Friday, August 27, 2010

Alaska - Eldorado Gold Mine

During our stay in Fairbanks we visited the Eldorado Gold Mine attraction.

We boarded a cute train.   The conductor entertained us on the way up with stories and songs.  

At the top of the hill we had a demonstration of sluice gold mining and how to pan for gold.

This is sluice mining where the lighter weighted rocks are carried away and the heavy gold will remain.  This photo is fuzzy because of the rushing water coming down the sluice.

A young feller shows us how to pan for gold.

And there is the gold remaining at the bottom of his pan.

Of course, we got to try panning for gold.  The gold I found is in the little container I am holding...just a few tiny flecks were worth $8.

So what do you do with this gold?  You didn't think we would get away without spending more money did you?

The gift shop will weigh your gold and put it into a locket on a gold chain.  So, of course, we had to combine my hubby's gold ($14) with mine ($8) and put it into a locket for me.  

This was a fun experience and I recommend it for anyone traveling in the Fairbanks area.

Sandy at Teacup Lane

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

REDnesday - Merry Kringle

I decided to add a border of small (two rounds) solid color granny squares around my base of 36 larger granny squares.  I'm thisclose to finishing this round.   It's a work in progress (WIP).

My colors of red, green, blue and yellow repeated around in solid colors granny squares.  I'm making up my edging as I go - no pattern here.  I planned to block this when I completed it but I read that only natural fibers can be blocked.  Darn...this is acrylic yarn.

I made a mistake and had to frog three solid color squares to get to one of the large squares where I missed a space with the red round.  I just cut into the round and added the double crochets in red where needed.  So glad that worked.

Do you make boo-boos too?

I also joined a knitting and crocheting community on line called Ravelry (here).   It's a fantastic FREE website where I can download my photos from Flickr easily to post about my crochet projects.   It's so neat now I can track my crochet/knitting projects (when started, finished, yarn used, hook used etc.).  Now I can look back to see what yarn was used and if the item is washable.   Now if I could just figure out how to put a Ravelry button on my blog...tried it and it didn't work.  May have to get an appointment with the "Tech Guy" (i.e., hubby) for a consultation.   LOL!

Blog over to our sweet host, Sue, at It's A Very Cherry World (here) for more REDnesday!  You will be delighted with wonderful REDs in blogland.

Today we are in Billings, MT.  It's a housekeeping day...laundry and groceries and errand running.  I have a small cold so I'm resting as much as I can.  We just spent two travel days of over 400 miles each day to get here from Seattle, WA.  Today is so beautiful.  MT is known as the "Big Sky Country" and it is today....all blue and no clouds.  It's warm enough we turned on the RV A/C - first time in months we have had to use it on our Alaska trip.

Sandy at Teacup Lane

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Denali National Park - Alaska

July 3rd, our first evening at Denali National Park, we drove the park road (private vehicles are only allowed to drive the first 15 miles into the park).

We were surprised to see the top of Mt. McKinley (Denali) at one of the overviews.  Mind you... Mt. McKinley is over 75 miles away... hubby got this shot with his long distance lens.  Mt. McKinley is over 20,000 feet high and is the tallest mountain in North America.  Unfortunately, this will be our last view of any mountain top during our stay at Denali.

We signed up to take a bus tour (it's not free or cheap either) the next day.  This is the only way you can go further into the park without hiking or biking in.   We got on the bus at 7:00 AM and returned at 3:30 PM.  There were longer tours but this one was long enough for us.  

The day started out overcast and gray.  You couldn't see the tops of any of the mountains.  The good news...the guide advised that the animals were most likely to be out and about when the sun isn't shining.   The buses were piling up when wildlife appeared.  We saw one moose at the beginning of the tour but couldn't get a photo.  We also saw some wolves and bald eagles but not able to get photos of them either.  

At least it wasn't raining during the morning hours.  Only the first 15 miles of the road into the park is paved.  

Two caribou on the road.

I liked this photo of them feeding on the ridge.

Cute arctic squirrel on the side of the road.

Off in the distance a Momma Grizzly and one of her cubs.

Another photo of Momma Grizzly's two cubs playing off in the distance.

As the day went on it got misty, rainy and visibility worstened.  

On the drive out of the park the bus driver had to stop and clean the windows twice because we couldn't see out of them.  Boy, were we glad we didn't sign up for an afternoon bus tour.   We went 63 miles into the park and never saw any of the mountains because of the low clouds.  

The next day we went to the park's sled dog demonstration where we got to pet some of the sled dogs.  This is Muddy, a 7 year old Alaskan Husky.  She was so sweet and her coat was beautiful.  The Alaskan Huskies are small dogs, 35 to 40 pounds, and bred to love to run.  They are not to be confused with the Siberian Husky which is a much larger husky bred to pull heavy loads.  

