2009 Alaska travel blog

The sun on Saturday trying to get through the smoke

Our tour guide at El Dorado doing a little Johnny Cash -...

Water being dumped into the sluice

The water and gravel coming down the sluice

Our Gold Strike!!!!

Notice the plug so that they can keep the engine block, oil...

Governor Palin dishing out hot dogs at the Governor's Picnic

Governor Palin and husband Todd

Native Athabascan giving the invocation

Giving her farewell speech

Governor Parnell being sworn in

Gov Parnell signing the oath of office

Friday we went to the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. This museum shows the history and life of living in all areas of Alaska, broken down into the different areas which have very different climates and conditions. They had some beautiful animal specimens as well as Alaska Pipeline info that was very interesting. I had forgotten my camera again so no pictures, sorry!

Saturday we went to the El Dorado Mine for a tour. The tour included a demonstration of how they placer mined for gold in the early 1900s as well as the equipment used during that period. We then got a demonstration of how they do it today. The main difference being the equipment used to get the gravel out of the ground and the water to the sluice but they still pan for the gold as the last step. We even got a bag of dirt to pan with and all three of us had a little gold, mine being the least naturally, but we had a little over 14 grains all together. It takes 2,286 grains to make one troy ounce which is worth about $950! Makes that 14 grains worth about $7 - ain't we rich now??

After the mine tour we went to Pioneer Park for the comedy revue at the Palace Theater. This is a short revue about an hour long giving the history of Fairbanks by way of musical comedy. It was really good and well worth the trip into town. The cast did a great job.

Sunday Misty and I went to the Governor's Picnic at Pioneer Park. Doris' knee is still bothering her a lot and we knew there would be a lot of walking involved. There were supposed to be about 5,000 attending and I think there were at least that many. Governor Palin started these annual events a two years ago as a way of interacting with the normal citizens of Alaska. This is a free picnic for anyone that wants to attend - free food handed out by the Governor - who could turn that down? I got a picture of her putting weiners on the buns and conversing with each person coming through the line. She is an extraordinary lady refusing to be above the ordinary citizens she serves. At the end of the picnic was the swearing-in ceremony for Governor Parnell who replaced Palin today. Gov. Palin gave a rousing farewell speech that really energized the crowd. She is a straight-shooter who minces no words and speaks her mind. She lambasted the media and her naysayers, all to the great approval of at least 95% of the crowd.

Monday we got things taken care of around the campsite. Misty was leaving Monday night so we were washing clothes and do things necessary for her to be ready for the long trip back to Virginia. I also got Libby another oil change as our Arctic Circle trip took her over the limit for some more oil. Misty's plane left about 9:00 p.m. We enjoyed having her with us the last month and hopefully she enjoyed her trip to Alaska.

Misty arrived safely Tuesday about 1:00 p.m. VA time. We will be leaving in the morning for the Canada border East of Tok, AK. We probably will not have cell service for at least three days and possibly more. Cell service in Canada is really sporadic as there are several areas without any cell service and many more that have cell service but no reciprocal agreement with Verizon. I am afraid service will be the exception, not the rule, for the next four weeks. Hopefully we will have WiFi in a few of the places but will have to wait and see.

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