We start school Monday. My locker is 259. Last night Chevy spent the night. She said that she might quit the ranch because of the pressure. I can't get ahold of Debbie but maybe tonight I can. I don't plan on quitting. Chevy doesn't love horses as much as me. I'm a little mad at her.
Barbara J. just came over with her son David. He's so cute. Well, I gotta go. Bye. Your friend-4-ever, Jennifer. P.S. I haven't seen Cheri, Shannyn and Erin."
Angela is Jennifer's step-sister. Jennifer didn't get to spend a lot of time with her. Angela lived in Minnesota with her grandparents. She was in college. Jennifer was in awe of her. Angela was an adult, she seemed to have it all together. Jennifer felt ackward and immature around her.
Jennifer spent the summer at her dad's in Foster City, California. While she was gone, Angela flew up from Minnesota to visit her dad and to work for the oil company in Prudhoe Bay. Good money could be made in Alaska in the summer. From the oil fields to the fishing boats--these seasonal jobs could finance a person's college expenses!
Angela worked (Jennifer thinks this is right) for British Petroleum. Her job had something to do with data collection in the oil fields. Since Prudhoe Bay is so remote (650 miles north of Anchorage), Angela and the rest of the temporary workers lived on site during their shifts.
In the picture, you'll see that the buildings are raised four feet off the ground. This is to protect the permafrost from melting. Contrary to the image of oil companies, they are careful to preserve the land and the wild animals of the arctic. Of course, it is in their best interests to protect their golden goose.
Workers are not allowed to yell or honk at the animals, to drive fast or to feed them. The wildlife in the area includes arctic fox, grizzly bears, arctic hare, caribou and birds. Other animals that share the area, but are seen less often, are polar bears, musk oxen and red foxes.
Oil spill containment teams, and a fire department, are on hand to clean up any spills even a spill as small as 1 inch of oil. It doesn't hurt that Greenpeace and other organizations are also watching. I think it's easier for the oil companies to just do the right thing. Here is an arial view during winter:
The population of Prudhoe Bay is about 47 people. However, thousands of people are flown in to work. Prudhoe Bay is located on the coast of the Arctic Ocean. It's an extreme environment. The longest night of the year lasts just shy of 55 days. The longest day of the day year lasts just shy of 64 days. Temperatures range from a record low of minus 62 degrees to a record high of 83 degrees. The ocean is only free of ice for six weeks out of the year.
Most of Prudhoe Bay's workers don't even live in Alaska. The oil companies fly them in for one or two weeks at a time. While they are there, they work long days for high pay. They are fed four, all-you-can-eat meals a day (due to the huge amount of calories burned working 10 to 18 hour shifts).
They live most often in dormitories. Alcohol is not permitted for safety reasons and out of respect for the Eskimo villages (most of which are dry). The oil companies employ their own security forces although there is a small police presence also (I think one deputy, maybe two). From September to May, vehicles are left running 24 hours a day. If they are turned off, they won't start again.
It is brutal and harsh, flat and full of mosquitos--but Jennifer remembers Angela enjoying her summers there. She bonded with the other workers and was probably in awe of the completely foreign landscape. I think the best word for for Alaska is just that, AWESOME!
Here is Angela and Jennifer's mom during her visit to Alaska. This photo is not from Prudhoe Bay.
Jennifer did not visit Prudhoe Bay. She remembers a little of what Angela told her. I googled the rest :) However, one thing about Prudhoe Bay is certain. The bears there can't read!
Workers flocking to Alaska caused an economic boom!