July 10th, 2013

Think About It……                                                                                                                             July 10, 2013

With your forgiveness, I would like to wax a little personal in this week’s program. I am rarely in first person but today I am making an exception.

I have travelled the Sterling and Seward Highways to Anchorage literally hundreds of times in the past 45 years. But being a commercial pilot I have never driven the highway, in the summertime, for almost ten years. However, in early June and again yesterday, for medical procedures, I was forced to make the trip to Anchorage so someone could drive me back.

To put it bluntly, I was in awe of the beauty of that roadway both times. The deep green color of the Birch, Aspen and Cottonwood trees has never been brighter. The flowering plants, grasses, and all the foliage were just gorgeous. The entire trips, both ways, proved to me once again, in a “sit up and take notice” way, how easy it is to take things for granted. To just not notice the beauty of Alaska that is all around us. What a great place to live and raise our kids!

The highway is so good, with many double lanes and passing areas that it make the trip a real pleasure. Admittedly the Sterling Highway needs help and is getting it, from the East Skilak Lake Cutoff to Cooper Landing, and the Seward Highway is getting a lot of help, and four lanes, at the summit of Johnson Pass, where hundreds of Anchorage folks recreate themselves. However, I am here to tell you that the highway from Soldotna to Anchorage is so much better than the roadway we faced in the 1960 that it is impossible to describe. Makes me wish I had a video of the old roadway to compare with today’s version…..but, then we had no such thing as a hand-held video camera back then, did we?

One time, my kids and I were making a trip, and came upon a young couple in their 20’s. I the back of their, Ford F-150 (must have been a Ford. Who would drive anything else?)  Anyway, they had a beautiful German Shepherd in their open truck bed. The dog was full grown and would place his front paws on the tailgate, then move to the left and right sides of the truck, holding its face forward to catch the wind.

As we were admiring that beautiful animal, all at once, the truck hit a big pot-hole. The force lifted the German Shepherd into the air and over the right side of the truck bed. As the animal hit the asphalt and the edge of the road, huge chunks of fur, skin and blood left it’s body as it rolled over and over down the roadway! It was a total shock to me and my kids.

I punched the gas in our truck, pulled along side the young couple and we all pointed to their empty truck bed. With her hand up to her mouth, the look on the young ladies face as she noticed that her dog had gone away is a picture that will always be imprinted on my mind. Needless to say, that beautiful German Shepherd was history.

The reason for the story is to remind folks that a dog should never be allowed in the back of a pickup-truck without a short leash and yet I have seen several such situations in just the past few weeks.

Think About It!      John C. Davis   7-10-13

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