Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 06-11-2010, 11:38 AM   #85
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Mark, Because I don't have shopping expertise except with building materials and trucks, I did not go to Santa Claus house. Barb tells me Santa Claus was there.

Gene
__________________

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2010, 04:35 PM   #86
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Friday. We left Santa Land and stopped at Lowe’s to get grommets, wingnuts and split washers. Grommets for the stove top—the grate the pots sit on need grommets, but the ones supplied are cheap and fall through, so we got good ones. The stabilizer jacks have plates at the bottom held on by wingnuts without lock washers and we had lost one wingnut and the others were loose. We installed two better quality wingnuts with the locking split washers before it started to rain.

Then to Fred Meyers, a Kroger chain, for supplies. These are giant stores with appliances, clothes and food, much better quality and variety than other stores. While looking around I saw bottles of “Leninade”, a drink I had never seen before.. It said “Soviet style soda”, but it must include alcohol because it also said “Get hammered and sickled”.

Then on to Chena Hot Springs, 56 miles from Fairbanks. The road is bumpy at times for the first 20 miles through a long suburban area, then a smooth road the rest of the way. One of the side roads was named “Amanita”. That it is a psychoactive mushroom and would be like naming a road “Marijuana”. Alaska is different. There were other strange names, but I only remember “Midori Twist”, not “Road”.

The campground at Chena Hot Springs is somewhat primitive and poorly signed. Went down the wrong road and almost got trapped but finally found our way to a campsite. Then it started to pour and we retreated to the trailer for lunch and a nap. When we woke, the rain had stopped and we went to the hot springs. The way to the locker room and to the water is all rubber mats of various kinds, but they won’t let you wear your shoes. Those who have been there before, know to bring flip flops. I didn’t know that. The mats were increasingly painful to my feet (others also complained). The hot spring pool is outside, and quite nice once you get past the torture mats.

Years ago when we went to many hot springs in Colorado and New Mexico, I could stay in the water for hours, but now I am a decrepit old man and an hour was enough. And then it started to pour even more than before. We waited and waited for it to let up, but it didn’t so we went to the trailer. Drainage is poor and deep water got our feet wet; mud got taken to the trailer. Then we watched the creek rise and while it didn’t rise all that much, who knew whether it was going to rain all night? So, we moved to higher ground, decided one night at Chena Hot Springs was enough and went to dinner. Food was quite good, though Alaska expensive.

There have been new owners of this place for several years and they have made many improvements, although apparently not to the RV sites. They created an Ice Hotel, but because it didn’t meet some code for hotels, they call it the Ice Museum. You can still stay in it for many hundred of dollars. Just about everything is resort expensive including wifi at $10/day in one room. At an ordinary RV park it is usually free and often at the sites.

Apparently it is quite popular in the winter. When it’s -50˚ and dark all the time, a hot springs sounds really good if you live in Fairbanks. A lot of Japanese come to see the Aurora in the winter and because they believe children conceived during the aurora is good luck for them, this is the place to be. So, perhaps strangely, summer is the slow season.

This morning (Saturday) we returned to Fairbanks and are thinking of staying 2 nights while the gravel roads dry out. We may go to Pioneer Park where there are some museums and other things to see. The best full service RV campground in the area seems to be Santa Land, but that meant driving another dozen miles, so we are at River’s Edge Campground. It’s sort of acceptable, but the sewers are a long run from the trailer and the wifi doesn’t work at all. We may move tomorrow. It’s started raining again. The good weather we had for most of them time has disappeared in the last few days.

Since we spend a lot of time at RV campgrounds, and some at restaurants and other tourist oriented places, it begins to feel like the average age in Alaska and northern Canada is 95 or older. When you watch centenarians drive their rigs in, be prepared to see some unusual things. Maybe it's memory issues, or maybe just the confusion of someplace new to them, or tiredness from hours on the road, but people aren't at their best. We are probably no different, but we haven't hit a water spigot, knocked over the electrical box or hit a tree or a rock (yet). Campground owners have many stories about this and it takes patience to run an RV park. On the other hand, some campgrounds are badly run or the owners milk them, let them deteriorate and sell out. Standards tend to be lower here and prices higher, so it can be frustrating. There are few campgrounds and the season is short, so there's little competition. Thought there are lots of campgrounds in Fairbanks, there are few with full hookups, so competition does not regulate the market.

