Showing posts with label Alaska. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alaska. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 34: University of Alaska's Museum of the North

Jul 23

We fly out of Alaska this evening, landing in Seattle's SeaTac airport sometime after 10:20PM PST.

We had time in the morning and after a sumptuous breakfast of fried rice by RichardM (yummy), we headed to the Museum of the North on the University of Alaska's Campus.

It's a very nice museum, had visited it before back in 2013:  LINK

 Otto the Bear and the Girls

RichardM helped me zero in first thing on the only motorcycle on display:

 Blue Babe
Reproduction of a Steppe Bison

 I bet this one won a lot of fights with that 
center mounted antler!


 Polar Bear and its prey


 Front view of the Museum of the North
it's supposed to depict a breaching whale:

breaching whale
source: google

 From the museum's art collection:
updated version of American Gothic

 Replicating a pic I took back in 2013
this time including the girls

Leaving the university I spotted, too late an interesting exhibit of the rockets used by the university to launch instrumentations into the Ionosphere for studies.  I went back later on RichardM's eBike and got the pic:

Once I got home, Martha got some final pics of Bridget's dogs:

 Artie and Leinen

We got taken to the airport soon after the above pics arriving ahead of planned times.  We were early enough that we cleared baggage checkin and TSA security in record times!  Life was good then.

With a bit over two overs to spare before the plane boarded, we relaxed.

Alaskan Peaks and Glaciers

Flying into Seattle, it actually got dark as the sun set, unlike in Alaska!   :)

Didn't get any sunset shots but did get some nice city lights with my "real" camera failed to able to do this.

The Alaska Airlines flight was flawless.  Kudos!

Tomorrow, Martha flies back to Denver and I go to retrieve Umarang and Scarlett at Everett.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 33: Chena Hot Springs

We said our goodbyes to Chris and Lori (BeemerGirl) this morning as they head towards Tok and points east and north I think.

After lunch, we piled into the Machida's car and headed east towards Chena Hot Springs to "take in the waters".

It's a bit over 50 miles away, down a highway bordered constantly with pine forest and the occasional house tucked into the woods.  We got to the resort around 3:00 PM, made sure the hot springs lake wasn't crowded and went on it.

Very enjoyable, the hot springs lake, bordered by large rocks, with a sprinkler in the middle providing cool water in the form of rain.  At the hotter end of the lake, there was a water spout where one could get a free massage while enjoying the hot springs.

I wandered about the facility while the rest finished with their relaxing dips in the water.  

This is the only wildlife to be found today here in a very warm day in Alaska:

On the not-so-wild wildlife side:

Bridget and a new friend

We left shortly after 5PM, and soon enough were at the City of North Pole.  We stopped for pics at the large Santa Claus statue near the Santa Claus House of course:

We then finished a pretty good day by having dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant.

After a brief fight for the check, we agreed to split it.  Thereby ending the day with no discord and full bellies.  So much food, we had to take a lot of it home for leftovers!

Tomorrow, we fly from Fairbanks to Seattle.....our Alaskan Adventure nears its end.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Great Escape - Day 32: Murphy Dome, Kayaks and eBikes.

This morning, Martha and Bridget went off to the Farmer's Market in Fairbanks, while Chris (Lori's hubby) had errands to run.  That left Lori, Richard and I to our own devices....needless to say, a ride was in order.

Chris generously offered me the use of his Honda CB500 Motorcycle, same type as Lori's motorcycle and Richard would be riding his 2012 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig.

Richard guided us along the 21 mile route to the top of Murphy's Dome, the last few miles being dirt with small gravel which kept my speeds slow on Chris' motorcycle as I didn't want to drop it!

Up on top, we enjoyed the views, chatted with a rider who showed up for a few minutes and then we got this picture:

Richard, Lori and yours truly on top of Murphy Dome, AK

We returned back to Richard's home, via his old commute route, in light traffic and sunny/warm conditions.  It was very warm, for Alaska!

After some resting, the ladies packed up Chris and Lori's Sprinter Van with two inflatable rafts and after securing an additional life preserver at Fred Meyers; we went to a small pond perhaps two miles from the Machida house.

Richard gracefully allowed me to ride his Ural Patrol rig, with Chris as the monkey.  He was right, after the engine and gear box rebuilds, the rig runs very strong and smoothly!

 Setting out on their kayaks....

While the ladies tried to figure out what to do for going straight, Richard asked if I wanted to check out the ebike he'd ridden out for the event.  Of course I said yes.

