Monday, June 27, 2011

In Fairbanks

Yesterday we drove from Beaver Creek, YT to Fairbanks, AK. The first half of the drive was very nice, with great scenery. Then, it rained for most of the second half. Once again, we are amazed at the number of solo bike riders. They are so loaded down and there are so many ups and downs and gravel sections. I don't know how they do it, especially on the gravel sections and when it is raining.

Before it started raining, we did spot a pair of trumpeter swans nesting on a small island on a small lake. If we had been able to make a u-turn we would have gone back to get a picture.

I do wish I had taken a picture when we saw where the Alaska pipeline crosses a big river near Delta Junction. It was interesting to see the pipeline and within a few hundred yards there was a boat launch where people were putting in, along with about 25 empty boat trailers parked nearby. My impression was that the pipeline did not interfer with fishing. The picture would have shown this contrast.

Now that we have driven so many miles in Canada and are now in Alaska, we have seen for ourselves how this really is a wilderness area and there is so much space for so many activities. In my opinion, those activities should include oil and gas drilling. It is my impression, due to the vastness of this area, such drilling would be done in such a small area where so few people will ever visit. And, yes, I do know that there might possibly be a negative impact on animal life, but if we continue at the present rate with our reliance on others for gas and oil, we humans will certainly have a very negative impact on our everyday life.

OK---I'll get off my soapbox, but with one last statement. I think that all members of congress should be forced to spend time driving around Alaska so they could get first-hand knowledge of what this area is really like. It is so unpopulated that you can drive a hundred miles without seeing a place to purchase food or gas. On my run on Saturday, I ran down the middle of the Alaska highway for at least a mile without encountering any traffic other than a moose on the side of the road.

Yesterday, the rain stopped just before we arrived in Fairbanks. Our first impression is that we really like the city and we will be staying at least one other night. Last night we were in a Wal-mart parking lot with about 50 other RVs. When we entered the parking lot we saw these strange yellow posts at the edge of each parking space in about half of the lot. At first we thought maybe they provided electric service. In a way they do. You see, it gets so cold in the winter that people have to plug into electricity to keep the transmission and motor oil from freezing.

Last night I found a very nice asphalt hike/bike trail that is just across the road from the Wal-mart. It is fenced on both sides, so it is very protected from the busy road which it paralleled. It did worry me a bit as to why it was fenced on both sides. I kept thinking that maybe it was because of bears. I did a very pleasant 5 mile and also walked 1.25 miles.

This morning, we will explore the city.

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