Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fun with Hockey and Photoshop

Good exhibition game last night. The under-18 USA Hockey team, with 6 wins in a row, made it 7 against my Alaska Nanooks at the Sully in Anchorage. I think the score ended up 5-3 with the Nooks coming alive in the 3rd period scoring 3 big ones on the near perfect goalie. Tonight the red, white and blue take on the UAA Seawolves same place/same time.

If I can find a stream I'll listen in. I'm starting to really like hockey. And photoshop.

Friday, September 29, 2006


From USA


The NTDP consists of two national teams, the U.S. National Under-18 Team and the U.S. National Under-17 team, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the program's goal is to prepare student-athletes under the age of 18 for participation on U.S. National Teams and for future hockey careers. Efforts focus on high-caliber play and on developing well-rounded individuals off the ice. The success of the NTDP is not gauged on wins and losses, but on acquiring skills and experience.The two teams combine to play more than 110 games each season vs. collegiate, U.S. junior and international competition.


From the Fairbanks News-Miner

Development team to challenge Nanooks

By Danny Martin
Published September 27, 2006

This weekend marks the first time the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 Team has stepped onto a hockey rink in Alaska against the state’s NCAA Division I programs. But head coach Ron Rolston is no stranger to the Alaska Nanooks, his team’s opponent at 7:05 Friday night at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

Rolston is in his second season at the helm of the U-18 team, but from 1990-95, he was an assistant coach for Lake Superior State, a Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival of the Nanooks. During Rolston’s tenure with the Lakers of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., he occasionally saw a nifty Alaska forward named Tavis MacMillan.

MacMillan, whose 192 career points from 1990-94 rank fourth all-time in Nanooks scoring, is entering his third season as his alma mater’s head coach.

“From what I remember is he obviously worked hard,'’ Rolston said Monday afternoon from the National Team Development Program’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich. “He had some good skill level, and he was a heart and soul player, and I’m sure his team plays like that. It’s going to be a challenge for us.'’

MacMillan anticipates a challenge, too, against an Under-18 squad that has enjoyed a 6-0 run through Junior A opposition since its season opened two weeks ago. The unbeaten streak features a 4-0 finish in the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine, Minn., on Sept. 13-16. The tournament included the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Alaska Avalanche of Wasilla.

“The thing that’s going to be tough for us early on in that game is going to be adjusting to their speed on an Olympic sheet,” MacMillan said after last Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game in the Patty Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “They will have played (six) games by then.'’

The Nanooks had their first three practices of the season on the Carlson Center’s Olympic-size sheet (200 x 100 feet) but has since practiced and played on the smaller Patty Center ice.
The Nanooks were invited to play the national team after University of Alaska Anchorage head coach Dave Shyiak had originally scheduled the Under-18 squad for the Seawolves’ first exhibition game of the season. UAA faces the Under-18 team at 7:05 Saturday night in Sullivan.
“He (Shyiak) said he wanted to schedule us because he had an open date early in his schedule and he said he could have Fairbanks come down,'’ Rolston said. “It also lets us expose our program to the youth hockey teams there.'’

The game against the Nanooks couldn’t be played in Fairbanks because the Carlson Center is playing host to the Fairbanks Winter Show on Friday through Sunday.

The Nanooks are the U-18 squad’s first collegiate competition of the season. Twenty-three of its 41 individual games involve NCAA Division I programs, with five of them from the CCHA. The other CCHA opponents—all road games—are Michigan (Oct. 8), Michigan State (Oct. 19), Northern Michigan (Dec. 15) and Lake Superior State (Dec. 16).

“You’re facing older, experienced players and teams with a lot of depth,'’ Rolston said. “I’m looking forward to playing the college teams because it forces us to play at a high tempo, which gets us prepared for our international tournaments.'’

USA Hockey began the national team development program 10 years ago as a feeder system for its various national teams, particularly the squad for the World Junior Championship tournament (for players under 20). There is also an U-17 team, which like the Ice Dogs and Avalanche, plays in the NAHL.

One current Nanook and several National Hockey League players have been involved in the national team development program, in which participants train full time while living and attending high school in Ann Arbor.

Nanooks junior goaltender Wylie Rogers was with the Under-18 team in 2002-03, appearing in 30 games and compiling a 15-10-1 record with a 2.97 goals against average and .905 saves percentage. He shut out Finland 4-0 and earned a 4-3 victory over Sweden in the 2003 Five Nations Cup in Prague, Czech Republic.

Three players on the 2006 U.S. Olympic hockey team—goaltender Rick DiPietro and defensemen Jordan Leopold and John-Michael Liles—trained in the program, and 27 of its alumni have played at least one game in the National Hockey League.

