a little smaller than Lybia and nearly 27,000 square miles larger than Iran.
A few other facts, Alaska has the most coastline of any state and half the world's glaciers.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I bought this postcard (along with several others I'll post in the coming months) at the air base of the Alaska Smoke jumpers Headquarters on Fort Wainwright, Alaska, literally, my next door neighbor in Fairbanks. The title of this postcard is Patrolling the Line. My friend, an Alaskan smoke jumper in the late sixties, made his yearly pilgrimage here to spend two weeks hiking in Denali National Park and while in Fairbanks we paid a visit to the smoke jumpers headquarters. Surprisingly, the base has a small but wonderful collection of smoke jumper postcards. I think this card shows the environment in which the smoke jumper works. Surrounded by fire and smoke he carries a Pulaski axe/adze or hoe putting out hot spots around edges of fires to keep them from spreading. During the fire near my work camp residence, smoke jumpers camped out in pup tents for two weeks on fire watch. Each day they could be seen walking the perimeter of the fire with their Pulaski and water packs, faces black with soot yet always smiling. People in areas prone to wildfires are grateful for smoke jumpers who protect homes and cabins at great risk to themselves.
This postcard's photo was taken in 1999 by Mike McMillan. More photos of smoke jumpers can be found here.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
This card is an entrance to a traditional home in Taiwan. It was sent by postcrosser Ya-Cin of Taiwan. The black characters on a red painted background to the left of the door is a couplet which declares "Jesus is Lord of my family." It is sobering to recall that in most of the world's countries such a sign would be an invitation to ridicule, persecution or death.
Every Christian knows that everyday is a Memorial Day because of Christ's sacrificial death for the atonement of the world's sin and for the untold number of unheralded Christian martyrs world wide throughout history and today.
As a small boy I remember my family would take time each Memorial Day (not yet a legal holiday) and visit the graves of the family's dead. I was so small I didn't yet understand the significance of these visits but did understand the reverence of my aunts and uncles and parents for the memory of their ancestor's life of sacrifice.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Some say they are forecasters of coming of winter but I've found this to be a dubious claim in the absolute sense. I've heard all sorts of predictions. When three rows of blooms are left there are three weeks before the first snow. Or when the plant is in full bloom it means six weeks to winter. One problem with all these prophecies is the lack of defining what constitutes winter. Some people mean the first snow. Others the fall equinox. Some vacillate between both to fit the prediction. I think all plant legends are generally accurate on a local basis with occasional aberrations accepted when they are given by a local who has observed the seasons for a life time or is heir to many generations accumulated observations. From my observations in the interior of Alaska for just shy of two decades, I can say with general certainty: when I see the blossoms fall from the top my snow gear is ready to go.
Friday, March 26, 2010
My daughter and I took on Kraken while at Sea World in Florida earlier this winter. The super (or mega) coaster is made of 1.2 million pounds of steel. It has seven inversions, including an corkscrew and an zero-G, and reaches 65 mile per hour. Because your feet dangle in the air, the sensation of vulnerability is accentuated. The G-forces, similar to those experienced on high-banked race tracks, and the 144-foot near vertical drop, were enough to cure my daughter of wanting to ride any more mega coasters -- at least for the time being. As a confirmed adrenaline junkie, I couldn't get enough. Even after Kraken, I can still say, 'I have yet to meet a coaster I didn't like.'
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Dave relates that getting to Salar De Uyuni took 'two buses, a kid puking, a flat tire and his passport being held hostage overnight' which, considering some of his exploits, went rather smoothly. He also said the area is beautiful. Apparently, the flats were covered with a few inches of water that reflected the surrounding mountains and clouds and for a while it was difficult to tell up from down.
You can find a nice account of a visit to the flats by a couple a few years ago, here.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
During his life, Charles expanded the Frankish kingdom to into an empire that incorporated much of what is now western and central Europe. Charles reign saw the flowering of western culture and art.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
This sign sent by Steve from Montana represents the nightmare of government over-regulation. There are rumors that the current Tea Party movement is debating convening here for its next annual convention. They want to add "No Taxation" to the list.
