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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
8th Jun 2014 - Alaska 2014
Day 10-June 8, 2014-Gold, Pipeline Riverboat & Harry's Birthday

Day 10-June 8, 2014-Pipeline, Gold, Riverboat and Harry’s birthday


Another beautiful day, warm and sunny.

Up at 6:30 and had breakfast at one of the resort’s restaurants with a couple from Oklahoma who we had previously met.

And then we made a mistake.  We were scheduled for gold panning and a sternwheeler cruise.  Our travel agent told me quite a few times “Don’t take the shuttle to the sternwheeler, get a cab to the Westmark hotel”.  But the shuttle goes right to the sternwheeler, maybe they changed the route-so we took the shuttle.  Half way there something clicks to Harry and he realizes we’re on the afternoon sternwheeler cruise, not the morning one.  So when we get to the sternwheeler we call a cab to take us to the Westmark hotel, where the motorcoach for the gold panning starts and then they take us to the sternwheeler.  Worked out fine in the end.  Next time we’ll listen to Barbara.

The motorcoach took us to the Trans Alaskan Pipeline, something I never thought I’d be interested in but changed my mind once I saw it.  It’s 800 miles long, from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and was build in only 2 years, from 1975-77.  The oil flows at 5-1/2 mph and takes 6 days to go the entire length.  49% is above ground and there are all kinds of safety measures to protect it against things like permafrost, earthquakes, etc.  They even mapped out routes that caribou usually take and put it underground there because the caribou and moose didn’t like to go under it.  More interesting than I ever thought it would be.  Every Alaskan gets a share of the profits from it.

From there we got a small open air train that went through gold country where we learned about gold mining life.  The train went to Dredge #8, a huge contraption built in 1928 in Pennsylvania, then to San Francisco and finally Fairbanks, disassembled and reassembled all the way.  It picked up gravel, spit out the dirt, called tailings, and separated the gold.  Yukon Yonda, a woman who mined the dredge for decades gave a little introductory welcome and then we panned for gold in water troughs.  Everybody was given a bag of “paydirt” that you put in your pan, filled with water, swirled it around and around, dumped the top rocks and dirt out, repeated the process until only the heavy gold flakes remained in the bottom of the pan.  Of course everybody got some gold, and then you could put the flakes in a little piece of jewelry.  Harry got about $6.00 worth and I got about $16.00. We decided to take the flakes home and put them in our own jar.  Spoke with Yukon Yonda for a while, she was really quite a character. Lots of free cookies, hot chocolate and coffee and you could go aboard the dredge.  Harry went, I spent the time collecting some tailings for my sand collection.  Yes, I did ask first!

Back on the train to the bus which took us to the sternwheeler, The River Boat Discovery III, where we had a nice family style lunch of miner’s stew, apple and cheese salad, roasted veggies (yes, real veggies for a change) and a fudge brownie.  Boarded the sternwheeler, three levels, for a three hour narrated tour of the Chena and Nenana rivers (and free donuts and salmon spread).  Watched a bush pilot take off and land a float plane, stopped at the home of a four-time Iditarod champion and saw a dog sled demo, much the same as we did in Seward.  “Mushing” is the state sport and we found it everywhere we went.  The boat then stopped at a replication of an Athabascan Indian village where we learned about native Alaskan village life.  Back about 6:00PM and took the shuttle back to the hotel. 

Had a nice birthday dinner for Harry at the hotel’s main restaurant, Chena’s Restaurant.  Niether one of us was too hungry so we split the seafood alfredo, then strolled along the Chena River Walk back to our cottage. 

Next: Days 11-12-June 9 , 10, 2014-Fairbanks, North Pole & HOME!!
Previous: Day 9-June 7, 2014-Train to Denali

Diary Photos


Sign at Gold Mine

Alaska pipeline1

Us on train

Gold in pan

Us panning for gold

Harry at Gold Dredge #8

Our train to gold dredge

40 degrees below zero room


Training puppies


After the race

Getting ready

More pelts


Athabascan home

Sign on river

Riverboat DiscoveryIII

Our cottage

Harry's birthday dessert

Chena's Restaurant

Discovery III

Alaskan Pipeline

Us at Pipeline

Harry's Gold

Us on Riverboat



Here they come!

Us with Mr. Moose

Diary Movies

Cooling off after the race

Even more puppy training

More puppy training

Puppy Training

Riverboat DiscoveryIII

Train to Fairbanks

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