Our trip to Alaska June 2011

Saturday June 18th 2011 going to Beaver Creek fromFairbanks and Sunday June 19th AM

Dear Friends and Family,

Today is going to be a long day.  We are traveling fromFairbanks,AKtoBeaver CreekCanadawhere we will only spend one night.  For you camera buffs, I have used 16 gig of my 32 gig memory card in my camera so far, lots of videos and pictures.  I copy and paste them on to this computer each day where I edit them and resize them for the blog.  It’s very time consuming but, from the emails I’m getting, it’s worth it because you are enjoying seeing them.  As you know, from last night’s quick blog entry, I finally have the attaching picture thing worked out for the blog which should make the updates faster to get done.  We will be having internet in the “public areas” of our hotels for the next couple of days so I’ll be able to upload these entries and pictures at that time.

Yesterday was jam packed with adventure.  First, we stopped at one of the only places you can actually touch the Alaskan Pipeline.  I was quite surprised with it as I thought it was bigger.  Actually, it’s smaller than the picture shows as there is a lot of insulation around the pipes.  Interestingly enough, our bus driver is aGlendale,AZmath teacher and quite well versed on the pipeline.  They have rubber type expansion parts that help when there is an earthquake.  By the way, did you know thatAlaskahas about 1000 earthquakes a day?  There was a 5.0 the other day inAnchoragebut we didn’t feel it as we were already inDenali.  That is ONE thing I’m not really interested in experiencing.

We then went to the El Dorado Gold Mine and panned for gold.  Believe it or not, the small amount of gold I found was worth $30!  That was fun as I had never panned for gold before.  For those of you who have never panned for gold, it’s not an easy job and is pretty time consuming and takes a special “wrist movement” to get things moving.  I could have had a pendant made with the gold I panned in it but I decided to get a little clear bottle and put water and the gold in it to share with my students.  Ah!  Always the teacher…

Then we went to the historic Gold Dredge number 8 and had a real nice “Miner’s Lunch” of tea, beef stew, and biscuits.  (For those of you who know me REALLY well, you can bet I picked out all of the peas and lima beans which were promptly eaten by Susan.)

After lunch, we road up the river on the Discovery III paddle boat.  I found it interesting that those boats only need about 3 feet of water to run in.  We stopped at a replica of an Athabascan (local Native American) village. There was also a display of some of Susan Butcher’s sled dogs.  She was one of the first women to win the Iditarod.  I know you’re probably thinking I’m bound to get board with all of the sled dog presentations I’ve been seeing but they have so many differences!  Sort of like how we all treat our dogs differently and use different training methods.  All of these “mushers” want to have very socialized dogs and the dogs seem to love people, especially little kids.  It surprises me that they allow the public to just hold and play with their puppies, even the ones who are only days old!  I asked one of the owners if they feared Parvo and other illnesses in the puppies.  She said that although Parvo is around inAlaska, breeders don’t worry about it like they do in the lower 48.  They also don’t have heartworms though they DO have some HUGE mosquitoes.  I can remember joking about the size of the mosquitoes inFloridabut these are much bigger. 

On the way back to the hotel, we were entertained by our bus driver with a moving presentation of the poem, “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service.  My father used to recite that poem to me as a child.  I learned “The Shooting of Dan McGrew.”

We arrived back at the hotel early enough for me to stand in line to do a couple of loads of laundry.  We figured out that this was the best place to do that on the trip.  It had been such a long time since I had done laundry in a laundromat setting.  It made me realize how lucky I am to have a washer and dryer at home.  Naturally, most of the people waiting were in the same boat so we kept joking back and forth and became very familiar with which washers and dryers worked the best..

This morning, we left early on our 11 hour trip toBeaver CreekCanada.  Our first stop was the North Pole, a fun place to be for kids of all ages.  Unfortunately, Santa doesn’t show up until2PM.  However, you will be interested to note that they have the largest statue in the world of Santa Claus, a whopping 52 feet tall!  And, of course there were more reindeer/caribou.  These were very scruffy looking, seeming to be going through a molting season or something like that as their fur was coming off in tufts.  They didn’t seem to be as nicely taken care of as the rest of the ones we had seen on the trip so far.  As an aside, you might notice that one of the pictures on today’s blog shows caribou/reindeer with antlers of different sizes.  Remember what I wrote in one of my blogs about their antlers falling off one at a time?  That would mean that they would often have antlers of different sizes as they grow.  And, you might see that I’ve named one of the pictures “Ceilidh and Gunny type moose?”  That’s because one of them has his/her head on the other one’s back.

Our second stop of the day was at Rika’s Roadhouse.  This is actually in a state park and has some history behind it.  There were a couple of museum type buildings with some great antiques, dating back to the 1800’s and the homesteading ofAlaska.  Their restaurant and giftshop were pretty fun, especially browsing through some of their Sarah Palin paraphernalia.  Both Susan and I have come to the conclusion that Sarah is not as well liked here in AK as she is elsewhere because she quit her governor job mid stream.

Our last stop, before the border, wasTok,Alaskawhere we stopped for lunch.

As beautiful asAlaskais, it’s not a place I would like to live in.  It is really strange to have it total daylight at11:00 PM, having  20 or so hours of daylight in the summer and only 4 hours of night.  And, I’m sure I would hate 20 hours of night in the winter.

And, the word for the day is, “pot holes!”  Once we crossed the border and passed intoCanada, the roads made a turn for the worse and there are pot holes all over the place.  So, when we hit one, everyone yells, “pot holes!”

Well, we’re pulling into Beaver Creek now so I’ve got to sign off!

Lori and Susan

Ps  Well, it’s Sunday morning and I didn’t get to post to the blog last night because I believed our tour director when he told us that the internet was down.  Not to worry.  I have to go “cold turkey” from the internet occasionally to prove I’m not addicted.  We had a nice “family style” dinner last night complete with bakedAlaskafor dessert.  There was a great musical show after dinner as well.  And, as a tour, we had to come up with our own song about our travels so far and perform it in front of the crowd.  The weather is a bit rainy this morning.  We’re heading to another dog show at Uncommon Journeys.  And, we will be spending two nights inWhitehorse.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to do another blog tomorrow night!

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Comments on: "Saturday and Sunday June 18th and 19th 2011" (1)

  1. Read your last posting. I can see how panning for gold can become addictive!

    If you read Palin’s first book, she explains that she left the governorship because the entire office came to a standstill due to responding to all the freedom of information request. Unbelievable amounts of frivolous requests, her staffers just about full-time meeting those requests, and reams of paper being wasted. She wasn’t able to get anything done for the state, and decided it was not fair to her constituents, so she resigned. I have to applaud her for her decision, actually. And those people would not be upset with her if she had resigned to be VP, I bet.

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