Mosquito report: After the mosquito attack on the Cassiar Hwy, there have been relatively few. At Chena Hot Springs, however, when I was defenseless in a bathing suit, 4 bites. Still, there haven’t been as many as we encountered 8 years ago in this area.

Cinnamon bun report: In years past, many places on the Alaska Hwy have advertised relentlessly "Cinnamon Buns!", "Biggest Cinnamon Buns on the Highway" and "Biggest Cinnamon Buns in the Universe". I'm not making this up. Four years ago we decided to try one and stopped at a place to try one. They were out. This time we have seen no billboards touting cinnamon buns and we still haven't had one. The bun rush is over.

Gene

I'll try to send photos in a separate post since the internet here is spotty and bandwidth is narrow.

Photos:

#1 This 1967 motorhome, a Challenger, has been nicely kept up. The owners have had it for 20 years. The mural on the side was commissioned by the owners. It's not a volcano, but clouds over a mountain.
#2 Our first campsite at Chena Hot Springs. This was before torrents of rain caused a very wet and muddy lot.
#3 The Ice Museum. It costs $15 to tour it, we didn't. It's inside the quonset hut like structure and they keep it at 20˚.
#4 The outdoor pool. No one under 18 allowed, so it's pretty quiet, view is nice, water ranges from about 102˚ to 108˚.
__________________

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2010, 05:55 PM   #87
3 Rivet Member
 
2006 28' International CCD
Nashville , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 115
It's been fun to follow you guys -- we were there last summer for the trip of a lifetime -- and your musings have brought back some of our wonderful memories.

If you're a birder and are still in Fairbanks, I'd recommend that you check out Creamer's Field. Sandhill cranes (lots of them) were my favorite sighting there. They can also sometimes be spotted in the grain fields at Georgeson Botanical Gardens (at the edge of the campus of University of Alaska Fairbanks. I thought the Gardens were definitely worth a look-see, along with UAF's Large Animal Research Station.

You probably already know about this but just in case you don't -- on a clear day you can see a great view of Mt. McKinley from the campus. Near the University Museum, there is a turnout and a marker. I think it's on Yukon Drive.

Like you, we mostly patronize the Trailer Cafe, but we did have a tasty Thai dinner at Pad Thai (on College Road).

We stayed at River's Edge and left the trailer there while taking a side trip up the Deadhorse. I think they charged us $10(?) a night -- parked in their overflow area.

Geez, I got to go and look at last summer's photos. Wish I was there . . .

Debbie
__________________
dmoore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2010, 08:42 PM   #88
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Still trying to upload photos—

Gene
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010001.jpg
Views:	59
Size:	382.9 KB
ID:	104792   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010002.jpg
Views:	68
Size:	498.1 KB
ID:	104793  

Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010003.jpg
Views:	64
Size:	394.0 KB
ID:	104794   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010004.jpg
Views:	59
Size:	490.3 KB
ID:	104795  

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-2010, 08:53 PM   #89
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
The question came up when we left Chena Hot Springs, where do we stay in Fairbanks? The campgrounds in the city did not seem too great, but we didn't want to drive 14 miles back to North Pole and Santa Land. This was despite the fact I saw a short cut that would bring us to Santa Land faster than a campground in Fairbanks. I can only blame all the rain which had turned our brains into swamps. Then we choose a campground which had a mediocre review in "RV Park Reviews" and had bad wifi. The brain swamp gets deeper.

We found River's Edge Campground and were checked in by some teenagers who we later noticed were putting enormous rigs in spaces too narrow for them. The sites are wooded and tight. The wifi was not bad, it was nonexistent. They told me to go the hotel next door, but it hardly worked there either. The river at the edge is the Chena. It looks benign and sluggish, but in 1967 it flooded Fairbanks. The rain continued. We went back to Santa Land this morning where the wifi works from time to time and as we hooked up the rains got worse. We are closer to the Godzilla sized Santa and get to look at his oversized butt outside our windows. This is better that River's Edge where we had a giant RV looming over us about 10' away.

