May 26-28, 2009 – The “Big” One

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Yes, that is Denali, the big one!  We are told that since it is so high that it makes its own weather and is usually (70% of the time) in clouds and seen 30% of the time!!  And today was so clear and beautiful that we decided to take a ride to see if we could see the mountain -    And I just had to start this post with pictures of the mountain!

Initially we were going to take a one day round trip on the train to Denali National Park since we had a 2 for 1 coupon.  But when I called them I was told that the coupon was only good for an overnight.  So we decided to take a ride down to the park. 

We first stopped at the town of Nenana.  This is where they do the Alaska Ice Classic lottery.  A tripod is set up on the ice of the Tanana River with a string attached to a clock.  People buy lottery tickets with a guess of date and time when the ice is going to “break up” marking the beginning of spring.  Here is the Tanana River where the tripod is put:

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When we came into the state, the ice here was 42” thick – WOW!!   It is flowing pretty good now.

This is the railroad bridge over the river.  This bridge is one of the longest single spans in the United States and built to withstand the extreme temperatures of this area.  The bridge expands and contracts on rollers with the changes in temperature.  There are also no supports in the water so no damages in the spring with the huge icebergs that go floating down.

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And embedded in this rock is the Golden Spike (see the printing above the spike):

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This is a really cute town with many log cabins – we may spend more time here in the future.  From there we went to Denali National Park, took the road in for 16 miles (as far as we could by passenger car.  The road is actually 90 miles but only park buses are allowed past the 16 mile point.)  We could see the Alaskan Range but not Denali so we decided to go further south.  Right below the town of Cantwell, there she was….

On the way back we stopped here:

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This was once a resort that is now closed…  Check out the mountains in the background.

Here are some other pictures along the way:

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On the way back we stopped at Skinny Dicks Halfway Inn for a drink – What an INTERESTING place – LOL!!   And then we stopped to eat at the Blue Loon – good food.

What a wonderful Tuesday!

On Wednesday, we did some grocery shopping. In the afternoon, I did some bead shopping downtown and then met Andy at the Legion.  There were three bead stores in town and in two of them I met the owners and had some great chats.  And we had a great time at the Legion, meeting and chatting with more people.

Today we were going to do some of the museums at the University but….we felt the costs of EACH one was a little too high.  I know it is probably a personal priority thing but….  So we came back and just hung out….

Please keep my friend, Rosann and her family in your prayers – her father passed away on Tuesday morning.  As many of you know, it is very hard to lose a loved one.   Rosann, sending you lots of hugs.

I will leave you with pictures of our neighbors (who are really neat to watch – :-)):

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May 21-25, 2009 – Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to all!! 

Please say a prayer and give a thank you to all who have and who are serving our country. Their time, efforts and sacrifices give us our freedom!

Can’t believe it is 5 days since I updated – sorry to all who are following….

Thursday, we did a couple things around the MH and took a ride to Ester to check out the Gold Camp.  It was still closed and we were told it will be closed this summer for renovations – :-((((.   It was just a sort of hang out day after that!!

Friday we went to Pioneer Park.  This is a neat little place that contains museums and touristy stuff.  It was not fully open so we just walked around the Pioneer Museum – some real interesting artifacts, and the Gold Rush town.  The town consists of 35 pioneer cabins relocated to Pioneer Part from their original locations.

This cabin was one of the earliest in Fairbanks (built in 1904).  Some of the original mud can still be seen between the logs:

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This cabin was taken from 4th Avenue, “the Red Light District”. “A board fence at each end protected the innocent from views of debauchery.”

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 This home was build in 1903 for $800.00 and has leaded windows.

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This is know as a cache and used a lot in the north to store supplies and food and keep it safe from the bears and other wildlife.

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 Other artifacts at the park are the Harding Car.  This railroad car was used by President Harding on his trip to Alaska in 1923 to drive the “Golden Spike” for the Alaskan Railroad.

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This is the SS Nenana Riverboat.  It was closed so I don’t have a lot of info on this.


