Fairbanks

tanana_fairbanks

June 18

The photo is of the Tanana River and the Alaska Range beyond.  The camera did not capture the lighting as I saw it and I have not altered the exposure, maybe when I return I will try.  The channel in the foreground is a smaller arm of the main channel seen towards the top.  The river is very wide.

During the night there was a good thunderstorm and it rained very hard.  In the morning there was no rain and it was cloudy with some sun poking out.  I had turned in early and slept late, it felt good.  I got on the road at about 8:30 to Delta Junction, 100 miles away.  There I had a nice breakfast that lasted the rest of the day.

The night before I had gotten my IPA fix by buying some Twister Creek IPA from Denali Brewing Co.  At the liquor store (that is where you get alcohol in AK) they had to see my ID and they recorded my birth date.  I went next door to the gun store and they asked how many I wanted and if I needed help carrying them out of the store. JK. But, guns are big here because many people need then for protection from big animals.

The ride to Fairbanks was another 100 miles.  The whole trip was another day of riding through a hallway of trees with a few openings for views.  Around Tok the Wrangell mountains are off to the south but as you head northwest the Alaska Range takes over.  This is the valley of the Tanana River with many other rivers feeding into it and the elevation is about 1500 feet.  Most of the rivers are very wide sand/gravel channels that have a main water course and many little ones.  They are flat and not moving that fast but there can be a lot of water in them.  I mentioned that the Yukon River started at about 2100 feet but it loses almost half that elevation by the time it gets to Dawson.  When I cross it again tomorrow it should be pretty slow.

I expected to see some large animals today but there were absolutely none.  Many squirrels and rabbits but nothing else.  The ride into Fairbanks took me past Eielson Air Force Base where the Alaska Air National Guard operates.  There were four-engine cargo-type jets, I imagine some are tankers, F-16s and A-10s.  I understand the cargo and F-16s but the A-10 is a ground attack aircraft.  I guess if the Ruskies ever launch an amphibious assault up here we can use them for that.

I am staying in a dorm room at the Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Many riders do this so you can meet others going your way, which is what I hope to do.  The room is $41 with tax and has free laundry facilities, it is a good deal for those on a budget.  I am sitting here eating spicy tuna roll that I bought at the local market and will have a quiet evening.

Tomorrow I am heading up the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay.  I will go about halfway of the 500 miles and stay the night at a campground.  Once I leave there the next day I will be in the most serious desolation until I get to Deadhorse.  I will get a room at Deadhorse because it is not recommended to camp there, too many polar bears around.  The next morning I will take a tour bus to the Arctic Ocean before turning back south again.  You have to take the tour bus because Prudhoe Bay is an oil town and not open to the public.  The tour is reserved in advance so that they can do a background check on the passengers, otherwise you cannot go.

It will be several days before I am back in civilization.  See you then.

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