I especially like rule number five, "No Parking." I guess the municipality was attempting to kill two birds with one stone: reduce our collective carbon footprint and prevent unwanted pregnancies. The small lettering at the bottom is especially telling. It reads, "Trespassers will be Ventilated."
This postcard brought to mind a song, Signs, from the 1970's.
"Sign, sign everywhere as sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?"
This anthem of the hippie era was written by Canadian Les Emmerson. The song was first recorded by the Five Man Electrical Band. You can read about the band and read the complete lyrics here.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Two examples of cog rail systems: The top postcard (thanks again Jan and Rick) was postmarked 1912. It pictures the Pike's Peak cog road steam engine with a tilted chassis. The lower postcard, from my grandmother years ago, is more recent (vintage 1940-50's) of the same track with an electric diesel engine similar to the one still used today (click here). In the bygone age of steam-powered locomotives the boilers needed to remain nearly level else the boiler would overheat and explode. This is why the engine is tilted in the top postcard. (See more on cog and rack rail systems and tilted boiler steam engines here.)
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
In 1907, John E. Schwitzer proposed lessing the grade with the construction of two spiral tunnels that crossed in a figure-eight shape. The tunnels were completed in 1909 and cut the grade down to 2.2%. The construction took two years, 1,000 workers at a cost of $1.5 million. Workers removed 54,000 cubic meters of rock from the tunnels.
Notice the similarity of the concrete tunnel entrance, vegetation and rock slide on the hillside in both the old and new cards. Also, note that both trains' engines have crossed under their tails or cabooses.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Australia and New Zealand are on my wish list of places to travel before the big curtain descends or as people of faith believe before the big curtain lifts. Joe says it is hot there this time of year (summer in the southern hemisphere) and he is making many fun trips to the beach. Ah, the beach, the waves, the sun. Maybe that is why I like this card so much. It reminds me that summer exists somewhere in the world and will return here (Fairbanks, Alaska) in May.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Glen of Calgary sent these two railroad themed postcards recently. Glen's has the Gem's World Postcards blog here. He has added several quality railroad postcards to my collection, especially Canadian Pacific postcards. The Sleeper Only trans-Canada trains began in 1907 on a limited basis (a three runs a week) and became more popular and frequent during the 1920s, following the prosperity after World War I. Americans seeking a way around U.S. alcohol prohibition were frequent passengers. They also sought out the train for its luxurious interiors and high quality wines and liquors.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
This is an AZUSA Publishing Post Card. Their web site is worth the visit. See their amazing collection of historical postcards here.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
My friend David sends this card while traveling in Costa Rica. He sent the card from San Jose Airport and noted that "...if I didn't know better I would think I'm in the states. Its has to be 90% Americans in here." David travels each winter taking in the sites and sounds of Central and South America. He has this terrible itch to climb mountains too. Dave just recently descended Aconcagua Mt, the highest mountain in the Americas at 22,841 feet located in Argentina near the Chilean border. Dave was unable to summit but returned with all his fingers and toes, so Dave will live to climb another day.
This postcard shows the Violet Sabrewing Hummingbird. He said there are over 50 different species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica and while there he was fortunate to see 10 of those. Costa Rica is a destination of many birders who can travel a very small geographical area and view numerous species of birds.
The postcard photo credit goes to Jane Moore. Click on her name to see here web site portfolio. Jane has some great photos of wildlife from Africa and does weddings and portraits too. Thanks, Dave.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
I came by this postcard when I moved to Alaska in 1990. I had already lived in a tepee and built my own home in Northern Michigan. The card probably was responsible for giving me the idea that I could do it all over again in Alaska. In 1994, my wife and I built our own cabin 15 mile north of Healy, Alaska. I can report that there is nothing romantic about hammering roof nails at 35 below zero.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
After nearly three weeks of crisscrossing the country, I thought this old postcard of gold seekers trudging up the Chilkoot Pass was appropriate. I've lugged my laptop, books and papers across the country with the intention of posting here but alas family visits, a hectic schedule and lack of conductivity at airports and hotels put the brakes on my best intentions. Thanks to a seven hour layover at the Seattle Tacoma Airport and a strong Internet connection tonight I finally can post this piece of Alaskana.