The forecast is for more rain, but less tomorrow and sun by Tuesday. We are two days ahead of schedule, so we can wait for the sun to do its job. Our goal is the BLM campground 5 miles north of Coldfoot on the Dalton Hwy. First we drive about 70 miles north of Fairbanks on the paved Elliot Hwy to just past Livengood (Live-en-good) and there the Dalton begins. Then it's about 180 miles to Marion Creek Campground near Coldfoot, about half paved. It is no fun towing on a muddy gravel road, so we are hoping it dries out by the time we get there. There's a lot of oil field truck traffic going to Prudhoe Bay. The road is well maintained, so we hope it'll be in good shape. Marion Creek Campground is at the foot of the Brooks Range. From there we can leave the trailer and take a trip through Brooks Range to the North Slope. The land slopes downward towards the Arctic Ocean. No more trees. The Brooks Range has little vegetation and from a distance looks black. The North Slope is tundra somewhat unlike the tundra we see in Colorado. A hundred miles north of the Brooks Range you see a black mountain range stretching from the eastern to western horizon as far as you can see. The view is unobstructed by any trees or buildings. Last time we were there, we saw Dall Sheep, Musk Ox and caribou. There are moose around the campground, but we didn't see any.

The views are breathtaking and worth the difficulty of getting there.

Meanwhile we will eventually go to Pioneer Park where there's a train museum and airplane museum. At $2 a head each, seems worth it. They have also assembled a bunch of old buildings to replicate a pioneer town, though they are filled with shoppes instead of saloons and bordellos, so it can't look very authentic. At one time it was a theme park with a name like Alaska Land, but it failed and is now a municipal park. There's also an classic car museum in town, so we go there today or tomorrow.

Later—We walked around the Pioneer Park and finally we went hours without rain. We to the pioneer town and hardly anyone was there. I don't know how the shoppes can survive, though the rain may have killed business. The railroad museum is quite small, but had some interesting info about the building of the Tanana Valley RR and the original locomotive. We found a Santa Fe RR metal Indian head emblem in the bargain box. It's a good example of 1930's logos showing speed. Then we went to the airplane museum. A lot of stuff, not always displayed well, but certainly worth more than the $2 each we paid. Forgot the camera today.

When we came back, there was a note in our door from a couple we met at Lake Louise with a similar Airstream. If we stay in Fairbanks tomorrow, we'll have to try and find them.

Report from the Crawford Research Institute: If you buy one of those things that goes between the wheels to lock them in place to prevent the trailer from rolling away and deter theft—the kind that comes with a wrench, but doesn't have a key—extensive study indicates that if you drive off without removing it, it doesn't stop anything, doesn't damage the tires, and just pops off and disappears. Or, somebody stole it.

Gene
__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2010, 03:17 AM   #90
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
We planned once again to go to the classic car museum, but by the time we got out the door, it was closing in on 3 pm. Things have changed a lot since my motto was "more scenery per minute". The time of 500+ miles per day, day after day, has ended. Barb is very happy with that. After the 10 days of intense travel which brought us to Watson Lake, Yukon, we have slowed down. Even before the slow down, we have not travelled at the former rate. Our longest previous trips to Alaska and western Canada were 6 weeks, this time we have 8 weeks. We just can't drive as far each day with a trailer, and are a bit older, but who wants to hang out in a motel room for a couple of days. The trailer is a much better place to hang out.

Before we left, I had to seal a window. Yesterday we discovered a leak at the front of the trailer by the bed. This is the third time this area has been sealed. For reasons that may indicate a failing mind, when I ordered sealant last year, I didn't order grey. I did order white (roof) and black (goes somewhere I can't remember), but not the sealant that goes where everything else is except the mysterious black place. But the front windows are covered by rock guards, so black doesn't show.

Before we left I had to seal a leak on the white roof, so I opened the black sealant (in this case a failing mind wasn't the only reason, I was also tired), then closed it with a nail in the end of the tube. This works pretty well with silicone, but this is polyurethane. So after digging out hard black polyurethane out of the plastic tube made to leave a small bead for about half an hour, and thus destroying much of the tube, I could get sealant out. But since I had widened the tube, this was not a 1/8" bead, but a 3/8" effluent such as flows out of broken oil wells under Gulf of Mexico—not quite that bad, but it felt like it. The only way to smooth it out was to use my finger, but unlike silicone, it doesn't peal off, some comes off with WD40 and soap, but leaves a black stain. Of course it gets over most of your fingers and under your nails. This leads to trimming one's nails, something that was due anyway. They're are still black, but less black. This once again proves that no matter how many things I bring with me, I need more, in this case not only the grey stuff, but paint remover too. The sealant looks really sloppy, but the rock guards hide it.

