Friday, June 25, 2010

We made it, 550 miles roundtrip from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle. Travel books list this drive as a dusty minefield of potholes from football size to washtub size with blind curves and technical pitches. They weren't wrong, nor did they exaggerate. It was worth every minute of the 14 hours of driving to see the enormity of this state.

View of the upcoming road and the Alaska pipeline. The pipeline is 4 feet wide and 800 miles long stretching from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean down to Valdez carrying about 1 million barrels of crude oil a day. .

Coldfoot, town of named after greenhorns who got 'cold feet' at the thought of wintering in this North Alaska area. We only traveled this far North to get gas for our return trip to Fairbanks.
Lucky us, we were here right after the summer solstice. During winter solstice, it would be dark for 24 hours a day .

Pioneer Park, Fairbanks

Located right in the middle of Fairbanks built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska from Russia.
Dick enjoyed the Pioneer Air Museum

Gorgeous hanging baskets of flowers were throughout the park.

Salmon so big, I had to ride it... Couldn't catch it.

Dick and his favorite bear.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fairbanks, Alaska
Took the Discovery III, a sternwheeler on a cruise on the Chena and Tanana Rivers. This paddleboat was built in Seattle and started doing tours in 1987.

Headed out to the Tanana River, the largest glacier-fed river in the world.

The Discovery II was built on the steel hull of the last freighting sternwheeler on the Tanana and Yukon Rivers.

One of our favorite homes along the river. Many of the homes are built from the native spruce trees and have 4 or 5 paned windows for the cold Alaskan Winters.

Alaskan bush pilot in action. Amazing take off and landing on the river.

Home of the late Susan Butcher the Iditarod Champion. Susan and her dog team won the 1,100 mile Dog Sled Race from Anchorage to Nome 4 times. Her husband and daughters now manage the dog kennel and continue to raise and train dogs. Great fun seeing the puppies and older dogs interact and to have an opportunity to see a 10 dog team pull an ATV around their training track.

Reindeer sighting!!

Log cabin and display of native garments

This was a spectacular coat complete with fur trim and beading indicative of the Athabascan Indians

Dick and the fish smoker. Smoking fish in the big drum and cooking the fish remains into a stew for the dogs.

Smokehouse from the Original Chena Village used to dry salmon

Salmon drying rack.
Salmon is dried and used to feed the dogs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Visiting the North Pole. Santa was taking a rest so I didn't get to visit with him. The tiny people in front are me and Moe.

A very busy spot, year round.
Santa's elves are making lots of toys.

Our campsite on Chena River outside of Fairbanks.
This is the view from our front window at 11pm.
Its a great time of night cause the mosquitoes are

Its very lush. White birch and spruce trees.

A day of kayaking. Unfortunately we had to go downstream
from our campsite and then the great paddle upstream to get home. Lots of fun as I finally got out and pulled Dick upstream and then attempted to walk my kayak upstream only to be stuck midcalf in muck and very cold muck at that. Lots of giggles and grand memories, The water looks so calm...little did we know.
Life doesn't get much better.....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We were impressed by the efficiency of this little ferry taking all traffic from Dawson City across the Yukon River to the road to Chicken Alaska. We camped on the other side of the river so got to travel with our jeep by ferry a couple times a day.

CHICKEN ALASKA: Not a great pic but this is Chicken Alaska. Three businesses and one airport accommodates lots of travelers.

Dick was excited about crossing the line, too. ALASKA at last.

Celebrating our first night in Alaska. A champagne toast to this adventure. Dick got up and put on shorts this morning. Ahhh sunshine, that lasted about 20 minutes when we had a downpour and temp dropped to about 50. On to TOK. Hope to get some electrical repair done. Problem with circuitry or something so we're not getting power without the generator running. FUN TIMES...Life doesn't get much better.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dick enjoyed the show at Diamond tooth Gertie's saloon. Fun entertainment.