Seventeen players in the NHL Entry Draft in June came from the program, with six chosen in the first round, including No. 1 overall pick, Erik Johnson, who was selected by the St. Louis Blues.

Johnson decided that rather than the NHL, he’d go to the University of Minnesota, which is coached by former Nanooks head coach Don Lucia.

Many NTDP alumni have opted for Division I hockey rather than the pros, and some of those players were later chosen for the U.S. World Junior team. Since its start, the national team development program has seen about 200 of its players move on to D-I programs.

The path to the development program begins with USA Hockey officials inviting and evaluating players at select festivals, starting with players 14 years old.

Rolston said that by the time players are 16, USA Hockey officials have an idea of who the top 100 players in the nation are for that age, and of that group, which 50 they’ll invite to an orientation camp which is held each fall in Ann Arbor. The campers are narrowed to 22 selections for the U-17 program.

Twenty-one of the 23 players on this season’s U-18 team were in the U-17 program last season.
“We look for the kind of players who can push themselves to become better players,'’ said Rolston, who was also an assistant coach at Harvard, Clarkson and Boston College before joining the national team development program. “We do as much background checks as we can on their characteristics and work ethics. We try to bring each player as close as we can to a well-rounded package that combines work ethic, skill and determination to make him a great player.'’

Staff writer Danny Martin can be reached at or 459-7586.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Salmon's Last Stand

Dog Salmon Creek looking like a brutal battlefield where both sides lost.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Old Road in the Fall

Some of you might remember when I posted pictures of the Old Richardson Hwy last summer from a trip back from Chitina. Coming back from Tangle Lakes last week I took the Old Road again and took these pictures. It was so pretty with the fall colors I had to share.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

FishTaxi's Hamburgers

Messed around in Photoshop this rainy afternoon. Dreaming of having my own mobile kitchen again. Before I started working at the college I wrote up my business plan. Then I got all into the 9-5 or in my case the 2-11 and put my hopes and dreams on the back burner.

Well, I'm back into it. I only need about 50 grand for a state of the art mobile kitchen stocked and ready to go. A new place opened up this summer in Valdez called Old Town Burgers and they made a killing. Inside scoop is they paid for the equipment and set up the first month in operation. That could very well be true.

While I'm down in the states next month I'm going to look around for a mobile kitchen. Or if anyone knows of a good one already in Alaska let me know. ANd if anybody wants to be a partner, silent or not, lets talk.

The name won't be FishTaxi's Hamburgers. The more I look at just doesn't work.

Monday, September 25, 2006


The sun came out two days in a row! Took Roxy for a walk to our old haunts the other night after it stopped the torrential downpouring. Valdez broke records the first few days I was back in town so you know thats a LOT of rain.

Passed this pile of berries on the beaten path.

I kept the picture small (so not to gross anybody out) but I think its regurgatated bear puke. Looks like the bear gave it all up to charity. I saved it to my gruesome file. Never to be seen again in the light of day.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Hunter lives here

with the dear of his life.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Tricky Trash

After working at a remote lodge where you separate your bottles, cans and burnables I'm back to paying the price of garbage removal.

Be it an anorexic anxiety attack of too much trash and not knowing what to do about it or simply too easily amused by consumption noncomsumables.

Illegal Bull

Alaska State Troopers seized this bull moose from the shooter right as we were leaving TRI. We happened to catch up with it in Glennallen where the troopers were parked next to the new store.

It would have been a legal bull had a brow tine on the right (in the picture) not have been shot or somehow broken off.

Other illegal bull is a narc in Valdez town took down a rumored 21 citizens, some for as little as a half gram of cocaine shared with the narc, with bail set at $10,000.00 each!?!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Saved by a Ford

With pictures to prove it. Mr. FishTaxi was right not to trust the Shitzubitchi. Coming down Thompson Pass it died and did not want to start. It ran fine before that and I even took the old road while the guys took the main road. We had walkietalkies in case I did break down.

My car wasn't the only breakdown. Coming out of Tangle Lakes on the Denali Hwy about 4pm the alternator went out in the Chevy. I booked to Paxson Lodge and called Napa in Glennallen and told them Aaron was on his way in his Ford (he dropped the pulley) and to please wait for him. He got there at 5:59 and the parts guy was shocked. He didn't expect him til 6:30 or so. I went back and told Mr. FishTaxi I would wait for them at Meirer's Lake Lodge where we had dinner and stayed the night.

