On October 5th Rick and I went to the "Cheechako" Winter Orientation (Cheechako is Native Alaskan for "Tenderfoot", aka: newcomer or foreigner). The meeting was held from 9:00 - 12:00 and covered the following topics:
- Fire Safety
- Services Activities: What is there to do on Eielson? (There is A LOT to do!)
- Winter Health and Fitness
- Dressing for Cold Weather
- Coping with cabin fever
- Winter Activities: What is there to do in Fairbanks?
- Winter Driving
- Pet Ownership in the Sub-Arctic
- Northern Lights Snowmobile Club (The presentor told us a story of two teenage boys who went snowmachining up in the mountains without the proper clothing - you know, since teens are invincible and all. Their $11K snowmobile broke down, stranding the boys. They ended up setting the it on fire that night to survive the 20-below night (we got to see a photo). Them boys shoulda listened to their mothers!)
- Military Family Life Consultant
I must have picked up about 20 handouts that were available at the meeting. Topics included:
- Instructions on how to make a coffee can survival kit for winter driving (who knew you could get all that in a coffee can?)
- Recommendations for survival kits
- Cold weather checklist
- 101 Things to Do In Alaska #6 - Land a barn door-sized halibut
- Seasonal Affective Disorder: Helpful Hints to Keep You From Being "S.A.D."
- Winterizing your car and camper
- Winterizing your home
- Use of vehicles for shelter in cold
- The adverse effects of alcohol in a cold environment
- Choosing winter gear
- Care of outerwear garments
- Hypothermia and frostbite
- Information about the Aurora (Northern Lights)
The Fairbanks newspaper, the Daily News-Miner, puts out a Winter Survival Guide, which has a lot of information, articles, photos, and advertisements for local businesses that can supply your needs.
Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau puts out my favorite schedule of events for the year. A sample: the month of October:
12th - Ladysmith Black Mambazo (I tried to get tickets but they were sold out. Bren and I are still going tonight to see if we can get in).
21st - 20th Annual International Friendship Day
27th-29th - International Sled Dog Symposium
29th - Nov 12th - Arsenic & Old Lace
29th - Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra in Concert
In summary, if we are bored or freeze to death here it wasn't due to a lack of education!