Katamarino's Alaska flight

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Katamarino, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That was the way it went every time we entered Canada for the past few years. A phone call and "you're good to go".

    That is NOT the way it has ever been entering the US. They always come out and examine and scan the plane with some device. And you have to wait with the plane till they get there. Supposedly inside the plane, but when it is hot I get out. If you have to pee; tough. Do it on the ground. And they almost always have a bad attitude and refuse to smile.
     
  2. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    I got lucky in Skagway. The CBP guy and I both showed up at the same time, he came straight out to the airplane, did his quick external scan and that was that. He was friendly and gave me some ideas about what to do in town. I've heard that many of them are not so good, though!
     
  3. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    I left Vancouver just as a cold front was blowing in, and headed east in front of it. Tailwinds meant I flew the 67 nautical miles to Hope, BC in less than 30 minutes. I tied down the aircraft with my new set of "Claws" and set up the tent just in time for the front to arrives, and rain to fall all night. Hope was a good stop, a large grass field with pilot building including wifi!

    [​IMG]

    Departing downwind from Vancouver Intl:
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    Heading up the valley towards Hope:
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    Cloud was pretty low the next day so I relaxed for the morning (and wrote the first post in this thread), catching a ride to the nearby gas station on the back of the lawn-mowing tractor in order to get something to eat. Finally the clouds broke up enough for me to feel comfortable pushing north up the valley.

    Heading north from Hope:
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    Big trains:
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    Approaching Cache Creek for landing:
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    Cache Creek was an interesting stop with very little there. A wildfire had recently destroyed all except one of the buildings. A nearby excavator operator came over to see me; he owned the very cool STOL thing that was tied down by the remaining hangar. Ironically, this airport had been used in the movie "2012", when the lead characters ran from the exploding Yellowstone in an RV and escaped in a light twin. Life followed art in this case.

    Everything that exists at Cache Creek:
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    The STOL experimental, the name of which I forgot. Zenith maybe?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  4. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach

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    Had the pleasure of meeting Katamarino (Ross) last night! Fantastic guy with a beautiful airplane.
     
  5. MajorTurbulence

    MajorTurbulence Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yep, that's how it was. I was blessed with good weather, and then on with the mission of the next long leg to get there as fast as possible. I guess if you want to be social, wish for bad weather.(not gonna happen)
    That said, I only saw one plane tied down for the overnight at Ft Nelson that escaped the next day before I did.
     
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  6. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    We had a lot of fun, Dave was an awesome host!
     
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  7. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    From Cache Creek I headed north, but the weather started to worsen. I identified a good looking diversion airport; marked as public, shown as having fuel, and landed. It turned out the data in Garmin Pilot was completely wrong, and it was a private strip belonging to the very upmarket spa resort "Echo Valley". The owner came out to meet me and once he'd established that I wasn't the airplane that had been doing touch and goes the previous day, invited me in to flight plan and chat.

    On the ground at Echo Valley
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    Everyone at the lodge was incredibly friendly and helpful and I ended up spending the night and swapping stories with the ~12 guests. I was quite sorry to leave the next morning and head north, but as it turns out, this was going to be one of the best days flying of the trip!

    The beautiful view from my room
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    The interior of the lodge
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    Much better weather the following day!
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    Local resident
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    Leaving Echo Valley
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  8. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Nice pics! Loving your adventure.

    Is the wire on top of the hog pen for wolves?

    What brand of tent are you using?
     
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  9. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Good question on the wire. Could be! I suppose it's unlikely to be intended to stop the giant pig jumping out...

    I use a Mountain Hardwear LightWedge 3. Have used that or a LightWedge 2 ever since my first trip of this kind 11 years ago. Durable, easy to set up, very weatherproof, not too heavy!
     
  10. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    More likely for cougars.
     
  11. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    From Echo Valley I headed North, stopping in to Williams Lake to review the weather and charts and confirm my plan of action for the day. I decided to continue North to Mackenzie, and then make the decision whether to carry on up The Trench, or to bug out to the east and go around the mountains that way. The weather was borderline, but I decided to continue up the trench and land to wait things out at one of the small strips along the way if needed.