So after the stuff dried, it was 3 pm. We went to look for Dick and Peggy, last seen in Lake Louise. We found them right away and the four of us sat around for more than 3 hours trading stories of Alaska, our travels, getting through customs craziness and where we end up next. I think our paths may converge again in Homer. We traded cellphone numbers and will try to make contact by the time one of us gets to Anchorage. We have found we have a lot in common with with Airstreamers when we find each other.

We also made reservations at Denali for a campground. Not being sure exactly when we'd get there, we made reservations for 4 days since each day only costs us less than $10 with our 50% discount for the senior pass. If we only stay 3 nights, no big loss, and how often do we get to Denali. We selected the campground furthest into the park—Teklanika—and once there, since no private vehicles are allowed that far in except to get to this campground, we park and stay for at least 3 days. The bus pass for this this campground entitles you to ride the bus anytime anywhere instead of for just one day and thos campground is the cheapest of the only 3. I don't know how many spaces were left as the season is picking up, but on short notice we got just what we wanted. Pretty good deal.

Today was beautiful—mostly blue sky and about 70˚. Tomorrow up the Dalton Hwy, seems like possibility of showers for several days. We can't wait forever, so we leave in the morning.

Gene

Photos:

#1 My tasteful job of sealing around the windows.
#2 Dick and Peggy of Grand Marais, Minnesota.
#3 Candy canes are real big around North Pole.
#4 Even the light poles are candy canes and so are the posts for the bus shelter in the lower left.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010002.jpg
Views:	62
Size:	415.0 KB
ID:	104880   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010006.jpg
Views:	56
Size:	755.6 KB
ID:	104881  

Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010007.jpg
Views:	55
Size:	239.6 KB
ID:	104882   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010008.jpg
Views:	57
Size:	239.9 KB
ID:	104883  

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2010, 05:49 AM   #91
Rivet Master
 
Lily&Me's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
Normal , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 13,559
Seems like you're having a grand and wonderful adventure. Denali NP is on our list of must-go-to places. Lots of griz there, we here.

If Barb has nail polish remover, that should remove the paint.

Travel safe,

Maggie
__________________
🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
Lily&Me is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2010, 09:52 AM   #92
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Maggie, thanks for the tip. It's Sikiflex 221, not paint. We will probably wait until we are home.

Forecast for the first 2 days we are at Denali is chance of rain and cloudy, but Alaska weather changes quickly. Conventional wisdom is that 80's of tourists never see Denali. We never got to the place in Fairbanks were you can see the mountain yesterday when it was clear and sunny because we forgot to look.

Gene
__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2010, 12:05 PM   #93
4 Rivet Member
 
eheffa's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Victoria , BC
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 333
Hi Gene.

Have a great time in the Denali area. That's a big one on our bucket list.

Re: Stabilizer nuts. Those wing nuts just fall off too easily even with lock washers. We had several fall off on our first day of ownership. I replaced the wing nuts with nylon threaded SS hex nuts & they have stayed put ever since. If the wing nuts fail again, you could try that.

Here's cheering for you.

- evan
__________________
eheffa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2010, 03:56 PM   #94
Rivet Master
 
ROBERTSUNRUS's Avatar

 
2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,268
Images: 18
Blog Entries: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by eheffa View Post
Hi Gene.

Have a great time in the Denali area. That's a big one on our bucket list.

Re: Stabilizer nuts. Those wing nuts just fall off too easily even with lock washers. We had several fall off on our first day of ownership. I replaced the wing nuts with nylon threaded SS hex nuts & they have stayed put ever since. If the wing nuts fail again, you could try that.

Here's cheering for you.

