Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fairbanks to Chicken

Back at the Moose Lodge in Fairbanks we enjoy happy hour with our Escapee friends George and Betty Bryant, Don Hankins and Karen Sweeney as we compare experiences of the trip we have all just completed.

 Our rig needed a good wash job to remove the corrosive calcium chloride encrusted mud that was firmly attached to it.

It was up to 1/2 inch thick on some places and several inches thick underneath.

We celebrated with dinner at the Northern-most Dennys in the world.

Leaving Fairbanks for the last time, we headed Southwest 14 miles and passed through North Pole, Alaska, home of Santa Claus.

 As one might expect, Santaland isn't much more than a tourist trap gift shop.

At Delta Junction we come to the Northern end of the Alaska Highway-

                                     -and head north on the Taylor Highway to Chicken.

                           The 160 mile road is 2/3 gravel and somewhat treacherous -

                  -but it's a piece of cake after the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay.

We see brilliant displays of pink fireweed , common along roads in the north. It flourishes in burn areas where it can grow to six feet tall. When it blooms in late June, the lowest flowers on the stem bloom first. As summer passes, it begins losing flowers from the top of the stem down.

 Fall colors are everywhere now even though it is still late August. Winter comes early in the North, and it is begining to show.

                                  We pass an old gold mining camp-

                    -and have a clear view of a fireline backfired during the 2004 fires.

 We arrive at Chicken, once a gold mining town, but now only three reconstructed commercial buildings set up as yet another tourist trap.

This is not the Alaska we came to see and once again we are thankful for the way we travel to the more remote areas in our camper.

                                              An Arctic Poppy

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