Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alaska at Last

We arrived in Delta Junction, Sat, May 16. This is the mile marker in Delta at the end of the Alaskan Highway where it joined the Richardson Highway from Fairbanks.

The large building is the new dining hall that the volunteers, led by Dale, build last summer. To the left are cabins. The open area in front is a playing field. The camp buildings are surrounded by a thick forest of spruce and birch. When we arrived the forest floor was dead looking. When I walked on the thin grass in front, it was spongy like walking on a water bed. The permafrost is still thawing. Area of forest are boggy.
Sunday morning we attended church at First Baptist, Delta. Then returned for a Vacation Bible School training Clinic. With Lynne's able assistance, I will be teaching crafts. during VBS.

One of our many jobs has been to rake fresh gravel on the entrance road. We've also been cleaning the kitchen and floors in preparation for Dale to paint.

Notice the supervisors. Dale and Dave, the pastor are watching us rake gravel

Learning about a Family Frontier Day on Sat., Lynne and I began to make birch bark baskets to offer for sale with my books. Here Lynne is sewing the bottom onto a basket with sinew.

We offered our baskets and my books at the Fair. I sold several books and we made $50 on baskets for a scholar ship fund to help kids come to camp.

The fair was lots of fun with a hay ride wagon pulled by horses, lumber jack contests. Buffalo burgers and a pig kissing contest.

One of our many jobs was to wash the horribly dirty RVs. Glacier dust and road construction gravel had coated them like cement. My little class C is snuggled up to the Martins Class A.On Tuesday we made a trip to WalMart and Sams. This little excursion took us 100 miles and 2 hours. We drove to Fairbanks, a modern, although small city. Since I was here in 2002, there have been several new shopping centers and "big city" stores added.

Saturday night about 10:30 while it was still daylight, a mama moose strolled past my rig and onto the front playground. I was surprized. Sassie was shocked. Since then we've seen many moose as we've traveld the roads.

Sunday after church we had lunch at Rika's Roadhouse. The building, build in the early 1900's served as a "motel" and restraunt for miners, hunters, explorers and later workers on the Alaskan highway. The Alaskan pipe line crosses the Tanana River near the roadhouse. The area is now a state park with historic buildings housing turn of the century museums and artifacts.

The cabin to the right sports a sod roof that is growing grass and even a small tree near the chimney.

No I haven't gone completely native. This outhouse is no longer functional. However while at the fair we talked to a young mother who is raising 6 kids in a cabin with no indoor plumbing or running water. She heats with propane and hauls water in jugs.
I talked to another mother whose kids attend school every day unless the temp is 50 degrees BELOW zero. Then the busses don't run. She said it's colder at 20 above than 20 below (that is above or below zero, not freezing at 32 degrees). It's because of the wind. At 20 below zero there is no wind. Burrr.
The first morning here the temp was 27. Now it is averaging 35-40 in the morning and the highs have been in the mid 70s.
Sunset today is 11:27 and sun rise is 3:49 (May 27th). The remaining 4 hours is twilight.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Alaska Bound, 2009

Today is my first opportunity to down load photos and send a blog. I've been on the road in my motorhome for two glorious weeks. Photos and a digital recorder enabled me to take lots of notes for writing.
My first overnight stop was at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Tx., where I hiked to the river to see the dinosaur foot prints fosselized in stone.
The following morning I visited the Creation Evidences Museum also located on the Puluxy River. Dr. Carl Baugh presented an informative talk on research that shows how God created the world in six days, and that our Earth is "young", not billions of years old.

After a visit with the Parkers in Paris, TX. I followed their directions to Chisom Trail Cowboy Church where I worshiped with music from a six piece cowboy band, and met many families from the area.

A wonderful visit with old friends, the Stoningers, in Antlers, Ok, and place to park in their yard, I followed their directions to Turner Falls, State Park. Due to excessive rains the falls were full and flowing.
Arrived in Teton National Park on May 7 after a climb from Casper, Wy. to the Continental Divide at over 9,000 feet with snow flurrys. Was greated by the sight of the Teton Mountains beyound a frozen lake.

On May 8, the sun woke me to 17 degrees.
The Teton Mountain range reflected in a section of the lake that was not frozen.

Sassie, my collie and I waited for the South Entrance to Yellowstone to open in several feet of fresh snow. Park Rangers were sanding higher elvations of the roadway where ice had formed. The East Entrance was closed due to a rock slide.

Old Faithful Gyser erupted thirty minutes later than predicted but the sight was worth the wait.Gibbons Falls cascaded in a deep canyon to the river far below.

These bison are only a few of the many small herds of bison I saw along the roadway not only in Yellowstone, but in Canada and the Yukon.

Many of the mineral pools and fumerols were closed to closer inspections due to bears feeding in those locations. There was a "bear jam" at one location were cars were parked along the shoulders as visitors watched a grizzly in the forest.
At Mammoth Hot Springs, mineral laiden hot waters boil to the surface and coat the rocks with colorful mineral deposits. Smells like sulfur.

I met my friends, the Martins, at Wal-Mart in Great Falls, Montana. They live in Manteo, North Caroline in the winter and have spent the past eight years on mission to Alaska.

Sunday, Mother's Day, we attended Fairview Baptist Church in Great Falls. This lovely building was built in 1910. After the service, Dale took Lynne and I out to lunch for Mother's Day. Later we visited the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Records of their exploration make my travels seem puny.

At noon on Monday, May 11, we caravaned across the US/Candadian border to Lethbridge, Alberta. At the border my GPS, which had not been set, spoke up "You have reached your destination." Little did that unseen navigator know that I wasn't even half way there!

This wind gage was at the Visitor's Center in Lethbridge and was an indication of the winds we were to fight as we headed north.

Two days drive across Canada and we finally arrived at Dawson Creek, mile "O" of the Alaskan Highway. Built in 1942, the year I was born. the lure of the route enticed my first trip in 2002.

This black bear, grazing alongside the highway is the first of the four that we saw along the AlCan. Also spotted were stone sheep, caribou, a moose, porcupine and an eagle.
What a place to camp! The frozen Muncho Lake within feet of my front door. Spruce trees, mountains, Ravens and even a sea gull.

A must stop for every Alaskan Highway traveler is Liard Hot Springs Provencial Park. Even though the air temp was in the 40's, the hot springs entices swimmers with it's waters. We chose to explore the boardwalks and upper springs rather than strip to swim suits.

Another obligatory stop is the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake. A homesick soldier helping to construct the AlCan nailed a sign to a post indicating how far he was from home. Other soldiers and construction workers followed suit, as have many thousands of travelers since.

Many miles, adventures, and days later we arrived at the Alaska border.
Another 100 miles and we arrived in Tok for gas and 100 miles further we arrived at last at Camp Baldwin, Delta Junction, Alaska.
4,678 miles from Beaumont, I thank God for safty and memories of a lifetime.
Until I can email again, Carol