- evan
Hi, I never lost any of the wing nuts, but I thought it was a poor way to hold the pads on. I did the same thing as Evan did.
__________________
Bob

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
YAMAHA 2400 / AIR #12144
ROBERTSUNRUS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2010, 01:59 AM   #95
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Wednesay: At 2:15 am (time doesn’t seem to matter when the sun doesn’t set above the Arctic Circle), I am struck by the incongruity of what we have done. We have dragged 3 1/.2 tons of trailer almost 4,000 miles to the middle of nowhere. I am surrounded by modern toys—a spacious refrigerator, TV and radio mostly useless here, water system with hot and cold running water, comfy bed. Aside from the low hum of the roof exhaust fan used to keep fresh air cirulating inside, it is very, very quiet.

We are at Marion Creek Campground surrounded by the Brooks Range, about 250 miles north of Fairbanks. Here the mountains rise out of fairly flat plain on north and south sides. Each seem to stand alone with broad, glaciated valleys between. There are about 5 RV’s and several tents, well spaced in this wooded campground and so we feel alone. Lots of spruce trees surround us. They take a 100 years to grow to a size of an inch or two in diameter. Their branches are short. They are thin, conifers conserving what little nutrients and water they get here.

We started from Fairbanks and the first 70 miles are pretty good paved highway through rolling hills, mountains and dense forest. We left the Elliot Highway and started up the Dalton (“Haul Road”) before noon. Immediately the dirt road was studded witrh small but painful rocks making for a jaring beginning. Having been here before, we expected a bumpy trip. After about 20 miles we had smooth, well graded dirt, but then we encountered about 10 or more miles of road being graded. They wet it down to make it easier to grade and create mud. It’s sloppy, slippery and difficult to drive. Mud coats our vehicles by the time we return to a dry well graded dirt road.

Eventually the forest thins and we see everything from dense forest to thin stands of stunted trees, many dead, trying to survive on permafrost close to the surface. The permafrost does not allow water to circulate and prevents the roots from being very deep. As the trees grow higher, a dry year can kill them, or they become too top heavy and start falling over. More and more we see stretches of tundra with low lying plamts. And the pipeline is closer to us, sometimes a 100 or hundreds of feet away. We can see it snaking along up hills and across the plalins that are more frequent, sometimes it goes underground so wildlife can cross.

The pipeline will be with us as long as we drive. At the Yukon River is the only bridge to cross it in Alaska. It slopes downward at a 6% grade with a wood deck, looking very slippery. It has been raining lightly most of the day. We cross the bridge and pull into one of the only gas stations on this venture—$4.49/gallon. Then we go to Teresa’s Hot Spot Cafe 5 miles further.

A sign on this hodge podge of buildings announces sarcasm free with every meal and I order some sarcasm first. Teresa, a piece of work, provides some and we engage in witty exchanges. This is the way you make friends here. The food is good and Teresa isn’t really so bad, but does have an attitude about men. Her hiusband of 8 years ago is long gone and it seems Teresa has not recovered. You can buy a load of T-shirts and other tourist curious, stay in some basic rooms, and she used tro sell gas.

After lunch and some more sarcasm, we start north again. It’s about 100 miles to Coldfoot and after a while the road is paved, but not in good shape for most of the way. You can grade dirt and keep it pretty smooth, but pavementr heaves, gets potholes, turns to bad gravel and slumps. I’d rather drive on dirt, but the state seems to be convinced this road should be paved and continues to pave it in a multiyear project.

At Coldfoot Camp, we buy gas. Same price. There’s no more gas for 240 miles. Midway on the trip, this is an obvious stopping point on a drive to Prudhoe Bay and the adjacent “town” of Deadhorse. There are small and expensive rooms, expensive food, $10 showers in very small stalls, a small campground near the parking lot with electric ($30; $15 without).

Across the Dalton is a very large BLM visitor center, but we continue for 5 miles to Marion Creek. There’s a 22 mile paving project from Coldfoot north and the road is rough. We find a spot and as soon as we get out of the truck, Mosquito Attack! We forgot we bought insect repellant in Skagway at a health food store. It’s Herbal Armor Insect Repellant is it’s supposed to work for 2 hours. It contains no toxic ingredients. Barb runs to get it out of the trailer. It takes her a long trime because the mud has caked on the door and she can’t get it open right away. She finally returns and we apply it. It works, more or less. Some mosquitos didn’t read the label. By this time I have been bitten on the back of the head and wrists despite waving my arms about wildly and cursing. I have tried this approach many times and it has never worked. These are the little mosquitos that are so voracious. The females need blood to lay their eggs and are very good at getting blood.

