Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Tuesday Travels - Fairbanks Alaska

We left the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and headed for Fairbanks.  We stopped at a small town called Nenana on the way.  Our bus driver mentioned that there was a snack bar and a gift shop because it was against the law for a tour bus to stop somewhere without a gift shop!
I don't follow the Iditarod, but this town was a checkpoint for several races...

Nenana holds an Ice Classic and takes bets on when the ice in the river will thaw.  This tripod is frozen in the river and attached to a timeclock.  When the ice breaks up, the tripod moves and stops the timeclock.  They gets thousands of bets each year, and last years winner won over $300,000 dollars!
 
We finally made it to Fairbanks, ate lunch and then boarded a paddle boat for a cruise/tour.  Although it was showy, it was fun and educational!

They had a float plane take off and land near our boat so we could see it in action.  Most everyone in Alaska has a plane because that is the easiest and quickest way to get places. They will add skis to it in the winter time to land on snow. 

We stopped at an iditarod kennel to watch the dogs run a little.  Again, they don't like the weather right now, so they only ran a short distance for us. 

After their run, they cooled off in the very cold water!

Next we learned more about the Athabaskan way of life.  Here a lady is catching and cleaning salmon for drying.

This is our paddle boat...

This is a reindeer.  Athabaskans would have reindeer in their villages to provide transportation, meat and furs.  This reindeer still has the velvet on its antlers.  Antlers are shed each year and grow back larger.  The velvet is a skin that covers the antlers while they grow, providing nourishment.  Once the antlers are full grown, the skin will be shed.

An Athabaskan dress coat made of fur

Typical home

We met Susan Butcher's husband and bought copies of the book Granite which he signed.  Granite was an iditarod dog and champion.

That night, our hotel called and said the Northern Lights were visible, so we all went down to see them.  The photos don't do them justice.  It would have been nice if we could have gone somewhere really dark to see them, but we were in the parking lot of the hotel, so there were lights on.  It was still a wonderful experience! 
The next day, our flight wasn't until 9:45 pm, so we had another whole day.  I booked us a tour of the city.  We started off going to a migration field to see some birds.  The guide said during the main migration season, the field is filled with birds of all types!  I am not sure what these are...

Here are some Canadian Geese...

We went to North Pole, Alaska to meet Santa Claus.  We also saw his reindeer and shopped for Christmas ornaments.  The town embraced their Christmas theme and even the McDonalds had candy stripe poles!  For their senior project, the kids at the high school, respond to the letters written to Santa each year!

We went to a couple of museums and then to the Pipeline.  This was my favorite part of the day. The pipeline is an engineering marvel, and so many obstacles needed to be addressed for it to work.

The pipe is sitting on a support, but the support is not attached to the "H" .  The pipe can slide side to side and can bounce when earthquakes hit.  The "H" has a cooling system inside so the hot oil in the pipeline won't melt the permafrost under the ground.

When the pipeline goes under ground, it was a different cooling system to protect the permafrost.  The pipeline is flown over every day and inspected.  They also clean it out regularly to keep sludge for forming.  The pipeline is large enough for a person to enter, crouched down, of course!

There you have it...our trip to Alaska!  There are so many things I would like to go back and see again, and some new places I learned about on this trip and would like to visit.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Mancat Monday

The boys and I had a really nice weekend.  I was able to get a lot of cleaning and organizing done, so my bedroom and craft room no longer look like disaster areas!  The boys enjoyed hanging out helping and were rewarded with some playtime and special treats on Sunday.
Flynn spends his weekends sleeping..he probably spends every day like this, but I'm not home to see it! 
Harrison enjoying the new ski chalet...

Rusty trying to decide what to play with next...

Harrison with his favorite purr peller toy...

Rusty chose the circle track toy...

Oliver loves Cherry Garcia ice cream and was happy to have a little taste.

Good times had by all this week/weekend.  Hope your families are all doing well.

Tomorrow will be the last day in Alaska...we'll be heading to Fairbanks.  Then we will start on the Japan trip!

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Tuesday Travels - Denali National Park

We took a bus tour into Denali National Park.  There is one road going in, and it runs about 70 miles.  We went into the park only 40 miles, so there is a lot we didn't see.  I would like to go back and explore some more.
Beautiful sites...

We listened to talks from an Athabaskan man, and walked a trail looking for lichen and moss.  

We finally saw a couple of moose on the drive out of the park...not a great shot from inside the bus!

His friend on the other side of the road...

Finally caught the head up...

After the tour, we went to the visitor center and to the sled dog demonstration.  Denali is the only National Park with a working sled dog team.

The dogs were quite excited to see people, but they were hot.  The weather was about 60 degrees, but their ideal temperature is minus 10!

They were on chains because they had just been fed, and they need to make sure everyone eats only their food!  As cat people, we can't understand this at all :)

Here's Auntie with Cupcake.  In the summer, the dogs eat about 900 calories a day.  In the winter they eat 16-17 THOUSAND a day!

Here is a sled...the dogs love to run, and last year they each ran about 1400 miles.

The dogs ran a quick circle so we could watch them, then they had a reward.  You could tell how excited they were to run!

Learning all about the dogs and the work they do from a ranger.

This sign was in the visitors center...I'm not convinced :)

Next week - Fairbanks, our final stop.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Mancat Monday

It's been a while since I've been on here, but I am back home now, and plan to stay for a long while!  This has been a crazy year for traveling, and while it is fun, I think I'm done for now.  Looking forward to some time at home!
The panthers were happy I was home...they were right ready for their bedtime treats.  L-R Harrison, Oliver, and Flynn 
Auntie put up the trees and had them all fluffed, so we started decorating for Christmas...Oliver enjoys helping... 
Flynn makes sure we put out the best ornaments! 

Rusty has stolen an ornament already, but that's okay, we put the soft ones on the low branches for them.  They are all working hard to remember that we look with our eyes and not our mouths. This is a tough rule!
Flynn thankful a box was finally empty for him...

Our cousin gave us a pet stroller...Lenny is looking forward to going for a ride!

Black Friday is the time we stock up on cat litter because with my discount, it is basically half-price.  We use 60-70, 42 pound bags of litter a year...thankful we have a place to store it. 
The rest...We still had some from last year, so we only had to buy about 50 this year.  

Rusty loves the new stroller too...

Flynn watching me eat lunch...he had just been vacuumed so I was admiring his beauty.  One of the friends we stayed with in Japan is in town now, and she was coming over to meet the boys.

Everyone is doing better with Lenny.  We have a couple of episodes where someone looks at him a day, but they are less intense and becoming less frequent.  They can all get along, as you can see here, we don't know what causes the flair ups.

Lenny is doing well with his pottying too, now that we have a litter box in the pantry.   
Rusty is cooking on the heated bed...he is going to bed earlier and earlier at night.  Normally, he would curl up about 8:30, but now it could be as early at 7!

Flynn enjoying a jiggle on the washing machine!  He is such a goof!

Well, there you have it.  Tomorrow, we will continue with the Alaska trip...Denali National Park.