Monday, June 23, 2008

Every now and then, a website comes along that touches our hearts. Reflecting on themes of love, friendship, and mental disorder, we see ourselves in the html code, reflected on the computer monitor. I have found such a site,, and it is perhaps the greatest thing to happen to me since the internet itself.

Unfortunately I cannot post photos at this moment in time, so go, browse, and enjoy this gift I pass on to you.

Maxwell Crabb

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Strap it on when appropriate

Stop me if you've heard this one.

Two bears meet up at Yukon River. One bear is from the north side, and the other south. The northern bear is fat and happy, the southern bear is skinny and hungry.

The southern bear asks the northern bear his secret. "Well," says the northern bear, "What you gotta do is find yourself a trucker on the side of the road. When he's got his back to you, you startle him, and while he's standing there in shock, you take him out!"

The southern bear thinks about this, and goes down the Dalton, waiting for a stranded trucker to present himself.

About two months later, the two bears meet back up again at the Yukon River. The northern bear is still fat and happy, and the southern bear is still skinny and grumpy.

"What's wrong?" the northern bear asked.

"Well," the southern bear explained, "I did exactly as you told me. I found a stranded trucker, waited for him to turn his back on me, went up and roared, and I mean REALLY scared the crap out of him, killed him and ate him. But he just wasn't as filling as I thought."

"Well that's your problem." Said the northern bear. "When you scare the crap out of a trucker, there ain't nothing left!"

-As told by T-Rex, the funniest trucker I know.

Maxwell Crabb

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rain in a desert climate

It's raining today.

Coldfoot is in a desert climate zone. Deserts can be defined as areas that receive an average annual precipitation of less than 250 mm (10 in), or as areas in which more water is lost than falls as precipitation.

Now, less than 10 inches? We're allready close to 4 inches thus far in the summer. Of course that's an estimate, but i'm never wrong. Areas in which more water is lost than falls? What we have here up on the perimeter is permafrost, a layer of the ground about 6 feet below that is frozen, thus keeping any water that would normally seep into the soil laying dormant on the ground, creating wonderful things like bogs and tussock (a tuff or clump of grass, repeating adnauseum, creating large ankle breaking fields of pain).

I'm not complaining, however. I like rain, I really do. I especially like waking up in the tent to hear drops pattering against the nylon, creating little beats and drum lines. I have music in my head all the time, and nature is always welcome to join in the song. But at the same time, I would enjoy some clear skies to hike in.

Perhaps it's just too much to ask, but with such a small window of time to enjoy summer, perhaps mother nature could do me a favor, and just stop the water works.

I promise I'll do the same.

Maxwell Crabb

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Sun Also Rises

It's been a busy morning, with very little sleep.

About 40 Princess Tour members as well as 10 crew members (and the usual gang of coworkers) have been assaulting the breakfeast buffet since 6 this morning. It's finally my turn to eat, but I figured I'd squeeze in an entry as well.

On my plate, biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, with some bacon to match. I'm drinking some water, but of course I started my day at 2 AM with some hot chocolate/coffee (in the same cup, of course). I guess you could call it a cafe mocha, but there's no steamed milk, and i'm not wearing a scarf or rimmed glasses.

I'm hoping to get some sleep as soon as I am off work, as the mosquitos last night kept me from getting a wink. Every time I felt myself drifting off to dream land, a loud buzzing right in my ear would startle me, and I would be confronted by a winged beast trying to suck my blood. I think by the time I "awoke" I had killed about 15 of those demons.

Of course, I do have mosquito netting, but I took it down, as Courtney kept referring to it as "Princess canopy". But taunts be damned, I need my sleep, so the netting is going back up. She'll just have to cope with the little buggers on her own.

On a side note, Courtney did manage to sweet talk a DOT worker into lending us his propane heater till October. A very nice addition to the tent, for a very low cost of simply refilling the tank every now and then.

Now it is time for a refill of the plate before I head back to work. Only 4 hours and I will be sleeping peacefully.

Maxwell Crabb

Friday, May 30, 2008

Frozen Snickers and a Thirst For Life

Now that we are in the full swing of things here at Coldfoot, i'm starting to fine tune my sleep schedule to match my work schedule.

My week looks like this starting on the weekend-

Sat-2:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Sun-2:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Mon- 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Tue- 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Wed- 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Thur- Off
Fri- Off

And true, my title does dictate that I may also cover a 6:30 PM to 2:30 AM shift everynow and then to help out. Also, I do have the occasional three day weekend. So all in all, not a bad schedule. Not bad at all.

The job itself? I spend most of my work day in the kitchen, a large series of rooms with some very nice equipment for such a remote camp. Well start from one end and end on the other.

The Line- The make line is a small rectangular room visible from the Diner via a countertop window.

There are: 2 flat top grills, 8 stovetops, 3 ovens (used as storage), 1 gas grill, 1 "make-line"/cooler (similair to that of Pizza Shuttle's), 1 reach in cooler, 1 reach in freezer, 1 frier, 1 three tray soup warmer, lots of different style plates and bowls.