We get the trailer unhitched, pay our $4/night fee, get some water to clean off the mud splattered trailer windows, fight off mosquitos that have no respect for insect repellant, and hide in the trailler. By this time it’s 8 pm, 10 hours after we left Santa Land. Despite opening and closing the door in split seconds, about 20 mosquitos have gotten in and we spend about an hour killing them. For all their persistence, they are fairly easy to dispatch.

Once in the trailer we gather all the things that have flown about on the road. Opening the overhead cabinet is to be done carefully because things will fall out and bonk you on the head.

The drive was tiring and by 9:50 I am ready to ooze into bed, but discovered water on the kitchen floor. A kitchen sink drain had loosened—quick tightening, more time to clean up. I leave Barb to wipe up water while I ooze for a snooze and am asleep as soon as I hit the pillow. Four hours later I awake and go to the dinette. The solar panel charges all night now. It has clouded up again and I return for another nap. Our circadian rythym is screwed up by the constant light. By 6 am it starts raining.

Travelling up the highway we were still in contact with civilization. There are fewer trucks and more private vehicles and motorcycles on the highway than in 2002. The reputation of the highway is that gravel will be thrown at you by trucks, but none of that has happened. The pavement, bad as it is, stops that, and liberal applications of calcium chloride, keep the gravel and dust down. If it had not been as rainy lately, maybe we would have seen more dust and gravel.

Here at the campgound, a 1/4 mile or more from the highway, we are in Alaska’s interior unconnected by that narrow thread of civilization and it’s primary fuel, oil. Mosquitos rule here.

We awake again at 7 and it is raining harder and our drive north makes little sense today. We have a rest day scheduled, so we’ll take it today. We go back to sleep and wake again after 10. It’s still raining and my sealing of that leak did not entirely work. By 1 pm, we’ve had breakfast and slowly contemplate going to the visitor center. We can take our drive north at any time because time is suspended—it’s always daytime.

Gene

Photos:

#1 At Arctic Circle Trading Post, more than 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle, two old Checker airport cabs.
#2 Despite the sign saying Wildwood Trading Post, this is Arctic Circle Trading Post. The sign says "closed" but it was open.
#3 Teresa's Hot Spot Cafe.
#4 An ever more dirty trailer and truck make it to the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is the place where on the summer solstice and sun never sets; on on winter solstice is never rises. South of there for 100's of miles it is still light because of a long twilight. North, more an more days of perpetual light.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010001.jpg
Views:	62
Size:	534.4 KB
ID:	105148   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010002.jpg
Views:	52
Size:	313.0 KB
ID:	105149  

Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010005.jpg
Views:	57
Size:	321.6 KB
ID:	105150   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010006.jpg
Views:	65
Size:	207.4 KB
ID:	105151  

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2010, 02:05 AM   #96
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
More photos:

#1 Along the Dalton Hwy
#2 We reach our goal at mosquito enhanced Marion Creek.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010008.jpg
Views:	50
Size:	483.0 KB
ID:	105152   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010011.jpg
Views:	45
Size:	504.0 KB
ID:	105153  

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2010, 03:34 AM   #97
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Friday.

On Wednesday we finally got to the Interagency Visitor Center. BLM administers a lot of the area, but Gates of Arctic NP is just west of the Dalton Hwy and there are a number of wildlife refuges in the region. This is a big and interesting Visitor Center but appears out of place in this near wilderness. This was our big adventrure on Wednesday. Despite the rain, the mosquitos still were very active at the campground, but hardly any at the Visitor Center. Then we went to Wiseman, a town that was near small gold strikes and was 11 miles from the campground. There’s not much to it and and a dozen or so people live there year ‘round. Some others spend the summer. Touring Wiseman takes about 10 minutes.

Thursday started out with rain again, but we had to go north if we were going to. The Dalton goes up a river valley and the trees get thinner and thinner. The tree line has been getting lower every few miles. The southern part of the Brooks Range is well treed, but the tops of the moutains start being tundra. Finally we get to Atigun Pass, only around 4,000’, but apparently a bad road in winter. Most of the rock is black. Every bit of guardrail is battered and in some places there’s one row of guardrail behind another.

