Apr 18, 2010

Full Frontier - part 1

"Falling #2" - 12 x 24" - oil

Earlier this year I was thinking about all of the places that I would love to visit. Well an opportunity came up to mark one of these places off of my list. Ben Bensen (Society of Illustrators of L.A. Air Force Chair) called me up a few weeks ago to ask if I'd be interested in taking a trip with him to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. This trip was developed so that we could document the first Reserve unit to field the f-22 Raptor. Of course I jumped at the opportunity.

Usually there's not a whole lot of notification before you have to pack up and leave. This trip was no different. We were scheduled to arrive in Anchorage on Easter Sunday. Ben and I spent a good portion of Easter in the airport and possibly even longer driving around the base looking for lodging. If you've ever seen or been on a military base, then you know that after a while the buildings start to look the same. With a LOT of help and a full tank of gas we finally found the lodging office and then our rooms. The accommodations were quite nice but it was to be expected since according to the Air Force we were Colonel's.

After quickly unpacking, our next challenge was to find a place to eat that would be open after 8pm on Easter Sunday. By this time we had already been through downtown Anchorage and knew what might be available. After a bite at Applebee's we headed back to the base where we were greeted by a locked gate. Apparently the gate that we had originally gone through was not the main gate and therefore was locked up for the night. So here we are in the rental car driving around in the dark looking for the main gate. By the time we arrived at the main gate I think we had been driving for about an hour. Even though we had already been on base and dropped our bags off we still had to get a visitors past.

I can't speak for Ben but I couldn't believe how quickly I fell asleep after all of that. And that's just day one... to be continued.


Lisa McShane said...

Fascinating! How did you get involved in the Air Force program? I grew up in the Air Force so I'm irrationally fond of the immaculate lawns with all the identical buildings.

ariel freeman said...

I flew into Elmendorf once on a C-141, in winter. I only stepped off the plane long enough to know what -17 degrees felt like...really cold. What struck me most about Alaska...the quiet. Enjoy! What a wonderful opportunity.

Steven S. Walker said...

Thank you Lisa and Ariel! I got involved through the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. They offer the opportunity to most of their members.

It wasn't nearly that cold 31 degrees was the daytime low. When Jet engines weren't blasting away, I did enjoy the quiet of Anchorage...even downtown.

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