Monday, June 06, 2005

Fairbanks to Coldfoot

Almost midnight

Marion Creek Campground, Coldfoot, Alaska

A close-up of the pipeline!

Pipeline History

Crossing the Yukon River, I stopped at a BLM information station, where I met “Yukon Bob” and “Haul Road Thelma” Bowser, volunteers from Florida. It's their 14th summer here. We talked about wildfires – last year’s burned 6.7 million acres. But it's good for morel mushroom harvest, which is in full swing. On BLM lands, individuals can harvest up to 10 gallons/person/day.

Yukon River crossing.

All along the Dalton, red "Alyeska Pipeline" security trucks patrol for saboteurs and terrorists. It's actually rather hilarious.

Visited the "Wildwood General Store” at Joy, Alaska, a dark and creaky old building full of curiosities. The proprietor has raised 23 children, most adopted. She came up here to get the kids away from their parents.

"So what do you call the 'native' people here?"

“Indians and Eskimos”.

"You're kidding."


Unremarkable photo, EXCEPT notice those mosquitoes! They look like kamikazes.

I arrived in Coldfoot at 9:30, first missing the "town", which was tucked behind trees off the highway. In addition to the gas tank, filled the two Sears cans, giving me about a 300-mile range. Had to leave my quart of transmission oil behind; no more room.

(Received this photo from a fellow traveler when I was in the Yucatan, melting in the heat!)

Inside the Coldfoot Camp Cafe, met the host and server, Karen from Illinois. It's her fourth summer here. She's a potter, by trade. The bar was closing, but she got me a beer: “Copper Creek Amber Ale’ from Silver Gulch Brewing and Bottling out of Fairbanks.

Ordered a Rib Eye steak sandwich. Tried “A-1 Steak Sauce” for the first time. Horrid stuff. Reminds me of toilet bowl cleaner! (Not that I've tried toilet bowl cleaner.)The hearty meal was well-earned though. I was pretty beat from the ride.

Coldfoot Camp. Rumor has it the Princess Lines has just purchased the WHOLE camp. They bring many tours through en route to Prudhoe Bay.

About three miles beyond Coldfoot is the Marion Creek Campground, a sprawling area in kind of a scrub forest. Before I got my helmet off, I could tell it would be a battle with mosquitoes. Around the campground, piles of large pellet droppings showed it to be frequented by moose. Hopefully, not bears.

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