Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tales From the Trail - Days 38 thru 42

June 21 thru June 25

Fairbanks is just a distant spot in our rearview mirror by now. Sorry I haven't blogged since the day we hit town but it has been really stressed and busy, then sick. So will start the story as all good stories should start at the beginning.

You all read the story of our getting there so will skip to our first full day in Fairbanks.

June 21 - day 38: Our outing for the day was scheduled to start at 5:00 pm so we spent the day riding around town finding where we had to be picked up for the various tours we had booked. Went to Wal-Mart to get lunch meat as our tour for tomorrow is leaving at 6:00 am and lasting 17 hours so we had to pack our lunch. We put the sandwich makings together so tomorrow all I have to do is put the sandwich itself together. Then we headed out to our pick up point. We boarded a van and headed out over (what else) a very long rough road to where we were to catch our rafts to float down the river (in the midnight sun.) Humph, what sun? From the minute we got to the rafting place it started drizzling and progressed to a steady shower. No sun, No animals (oh excuse me I forgot the state bird. The mosquito!) They were out in full force. So after floating down the river wet, cold miserable and no animals we finely got back to the pick up point and piled back into the vans to wait for the next float to get there. Apparently like the military they don't leave their buddies behind so we waited for them. At least now we are warm. Got back to our lovely apartment, at 12:00am, took a shower and piled into bed to get up at 4:30 the next morning. Remember I still have to pack lunches.

June 22, 2011 – Day 39

Our trip for the day was to take a bus tour up the Haul Road/Dalton highway to the Arctic Circle. This road is another one of those very primitive roads gravel of course and very rough. Which is why we didn't take our car. I had heard it was pretty bad. However after the TOW & TH this road was pretty mild. At least no mountains and shear drop offs. So we get on this bus for 17 hours (I swear I am not kidding. 9 hours up and 8 back he must have been heading down hill or something coming home) Anyway it was a very long trip and this guy NEVER NEVER NEVER shut his mouth for the entire trip except for 4 films he put in the DVD player each one approx 20 - 30 minutes long. The rest of the time it was non stop mouth. He told about every blade of grass, the tundra, the perma frost, every tree that grows in the area, every animal that is in the area and of course the pipeline, the methods of mining gold, placer, drift and dredge and on and on and on. When he ran out of information he started telling personal stories, local stories etc ad nauseum. I swear to God he could out talk both Lee and I on one of our good days. In fact several times I would start so say something and I guess he figured I wasn't getting paid to talk so he blew right over me. Being at the Arctic Circle was pretty cool though but another long long day. Home by 11:30 or so and another shower. Oh goodie we get to sleep in tomorrow and don’t have to be at our next pick up point till 8:00 am.

June 23, 2011 – Day 40

So today we have the Eldorado Gold mine, Dredge #8 and the Discovery stern wheeler river boat and this is the day that “ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE” Started out pretty good was very tired but was maneuvering around ok then we went to the Gold mine first and really enjoyed panning for gold.

Alma and I had done this very excursion when we went to Alaska so I remembered Yukon Yonda and her husband Dexter. Everything was going real good until those damned cookies. There were the most wonderful chocolate chip cookies there free! Our guide said stock up, the dirty rat, so I did. Had 3 of them (so did Lee) what he failed to mention is right after that we were going to the dredge and be fed beef stew. Well I only could eat just a tad of the stew. (Lee had two bowls) I did not eat my dessert. (Lee did) By the time we left there I was not feeling too good. We boarded the riverboat and I was feeling sicker and sicker. To make matters worse there was a woman sitting right in front of me with a black top on with hair and dandruff all over it. Not too appealing in my present state of being. I had to move. Went to the ladies room to try to off load and was not successful. I never upchuck. Lee had had the same thing I had only more of it and he was fine. He also had a free doughnut and the salmon on the cracker (I didn’t) He was fine. So I really don’t think it was food poisoning. I think I was just overly tired and caught some bug. We were on the boat with people from one of the Dam ships and there is always something going around with that crowd. So we got back to our apartment, I sailed right in without speaking with Elizabeth who was there waiting to wish us home (did I mention we were at a Bed & Breakfast check it out. We were in the Forget me not Apartment) and climbed right into the bed at 6:00. Well two hours later it started and I was up all night getting rid of my stomach contents. I have never been this sick in my life in fact the last time I remember doing that was when I was pregnant and that goes back a few years. This went on all night for every two hours until 3:30 when I got a reprieve. Then the other problem started.

June 24, 2011 – Day 41

Thank goodness we had an R&R planned because I took it in full force. I stayed in bed all day. All I could eat was some dry cheerios a cup of bullion, ginger ale and late in the day some ramen noodles.

June 25, 2011 – Day 42.

So here we are all rested up I am back to normal and everything is good today. Headed down to Denali went into the park signed up for the bus trip tomorrow Another long one but should at least see animals and the good news is they said the park shuttles are not narrated. So we won’t have to listen to another 12 to 13 hour trip of someone just talking talking talking. So after that we checked into our “Creek side Cabins” and that is just what they are. A lovely spot. So now you know what I know. On the sad side we have been saddened to hear of two of our neighbors passing while we have been on the road. Our thoughts and prayers are with Larry Cummings and Mae Houseman.

To all of our friends and family “Happy trails and keep well.”

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