Monday, August 17, 2015

Lincoln Tritt

             These words by Lincoln Tritt hang in the museum at Alaska University, Fairbanks.

The Arctic's Beaufort Sea to Fairbanks, Alaska

Dirty is too gentle a term for the condition of my RV once in Prudoe Bay.  It took $38 in quarters to get it near normal at a car wash once back in Fairbanks.
I had passed this young man Tyson, P. who was on a bicycle. I was then traveling north but decided to stop and see if he needed anything on my trip back south.  He, like the other rider, Radu the Romanian, I chatted with days earlier, asked for water. I also gave him a couple of cokes (His expression was like a child at Christmas!  His eyes lit up when seeing the cold cans of coke!  Funny.)

We exchanged info and traveled on but I've been in contact with him.. he's fine and now in Fairbanks.
It's a long trip on 2 wheels, when you are alone in bear country.  He had a scary story to tell me..but that's another story.

I stopped once again in Wiseman, Ak., a very small village off the main road.  Something told me I needed to see more and I did.  I ran into the man who had created a mini museum there and he took the time to open it up and discuss his history and that of his village.

Clutch is his name and hockey was his game.  He still plays in Masters events around the state.

We were supposedly trying to get a photo of the Caterpillar casting shown on the top of this radiator, but we kept joking around.

The prayer chapel was another place I wanted to revisit.  A time capsule saved for visitors and the locals.  It felt magically special inside.  Definitely there was a presence.
 The chapel had a 'mud room' at it's entry, for wood storage, a little generator and a sign in book.

 The rear of  the 20' room.
The original wood burning stove and some coffee makings for anyone to enjoy.

This state is huge!  Did I say that before?  Yikes it's big.  Miles and miles of Miles and miles....but so captivating! Often 30 mile visibility in all directions and probably no other human but yourself.
 Gravel roads with plenty of patches and pot holes.

 From the northern city of Fairbanks to nearly 500 miles further north to the end at latitude 70deg.15.19min., the single road was often in miserable condition but drivable.  When it was raining, which was often, the pot holes which were often deep, would fill with water, so you would have no idea as to how deep they were.  One wheel or the other was always in one.  For 125 miles to and from Camp Deadhorse at the northern end, I averaged 15 mph, to save by class c from being too beaten up by the roads.  One of my engine batteries broke loose so I had to McGyver it back into a safe position and part of my air suspension bent out of shape, pinched an airline causing my RV to drive at an angle..but I made the trip all the way back to Florida, just fine.
This was inside camp Dead Horse at Prudoe Bay. Even here, they could not keep up with road maintenance.

Yes, I stopped to let geese cross the road.

 Oh yes....snow and fog especially in the Atigun Pass and the drive 50 miles north of it.  Often the visability was maybe 100' and that was in avalanche zones.

A black bear had been sitting on the right side of the road.  He had noticed me before I noticed him, but quickly took off running.  I blasted my horn to make sure he kept running away, wanting him to fear roads.  click the video. (my little dog Pete, could not control himself verbally!)

Monday, August 10, 2015

North to the Arctic Ocean

 From Fairbanks and back is almost 1000 miles.
 Riverside campsite aside Middle Fork Koyukuk River, at village of Wiseman, Ak.

 Off the road and down 15' was this pick up and beer cans.....

 Avalanche area? Oh sh__!

 Wiseman, population 14.  Nice little town though.  I met good folks.
 1929 Catapiller.

 Young Romanian named Radu, biking from Prudhoe Bay to Argentina. (I stopped and asked and glad I did, he needed some drinking water.)
 This Land Rover took 50 years to get to their finish line, the Arctic.  They started in Argentina in 1960.  Long story to be documented by the BBC.
The young Romanian biker as we stood on the mountain side in the rain.

Pipeline at Coldfoot.

 Some roads led to interesting old towns and also...small bridges to get there.
 A long way north but still driving up to 70 degrees, 15 minutes, and 19 seconds of Latitude, which is another 227 miles to the end of the road.  (as the crow flies)
Atigun mountain pass had steep incline, rain and poor visibility; all through numerous avalanche zones.

The gravel road was full of pot holes and patches; muddy and slippery.  Often had to reduce speed to 5-15 mph, but at times could make 35-40.

Grizzly foraging..
 Pot holes, inside of pot holes! Miserable driving.
And this is mid August weather.

Prudhoe Bay Hotel:  Heated trailers combined as a living station for Oil related workers.  Great prime rib, rock fish and chicken wing dinner.  Yes, I had them all!  Heading to the Arctic Ocean in the morning.

And finally the Arctic Ocean !  33 degrees, raining and windy. .... I 'love' the South !!  ;)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

It's a Mushroom kind of day here in Denali Wilderness, Alaska

The noticeable lack of mushrooms dotting the plant life in Alaska's often dense, wet environment had puzzled me until last week.  It was then, that I saw a huge 5" across mushroom pushing up through a heavy 1" thick layer of ground moss.  The mushrooms had arrived.

Last night around 10 p.m.( yes, dark is midnight to 4 a.m., maybe...) I took some photos of wild flowers along the banks of the Savage River, here in Denali Wilderness area.  This morning, while walking my dog Pete, I photographed
mushrooms for about 20 minutes while walking through a forested area.  Beautiful and many were large.  Some were 6-9" wide at the top.