So without the Ford we would have been dead in the water twice. What was weird was when we got back the Montero started right up. That thing is possessed.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Buh Bye Tangle Lakes

We're home! It was a good thing my guys brought the car pulley.

I'll update later. After I set up my desktop and download the pics.

Its good to be home.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

One more day...

and we are caravaning out of here. No moose yet for Mr. FishTaxi but it won't be from the lack of trying. Him and his hunting buddy are camped out at the river again tonight.

I'm doing laundry and packing tonight in between dishes. They shut the cabins and the big shower house down for the winter today. We still have guests staying in Moose Hollar and Swan Lane. I'll clean Moose tomorrow and the boss's right hand lady said she'd take care of Swan Lane as those people are staying a couple more days. I'm hoping they cut me loose tomorrow afternoon but it could be Thursday morning.

I got Roxy staying in the back of the Montero as I am dehairing the cabin. The boss's husband will be staying in there for another week or so and since I'm the housekeeper I better leave a clean cabin.

Its been a fast fun five weeks and its pretty much gone as planned. I made some money and some friends. Plus, I'm getting a layoff. Unenjoyment here I come!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sparkling Clean Cabins

Here are the cabins I've been cleaning every day for the over a month.

Things have slowed down so now they have me washing all the bedding so its all ready to go next spring.

Since my daughter is here we put her to work helping me for room & board. A godsend to me!

Mr. FishTaxi is up camping on the McClaren River still waiting for his moose to come sauntering by. Him & his buddy don't want to hang around here too much as we might put them to work. This is his vacation though so off camping they went.


Sunday, September 17, 2006


Mr. FishTaxi put the new starter in my Montero and my daughter drove it here to the Inn! A friend followed with his truck and a car pulley just in case. They will be staying here with me til the shutdown and will make sure I make it back home to Valdez. Mr. FishTaxi does not trust the Montero any more and doesn't think it would be a good idea for me to take it down the Denali Hwy to Talkeetna this trip. That bums me out but just the thought of getting out of here is making me happy!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Muddy Tires

We are packed this weekend and I woke up this morning with that head cold going around. Luckily I only had 3 cabins today but tomorrow I'll have 17! I hope I feel better.

Naidine read my blog and corrected me on her age (oops!) and the year they started operating the lodge.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Queen

of the Tangle River Inn.

Naidine Johnson is 69 years young today. She and her husband Jack have been owner/operators of this lodge since 1970.

This lady is still walking the walk. We had a family style dinner at the bar tonight. Filet mignon with a garlic spinach parsley mushrommdipping sauce, baked pot atoes and veggies. It was lovely and I was glad to be a part of it.

I made her a CD of songs I thought she would like. She used to sing in the USO and met Patsy Cline and Elvis Presley. Every once in a while she fires up the karoke machine and entertains the customers and employees alike.

They are thinking next year year will be the last year they will operate the lodge. Its up for sale for $1.2 million. They are ready to build their retirement home on Big Lake.

I hope whomever buys this place puts the heart and soul Jack & Naidine do into this lodge. And keep up the friendly Alaskan hospitality. No Princess Tour busses!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fly Me To The Moon

Took this pic yesterday. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. Today was nice and tonight Mr. Fishtaxi showed up. Without my Montero. Its sitting down at Paxon Lodge. It almost made it until the starter went out. He ordered one and it will be at Glennallen Napa Saturday. So its close!

Now, if it were a plane, I wouldn't even think of flying it unless in was in tiptop shape.

7 days to go!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Colors of Fall

I took a lot of pictures yesterday but this one just jumped out at me. I have it as my new wallpaper. Today was another beautimus day.

Bad news about my Montero. The shop can't figure out what is wrong with it. If I can't get it up here I won't be driving the Denali hwy out of here. Mr. Fishtaxi will have to come and pick me up and we'll head straight home. boohoo I wanted to go visit Whole Wheat Radio.

Maybe a miracle will happen and I still can.

Eight more days to go!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Its horny around here

Everybody that put in for a Tier II caribou permit got one this year. Lots of hunters heading down the Denali highway and stopping in here. The huge rack on the left was got by the boss lady's husband. He also got a 48inch bull moose on the 28th of August. It was in full velvet which they trimmed off before I got a picture.

Today was gorgeous and I snapped a lot of pictures but no time to download them today.

I'm glad we are busy because that makes time go by fast. Only nine days to go now!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Window of Opportunity

As the days get shorter and the colors turn to fall I reflect on a wonderful summer. I'm looking forward to going home via the Denali Hwy (which I can see out the kitchen window) to Talkeetna and visiting the good folks at Whole Wheat Radio.

