We’ve enjoyed three beautiful days in Fairbanks since arriving on Wednesday. Today, Saturday, is a different story however. It’s raining hard, and there have been several loud thunderbolts. So I guess it’s time to catch up on my blogging.
Don and I visited the Alaska Pipeline Visitor Center on Thursday and learned more about this 800-mile stretch of 48-inch pipe that traverses “frozen tundra, boreal forest, 800 rivers and streams, three major earthquake faults and three rugged mountain ranges. The corridor includes more than 550 wildlife crossings for moose, caribou and other wildlife.” It moves crude oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, the most northern ice-free port in the U.S., to be transferred to tankers bound for U.S. refineries in the lower 48.
We saw another Pig on display, similar to the one we saw in Valdez, along with a Retired Pig (lower picture) that was made of heavier material and weighed almost 1,000 lbs. more than today’s polyurethane pig. Pigs are used to smooth the flow of oil inside the pipeline and scrape off wax that can form on the walls of the pipe.
The rest of the day was spent picking up our mail and doing some major shopping to replenish our food supplies.
On Friday, we got to be tourists again. We started with the Fairbanks Visitor Center. The exhibits here were very well-done, and we learned even more about the land, the people and their culture.
Here’s my best eagle picture yet. Yes, he was stuffed. But isn’t he grand?
And a pretty good bear pic, too.
I’m always fascinated by the beadwork on clothing made from animal skins and furs, as well as construction of the clothing itself.
For lunch, we went to Big Daddy’s BBQ. The restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives by Guy Fieri. It lived up to its reputation!
Later, we joined 8 of our group on the Riverboat Discovery.
We watched a floatplane take off and land in the river near the boat, then our announcer talked with the pilot about his experiences using radio communication that we could hear clearly.
We saw many wonderful homes along the river.
This one has a plane, a boat, a couple of inflatables, a nice deck and yard – what a life!
We stopped at Susan Butcher’s home and met her husband (widowed) David Monson and daughter Tekla, and saw a demonstration of the sled dog operations. Susan Butcher was the second woman to win the grueling Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and won it a total of 4 times, an achievement matched by four men and exceeded by only one.
We visited the Chena Indian Village where we departed the boat and spent about an hour learning about the Athabascan way of life from young people who descended from Alaskan natives.
Pat thought about staying overnight since the accommodations looked so inviting!
After such a full day, we had worked up an appetite, so we went back to Big Daddy’s BBQ with the whole group!