Late Winter Trips Update, 2000
Welcome to early spring in Fairbanks, Alaska. Jim and I have had a very busy year so far. I finished up a job just 3 days before Christmas, and still had shopping to do! We spent Christmas at home with family, spent the New Year's holiday visiting friends in Wasilla and Kenai (as we did last year), and returned home just three days before leaving on vacation. We flew to Portland, Oregon where we rented a car and spent three weeks visiting family, sightseeing and just having fun! It was rainy, but nothing like the -40 degree temperature we left in Fairbanks!
Jim had never seen most of Oregon, and had seen none of California (had never seen desert!), so it was fun to show it all to him. We did not take many photos at all. We were having too much fun most of the time to think of it! We put more than 3,000 miles on the rental car and the trip was very busy, but we had a wonderful time.
Our New Year's trip almost didn't happen. We got ready in a hurry, and sat in the car, looking at the temperature registering -55 degrees outside, and almost didn't leave. You really should not travel in weather that cold unless necessary. But, it was dark, and cold, and we really needed to get away, so we left. By the time we hit the flats below Nenana, an hour south of Fairbanks, it was -62! Let me tell you, the heater can't keep up in those temps, but we were well prepared and I wrapped in a polartec blanket, and we continued to speed along, wanting to get across the Alaska range where it would be warmer. There were only some big trucks on the highway, and if they got around us we had to slow down... the trail of exhaust made it impossible to see for a loooooong way!
The photo above is from Denali State Park, and that is Mt. Mckinley in the background. In this area there had been more than 10 feet of snow, and it was a beautiful, pristine sight. The only signs on the snow were tiny tracks of ptarmigan, looking like straight stitches across the snow, larger tracks from fox, still larger from coyote and wolf, and then those of caribou and moose. I did get a photo of two caribou right on the bank of the road digging for forage, but their beautiful coats blend in so well that they are almost impossible to see.
We got across the range, and although it was colder than last year it was still a nice visit, and we had a great time.
Back at home we rushed to get ready for vacation, and left with ice fog shrouding the city. We arrived in Oregon in rain, and it rained most of our visit, but we didn't mind. Jim fell in love with the southern Oregon coast, as I have. One of my sons lives in Bandon, which is not far from Gold Beach.
The photos above were taken in the rain, but it was just a fine mist... I call it "liquid air"
The bridge crossing the Rogue River on Hwy. 101 through Gold Beach, Oregon at sunset
The beaches in the area are deserted, and we spent quite a bit of time walking them, picking up beatiful rocks fossils and shells that washed up, as reminders of our trip. We both love to walk on the beach there. It is beautiful, with many small creeks flowing into the ocean, huge logs to sit on, seals frolicking in the surf, and the entire beach to ourselves. We brought home rocks, fossils and shells that washed up at our feet.
Jim is checking out the Smith River in northern California. This is a good gold river, but they have shut it down to mining now. The miners lost out on it.
We had wonderful visits with my children and grandchildren, mother, brother, sister and a host of nieces and their children, and in one case... a grandchild already! My sister is a great-grandmother at the age of 59! We also had a great visit with one of Jim's sisters whom he had not seen for 18 years, and who plans to visit us here next summer (2001).
Ice fog shrouding the city, with the power plant steam rising above. Photo by Sam Harrel.
We arrived home to find FIVE feet of snow on the ground, and ice fog shrouding the city, but it disappeared within two days, and the weather warmed up. We had a little snow shortly afterward, but it has mostly been very warm (up in the 20's and 30's!), and the snow is shrinking rapidly.
On the day we arrived home we had to arrange to have snow removed, so Jim shoveled out his truck that was sitting outside, and took it for a spin... it died and would not re-start, and he had to have it towed home. Since I wasn't working, he began driving my car to work, and was laid off three days later!
Now there are two ways to look at that, and we chose to be grateful for more time we could spend together, and added time for him to spend in learning about real estate investing, which he has been wanting to get into. He has done that, and I immediately had a job offer! I have been working for two weeks now for a real estate broker... the one who helped us get our home, and I REALLY enjoy it! I'm studying to get my real estate license, and we have had a great time since we've been home. We spent a lot of time looking at homes on the market, and we both love to do that. Days were immediately getting longer, and we're now up to more than 11 hours of sunlight. Most days are bright and sunny, and water is dripping everywhere during the day.
Spring is definitely in the air. We have less than half the snow we had when we arrived home, and if this keeps up we'll have a really early breakup and springtime. The roads are clear, my plants indoors are growing again, and we'll be moving furniture and beginning to spruce things up around here this week.
Visit us again soon, and I will try to keep you updated on things up here in Fairbanks.
More photos below...
This is one of our spectacular sunsets. Photo by Matt Hage.
Kids playing on a snowbank in the afternoon.
Thanks for visiting, and come back soon!
Marcie and Jim
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