Midnight celebration at midnight dome in Dawson City. Met a group of fellow travelers celebrating the midnight. Sunset and Sunrise at nearly the same time. Can you believe it is midnight and still totally light. We can't quite figure out wen to sleep and when to play.

Looking out at the valley from the midnight dome.

Bear sighting. We do love our wild animals.

4026 miles from home. Alaska. We are finally here.
Celebrate another milestone.

Dawson City: Yukon's first capital when the Yukon became a separate territory in 1898d In 1953 Whitehorse became the capital. Dawson was declare a National historic site. We camped across the Yukon river and took the ferry boat across the river. A great government campsite right on the river complete with wonderful views and mosquitos.

Historic dredge built in 1912. Largest wooden hull bucket line dredge in North America

Sludge was filtered through this system and gold was claimed. $35. an ounce. Lots of places to pan for gold and make your fortune.

Old shipwreck. We camped just down the road for an easy hike.
Glad I wan't on this sternwheeler.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Great spot along the Yukon. Many of the sternwheelers had
trouble navigating this spot.

Sternwheelers stopped here to reload on the cords of wood needed to make their way from Whitehorse to Dawson and return.

Our campsite at midnight. Whoever said the days aren't long enough?

Whitehorse, Canada
Toured the Klondike Sternwheeler. It traveled up between Whitehorse and Dawson City between 1895 and 1955. Quite an impressive dining room and observation room for 1st class guests.

Huge paddles, powered by up to 100 cords of wood to carry this boat up and down the river carrying supplies and silver lead ore

The fish salmon running so we just enjoyed this artwork done by locals. Very creative....

Dick enjoying one giant cinnamon bun. Enough for 4 breakfasts for the 2 of us. A sugar high!!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Watson Lake, The Yukon, June 10, 2010
We're celebrating one fabulous month on the road.
Traveled 3313 miles
Stayed: 3 nights in commercial parks
8 nights in Provincial Parks
Dry Camp 20 nights
Rainy days: 26 out of 31
Snow ball fights 6 days

Some sticker shock: $6.02 for gas at one stop...UGH!!! Needless to say we did not fill up.
Numerous mtn inclines of 6-7-9%...7% incline for 7 miles and thereafter we didn't count
We've seen bison with their new borns, black bears, bear cubs, stone sheep, mtn goats, antelope, moose, rocky mtn sheep, deer, baby fawn and one mtn lion ( ok he was stuffed at the Alaska Saloon in Dawson Creek). Always a thrill.
Soaked in 2 hot springs, traveled through 4 states and 3 Canadian Provinces.
Learned to convert kilometers to miles, liters to gallons, celsius to fahrenheit and play with Canadian money called monopoly money here due to the different color of each denomination.
Enjoyed 21 hour sunshine days and very short nights.
All together 31 days of adventure and smiles. And many more to come.

Dick at the signpost forest in Watson Lake. Yes, there are AZ signs posted. Spent the night at Lucky Lake.

Waterways everywhere, lakes, rivers, streams. Crossed over the Continental Divide with 2 of the largest drainage systems in North America. The Yukon River drains to the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The MacKenzie River drains to the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean. We drove by the Teslin Lake...86 miles long and 2 miles wide. Glorious tree lined paths and many meadows filled with flowers.
Many memories: as my dad worked in this area in the 40's when they were building the highway.

Stone sheep are prevalent. Look closely at his head. Does he look just like the Dr Seuss animals.

June 9, catching up on info as we have been without internet for awhile.
Fort Nelson, enjoyed touring a great museum with lots of equipment used to build the ALCON highway. Dick's infatuation with old tractors continues. Perhaps he should have worked on a farm.

Old bus used in the late 1940s.

What a thrill to see these buffalo with their babies. Saw a herd of about 10 very well fed buffalo and 6 babies following along.

Baby bear still looks hungry. I saw big bear tracks on my walk today and decided another path may be a better choice. A 70 degree day. Finally we can get out of our winter clothes....