We cross the Pass and quickly descend to another river valley, but on this, the north side, the mountains are dark and often bare of vegetation. Eventually the moutains are behind us and we are on the North Slope. This is an area of mostly rolling hills. Because the permafrost doesn’t let the little moisture that falls here drain, it is wet and hard to walk across. Last time we were here, it was about 10 days earlier and there was a lot of ice making it much easier to walk on.

Except for 2 construction projects, the road is pretty good dirt one. Later it becomes well paved all the way to Deadhorse. From time to time we stop and look around. The Brooks Range is much obscured by clouds. It stretches from horizon to horizon and is dark and forboding. No photo could show it’s size. The weather makes it hard to see from a distance. Last time we were here it was sunny and very visible.

We drive 175 miles from the campground and stop for lunch at what appears to be the last hill before the coastal plain begins. It’s 59 miles to Deadhorse and the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. A line of clouds is over the Arctic Ocean. Perhaps we can see Deadhorse in the distance, perhaps not. There are no mosquitos; they all live at the campground.

We start back. Deadhorse from all accounts is a pretty ugly place and we have seen oilfields. We have also seen the Arctic Ocean. The round trip takes 10 hours. The road is much better than 8 years ago. We return to the trailer, tired but somewhat elated by once again seeing a place few people see, that is unique and still wild.

We saw few animals. One moose, a lynx, one caribou. A bear had been at the Hot Spot Cafe because we saw a deposit. We saw a herd of musk ox last time, but none this time.

We left the campground early this morning and drove 7 hours before we got to Fairbanks. We stopped again at the Hot Spot for lunch. Teresa was subdued and sarcasm was absent. She said she had stayed up too late, but looked hungover. Once we got to Fairbanks, we stocked up on food for Denali and came back to Santa Land.

It took us an hour to wash the trailer and truck. Where we drove through construction or road grading projects, we were barraged by mud. They wet the road to move the dirt around and it sticks to everything. The mud had turned to adobe mixed with calcium chloride. The calcium chloride is very corrosive. We didn’t get it all off, but we sure tried. We walked to the Chinese restaurant and ate another good meal.

Tomorrow we leave for Denali, about 135 miles away.

Another word about the light. Though it is light all the time, even in midday it is somewhat subdued. The light hits the north at such an angle that it is not as bright as further south where it hits almost directly. You can see fine, but there’s a defintie difference.

Gene

Photos:

#1 Wiseman: former post office when it was a going town.
#2 Brooks Range. Note the mud on the van.
#3 More Brooks Range
#4 The Last Spruce Tree on the Dalton Hwy was girdled and killed by vandals in 2003. It still stands.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010015.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	567.8 KB
ID:	105154   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010017.jpg
Views:	55
Size:	231.0 KB
ID:	105155  

Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010018.jpg
Views:	61
Size:	309.7 KB
ID:	105156   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010019.jpg
Views:	55
Size:	366.4 KB
ID:	105157  

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2010, 03:44 AM   #98
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
More photos:

#1 Ascending Atigun Pass. Note the guardrail.
#2 Looking north towards Deadhourse across the Coastal Plain. Lots of flowers now on the tundra.
#3 Looking south to the Brooks Range
#4 Back at Atigun Pass. A truck is in the distance going uphill.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010023.jpg
Views:	62
Size:	350.9 KB
ID:	105158   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010027.jpg
Views:	46
Size:	238.3 KB
ID:	105159  

Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010029.jpg
Views:	55
Size:	207.4 KB
ID:	105160   Click image for larger version

Name:	P1010032.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	327.9 KB
ID:	105161  

__________________

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2010 Suburban 2500 or 2010 Toyota Sequoia 5.7 laynlow Tow Vehicles 37 03-15-2010 10:48 PM
2009 Road Trips Gene On The Road... 339 11-23-2009 04:59 PM
Cookbooks for your road trips fonseca Stella's Kitchen 46 10-28-2007 01:16 PM
Best size for Trips Over59 On The Road... 0 03-15-2004 08:29 PM
First Trips COLORADO_CAMPER 1997 - 2004 Bambi 5 07-18-2003 12:42 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.