Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alaska # 22 Tok to Kluane Lake

 Yesterday we drove from Tok, AK, to Destruction Day, Yukon (Kluane Lake). The top picture shows some of the construction on the Alaska Highway in Yukon Territory. This was one of the better parts of the construction area. It took seven hours to drive 224 miles.
The botton picture is one of the rewards of traveling the highway--a grizzly bear walked out onto the highway right in front of the motor home. He decided to go back to the side of the road and watch us pass by.
Warmest regards, Gus

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Alaska # 21 Alyeska Pipeline

 After panning for gold yesterday, I visited The Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). I am sitting on one of the thousands of supports for the 800-mile pipeline which has carried over 16 billion barrels of oil since it was completed in 1977.
Currently, the pipeline carries about 500,000 barrels/day, which is about 1/4 of capacity.
The support I am sitting on is designed to move so that heat, cold and even earthquakes will not damage the sturcture.
Even though the actual pipe is 48" in diameter, in the lower picture I am inspecting a sample of the welding which was done on the pipeline. Since the pipeline was designed to last 30 years, I guess the welders did a good job.
Warmest regards, Gus

Alaska # 20 Panning or Gold

 Yesterday I went to Gold Dredge #8 near Fairbanks and panned for gold. My assistant (left) was very helpful and in the botton picture--if you look very carefully in the lower left area of the pan--you can see the $12.00 worth of gold I (we) successfully panned.
I sure am glad I don't have to do this for a living.
They had a $75,000.00 gold nugget for me to hold. I don't know why I was being watched so closely!!
Warmest regards, Gus

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Alaska #19 (North Pole)

Yesterday I went to North Pole, Alaska (about 10 miles from Fairbanks) and met Santa Claus and some of his helpers. I told him I have been good--I think he believed me-- and he promised to bring some presents to me on Christmas.
Cousins Jim and Pat visited the local Elks Lodge #1551 and had lunch while meeting some of the local people. The lodge is the "fartherest north" lodge.
Warmest regards, Gus

Friday, July 18, 2014

Alaska # 18 Fairbanks

 After a great time in Denali, I have traveled to Fairbanks. After a great dinner at Salmon Bake and a funny show depicting the history of Fairbanks, I took a short trip on the riverboat "Discovery" on the Chena River to Chena Village. Here I met some Chena Athabascan Indians who told me how their families lived 100 years ago.
I learned alot about life here before the prospectors came; I don't think I would care to have lived then. The winters here are harsh enough now at minus 40 degrees F with all the modern conveniences.
The parka being modeled (left) may have been very warm, but.....it is still cold and dark during the winter.
Warmest regards, Gus

Alaska # 17 Denali

The other day I got to tour Denali National Park and Cousin Jim managed to get a picture of Denali (McKinley Peak) from the bus. I think we were about 60 miles away at the time. In addition to getting to see the peak before the clouds rolled in, I also saw a Grizzly bear with two cubs, a caribou, Dall sheep and other wildlife.
Our our driver said we were lucky to see Denali this summer because of all the rain. There have been very few days when the peak has been visible.
Warmest regards, Gus

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Alaska # 16

Today, I visited the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage and made a new friend: her name is Allison Castillo, and she is an Inca Native working as an intern this summer. She told me about the traditional and contemporary ways of the indigenous cultures of Alaska.
In other exhibits, I learned how the contact with the European/American cultures after 1750 wiped out over 90% of the natives of Alaska through disease, etc., and how many traditions were lost because of the influence of Christian missionaries. One of the goals of the Heritage Center is to retain the values and traditions of the Natives in a changing world.
Warmest regards, Gus