Last month when I blogged, I was just getting ready to take off on a three to four day trip deep into the Interior of Alaska. Well, at the eleventh hour, the trip was cancelled due to pneumonia in the 6 yo son of my co-pilot. Children's health come first.
So, since I've had this dream for well over a year - since I started the book, actually - I found another co-pilot and by the time this posts we should have made it all the way to our destination of Circle, Alaska. Seven hours, more or less, north from Fairbanks by gravel highway. One way. With good weather and benevolent angels who guard over travelers, we should also have made it back to Fairbanks and are heading on down the highway back to Anchorage.
Why? It's the question I get most. People have been looking at me strangely. Drive to Circle? and stay for just an hour or two then turn around? First of all, why Circle?
Circle, and the Yukon River, where the Steese Highway ends, is part of the scenery for my next book to be published. Chinook, Wine, and Sink Her, will be released this fall by Lyrical Press. I'm thrilled, because I sent it in and within a couple days my editor was jumping up and down. She WANTS this book. Good, because I've had a lot of fun writing it! Now to firm up a few location details.
Yup. I want one hour to look around, find the Trading Post, get photos of the river, get a feeling of the atmosphere, breathe in the history of when for one short year, Circle was considered Paris on the Yukon, the jewel of culture with dance halls, and opera. Some of the buildings from that one glorius year are still standing, one hundred and ten years later. For Alaska, that's history. There aren't many shacks that old. Many look far older, but are far less than half that age. Can this be done in a hour? Oh yeah. I'm pretty sure. Might take two if we choose to sit on the bank of the river and watch it flow. Pretty much like watching paint dry because the river is wide and flat and silt-laden.
In other words, Circle isn't so big. 95 full time residents, if I have the most current numbers. Most of them Athabascan Alaska Native. I hope a few residents won't mind having their pictures taken and the friend going with me will talk to anyone. Might get a couple bits of gossip or a few stories along the way. I'd really count myself lucky if we could get someone to run us upriver to the approximate location I picked out for the main setting, a cabin on an old gold claim. Purely a figment of my imagination, but I'd sure love to see the actual land.
So, for the song playing on my iPod Shuffle, the first one to set us off on the highway North, I can think of no better song than Tom Petty's Running Down a Dream. The video doesn't quite fit the tone of my trip, but the song sure does. Click on the title to get the YouTube video. I have quite a few other rockin', drivin' tunes in the mix as well, but this is my favorite.
How far would you go to run down a dream? I figure this trip will take us about 1200 miles roundtrip and possibly a century back in time. The gas alone will be more than an airline ticket, but you can't beat the scenery. When I get back, I'll post photos on The Morgan Diaries Blog. Until then, get your motors running and head out on that boulevard of living dreams. I'll be the one waving and talking about moose we've seen.
Morgan Q. O’Reilly
Get Some Tonight
Available now, FROZEN, from http://www.lyricalpress.com/
Coming Fall 2008 CHINOOK, WINE, AND SINK HER