    [​IMG]

    Departing Mackenzie over the lumber yard
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    Almost the entire lake shore was raked in tidy rows like in the photo below. Does anyone have any idea why they would do this?? I assume it's to support some kind of resource gathering but can't imagine what.
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    Cloud bases looking questionable up The Trench.
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    I landed at Fort Grahame along the way to wait out a rainshower that was blowing through. Plenty of vehicles around, but couldn't find any people.
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    Lakes south of Fort Ware
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    I stopped in Fort Ware to check out the final stop that I could handle with my little tires before the 190nm to Watson Lake. Plenty of people around in the little store/cafe I went to, all of them surly and unfriendly. The runways were throwing up plenty of mud again!
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    Cemetery at Fort Ware
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    The walls of The Trench disappeared into the overcast. At worst, though, I had 1,500ft of clearance between me and the terrain below. Not a single sign of humans though, for almost 200nm.
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    Over the highest ground and descending. 100nm to go.
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    Beaver lodge, top left side of the lake!
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    I camped for the night in the very pleasant campground at Watson Lake, with the pilots of another Cessna that was headed south.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  12. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Stop torturing me!!!
     
  13. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    We're not even half way through :D
     
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  14. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are in bear country.
     
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  15. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    Total Stud Bush Pilot
    I thought about bears, but I just can't see that chicken wire stopping a hungry bear.
     
  16. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You have some tuff chickens..!!! :lol::lol:

    Your not going stop a determined bear, just delay him enough to get there and chase him out. Bears are smart. The ones that live close to humans know that making noise means trouble with the two leggers. To build a totally bear proof pen would not be cost effective. I have seen bear proof garbage dumpsters in Deadhorse that are 12 feet tall sheet metal buildings, difficult for humans to get in to dispose of garbage out of range of the bears.

    Most hog farmers I know use electric wire to keep the pigs inside and other animals outside, but looking as close as I can on my little screen I don't see a hot wire.

    And looking closer I do see chickens further back.
     
  17. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    Man those pictures bring back some memories and you’re just now getting to the best part - Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Kluane Lake. I remember that stuff like it was yesterday.
     
  18. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    With the Trench behind me, today was the day; Alaska! The first part of the journey would be to head west to Whitehorse, at which point I would prepare the customs and immigration paperwork to make it back into the USA. Not always easy for a foreigner who spends half the year in Iraq.

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    Beautiful weather for the day's flight to Alaska
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    Following the Alaska highway towards Whitehorse
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    Stopping to cook breakfast at Pine Lake strip along the way
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    Approaching the strip at Teslin
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    Along the highway to Whitehorse
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    At Whitehorse I took advantage of the free wifi in the terminal to submit my flight plan and EAPIS as well as calling US customs to ensure they could meet me on arrival in Skagway. Everything went smoothly, and before long I was headed south, following the railway out of Whitehorse towards Skagway.

    Final town before the Canada/Alaska border
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    Following the railway south towards Skagway
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    Arrival at Skagway! Lots of other tourists in...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  19. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

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    Fantastic stuff, Katamarino! Thanks for sharing all of this. It's great to start my day with a coffee and pictures of your adventure.
     
  20. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    I cannot say enough about this awesome thread, except "Thank you!" Fantastic photos!
     
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  21. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    Exactly what I'm doing!
     
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  22. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How did you like that approach into Skagway..??? :lol::lol:

    Now imagine doing that in a twin.....I used the land slide on the opposite side as to when to make the turn to base/final.

    As long as you don't hit the bridge on the departure I think we can consider you as a junior bush pilot..:yesnod:
     
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  23. idahoflier

    idahoflier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Looks like an epic trip, thanks for sharing!
     
  24. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Envious. Looks like a great trip, plenty challenging. Thanks for sharing.
     
  25. AmazonChitlin

    AmazonChitlin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Amazing!

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  26. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Skagway was a fun, and very touristy, introduction to Alaska. Looking behind the flood of stores selling jewelry to cruise boat passengers, it was fascinating to read about some of the town's history back in the gold rush days and the construction of the astonishing railroad.

    The airport is almost just another street of the town, and it is a very short walk from GA parking to the main street.

    Skagway mainstreet:
    [​IMG]

    4 of these beasts were in dock for the day, doubling the town's population:
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    How to clear the snow off the railroad:
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    Skagway tourist office:
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    A 30 minute walk around the point from the airport brought me to Smuggler's Cove:
    [​IMG]

    There were zero options for camping at Skagway, so I headed a few minutes south to Haines to try and find a spot to set up for the night.