The line does get a bit crowded with more than one person, so usually I am by myself when making orders. The line was my home for the first few weeks, as every meal was made to order. But as more and more "guests" arrive, we have started our transition to a buffet styled diner. Of course, truckers are always allowed to order off the menu, and when the buffet is not open, anyone (except "coworkers") are allowed to order off the menu. (I will get into the menu after introducing my workspace)

The "Kitchen" kitchen- The place where we actually make our food is called the kitchen, for lack of a better term. It's where our dishwashers reside, the baker does their thing, and I stand around feeling in the way. It houses many pots and pans, utensils, and types of equipment that I will list for you in new and exciting ways!

There are: 3 tables (1 wood, 2 steel), 1 large mixer, 1 hand mixer, 2 ovens (with digital display!), 1 ice machine, 1 wash station with chemical sanitizer machine (which makes noises and shakes, and I have steered clear of, in fear for my life), 4 trash cans, 1 reach in cooler, 1 speed rack (for cooling), an innumeral amount of pots, pans, utensils, measuring cups, bowls, hotel pans, and other types of miscellaneous containers.

Alot of slicing, dicing, and chocolate cake icing gets done in the kitchen, and when a buffet is in full swing, we'll have as many as 4 people running around making sure everything is in order, and the food is fresh for the taking.

The Pantry- Less exciting is the pantry. It's where all our dry food is kept. No need to list, just imagine the pantry in your own home, and now imagine it 15 to 20 times bigger. And with rats!

The Walk-in Cooler- Now that you are in the mood for imagining (see The Pantry) let's keep those creative juices flowing. Imagine your refridgerator. Now imagine you could walk into it! I know, exciting possibilities abound. You could have a giant pool of jello to swim in, a huge assortment of sushi grade tunas and yellowtail, steaks ready for the grill! Coldfoot? We keep eggs and leftovers in there. Oh, and sack lunches for the Air Adventure guests.

The Walk-in Freezer- The freezer. What can I say? Four times the size of the walk-in cooler, it has the potential to store 20 cadavers! Coldfoot? We use it for all our frozen foods, such as bread, meats (turkey, cow, chicken, more cow, and the occasional pig), vegetables, starch (or potato products as they are known in the lower 48), ice-cream, pies, and sometimes fish (but not sushi fish, boring old filets of fish (usually breaded, yuck!)).

Amazing stuff, right? But wait, there's more! We also have an adjacent building we lovingly refer to as "Dry Storage", a wonderful place that holds such mysteries as the locked liqour cabinet, the secondary ice-machine, cleaning supplies, and back up items for the guest shop. We venture there everynow and then, but I stay away as much as possible, hoping to never offend the Dry Storage gods that keep watch over the 3.2 beer and boxed wine.

The Menu- Oh, the menu. What a wonderful document, easily illustrating what it means to be a Trucker. Quick trivia fact, any salad at a truck stop dictates that your first action be to...? Any guesses? Go to the frier! That's right, if it's gonna be green, you need to balance out that healthy snack with some good ol' fried chicken! What about rolling up a slice of deli ham and turkey, cutting it into five pieces and arranging it on the rim of the plate? Well, hell! Why not? In fact, there is little on the menu that isn't more greased up then a seventh grade geek's forehead, to speak from experience.

We serve: Hamburgers, chicken strips, cod fillet strips, fried shrimp, onion rings, french fries, tater tots, hashbrowns, home fries, eggs made to order, white, wheat, sourdough, rye, texas toast, english muffin, pancakes, french toast, biscuits and gravy, bacon, french dip, patty melt, muffin sandwiches, breafeast sandwiches, cold cut sandwiches, BLT, triple clubs, soups made fresh daily, chili (LOTS of chili), hamburger steak, ham steak, sausage patties, sausage links, salads, pies.

I'm sure I left something out, but you get the idea. I've made a couple dishes of my own to impress a coworker or two, and to cut through the slower parts of the day, including a BLT with a fried egg (something I stole from First Watch) and The Mountain Climber, a dish specially made for Phil the cleaner.

The Mountain Climber (starting from the bottom, with the ingredients stacked on top of one another)

  1. Two sausage patties
  2. Hash Browns
  3. Fried egg
  4. Chili
  5. Cheddar Cheese
  6. Onions

Yes, delicious.

As the breakfeast cook during the weekends, I get the oppurtunity to make the soup o' the day. So far I have made such wonderful concoctions as Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, and Angel hair pasta with meat sauce (which is not a "soup", but is served in a bowl, which I feel is close enough when faced with making a soup from scratch at 4 AM with few hours of sleep backing you up.)

Well, my friends, thus ends my explanation of the Coldfoot kitchen. I hope it was as fun to read as it was to write, and there will be more to follow, fo sho.

Thanks for reading, keep in touch, and the best of luck to you.

Maxwell Crabb

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I should be sleeping.

In about 5 hours I will be starting my work day.

I would sleep, but I'm no good under pressure.

This will get better, but for now, shower time!