Having arrived in Vegas a couple days before Redoubt began to belch again, I have been thinking about little less than if I shall have an opportunity to get home without having to drive to Anchorage from Fairbanks. That research money in the stimulus package I pooh-poohed recently may prove to be my saving grace. I would certainly accept any criticism for my stated position regarding stimulus funding of volcanoes if I get home as a result of some genius volcanologist’s discovery of a method to prevent ash from diverting my flight.
Being a realist, however, I am resigned to the fact that if Mother Nature in the first decade of the 21st century is determined to punish me with a long drive home, so be it. Or if some transcendental truth wills it, who am I to argue.
Thus, having printed out my boarding passes about sixteen hours before departure, I am very much aware that when I check the news and my flight status tomorrow morning I will be very lucky if she blew while I was in still in Vegas. After all, I am not here to party, but to visit family. Every other eventuality is a lesser degree of luck, other than an on time arrival home, although it is arguable which would be worse; sleepless in Seattle, or driving home from Fairbanks.
So, I have a proposal or two for the volcanologists.
That golfing dome on the south side could be a model for an airport dome. Using the hot air from the volcano to keep it inflated, two exhaust tubes could protrude from the dome up to allow jets to fly in and out. If the entry/exit points were at 70,000 feet then no one would care about the limited margin for error except the pilots, unless the overhead masks were deployed somewhere around 50 thousand feet. Everyone would wake up at about the time the attendant reminds everyone to remain seated until the captain turns off the fasten seat belt sign.
My second proposal is a variation of the first, except the dome would be placed over Redoubt. Instead of the exhaust tubes extending up though, they would extend out, preferably away from any villages or homesteads. Maybe the exhausts could be computer operated mechanical devices that could be redirected according to wind conditions and known population points.
I am done venting. And if anyone cares, I don’t gamble.