Something Funny and a Good Blog to Share

 I was more than a little apprehensive about my trip to ANWR to begin with. Then my cab from the airport in Fairbanks to the hotel was smashed into just as I was paying the driver. It felt and sounded like there had been an explosion. My driver was an elderly gal who screamed about whiplash and was very, very upset. I was worried she'd have a heart attack.

 The big Ford SUV was brand new, she said, and swore and moaned some more. 

I looked over my shoulder. Smoke billowed up from the back of the rig, right where my gear for the trip-- all carefully packed in a big rubber dry bag that weighed 45 pounds (it had to be less than 50), plus my overnight bag for the hotel-- was. I hadn't come this far to have it all melt before I even began (most of it was polypro and nylon, rubber, and wool). So I told her stay still and climbed over the seat and grabbed the gear and hauled it all back over the front seat and then tossed it onto the sidewalk. It was quite a move if I do say so myself. Amazing what adrenaline can do. 

The ladies from a shop adjacent to the hotel helped the driver out of the Cadillac, and I was glad he was okay, what with the air bags and the smashed windshield, popped tires, and crunched, steaming hood. My cab driver was still in distress, but we decided it would be better to exit the vehicle, since it might explode, so I helped her out and she sat on a bench and we waited for the police, EMTs, and firemen to arrive.

Meanwhile, the driver had bolted from his helpers, reached into the car through a broken window, grabbed a satchel and a gun and run off around the corner toward downtown. One the shopkeepers sighed and said he'd follow him and call us on his cell phone to tell us where he went.

I wondered if this was a good idea, but before I could say so, the helpers arrived and took care of the cab driver, and asked me questions, and wrote down my contact info, and then took the cab driver to the hospital, just to be sure, but she seemed okay by that time, just rattled. A tow truck came and I checked into the hotel. The clerk, a young woman with long braided corn rows, asked if I was alright and could she do anything for me. I had flown from Juneau and Anchorage, and it was now about noon. I was tired and hungry but wanted to regroup a minute. 

"Could I check into my room early?"

"No." She said. "But there's a good barbecue place around the corner."

She pointed in the direction the gunman had run.

Barbecue?

Is it safe to be on the street? I mean, with an armed and dangerous man at large? Shouldn't there be an APB, or a lockdown or something? I asked.

She smiled and assured my it was fine.  "Welcome to Fairbanks, " she said. "This must be your first visit."

(Later, I learned that police had caught the man,  who was drunk, and that the car was stolen.)

Also, my friend Mario Juarez, a former KHNS reporter turned Microsoft corporanado, now an inspirational speaker, who never stole a car and I don't think even owns a gun, but has probably been to Fairbanks,  wrote up a blog about his recent trip to Haines, and I think you will find it interesting- I know I did.

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