Even in Alaska

Kerry Clines

February 20, 2013

I never used to pay attention to aggregate operations while traveling…I’m sure most people don’t. But ever since I began working on Aggregates Manager magazine, I notice them everywhere I go…even in Alaska.

During the nine years our middle son was in the Air Force, he spent three of those years at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. I’m sure most of you can appreciate that we made a point of visiting him a couple of times during that three-year period.

The first visit came the summer after he was posted there. Our son rented a pop-up camper from his base, and we set off for the Kenai Penninsula south of Anchorage to “see the wilderness.” Along the way, we passed an aggregate and paving operation right on the side of the highway. Because it was a weekend, no one was working, so the equipment was idle. We stopped anyway, and I took pictures. (Notice the striations on the cliffs in the background…probably from drilling.) Our son explained to us that, because of the extremely cold weather and snowy/icy conditions in Alaska, nearly everyone puts spikes on their tires during the winter for better traction. In fact, there is a certain date in the fall when drivers can install spikes and a date in the spring when those spikes must be removed. As a result of the spikes, most roadways have to be resurfaced every year. Hence, the roadside aggregate and paving operation.

That week in Alaska is something we will never forget — moose,  hiking up to and walking on a glacier, rafting on a turquoise-colored river, a bald eagle family (two adults and two young eagles) fishing for lunch, mosquitoes so thick it was like looking through a black veil, “combat” fishing (that’s a story in itself), hiking the coastline, canoeing on a crystal-clear lake…and, of course, aggregate operations.

Watch for another post about a second trip to Alaska and more aggregate operation encounters.

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