Last week, I had a private tour of the US Army Corp of Engineer’s tunnels through the permafrost just north of Fairbanks, Alaska. I learned some interesting facts that I intend to incorporate into Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back. For example, before the tour, I did not know that tunnels into the permafrost have a distinctive, very strong, musty smell that is similar to (but different from) dirty gym socks. Similarly, as the ice sublimes (turns directly into water vapor without passing through a liquid phase), the solid matter is released to fall to the floor of the tunnel in the form of an extremely fine brownish gray dust. You can see all sorts of things in the walls of the tunnels including ancient bones, buried tree roots, ice lenses, molds, and even frozen grass that remains green after having been frozen tens of thousands of years. All in all, a very interesting experience.
Today, my wife, son Isaac, and I had a very thorough and highly informative tour of Eielson AFB. A great many thanks to Jack Waid, the 354th Fighter Wing Historian who did a great job of showing us around and introducing us to the real people corresponding to some of the characters in the last chapter of Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton as well as some of the characters in Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back. In the HQ, we saw the Wing Commander’s conference room as well as the conference room in the classified vault where book 3 meetings will take place. We saw several other locations in book 3 including the Officers Club, Base Hotel, Defender Hall, Supply, the Range, etc. This was exactly what I needed to be able to picture the locations for half of the important action in book 3. I also learned several things that are either wrong in the current book 2 manuscript or which can be significantly improved. All in all, a very productive day and I feel extremely appreciative and honored to have been provided with so much information that will make my Hell Hole series better.
I’m leaving Friday for Fairbanks, Alaska for my son Isaac’s graduation from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Woo hoo! While up there, I will be taking a tour of Eielson AFB which is the location of the last chapter of Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton. I am also trying to finagle a tour of the US Army’s Permafrost Tunnel Research Center, as a tunnel through permafrost between a hell hole and a portal to Hell will play a major part in Hell Holes 3: To Hell and Back. I also hope to rent an SUV for a trip up the Dalton to Yukon Crossing, the site of another chapter in Hell Holes 2. I will upload pictures once I return.