Friday, August 27, 2010

Quiet day in North Pole, Aug 27, 2010

I want to share with you a photo of a photo I bought from a small shop at the Pioneer Park.  This eagle shot was taken by Kim Krinke.  In the write up that was with the photo she writes, “During my 12 years in Nome and 24 years in Fairbanks, I gained knowledge of the tundra, forests, mountains and coastal regions, taking time to see what was there.  I also began to understand what it means to “be still and know that He is God.”

IMG_2939 This photo was taken in Homer, it took me a few moments to notice all the eagles in the background.  I love this photo and it is now hanging in the coach.

Last night or should I say early this morning 1:45 am we got up to see if we could see the aurora borealis, it also was a clear night sky.   And the answer is “Yes” we did see them, looked like a wavy greenish mist high in the sky that came and went directly overhead.   I found this website that even predicts about 30 minutes in the future the possibility of the aurora occurrence.  This morning’s numbers were around 3.5.

030Since we will not have internet for a few days I want to wish our daughter Jenny a very Happy Birthday.  Thank you for being a super daughter, great friend, wonderful mother of three and loving wife.  God Bless You!

I mentioned above, that we are heading out tomorrow and will not have internet for a few days.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Univ of AK Museum of the North, Aug 26, 2010


This morning we headed out to use probably our last 2 for 1 Great Alaskan Tour Saver coupon we will be using at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. What a fantastic museum!

IMG_0862 First off, along the walkway was my all time favorite flower, maroon scabiosa.


This was one huge Kodiak bear.




Not intentionly, Bob took the photo of this polar bear - with antlers.

Below is a mummified remains of a 36,000 year old Steppe Bison named Blue Babe.

IMG_3015 IMG_2977 Beautiful Aleut baskets. These woven grass baskets have been recognized to be among the finest in the world.


I loved this Walrus ivory carving!

Chief Jacob’s Jacket. Made by his wife Bella Luke from Moosehide, velvet, dentalia shells and beads. The beadwork was done by the chief’s 14 year old stepdaughter.

IMG_3009 IMG_3007

A bag made from Salmon skins and moosehide at the top.

The sculpture was titled: Arctic Shadow. Loved the bear’s expression.

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The sign said “Do not Touch”, but then how did the nose get so shiny?


This piece of art was titled, American Gothic 1985. Gelatin silver print by Charles Mason.

Below is a huge chair made from moose antlers. A bull moose loses his antlers every year, so no moose was injured to make this chair.

IMG_3014 IMG_0890

This is the “Place Where you go and Listen”. “This ever-changing musical ecosystem gives voice to the rhythms of daylight and darkness, the phases of the moon, the seismic vibrations of the earth and the dance of the aurora borealis, in real time.” The room was quite different than anything I have ever experienced as you were bombarded by all types of sounds, but nothing you could identify. It is one of those places you need to see and hear to understand what, I don’t know.

IMG_0886 The above was piece of art was titled “Great Alaskan Outhouse Experience, they pointed out that you must have foam for the seat or you WILL stick to it at –40 degrees. I know TMI.


Sam's and El Dorado Gold Mine, Aug 25, 2010

With afternoon reservations for the El Dorado Gold Mine (2 or 1 TourSaver coupon) we visited the Sam’s Club for some shopping in the morning.   This was our first Sam’s Club since last April.  As you can see, we did a good job.

IMG_0809  Upon arrival at the El Dorado Gold Mine, we all boarded the train which took us on a short narrated trip through a permafrost tunnel, an early gold mining camp and then to where we would see how the modern gold miners mine gold and lastly, pan for gold ourselves.


Here you can see the large sluice box.  The water source is behind the large shovel bucket in back of ‘Yukon Yonda’.  The shovel bucket is slowly dumping the gold bearing gravel into the sluice box.  The water washes the gravel and dirt down this long sluice. Since gold is 20 times heavier than the gravel, the gold will sink to the bottom and be caught in the riffles.


Then Dexter, her partner, lifted out a section of the sluice box which collects the gold and then proceeded to pan out the pay dirt.



