Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chena Hot Springs

5-29-13  Crossing my fingers and toes and hoping this doesn’t jinx us – another beautiful sunny 80’s day.  This is too hot for the locals and being in the sun – it is very intense and hot.  Chena Hot Springs in the destination – well paved scenic road with many pull offs and crossings of the Chena River.  The forest is now GREEN!  And of course it is munching time for Miss Moose!  Lucky to see her – we have not seen a lot of wild animals.Chena Hot Springs 004

Though the Chena River is flowing there are still many large ponds covered with ice but melting quickly.Chena Hot Springs 014

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Chena Hot Springs is a delightful resort at the end of the road.  The hot springs are warm in a lovely setting.Chena Hot Springs 009

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We’ll relax and enjoy the river view at the RV …….

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Discovery Boat Tour

5-28-13  Alaska is having a heat wave – ~80 again today -  snows are melting too fast = flood warnings scattered about.  And with warm weather and little humidity = fire warnings.  Trees are greening quickly.

This morning we stopped again at Creamer’s Dairy (Bird Migratory Refuge) Gold Dredge 8 013 (2)

And a walk in the boreal forest – cold soil and underlying permafrost – found in the far north around the globe.  Glad to see the walk way thru the spruce, birch, aspen, larch and balsam popular.Discovery Boat Trip 003

In the afternoon – it was the Discovery Paddle Wheel boat trip on the Chena River (spring fed) to the Tanana River (ever changing). Discovery Boat Trip 009 A pontooned plane welcomed us to the China River – Fairbanks, AKDiscovery Boat Trip 016

A scenic view traveling down the Chena River to Susan Butchard’s Sled dog compound.  The dogs love to play and are always ready to work.

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Next stop a Chena Indian village with various buildings, talks, demonstrations and a fish wheel.Discovery Boat Trip 031

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Sharing the warm – beautiful clothing made of animal skins.

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A variety of homes line the river --- many log cabin styles, but also frame home….. Discovery Boat Trip - Denny Droid 107

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Another enjoyable Alaskan Day!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gold Dredge 8

5-27-13  Did some local touring.   With winter temperatures commonly –60 –- have to ask WHY Fairbanks?  Folks seem to survive, thrive and stay in Fairbanks in spite of the short days and long winter.  Fairbanks has all the regular shopping / restaurants.  Regular homes in the city, mixed with occasional log cabins.  Many country homes just gather collections of stuff…..just seem to keep adding to the piles.  Then there are new, modern homes of all types next door.

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The pipeline is very interesting.  4’ inside diameter surrounded by insulation and steel covering.  The “H” supports keep the pipeline above the ground and the heat exchangers from thawing the permafrost layer.  The pipeline runs from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez ~800 miles.  ~half is above the ground, the other half below.

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The “pig” runs thru the pipe line – cleaning the side walls.  Other techniques are also used to maintain the pipeline.  Gold Dredge 8 030 Gold Dredge 8 028

The Gold Dredge 8 was very interesting tour on the methods of gold mining.  From lighting fires on the frozen winter soils to thaw the ground a few inches at a time and piling the rock to sift thru in the spring, to water cannons blasting the hillsides, to the huge Dredge digging machines – it was hard, cold, dirty work.Gold Dredge 8 037

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And of course we had a chance to pan for gold……… Denny was pretty darn good at it!  Together our ‘flakes’ valued at $27.00

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With the warm 80’s – groups are still enjoying float trips on the Chena River.  Water moves quickly on the surface, currents below are treacherous and certainly COLD.

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Tomorrow the Discovery Paddle Boat Tour……

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fairbanks, AK

5-26-2013 ---- Being Hoosiers, of course we watched the Indy 500 – so glad Konan finally won! 

Winter in Alaska has become summer.  Just last week Fairbanks had 8” of SNOW (as did Palmer).  But then the sun came out, the tree buds are popping and by next week will be in full leaf.  Today is sunny 80’s.

Pioneer Park was enjoyable with many old log cabin shops and buildings of yesteryear.  A family friendly place for sure.Fairbanks 048 Fairbanks 049

Highlight of the day was opening weekend 1/2 price Salmon Bake!  Yummy!  Denny had prime rib and it was Salmon for me.  Great day for a picnic!Fairbanks 055

The Palace Theatre was a great place to learn a little history of Fairbanks, hear some tales,, and enjoy the humor and dance!Fairbanks 043 Fairbanks 037  

We also had time to enjoy the visitor center and a walk along the Chena River.  The Elks Lodge is just a few blocks away – right on the river.  Folks enjoyed inner tubes, kayaks, rafts and boats.

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Sunset will be 11:49pm --- might just be asleep by then.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Road to Fairbanks

5-25-13  Just a few moments before midnight of the 24th – the full golden moon pepped over the mountains……of course a picture never does the real thing justice --- but amazing and beautiful at midnight!to Fairbanks 006Enjoyed a surprise visit with John & Linda Acarregui and their son Michael before heading North to Fairbanks~300 Fairbanks 011Now before you wonder why we didn’t stop at Denali – the campgrounds and roads inside Denali are closed until June 1.  So a scenic drive it was on this sunny day with frequent peaks of Fairbanks 021Grand view of Denali at the South view point.

to Fairbanks 030 With wetlands along the way we passed many marshes, streams, ponds, lakes – some still with ice, others thawing.  The closer to Denali there was more snow and ice.

to Fairbanks 041Broad View Pass has new views of Denali.

to Fairbanks 050There’s a lot to explore in Fairbanks!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Palmer, AK

5-24-13  Another spectacular sunny morning in Palmer, AK.  What a view with the mtns reflecting in Finger Lake!

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This is the day we’ve waited for this week.  A local pilot is taking our group for a ride!!!  And what a day for spectacular views.  Blue clear skies and warm 60’s

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Yep, we’ll count this day as extra special.