Because our fire camp had already closed for the season when we returned from the north country, we had dragged the rig into another fire camp that was still operating at the airport and tanker base. Then it was three days perfecting tower rescue skills – in the event that someone needed to be evacuated from one of our towers or lookouts. First, we needed a place with a few convenient towers to practice on. Do not try this at home! We are (or became) trained professionals!
Many of the skills are similar or identical to mountain rescue techniques that I had used for years, but the ‘mountains’ were all metal and had ladders. We were soon scrambling up and down and hanging off the sides in every imaginable configuration.
I had thought that I might be freed from employment at the end of the rescue course, but I had to stick around a few more days to manage the fire base till the regular manager returned from days off. That gave me time to experience life living at an airport again.
Nearby, there is a designated aerobatics practice area, so there is often a few sport planes providing impromptu airshows.
And a couple of military helicopters stopped in for a visit one day.
In the evening, this little guy was out hunting and exploring the grassy fields alongside the runways. He was totally unafraid, and only showed concern when I got within about 20 feet. I made sure I was always on the upwind side, just in case!
Then at last we were again free from the constraints of employment, and able head home and start packing for the winter!
The rig had acquired a few unwelcome hitchhikers during our absence in the north, so that meant that a complete clean-out and reorganization was in order. There were cupboards and bins that had not been emptied for years, so I found a lot of things I didn’t know I had, and thankfully found some things that could be discarded.
The rig also seems to have a very strange arrangement for the black tank valve. It is located on the opposite side from the controls to operate it, and is operated by a metal rod about 5’ long. That has become bent over time and now does a poor job of closing the valve! I just get blank stares at RV repair places when I describe it. It could be replaced with a cable operated valve, but the whole underside of the rig is enclosed, and that would have to be removed to replace it. My only access is a 4 inch square hole in the bottom, just large enough for my hand or a camera. I think the extension rod is screwed onto the regular handle of the valve, but I can’t get it loose with the limited access.
Unlike the weather and snow of a month ago, it has been downright warm (almost hot some days) around here the last couple of weeks, so the urge to pack up and leave is not that strong yet, and I still have not come up with a route or departure date yet. Not to mention the pull of a 55” flatscreen TV, and a desktop with a 24” monitor!
Regardless, I see that the southern migration has started already in some areas. The Bayfield Bunch are headed this way across Canada with stops in Manitoba and Saskatchewan before crossing the line southward in a few days. Jean & Skip have departed their home on Vancouver Island, with plans to spend some time in southern Utah.
Rick & Paulette are making noises about heading south to Desert Hot Springs soon, but have stopped blogging about it, somewhat like delinquent blogger Wandering Willy, who must be packing up soon as well? John & Brenda must be stacking the last of the hay away, or waiting for the next snowstorm before heading out!
As for Ivan & Hailey, we’ll just have to wait and see – but it won’t be long, once the weather takes a turn for the worse.