He found quite a bit of gold.


We were then given our poke of dirt to try our luck.











Just making sure no gold nuggets were left in the bag.

IMG_0832 Yes, I did find gold!  But you can’t see it in this photo.


Here is my gold on the left and Bob’s on the right!










We then had our gold weighed, mine 4.5 grains and Bob’s 4 grains.  Combined weight 8.5 grains and that equals .019 ounces, about $35 worth.

So, what do we do with the gold, well, I ended up with a locket holding all the flakes.  I love it!

IMG_2968 Bob finally got to get up close to the Alaska Pipeline.



The view out behind the coach.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pioneer Park and Salmon Bake, Aug 24, 2010

Pioneer Park is Alaska's only historic theme park.  The Park was opened in 1967, marking the 100th year celebration of Alaska being purchased from Russia.  The admission is free, although there are a few exhibits that do charge a fee.



This is the RR car that Warren G Harding rode to Alaska in 1923 to drive the golden spike for the Alaska RR.

IMG_0733  The interior of the rail car, taken through the window, looks like they are redecorating.


The sternwheeler Nenana.

Next we visited the 40 Below Room.  We went in paid our $8 each, were loaned winter parkas and gloves, given a cup of warm water, and told to proceed to the 40 below cold chamber.

IMG_0777 IMG_0773 IMG_0774 I bet you are wondering why I have a cup of warm water, well, we were told to just throw the water across the room, and when we did it just vaporized into the air.

IMG_2918 Here is Bob pounding a nail with a banana, yes, the banana was frozen hard.

IMG_2920 After coming out of the –40 room, our glassed steamed up and took quite a while to come up to temperature.  While in the room our legs felt cold, my face felt very cold, and Bob said his uncovered hand didn’t want to work when he was taking photos and trying to put the camera in his case.  It was fun for about a minute, but to live day in and day out in this temp, you have to be tough!


Before we ate dinner, went to the car to unload some of the things we were carrying.  Well, I got tangled and Bob had to come to my rescue, only after he took my photo.

Dinner was the Alaska Salmon Bake located at Pioneer Park, all you can eat, grilled salmon, prime rib, deep fat fried halibut and cod, plus a wonderful salad bar, plus cake with blueberries.

IMG_2928 IMG_2930  One of the park employees told us that usually by this time of the year they have had their first frost, but not this year.  I sure do enjoy seeing all the flowers blooming.


A Trip on Discovery, Aug 23, 2010

Loved the dog across the road from us.  There is almost more hanging off the chair than on it.

IMG_2852 Today we took the Riverboat Discovery Boat Cruise


IMG_0681As you can see, it was a sunny bright day and we were able to get seats on the top deck.





As part of the boat tour, we were able to watch a bush pilot take off and land right next to the boat.


Next, was a stop along the river where the Susan Butcher’s Iditarod champion sled dogs were. 

IMG_2860  This next photo is of the team on the go.  These sled dogs just LOVE to pull.


This is what the brochure says is the “wedding of the rivers”, the clear water of the Chena flows into the world’s greatest glacier-fed Tenana River.


Next the boat stopped at Chena Village, which resembles an Athabascan Indian Village from the early 1900’s.

IMG_0695IMG_0705 This young lady showed us the dog food cut for this salmon.  It is filleted leaving it attached somehow?, dried, then smoked.  One fish per dog per day.





IMG_0698 Just loved this fur coat.  IMG_2881

An Athabascan type of teepee (spruce poles with caribou hides), with a birch bark canoe in the background.

Bob and I really loved the sled dog area.  We both got a chance to pet these dogs.  All the dogs were very slim, even though they eat three pounds of food twice a day, and that’s their summer diet.





This is Lance Mackey, 4 time winner of the Iditarod.  He was at the Discovery Center Gift Shop doing a photo op and book signing.








Here is Bob standing on the runners of the Iditarod winning sled of Lance Mackey. We were told this sled cost $3500.

IMG_0725 Here is the home of a retired airline pilot. IMG_2859

It was a great day for our Riverboat Discovery boat tour.


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