Yesterday was our day to explore Fairbanks.
This was my 1-bedroom apartment at the Wedgewood Resort.
This was the view from my apartment yesterday at 03:29, half an hour before sunrise.
There’s lots of interesting stuff to look at on the walk over to the restaurant, which is at the Bear Lodge section of the property. This is a smaller-scale replica of a cache, used to store food and other stuff that animals might want to get into.
The restaurant is very large, with tables set far apart so it never feels crowded even with hundreds of people in it.
On the way back to my room I went over to the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum for a preview – very interesting! This is a 16-horsepower 1905 Advance Traction Engine, one of 729 produced.
We left for our tour of Fairbanks at 9:00. The first stop was at the Trans Alaska Pipeline interpretive centre.
A sharp edge along the top of this bench made this a tough plank for Jo, but with a background like that it was a must-do! 🙂
We went to University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Large Animal Research Station, but none of the caribou or musk oxen there were close enough to be very interesting, so we continued on to the Agricultural Research Station, and the Georgeson Botanical Garden in particular.
The Babula Children’s Garden section of it was fun.
The University of Alaska Museum of the North was our next stop. Our visits here have always been too rushed so I changed the city tour quite a bit to add almost an hour here.
When I went to park the bus after dropping my folks off at the front door, I saw this old blockhouse. This is the Kolmakovsky Redoubt Blockhouse. Built on the middle Kuskokwim River as part of a fur trading fort in 1841, it’s been sitting in storage in pieces since 1929. A grant to put it and a large artifact collection on display was received in 2009.
The entrance to the main museum exhibit hall has a very similar feeling as when it was a much smaller facility. I love the expression on the grizzly bear 🙂
“Blue Babe”, a 36,000-year-old mummified steppe bison who was unearthed at a mine outside Fairbanks in 1979.
A brown bear family in one case, a collection of rifles in the one in front of it. Being in the hunting and trapping area explains what may seem like an odd juxtaposition.
“Arctic Winter” by Ted Lambert.
Nobody I saw come into “The Place Where You Go to Listen” understood it – most stood for a minute, shrugged and left. The earth is constantly emitting vibrations in a vast range of frequencies, and this installation by John Luther Adams attempts to make them all audible and combine them with related colours.
This bronze polar bear looks out over the Tanana Valley.
A cruise on the Riverboat Discovery was the main event of our day. This huge dining hall has recently been added – a huge cash cow for the riverboat operators but also an excellent way to maximize our time on a day when time is short and suitable dining venues in short supply.
Both the Discovery II and the much larger Discovery III sailed – this is Discovery II sailing down the Chena River.
A real “Alaskan” house along the Chena, with an airplane pulled up to the garage and a truck and camper at the side.
I always enjoy the bush-flying demonstrations – in this case by a 1951 Piper Super Cub on floats.
A stop is still made at the late Susan Butcher’s dog yard – the talk about mushing now being done by one of her daughters.
We used to sail down the Tanana River for a bit but the main channel has moved and the mouth of the Chena River is now mostly blocked by a large sand bar. So both boats turned around there and landed at a new entrance to “Chena Village”.
While about 1,500 people were disgorged from the 2 boats, I stayed in a calm place – an upper deck 🙂
Talks are given by young Alaska Natives at 4 different stations – this one focuses on the making of clothing, starting with hunting the animals who supply the needed materials.
This was the most impressive of the garments shown.
This is a real cache, and I took several detail photos so I can build one of my own back home.
This scene looks substantially the same as it would have over a century ago.
A 1963 Polaris Sno-Traveler Model OE16C is on display. This huge machine (720 lbs) only had a 16-hp Onan engine – quite a contrast to modern sleds!
I had intended to take the group to the salmon bake at Pioneer Park, but my memory of the price was far from the actual $31.95 per person, and instead we went to Safeway so people could take advantage of having a full kitchen in their apartments.
I never got to the dinner part of the day, feeding my soul with the beauty of antique cars at the Fountainhead museum instead. I think my mouth probably dropped open when I walked in the door – I was certainly stunned by what I saw 🙂
About 70 large photos of motor vehicles in early Alaska adorn the walls. That’s Ketchikan in this photo.
This is a 1907 Franklin Type D Landaulette. The second car in Fairbanks was a 1908 Franklin touring car – it’s air-cooled engine made life in a cold climate much easier than water-cooled ones did.
The first tour bus in Skagway, Alaska.
This is a 1921 Heine-Velox V-12 Sporting Victoria. Heine-Velox was the most expensive marque of its day, priced at $17-25,000 when you could get a fully-loaded Rolls Royce for $10,000. This was the only Sporting Victoria built – 3 sedans were also built and a limousine was started but never completed.
This is the car that I kept going back to over and over. To me this is 1930s sporting car design at its finest. It’s a 1933 Auburn Model 12-161A Custom Boattail Speedster. A 160-hp V-12 gave it a top speed of 99 mph, making it one of the fastest production cars of its time. The price – $1,495!
The museum even has a dress-up area – what little girl can resist playing dress-up when they can accessorize with an antique roadster?! 🙂
As I write this, we’ve arrived at Denali National Park – the trip here comes next 🙂