Alaska Trip: July 3rd

Last Summer Emily left me for a couple of weeks to spend some time in Alaska. This time I decided to go with her. We left after work on July 2nd and arrived in Fairbanks late at night...or maybe it was early morning. It's light pretty much all the time right now in Alaska which threw us off the whole time we were there.

A major highlight of the trip was getting to hang out with my mom, my two brothers (Mike and Nick) and Mike's wife, Melissa. Oh, and Emily.

Another bonus was that the airline misplaced our luggage so after traveling for 12+ hours we didn't have any toiletries or clothes when we arrived. After arriving in Fairbanks we went to my parents condo and slept for a few hours before heading out to see some sights. Our luggage had arrived by the time we woke up.

Our first stop was the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market. Don't worry if you can't pronounce the word 'Tanana.' I spent four days in the Tanana Valley and I have no idea how to pronounce it.

Em, M&M at the Farmer's Market waiting for...


Afterwards we headed out to see a portion of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The pipeline carries 42 million gallons (or 1 Million Barrels) of oil every day. While we're on the topic of oil I thought I'd mention that the Gulf Oil Spill was spewing less than 1/10th of that at it's worst point. It makes me hope that the Alaska Pipeline has a shut-off valve or something...

These types of signs about the sunrise and sunset were common to see around town.

We just had to stop in for a little treat at the Fudge Pot...

Alaska Trip: July 4th

Mom's dogs, Ziggy and Zeus caught on really quick that I am a dog lover. And what are dogs for if they don't get your church clothes hairy before you go to church?

I've got an interesting 'fact,' but I'll tell you my source and then you can decide if it's reliable enough to repeat next time you need an interesting Alaska fact. It was painted on the wall in the Fudge Pot: One in ten earthquakes in the world occur in Alaska.

Alaska Trip: July 5th

Monday was a busy day. Here's what we did:
  • Checked out The Great Alaskan Bowl Company
  • Walked around the University of Alaska-Fairbanks where Nick goes to school
  • We went to the University of Alaska Museum which had a lot of cool exhibits about the history and wildlife of the area.
  • After that we drove out to the nearby Knotty Shop in the town of Salcha
  • Then it was off to Santa's house in North Pole.
Here are the pics...
Bowl makers

Some of the hundreds (thousands?) of bowls on display.

These guys were hanging out at the Large Animal Research Center at the University

Nick, there's something behind you...

A couple of Santa's reindeer

Our next little bit of trivia: Reindeer are actually domesticated caribou.

Alaska Trip: July 6th

Our first stop was to the Alaska Raw Fur Company which was a combination of cool and creepy.

Emily discovered just how soft chinchilla fur is

We took Ziggy and Zeus with us for a lot of our outings and every once in a while we were nice and we let them run around. This is Ziggy.

Later in the day we went on the Riverboat Discovery

We made a stop at the late Susan Butcher's house (4-time Iditarod winner) where her widower and children still raise and race dogs--even in the summer. Here's a team of dogs pulling an engine-less 4 wheeler.

Taking a break...

We watched this plane take off and land in the water several times.

We got to stop and walk around the Chena Indian Village and learn things about the natives. Like how they dried and smoked fish both for themselves and their dogs to eat.

Emily would be sad if I didn't share a picture of this cutie with everyone

That evening we went to the Alaska Salmon Bake which has been serving up some great food for 30 years. The buffet included a really good salad bar, prime rib, grilled salmon (of course), and beer-battered cod and halibut. Also included was some fabulous company!

Alaska Trip: July 7th

Wednesday was our trip to Denali National Park. Mt. McKinley (or 'Denali' as the natives call it) is the tallest peak in North America. We had the privilege of actually seeing Denali which we hear only about 30% of visitors get to see. One of the best views we got of 'the Mountain' was before we reached the park.

Another sledding demonstration. This time with people.

Then with dogs

We decided to walk back to the visitor's center before our bus tour. The walk was beautiful.

Denali on the bus tour...

Emily enjoys seeming moose. We saw this momma and not just one calf, but two.

Alaska Trip: July 8th

Hmmm...the only thing I've got on my camera from this day is flowers. We spent the day driving the rest of the way to Anchorage, going to the Anchorage Temple, and recouping a little bit before Friday's adventure...

Alaska Trip: July 9th

We left Anchorage Friday morning to drive down to a little town called Whittier. The population of Whittier is less than 200 people. Getting to Whittier was interesting, too. The only way to get there by land is through a one-lane tunnel that traffic going both ways must use, plus trains! To accommodate all of this traffic cars trade off every half-hour going through each way with trains mixed in there somewhere.
Once we arrived in Whittier we grabbed some hot cocoa then we walked around for a while before catching our cruise: The 26 Glacier Cruise. I took WAY too many pictures and have also uploaded way too many pictures to the BBBBlog. I just couldn't resist snapping pictures of some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world. You can find ALL of the pictures I snapped here: http://picasaweb.google.com/BobBruff/Alaska2010Pics?authkey=Gv1sRgCLu_yb3--ZmjnQE#
You should be able to click on the pictures to view them in a bigger size.

Apparently dogs in Whittier aren't supposed to poop