Some brief instructions and I was off down the nearby bike path:

While I rode on the bike path, Richard took up my camera man duties:

After I returned, Richard showed me how the ebike is folded up for storage and travel.  The plan, possibly, is to use it as transportion when pulling the RV and camping.

 Dream Bike DB-500 Pedal Assist
you can see Richard's rig in the background

I liked riding the ebike, easy to use though a bit clumsy for me when I just stood and straddled it.  It'd make a great lifeboat for the Ural I think!  

Meanwhile back to the girls as they paddled their way back to shore:

 Bridget and Martha


Everyone got back to shore safely.

After the kayaks were packed up, it was time to ride home.  I did some more riding of the ebike, up and down hills near Richard's home.  It slows way down going uphill of course, but a bit of pedaling brings up the speed easily.

Going downhill, it goes pretty fast...actually had to use both brakes at times to slow down safely.

A day of trying new things all around.  Rode a Honda CB500 for the first time, Martha tried Kayaking, I rode Richard's Ural Patrol and his eBike.

The Great Escape - Day 31: Panning for Gold

July 20

Gold, the metal that caused one of Alaska's great migration surges as people swarmed to and through Alaska; is still mined today.

One of the ways it's found is in the form of Placer Gold, small flakes embedded in what bedrock which has to be dug out and the surrounding rock/stones/dirt washed away revealing the heavier gold flakes.

First though, photos of both Richard M.  Our motoblogging host and a group picture of both Lori aka BeemerGirl of ForLoveOfAMotorbike, Richard M of Richard's Page and yours truly.

Lori and her husband Chris, showed up this morning with their Sprinter Van containing their two motorcycles and towing their RV Trailer.  They, Martha and I are guests of the Machidas here in Fairbanks.


Lori, Richard and yours truly

Today, after lunch, Bridget had arranged for us to attend a "pan for gold" tour, where we'd learn about Glacer Gold Mining, and about Gold Dredge #8.

Things weren't too crowded, thankfully, when we drove up in the Machida automobiles.  We got on the first of two trains scheduled for today by the Tanana Valley Railroad.  A narrow gauge railroad outfit who transports you past re-enactment scenes of mining operations in the early 1900s.  Cool Stuff.

 Gold Dredge 8
You get to walk around inside portions of it as part of the tour

Each of us got a small bag of dirt which was said to contain gold and we walked to a waiting pan along a trough of water to use.  We got instructions on the train on how to pan for gold but no worries, there were attendants nearby to help out with our panning technique!

 RichardM didn't find any gold flakes with his first bad
so the attendant cut him some slack and got him a second
bag on the house.

After everyone found a few flakes of gold in their respective pans, we trooped over to the weighing stations to get it weighed and valued.  Between Martha and I, we had about 0.02 oz of gold or $30.

Martha elected to have the gold flakes enclosed into a little locket by onsite personnel who just happened to be ready to do just that:

 A replica of the actual 40 pound ingots that would be
created, back in the day, of the gold that was collected
by the dredge crews.

 The dredge house contained large machinery
to move the big swing arm along which the large buckets
moved, like teeth on a chain saw, collecting dirt to 
be sifted through within the dredge house

 Happy Placer Miners

 photo courtesy BeemerGirl

photo courtesy BeemerGirl

 Richard, Bridget and Martha on the return train

As our tour ended, we saw a second group (much larger than our group) swarm the gold panning areas and related facilities as we prepared to board our train back to the parking lot.  Martha predicted it was people from the cruise ships, and that we'd find six buses in the parking lot.

 We actually found eight buses!  Arrgghh.

I will say, had we shown up and seen these buses already there, I would probably not have participated in the train ride or the tour or the gold panning.

But it all worked out great, we all had a great time....thanks to Bridget's great activity idea.

The later afternoon and evening was spent enjoying a nice BBQ meal at Richard and Bridget's home.  Jed (fellow airhead rider) and his girlfriend Laura joined us for this event; bringing moose burgers from a moose he'd shot last year.

So Martha and I had our first Moose Burgers.  There was salad (courtesy of Laura),  ribs, sausage, potato salad and pies, courtesy of the Machidas.

A good time was had by all.

Towards sunset, all the motobloggers rode out to Ester Dome about 12 miles away to catch the sunset.  The sunset would happen at 11:51 PM I believe.

Lori, Aka BeemerGirl rode her Honda Motorcycle and I was the monkey in RichardM's Ural Patrol.