6/29/2011

discovering gold and striking oil

FAIRBANKS

Following the Riverboat Tour and a quick stop to downtown Fairbanks for lunch (the Fudge Pot ~ would have been good except for so many buses being dropped off at the same time. The lines were long, my temper was short and Ellie's blood sugar was dropping.  All ended well as we finally got our food and were able to eat, relax and enjoy the beautiful weather while sitting outside in a common area.  We even had time for our first family vacation photo!




Don't worry about the apparent scowl on Dave's face.  He really is happy . . . . and he thinks he is smiling!  Also, that coffee you see me with was a MAJOR reason my mood improved.  Oh, and the backpack in front of my feet was our T1D lifeline.  It had insulated compartments on the inside and the straps were nice and wide for good comfort.



After the lunch stop we headed over to the Eldorado Gold Mine for an educational tour and panning for gold.  The open air train was pretty fun, even though it was raining off and on.




In true Alaskan weather fashion, just as we exited the train for a demonstration on how to properly swirl water to separate the grit from the gold, the clouds parted and the sun shone through to make the flecks all sparkly.  The kids had a blast going into the depot to weigh their find and daydream about hitting it rich.  A VERY family friendly tour I highly recommend.



The last stop of the day was along the Steese Highway for a stop and look tour of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline ~ Built in the 1970s after oil was discovered at Prudhoe Bay (1968), the 48-inch diameter, 800-mile pipeline links Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean with the terminal at Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in the Western Hemisphere. The flow from this pipeline accounts for roughly 20 percent of U.S. oil production annually . . . according to here  Really neat to see and the cloudy sky was a phenomenal sight.


DENALI



Day three of our 15 day excursion lead us to board the Alaska Railroad's touring cars.  As you can see from the photo, the windows are rounded up into the ceiling for a fantastic view of the scenery.  This train took us from Fairbanks to Denali National Park in about 5 hours.  A brunch was served on the lower level of the car (see Ben going downstairs) and you could get up and walk around. even opting to go outside to a viewing deck in between the cars.



The weather was cool and rainy, but I thought great for traveling.  Holding the camera up to the window provided some great photo opportunities of either the landscape or the water droplets on the window.  As for the motion, this was the day my tummy decided to be flip-floppy.  I do not know how people used to travel for weeks aboard a train . . . . definitely not my preferred method of transportation.



After a long morning and another delayed lunch we arrived at our destination . . . it took my breath away.  "Are we really going to stay here"  I wondered?  It seemed too good to be true, but the shuttle pulled away and our luggage was tucked into our room.  I breathed in the wonderful pine-scented air and took out my camera to try and capture the beauty.

The first photo on the right is the view from the lodge.  Incredible!  I wish I had a pandemic function (maybe I do?) but even then this is one of those places you just HAVE to go and see for yourself to appreciate the surroundings.

And, one of the best parts?!  We were just 24 hours away from meeting Denise and family of My Sweet Bean and Her Pod.  Yep!  Another Alaska D-Mom noticed I was traveling her way and contacted me for a chance to meet-up.  Unfortunately the tour was not stopping in her home city of Anchorage for very long (just for a quick lunch) so Denise decided to come to us in Denali.  How cool is that?!  She booked a room at the same lodge and I will tell you all about the visit (including photos) . . . . . . on the next post.  Hehehehehehehe. 

What? 

I have to leave you hanging so you want to come back and read more, right?!

Muahahahahahahahahaha.  (Evil laugh)

10 comments:

Nikki of Our Diabetic Warrior said...

How dare you leave us hanging like that!LOL I can't wait to hear and see about your "meet up".

Alaska is just beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with us. I can't wait to see more!

Joanne said...

That's not very nice...

And why can't any D-moms come through Texas? I've been reading all these meet-ups lately and I am sooooo jealous! Come on, we're right above mexico (okay, not the nice part, but still).

Hmpf.

Denise aka 'Mom of Bean' said...

Muah ha ha! I won't be posting today either!! ;) Thought about it, but now that you are leaving everyone haning, there's NO WAY I'm going to spoil the fun!! ;)
We've done the train for a 'short' ride and really enjoyed it...would love to do a longer version for sure! You are inspiring me to be a better Alaskan and get out and see more of this amazing state! :)

Jenni at talking hairdryer said...

Yay! for pictures of all 5 of you. I NEVER remember to get one of all of us. When we went to Disneyland with my family, I got one of the whole group, but not just the 5 of us.

Roselady said...

My fav parts:
That your husband thought he was smiling...
The train in the rain photo...
Ben against the blue sky with his arms akimbo (don't I have great vocab!)

Mrs. Tuna said...

It looks like you're having an amazing time :)

busymom said...

I love that family picture! And the others? Beautiful!! It is just gorgeous! : ) Can't wait to read more! : )

Sarah said...

more beautiful pictures, what an amazing trip. I would have loved to been aboard that train!

muffinmoon said...

More and moe amazing, stupendous scenery. So very beautiful. Really looking forward to your next post too. You coud keep us all going for months with all this!

Hallie said...

Beautiful photos! Looks like so much fun! Can't wait to hear about your meet up!!!