Redneck fun in Central, AK

June 15th, 2009

The Tyrrell homestead

I don’t normally buy in to “redneck” things like big trucks, guns and cheap beer. But that’s not to say they don’t have their appeal and I can’t be persuaded to indulge once in a while. ;) While the lion’s share of the Montana crew gone those of us remaining wondered what to for another day in Central?

Old fashioned funThe first night was Weslley’s birthday, so we had a little party. Lots of good food and getting rolled around in an old wood spindle (who needs video games?). The next day we were to go shooting. The Tyrrells are consummate hunters, the dump is a perfect shooting range, and some in our group had never shot guns before, so it was perfect. After chilling for a while watching (awesome) family movies about hunting up north (and wrecking planes) we loaded up to go shooting at the dump. We blew up a bunch of bottles and cans with a full range of weapons: shotguns, .22s, a 44-magnum, a Glock and a high-powder hunting rifle. Good times!

Shooting at the dump

A full arsenal

Then on the way back we stopped at the power plant to get air in a tire and saw… the track rig. This monstrous machine, nicknamed “the Juggernaut”, started life as a utility vehicle for putting in power lines in rough, swampy terrain. The drill is still on the back and it does get used for this sometimes. However - perhaps when an old Ford truck cab was installed on it? - it has been co-opted as more of a recreation vehicle. The kind of recreation vehicle you can really only use in Alaska…

The track rig

What amazed us even more than the bastard tank-mobile itself was that the owner offered to lube and gas it up so we could take it for a spin!

And he did. And we did. :)

Redneck fun

It turns out its very difficult to drive (who would have thought?). Just a few low gears, no reverse, and really slow, unresponsive turning. A few of us tried to drive it, but Elise ended up being the best at it and piloted us around for most of it. What was fun though - and easy too - is just sitting on the back drinking cheap beer while the beast crawls through creeks and over tree! I told you a could be persuaded to the redneck side.

Our redneck fun took a sour turn though, only 20 or so minutes out. One of ours (Jess) was at the wheel when we were confronted with a suspiciously deep looking pond. Unsure of what to do we stopped, and looked to the Juggernaut’s owner for guidance.

“Go for it! Take ‘er in!” was our reply.

We went for it. And the pond was deep. The left side of the juggernaut dropped and pitched the whole machine over to a 45 degree angle. We all had to run for the high side of the deck to stay dry, just like the Titanic. The rig wouldn’t go any farther without threatening to tip all the way over, so we jumped ship. We blew it! Why did they let a bunch of inexperienced “kids” like us drive this thing! Our entourage of local supervisors (heh) were, if anything, just excited that we got it stuck though. This was an opportunity to bring out more toys to get is unstuck!!

Our bad

They pulled the juggernaut out of the pond, and let us all get back in. “Just go around this pond on your way back!”

Tyrrell fursThe juggernaut’s owner is also the Central Bar’s owner, so we all headed down there to celebrate. Besides the drinking, it was cool to check out the skins for sale at the store which the Tyrrells has trapped over the winter. Wolf, lynx, marten, etc. And the beaver mittens!!! Each mitten is one whole beaver. Makes you realize just how cold it gets up there in the winter…

Laurel Tyrrell's beaver mittens

And with that our time in Central was over. Time to begin the long drive home. After a quick dip in the abandoned hot spring we bid our farewells and hit the road.

Circle hot springs

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