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From there we went to the local American Legion and had a great time.  Everyone was so friendly and supper was wonderful.  We will be going back – :-)))

Saturday, Sunday, and today, Andy and I both worked.  Andy did a lot of the mowing and some cleaning up, plus relieving me at the visitor center.  I manned the center and museum and also did some clean up and inventory, and some computer work for Alexis.  We are both learning so much about the different birds and just love talking to all the people.  We met one person on Sunday whose grandfather came from Minersville, PA (my hometown), another who is working in the building next to us from Allentown, and today I found out that there is an intern from Orwigsburg, PA (about 5 miles from my hometown) working at the Bird Observatory.  (I got her name and will stop there this week.)  What a small world.

Another neat thing is hearing everyone’s story – where they are from, where they are going, how they ended up in Alaska (residents)….  We have met very few people who are born in AK.  Interesting.

On Saturday and Sunday evening, we went to supper at The Alaskan Salmon Bake in Pioneer Park.  They were having their opening season special price (ended on Sunday).  Salmon on Saturday, Prime Rib on Sunday – MMMMMMMM!

After our meal on Sunday, we spent more time in the Park.  We took the train ride:

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went thru the Tanana Valley Railroad Museum, and went thru part of the Riverboat - they were closing so we will probably go back again – :-)

This is another artifact – a Steam Operated Shovel.  This shovel helped build the Panama Canal, worked in Hawaii, and helped dig the Davidson Ditch, “Alaska’s Water Pipeline”.  Davidson ditch brought water from the Chatinika to float and operate the huge hydraulic gold dredges in interior Alaska.

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And how about this:

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And big excitement here – on Sunday morning we had a 3.7 magnitude earthquake, centered 10 miles south of Fairbanks…  Nope, we didn’t feel it although we talked with others that did.  Whenever Andy or I walk in the MH, it has movement so the MH may have moved but we probably thought it was the other one walking…

Our area has changed since it is warmer.  This is our little pond that has dried up:

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The fields have been plowed and planted with barley.  This is the plowed field outside our motorhome:

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And this is one of our resident cranes who visits the field right by us every evening:

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We are now starting our 4 days off so stay tuned for our next adventure!


May 20, 2009 – Santa Land

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We went to see Santa today…  The white beard Santa wasn’t there but my Santa was – :-))

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And there was a big Polar Bear there – :-))):

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And even reindeer:

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Here is the outside of Santa’s House:

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We had a nice time!!!

From there we stopped at the Elks in Fairbanks – our first visit to an Elks Lodge since Andy became a member.  It is a really nice place and I know we will be stopping by more.

And I have to add this – yes, we now have no darkness!!!!

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I stopped by the visitor center earlier in the day to talk with Alexis who is the director of the center.  I had a number of questions and also volunteered to help her out with some computer work and inventory.  When I am working and there is time between visitors, it can get a little boring (I can only read and learn so much!) so I can do some other things to help out.  So I will start some of those items this weekend – :-)))

That’s it for today – hope your day went well.


May 19, 2009 – Chena Hot Springs Road, Aurora Ice Museum, and MOOSE

Today, we decided to go to Chena Hot Springs Resort.  What a wonderful day!  The road from Fairbanks to Chena Hot Springs Resort is 60 miles so we took our time and enjoyed the views. 

At the Resort, we first checked out the hot springs.  They were nice but a let down from Liard Springs so we decided not to go in (the fee was also a little more than we wanted to pay).

But they have the Aurora Ice Museum here so we signed up for the tour, donned heavy jackets and proceeded to be AMAZED.  This museum is kept at ~20 F all year.  Here are some of the sculptures – notice the detail:

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This is also an ice hotel – yes, you can sleep here – BRRRRR.   One of the rooms (yes that is a potty):

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We spent some time talking with the person making ice glasses (yes, there is even a bar):

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We took a leisurely ride home and YES, MOOSE – we saw 5 of them along the road – YIPPEE!!!

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This road is the place to see them.  The males are just starting their antlers so it will be interesting to see others as the summer progresses – :-))

Here are some moose facts:

Moose are fast on land, reaching speeds of 35 mph and in open water they can out distance two men paddling a canoe.

Moose have no upper teeth so they must strip branches with their lips and lower teeth.

 Moose maybe facts – :-).  Andy and I met a gentleman who use to work as a paramedic.  He told us that moose hold grudges.  The paramedics were called out a few times when a moose attacked a person.  When they did an investigation, they found in most cases that kids teased or threw snow balls at the moose earlier in the morning.  Then later that day some poor soul would be walking along and the moose would attack.  Not sure how true it is but still was interesting.

What a wonderful day!!!