The sled dogs are used in the park by the rangers especially during the winter when the one road into the park is closed due to snow.  The ranger said that they run the sleds by the creeks not on the roads.

We were allowed to have our picture taken with the resting sled dog team.  

So long from Denali National Park.   Lots more on Alaska coming down the pike. 

Sandy at Teacup Lane

Monday, August 23, 2010

Discovery River Cruise - Fairbanks, Alaska

On June 28th we boarded the Discovery River Boat for a river cruise on the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska.   

Our boat the Discovery...there weren't any "bad" seats on this trip. 

Just as we left the dock a seaplane took off and landed in the river right by the boat (part of the tour).  

The Chena village had several log homes (with grass roofs) to walk through.   Young native girls gave several interesting presentations on Alaska life. 

One of the cute college girls showing us this beautiful traditional native fur coat.

A view of the back too.

Reindeer up close and personal.

A baby reindeer.  So cute!

A home along the Chena River.  The tour guide said you can tell how successful a person is by the amount of "stuff" in his yard.  Apparently the individual who lives here is very well off but chooses to have tires holding down a covering on his roof and lots of "stuff" on his property. 

Just to prove we are in the Land of The Midnight Sun!   

Sandy at Teacup Lane

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dalton Highway - Arctic Circle

On June 26th we left our RV in the North Pole (near Fairbanks) and drove north in our pick-up truck to the Dalton Highway, a 414 mile (667 km) road which is known as the "Haul Road".  

This road was built to get supplies to the Alaska Pipeline in 1974 and wasn't even open to the public for years.  Our goal was to drive to the Arctic Circle around Mile Post 117.  

If any of you in the US have ever watched the TV program called "Ice Haulers or Ice Road Truckers", the show about the truck drivers who drive the Alaska Dalton Hwy during winter, you have seen the severe conditions of this road in extreme minus degree F. temperatures, snow and ice.

A fairly decent paved section of the Dalton Hwy...there is the Alaska Pipeline running parallel to the highway on the right.  You have to watch out for frost heaves in the pavement.  The Dalton Hwy is one of the most isolated roads in the United States.

This is a dirt section of the highway...not much up here...just empty land.  You probably wonder if we saw any wildlife while on this drive...the answer is... yes...just one moose ran across the road in front of us so quickly we didn't have time to get a photo before he was in the bushes.  

We reached the Arctic Circle after driving for six hours! 
(The Arctic Circle is about Mile Post 117 on the Dalton Hwy.) 

The Arctic Circle is an imaginary line that runs around the earth at latitude 66 degrees 33'.  

Another interesting fact:  The Arctic Circle is the latitude where the sun doesn't set for one day at summer solstice (June 20 or 21) and doesn't rise for one day at winter solstice (December 21 or 22).  

One car stopped with two young girls in it while we were here and they were nice enough to take our photo.

The lonely dirt stretch returning to Fairbanks.  It's a steep incline here.

Our truck after driving the Dalton Highway...caked with Alaska mud!  It took several washes to get this mud off.

We made it home without any flat tires or broken windshield.  The next day hubby was talking to a fellow RVer who also drove the highway and had two flat tires and a broken windshield!  I don't know if we were just lucky or what.  But hubby took it easy... didn't go fast especially when the big rigs drove by at their fast speeds.  I think that may have had more to do with our coming through without any incidents.  

Was it worth it to drive the Alaska Dalton Hwy?  

Well, it was a long day...leaving the RV at the campground in the North Pole (near Fairbanks) at 7:35 AM and not getting back until 7:17 PM.  It was 415 miles round trip.  Even with the long day we are glad we experienced this remote, isolated road. 

Please join our host, Mary, at The Little Red House (here), for more Mosaic Monday

I still have lots more to share with you on this trip so stay tuned.  We spent the weekend in Seattle visiting with our niece who is stationed here in the USCG.  Tomorrow we turn east for our journey back across the USA to Philly and home.  We have no rush to get home and plan to be there no later than the start of Labor Day Weekend.  

Sandy at Teacup Lane

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Blue Spode Teacups

When this posts we will be relaxing on the ferry from Haines, Alaska, to Bellingham, WA, with no internet service.  

Our neighborhood department store had a special on these last year and I couldn't resist them.  

Aren't they pretty?

Please join our lovely host, Cindy, at My Romanic Home (here) for more Show and Tell Friday!

Sandy at Teacup Lane

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mosaic Monday - More Alaska Flowers

Enjoy these beautiful Alaska blooms photos taken during our stay in Haines, Alaska.

I love this multiple flowered daisy...and the shadow falling across it.

A pretty bouquet.

I had daisies in my wedding bouquet.

Let's add a little color...yellow and pink.

Isn't this just gorgeous!

Please join Mary at The Little Red House for more Mosaic Monday (here) fun!

Sandy at Teacup Lane