Monday, January 23, 2017

Will Rogers and Wiley Post Memorial

A little more wandering around town to see the sights. The plane crash of Will Rogers and Wiley Post was, literally, one of the first things I learned about Alaska. The actual crash site is a short ways west of town but there is a memorial set up near the airport which is named after them. The stone monument at the actual crash site was brought back to town last summer before it was lost to the ocean. There was a lot of frost and snow covering the modest granite memorial but in the second picture, I think you may be able to read the inscription if you zoom in on the picture.

I had gone to town to see if I could get a view of the first sunrise since November but the southern sky was pretty overcast and you could tell that it was daylight but that was about all. I stopped at Arctic Grocery to take a look at their asian food selection since I was invited out to help a couple of folks make some California rolls and Mongolian beef. The selection was a lot smaller than it was during the summer but I found some items not carried at AC Company (the main grocery store). We made ten rolls with cucumber, carrots, eggs, shrimp and fake crab. No ripe avocados to be found (just like in Fairbanks). But still a nice, tasty treat.

This mammoth tusk is on display in the lobby of the Barrow Arctic Research Center (BARC) which is the facility that I have been working on/in for over ten years. The grand opening was on June 1, 2007, and I had been working on the IT infrastructure during the design and construction. The glass case for this display has been broken for as long as I can remember so SB got an up close and personal look at the display.

I didn't take this photo of sunrise yesterday but a friend here in the building did. The length of daylight today will already be two hours. Quite the change from zero last Friday. 


Friday, January 20, 2017

North Until You Run Out of Dirt

Yesterday, we travelled from Fairbanks north to Utqiaġvik, formerly known as Barrow. When we left Fairbanks, it was -40°F/C and we must've brought the cold temperatures with us as it was -35°F (-37°C) this morning. Utqiaġvik is as far north as you can go in Alaska. It's not on the road system and the only normal way to get here is via plane. Alaska Airlines has regularly scheduled 737 service to Barrow from Anchorage and Deadhorse but no longer from Fairbanks. On Thursday afternoon, we left Fairbanks for Deadhorse and after a 4 hour layover we arrived in Utqiaġvik.

This is just the view out of window as we passed over the Brooks Range. The sun was just peeking over the horizon at this point. The last sunset in Utqiaġvik was November 20, 2016, and the first sunrise should be tomorrow January 21, 2017.

Here is a graphic from showing the info for tomorrow and it shows that even though today there is zero sunlight, tomorrow will be 47 minutes. Thing change pretty rapidly at this point. The lightest blue indicates daylight where the sun is actually above the horizon. The next darker shades are civil and nautical twilight. Both are better known as dawn or dusk. As you can see, even on the winter solstice there is not really 24 hours of darkness as some media outlets would lead you to believe.

Around 1:00 we went in search of lunch. Near Cruz, the Mexican take-out place, the whale bone arch was still standing. This is one of the classic places to have visitors take photos. On this day, for some reason we didn't have to chase any tourists away to get a clear shot. In fact there wasn't anyone wandering around. Maybe it was the gentle 10 mph breeze. This is -53°F (-47°C) if wind chill matters to you. Fortunately, inanimate objects are immune to wind chill.

Late Friday Update - Dom's photo editing skills far exceed mine. I knew that the snow was messing with the white balance but wasn't sure what was needed to fix it. Here is his edited photo.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Fairbanks Update

Those wooden wheels just aren't made for snow...

But donuts should be no problem

Too bad it still on the cold side

But we'll be going on a trip north later this week...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

First Outing in Fairbanks

The first outing was to College Coffeehouse to meet whomever might show up. This is my mom, Bridget and Sandra. JedR was also there but did not want to be in the picture since "there are outstanding warrants in three states". Or at least that is his standard line to avoid any pictures on the Internet.

On Wednesday afternoon, there were a few inches of fresh snow and almost tropical temperatures (+16*F or -9°C). It seemed like a good opportunity to show SB a few of the local sights. Plus, we could record another PBC video (Polar Bear Challenge). The Ural battery was completely dead as I had left the USB outlets that run the GoPro camera and remote powered on. So I didn't want to turn the Ural off on this particular trip until I'm confident that it will start again.

This is in front of the Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge visitor's center. Most of the parking lots in town still have quite a bit of snow from the blizzard last weekend. Without studded tires, 2WD got more use than usual.

I stopped near the entrance to the University of Alaska museum. This is just the fresh snow that we received this morning but it was enough for SB to float on. Not a whole lot of traction from the slick wooden wheels. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

SB Arrives in the Last Frontier

The carefully packed box arrived around the middle of last week but things around here have been rather hectic. Today, we cracked open the box to see the treasures it contained. During this time I was explaining to Bridget and my mom the background and the adventures the little wooden scooter had been on. My mom had remembered hearing about Bob in the past as I had something delivered to her home that was partly Bobs. (Sena headsets. We had purchased a pair and split the order.)  

The little scooter was well protected during its travels from the mile-high city. Bob had mentioned several times that he had wanted to visit Alaska but felt, like many others, that a certain kind of bike is needed before venturing to Alaska. Many scooters have made the trip including traveling up the haul road to Prudhoe Bay. There are no plans to travel up the Dalton but a trip well north of the Arctic Circle is in the works. I'm not sure how much travel will be by motorcycle but we will definitely get in a few trips.

It was great fun to see all of the memorabilia following along. Fortunately, I was able to find and print the draft post that Sonia had started that had a nice map showing all the stops along the journey. That will make a great introduction to the coffeehouse group. It's unfortunate that SB will not be able to meet George but I think that he will be a hit at the February meeting.

I should be feeling well enough to get some miles in on the Ural in a week to see a few of the local sights. SB should be acclimated to colder temperatures after recently spending time in Colorado. Alaska should be a walk in the park.