Fairbanks to Delta Junction, Alaska

August 13, 1992

As we go out in the morning, the ladies point out a feature of public parking lots that we don't see in the Atlanta area. Anita points out the post with receptacles to plug in your car's radiator heater so that everything doesn't freeze up while you are shopping,

Brenda points out the standard receptacle on the front of this pickup where people have cords that plug into the front of their vehicles and then into the power post.

At right, Brenda and Rod at the excellent museum at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. The size of this grizzly was fantastic. All the people we talked to had great respect for the grizzlies, so all we had read does not seem to have been exaggerated.

From Fairbanks we took the eastern route which took us through Delta Junction. This is the place where the Alaska Pipeline crosses the Tanana River. The highway crossed on a parallel bridge.

This was the approach of the Alaska Pipeline to this river crossing. They had to build in structures for thermal expansion and contraction.

From the grounds of Rika's Roadhouse we could see both the highway bridge and the bridge for the oil pipeline across the Tanana River. Big Delta State Park and Rika's Roadhouse were set on the river. They had the best homemade raspberry pie I found in Alaska - and I sampled quite a few.

They had a demonstration garden there in the rich black soil. It had beautiful celery, broccoli, and carrots, but the tomatoes were very stunted - it looks like it takes hot weather to grow tomatoes. The gardner said she got a late start because a snow on June 8 killed all her seedlings!

While walking on the grounds of Rika's Roadhouse, I saw this moose cow and calf plunge into the Tanana River and strart swimming across! The river was wide and very swift - they must have landed a mile downstream!

We proceeded south on the Richardson Highway from Big Delta. It was a clear afternoon and we drove through the most magnificent highway scenery we had been in. The view above is just south of Delta Junction.

This afternoon was really a high! The vistas were like I imagine Alaska in the summer - vast forested plains bounded at the horizon by snow-capped mountains and no sign of human habitation in view.

I took a good bit of ribbing the next few days about it taking us four hours to travel 100 miles because I wanted to take a picture of everything!

Like an Alaska postcard - small blue lake, miles of taiga forest, snowcaps at the horizon. This was along the route south from Delta Junction. Brenda stands among some fireweed in view of the little lake.

Max and Anita spotted some investment property here on the Delta River that they just had to stop and look at. That was our running joke along this stretch - it was without any human habitation that we saw, and the only structures we saw had the appearance of being long abandoned.

We were now seeing a lot of the Alaska Pipeline which parallels the Richardson Highway all the way to Valdez. You see it above ground in the areas where there is permafrost below ground.

The posts with the finned heat radiators on top are ammonia refrigeration units to prevent melting the permafrost in which the posts are anchored.

The pipeline snakes through the forest and over the hills, often in sight of the highway. Sometimes it is underground, and sometimes it is up on stilts in the area is subject to flooding. The stretch below is through an area of taiga forest.

Just about every sizable pond had a beaver lodge in it.

Thes little brown ducks were in the pond when I approached, and rather than fly away, they swam toward me, quacking. I have bee amazed at the lack of fear of the wildlife.

This appears to be a long-term beaver dam, judging from the well established grass and moss growing up on it. There were several ducks playing around the top of the dam.

The best glacier view on this day's journey was that of Gulkana Glacier - the view of it is northeast from the road at the Richardson Monument. Richardson is the man who engineered the highway. By Anita are small samples of fireweed and the everpresent Alaska willow.

We walked along the shore of Summit Lake and saw three beavers carrying branches that they had cut. There were a couple of small lodges close to the road. Having seen dozens of beaver lodges and dams, these were the first beaver we had actually seen at work.

Max, Anita and Brenda on the shore of Summit Lake behind the Summit Lodge where we spent the night.

To August 14, on to Anchorage

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