Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 19: Sunny and 50s! A tour came in last night so we had a fancy, hot breakfast today! Packed up and on the road to by 9am. We drive toward the Alaska Range we'll have to pass through to get to Fairbanks. We see the scant forests of the permafrost again today, some of it burned, when we almost collide with a cow mooose and her calf! We'll be following the Tanana River as we travel today; it's also the name of the campground where we'll meet up with Chuck and Sue Emmons, college friends, later in the week. Crossed the Robertson River, wide, with spots of ice still in it and silty from the Roberson Glacier where it is born. The huge Gestle River is similar. Got some good shots of an eagle in a treetop shopping for roadkill, and spot a shy little red fox. Had our first glimpse of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline, and passed through Delta Junction, a surprisingly broad agricultural area, the actual end of the Alcan as the road from there to Fairbanks already existed over 20 years before they began the Alcan. The weather has warmed so much we actually travel with the windows open--a first on this trip! No windshield wipers today, only our second day we figure. We pass a huge airforce base, heavily secured, called Eielson AFB, for Carl Ben Eielson (1897-1929), Alaskan pioneer/explorer/hero, who made the first flight from North America over the North Pole to Europe; there's also a mountain mear Denali named for him. We drive through Fairbanks (there's another Army base in town!) and find our way to Chena Hot Springs; it's a very picturesque drive, and our dip in the rock pool is wonderful! We spend a delightful time watching a cow moose feeding in a pond; they sure can hold their breath a long time! We find our B&B, have a bit of supper, hang our suits out to dry and head for the grocery store. By the time we get back they are dry! I do a little cooking for next week, there's such a nice kitchen here. It's a really warm night sleeping--such a change from what we've been used to!