    One of the cruise ships left just before I did. I overtook them pretty quickly...
    [​IMG]

    Not many landing options on the way to Haines:
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    Final approach into Haines:
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    Set up at Haines for the night:
    [​IMG]
     
  27. OkieFlyer

    OkieFlyer En-Route

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    Does anyone know the best way to clean drool out of a keyboard???


    Great stuff, Katamarino! Looks like an epic journey, and I'm green with envy.
     
  28. mcdewey

    mcdewey Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Your pictures are breath-taking! This has made my day.

    Out of curiosity, what camera are you using?
     
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  29. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thank you!

    The camera is quite basic, an Olympus Tough TG5.

    http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/tg-5.html
     
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  30. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    The next day I flew down to Juneau, and saw my first glacier! I didn't realise it yet but this was a mere shadow of a thing compared to what I'd see later in Glacier Bay, however.

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    Heading down the channel towards Juneau.
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    Oho! First glacier!
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    As it turns out there were plenty more where that came from.
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    Helicopter base for tourists to visit the glacier, and dog sleds out to the right!
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    On the "Super Bear" arrival into Juneau. Pretty much everything in Alaska is named after bears, apparently,
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    Juneau
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    Alaska State Capitol
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    A bear:
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    Another bear:
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    Seaplane dock downtown
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    More cruise ships!
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    That afternoon I went out to see the glacier from ground level, but it's much cooler from the air.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  31. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are making me miss Juneau now.....
     
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  32. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Lack of updates over the last couple of days as Iraq shut down the internet and then we got evacuated from the country in the midst of violent protests. All good fun.

    I based in Juneau for a couple of days, and flew day trips out from there. The weather on the first day was pretty poor initially, and I set out to visit the local airports of Gustavus and Hoonah.

    [​IMG]

    Low cloud around so I flew over the water, apart from the approach to landing.
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    Parked up at Gustavus with a couple of other aircraft that diverted from trying to fly north.
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    The other pilots had access to an airport car; a Chevy Suburban that had been converted into a truck in a rather "agricultural" manner. They called it the Suck.
    [​IMG]

    It was drizzling with rain constantly. I walked down to the pier from the coffee shop they'd dropped me at, getting very wet, but at least I saw an eagle.

    Farm buildings in Gustavus:
    [​IMG]

    Truck, obviously:
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    Welcome to sunny Gustavus
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    The view at the pier:
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    I caught a lift back to the airport and headed over to Hoonah. Thankfully, as soon as I cleared the shore the cloud lifted and it turned into quite a pleasant day.

    Approaching Hoonah:
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    A talk from a tribal representative about the meaning of the new totem pole:
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    The harbour in Hoonah:
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    Across the water, I saw a brown bear with cubs! One of the greatest USA experiences of my life. Sadly, too far for photos.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  33. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    Silly me, I thought you were in Alaska. As in, these were "real time" shots.

    I got affected a bit by that as well. Things are slowly coming back up. It's funny, Facebook, Amazon and POA were still being blocked as of a few hours ago. I'm using the company's satellite internet for now.
     
  34. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

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    Question from the fans at home: Katamarino, have you and Anymouse met?
    Don't answer anything classified, but it would be cool to have a Way Overseas POA meetup!
     
  35. Justin M

    Justin M Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I noticed in a bunch of pictures it looks like you're flying with flaps. Did you slow down to take the pictures or have some other reason to fly with what looks like 10 or 20 degree flaps?
     
  36. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    Not that I'm aware of. Although I have met a Purple Boarder or two while at work.
     
  37. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Also not that I'm aware of; I'm on the West Qurna field north of Basra, how about you Anymouse?
     
  38. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    You're exactly right; I slowed down to dawdle and take photos in places!
     
  39. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    Al Asad. For one more day. Outta here tomorrow.
     
  40. StevieTimes

    StevieTimes Line Up and Wait

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    I've been taking really good care of your Tango while you were gone. We are currently on the "Katamarino Path". It's going to be like a bad 80s movie to try to get this thing back to your pad with you not noticing by tomorrow!

    For realz Any, would your Tango be a capable aircraft for such a journey? Does it land well in small places, and on unimproved strips or whatever?
     
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