June 9, 2014
Before we move on, there were a couple of other adventures we had while in Fairbanks.
We visited the
Museum of the North located on the campus of The University of Alaska. They had great displays depicting the history of Alaska. Did you know that in 1876, that the United States paid 7.2 million dollars for the Alaskan territory? Pretty pricey for those days. Someone must have had a dream!
We also took a tour at the
Gold Dredge No. 8. We saw a potion of the
Trans -Alaskan Pipeline
and learned a little about
how and why it goes in and out of the ground. Like, here...it is underground on the hillside, but, then comes above ground to avoid areas of unstable ground. We also learned about
"pigs" -- a device used to collect data and clean the pipeline walls.
Time to board our
train, a replica of the Tanana Valley Railroad. We saw reenactments of how the early
prospectors worked in the gold fields.
job those guys had.
As we continued on through the gold fields, we saw the historic Gold Dredge 8, a 5-deck, 250 foot dredge built in 1928 and operated for 36 years, yielding 3.5 million ounces of gold.
The train then took us on into the
camp, where we were given a poke bag filled with pay dirt, and we had our own change to
pan for gold and strike it rich! It was fun, but, it is hard work washing that dirt!
Once we were done and had deposited our gold flakes into containers, we took it in
to have it weighed. Out of the six of us, Mark was the big winner with $30 worth.
We then took our winnings straight to the gift shop. Yep, we all came out with
new Alaska jackets!
So, with our gold in our pockets and our new jackets, it was time for us to move on...next stop...Denali National Park. Our travel day was a mere 130 miles. We made our way out of Fairbanks to the Parks Highway. It was
pretty drive, with a stop at the Teklanika
RV Park and Gift Shop. A little more shopping while
Mark stayed warm by the fire.
And, as good a the shopping was inside, there were lots of fun things to see outside.
How about this
truck...ready for the first snow, or the fact that one parks a
front-end loader/back hoe, airplane, pontoons, and truck camper all under one shed! Only in Alaska would one need all these things.
Then there was the
fish wheel and
After a good morning stop, time to get on down the road...well, that is, until we ran
out of road. This is Alaska DOT at work!
We made our way slowly through
a couple of areas of construction. Thank goodness, the
views were beautiful and the
road at the other end was a work of art!
We finally reached Denali, not knowing where we were going to park it for the night. However, since we have been on this trip, Molly, Mary, and I have learned to read the Milepost pretty good. The RV Parks in Alaska are very expensive for very little service. We have been boon-docking quite a bit. So, with a little research, we found this
great turnout, just on the other side of Denali. It's okay, for you to say wow...we did!
Time to disconnect the Jeep and head out for a look around Denali NP. And, just up the road, we found this local
hanging out beside the road...our first moose!
On to the park visitor center for a look around, our official passport stamp, sticker, and walking stick medallion.
At Denali, in the summer you can only drive 15 miles into the park in a private vehicle. The rest of the way you have to take a park shuttle bus or tour. However, beginning in September and until the first snow, you can drive to mile 30.
Today, we just took the Jeep and drove the 15 miles in...hoping that at the top we would have a chance to see
Mt. McKinley...no luck today...too many clouds! Maybe tomorrow or the next day day as we continue to travel south towards Anchorage.
So, meanwhile back at our great overnight stop by the Nenana River, we are settled in for the night. The rain is also setting in and the temperatures are suppose to drop into the mid 30's.