When I got all loaded up to come up here to the Tangle River Inn to work the last 5 weeks of the season my Mitsubishi Montero died in my driveway with a full tank of gas. I'd come home for one last thing and that was Roxy and it wouldn't start. So Mr. FishTaxi gave me, Roxy and all my stuff a ride here. He got it fixed but wants to take it to the shop and have it checked out on a computer before they bring it up here. I don't want it to break down with all my stuff in the middle of nowhere.

So hopefully I'll get my rig back this weekend. Mr. Fishtaxi dropped it off at the shop this morning. Then he took off hunting for 3 days. A friend said she would take a day off work, if she has to, to drive it up here.

It was a good rig all summer. It got me to Lake Louise, Chitina a couple of times, Fairbanks and now I'm hoping it gets me out of here. In 10 more days!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The New Alaska Hunter

Check this guys hunting rig out. They stopped in the cafe the other day for lunch. Thats pretty much who we are catering to now is hunters and a few late tourists. We've really slowed down but they are still staying open til the 20th.

Looks like they are cutting me loose on the 21st. 10 more days to go!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Canoe City

Got a chance to go canoeing the other day. Took Rodney, the guy who helps me, with me. He'd been here all summer and never went canoeing. He never did anything but work while he was here for 4 months. Today was his last day of work and he's heading home to Sacramento, California tomorrow where he lives on a houseboat.

Once he's gone I'll be on my own cleaning the cabins and doing the dishes. No biggie. We are slowing down and I'd rather be busy so time goes by faster. Found out today it will be the 21st or 22nd before they cut me loose.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Kitchen View

This is where I've been spending my evenings the last 22 days.

When I get done with the cabins I take a break til 6pm. I usually take Roxy for a walk then download my pictures. Since I forgot my camera software I have to download to my desktop then burn a CD to take up here to download to my laptop so I can post pictures here.

Down in my cabin I can't get wireless so I leave my laptop up here. My project at the cabin, on my desktop, is downloading all my CDs to my computer finally. I am still about halfway done. I have been keeping a daily journal since I got here. I call it my bitch book. I get it all out and its done and over with. Thats how I get along with everybody here so well and they all think I'm so nice. heheh

About 11pm is movie time. I watch the movies on my computer. The lodge has hundreds of DVDs for my choosing. Last night I watched The Notebook with James Garner and Gena Rowlands. It was wonderful and I'm going to watch it again tonight. It was that good.

I know how to have fun in the middle of nowhere!

12 more days to go.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Home away from home

This is my little cabin at Tangle River Inn. Its pretty comfortable. Roxy even has her own bed!

I don't have my own bathroom but theres one not too far away. Small price to pay to have Roxy with me.

I get a salary, room & board, plus tips. Tonight we are all sitting around sipping blueberry brandy. We are booked through the next two weekends so my last couple of weeks should go by fast. I'm glad I came up here. Its a nice lodge with nice people and that can make all the difference in the world. They are already hinting at me to come back next year. I haven't committed yet but I am thinking about it.

Who knows where the fishTaxi will be next year?!?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Room with a view

This is the view looking outside my cabin. The picture was taken a week or so ago. The fall colors are changing fast. This morning there was frost on the windows. The lowbush cranberries should be ready for picking. This is my 20th day straight working here. A new cook arrived today which made everybody happy. Less of a workload now. 14 days to go til closing down for the season. The state of Alaska does not maintain the Denali highway from Oct. 1 til they clear the road the second weekend in April.

So if you plan on coming out this way you better hurry up!

Monday, September 04, 2006

FishTaxi's got da blues

Cleaned a five gallon bucket full for the lodge. My fingertips were dyed blue until I did a mountain of dishes over Labor Day weekend.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blue Skies

Mr. FishTaxi arrived last night forLabor Day Weekend and brought me my new laptop! So I'm sitting here at the Grizzly Bar using the wireless at the Tangle River Inn. Tonight when I was doing the dishes I had it set up on the counter listening to Whole Wheat Radio. The first time in over two weeks! I was in heaven. This will make the the next 18 days I have left here a lot more fun.

I don't have a lot of time to read blogs or blog though. Working in a lodge there is always something to do. I clean the cabins during the day then take an hour or so off to walk Roxy, take a shower then back up to do the nightly dish duty. I don't mind. Time is going by fast and I'm making money. The people here are nice and are hard workers so nobody is slacking.

The fall colors are changing daily and the views are incredible.

I hope everybody is doing well and I'll be back reading your blogs and answering emails soon. Time now to head to my cabin and get in some quality time with my man.