If you have time to read only one posting, click the following link to read the entry for the last day of our journey.
Day 26, Monday, September 9, Tanana Camp, Fairbanks, Alaska
Arrived in Fairbanks last night after a cold wet morning at Moon Lake Camp on the ALCAN. I still owe a posting for yesterday which I will get to when there is time. Fortunately, the rain stopped when we got to Fairbanks. That was the first time in my over 180 camp sites during my journeys that I ever had to break camp in the rain. Only once did I have to set up camp in the rain, at Natashquan in Quebec after a two day horrific trip on a cargo ship from Labrador, so I didn't mind it. The challenge yesterday was to keep things from getting wet, and I did a pretty good job, considering the handicap I was under.
The ALCAN is much improved from my 2000 and 2001 trips and significantly more so from my 1992 trip. During the 2000-2001 trips there were scores of miles of construction, delaying the trip by hours a day. I now benefitted from all those delays. You can go stretches of straight, flat open road for dozens of miles. The road has lost it's romance of an adventure, but you sure can get where you want to fast. However, it's still empty of vehicles and you can drive for 30 minutes or more without seeing a soul. And starting at North Pole it turns into a 4-lane highway. I did not recognize North Pole because of how developed it has become. The same with Fairbanks. Coming into Fairbanks was the equivalent of Gene Kelly going back to Brigadoon and finding New York City, but with a Walmart.
When I went searching for the camp I stayed in in 2000 and 2001, it was gone, turned into a city park. But I found an equivalent park not too far and conveniently located to everything. When I got to my site, some other camper, who looks like he night live he, scowled when I introduced us as his new neighbors. Minutes later, he got into his car, opened the window, turned up the radio basting some obnoxiously loud music, and walked away. When he returned, I put on Wagner's Ring of the Niebelung, equally loud, but I am sure it was as foreign to him as hjs music was to me. I am convinced he did that to drive me away from his isolated corner of the camp ground. I thought he was competing with or maybe related to my Prudent Lake neighbors, but when he realized i wasn't moving, he gave up and has behaved himself, taking his aggression out by doing hundreds of sit ups at a time just beyond my camp site.
We are in cold Fajrbanks (40 this morning, a pleasant 60 or so during the day) for three days, although tomorrow we will have a 400 mile day trip up the Dalton to the Arctic Circle. What does one do on his day off from the road? Well, below is my todo list for today and Wednesday. Fortunately, everything is so conveniently located i can get more done in a day here than two weeks at home.
It is late, and I am running out of iPad battery so I will end this post now, play taps for my neighbif, and call it a night.
To do in Fairbanks
Charge everything, especially camera
Dry out wet stuff
Shower (only if dogs complain)
Make list to take on dalton Tuesday
Repaid rear window with velcro cover
Make Velcro covers for side windows
Take all gear off and out of Defender for dalton
Call vets for Erde's special food and orde
Visit dog groomers for appointment
Get new cell phone from AT&T
Organize stuff for dalton
Set up big tent for gear storage
Sign up for 2 more days at camp
Get Defender serviced at Jiffy Lube
Buy extra gas can
Pick up delivery of Defender seals at FedEx
Pick up delivery of Leben's wheel at USPS
Install Leben's wheel
Reorganize gear containers for Leben's spare wheel
Buy pipe tobacco
Pick up Erde's foor at vets
Take dogs to groomers 10am
Get Defender washed
Take stock if food and supplies inventory
Shop for food
Visit Chena Hot Springs in pm if time
Load gear back onto Defender
Get things ready to move out early Thursday for Denali
Cash from ATM