Lonnie and Sue - Traveling North America

2009 Alaska 4 - Fairbanks

 My campground rating system is on a scale of 5/5 with the first number being the levelness of the site and the second being the appearance.  A 3/3 would be an average site.

 I have left the prices in for comparison and to give a general idea of what to expect.  Depending on when you read this, factor in inflation.

 Travel Log - July 25 to August 10, 2009        [Tab 2009 Alaska-Fairbanks]

07-25-2009     Sat     Day 102      Trip Meter:   124.0

Weather:  Windy and cloudy in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon.  High in the low 70’s. 

Driving Directions:   Continued north on AK 3.  In Fairbanks at the jct of AK 2 took it south for a couple of miles then got off at Badger road to the campground.  

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 10:25 AM.  Wind was blowing as hard this morning as any day since we got here.  Lost the wind about 30 miles out of Denali. 

We stopped at the Teklanika Trading Co. & RV Park at MP 276 on the Nenana River and took some pictures. 

We stopped at a pull out at MP 318.5 for lunch and took pictures of the smoke from the first west of town of Nenana. 

Smoke got really bad about 35 miles south of Fairbanks but started clearing just before we got to town.  There was no smoke at the campground.

  • Campsite:   Riverview RV Park, North Pole, AK - 15 nights - site 121 - gravel pad - pull thru - 30 amp, water, sewer, picnic table, WiFi (FREE), cable (FREE) - Good Sam Park - Cost $32.86 per night for 14 nights and $35.05 for one night for an average cost of $33.00 per night.- Saved $89.20 - Rating 3/4 - Got setup at 2:05 PM.  The campground sets on the bank of the Chena River.  50 amp is available for an additional $30.00 per week.    

We took our chairs to the river and read. 

07-26-2009     Sun     Day 103   

Weather:  Sunny and clear with a little smoke in the late afternoon.  High in the upper 70’s.

  • Aug 1 – Arctic Gateway B&B, Wiseman - $95.00
  • Aug 2 – Prudhoe Bay Hotel - $250.00
  • Aug 3 – Arctic Ocean Tour out of the Arctic Caribou at 7 AM
  • Aug 3 - Arctic Gateway B&B, Wiseman - $175.00

Stayed in today.

07-27-2009     Mon     Day 104  

Our campsite at Riverview RV Park, North Pole, AK

Weather:  Sunny with a high of 81. 

Days Activities:   I called and made reservations for the Riverboat Discovery for 2 PM tomorrow, check in at 1:30.  Have a coupon so cost was $54.95. 

We had originally registered for 7 days.  I registered for 8 more days - that will cover our parking for the trip to Prudhoe Bay and allow time for the start of the Tanana Valley State Fair and for a wine tasting event on Saturday night, Aug 8th. 

We went to the University of Alaska Museum of the North.  It took 4 hours to see the 2 movies and tour the museum.  Cost was $9.00 each for admission, senior rate $4.00 for audio headsets, and $5.00 for the 2 movies – total cost of $36.00.  It was very interesting. 

07-28-2009     Tue     Day 105     

Weather:  Cloudy with smoke and a small amount of sun.  High in the low 80’s.

Days Activities:   We took the Riverboat Discovery II for our tour today.  We were on the Discovery III in 2005 – the III is larger than the II.  This trip was less than half the distance of the 2005 trip because a sand bar has formed where the Chena and the Tanana rivers meet.  In 2005 we got to go down the Tanana a ways but had to turn around at the junction today.  Otherwise the tour was the same as the one in 2005.  See an extensive write up of the trip in the 2005 log on 7-30-05. 

We took pictures of all the houses along the river but only included a few of them in the photo gallery. 

We had a coupon so total cost was $54.95. 

I got to thinking about the 2-speed fan we had installed on the motorhome engine (replacing the single speed fan) in Nov 2007 at a cost of $750.00.  It was supposed to increase the fuel mileage by a half to a mile per gallon.  So I went back and calculated the mileage and expenses and determined the following: 

  • Was averaging 7 mpg when it was installed
  • Have averaged just over 7.5 ever since it was installed with a current accumulated average of 7.57 mpg since installation
  • Total mileage since it was installed – 21,978
  • Total fuel cost since it was installed – $10,077
  • Average cost per gallon since installation – $3.469
  • Total gallons used since installation – 2,905
  • Gallons that would have been used at 7 mpg – 3,140
  • Total gallons saved since installation – 235
  • Total savings at average cost since installation - $815
Sue boarding the Discover II for our trip down the Chena River.

07-29-2009     Wed     Day 106      

Weather:  Cloudy all day with smoke moving in around 8 PM.  High of 84.   

Days Activities:   We went to the Large Animal Research Center and took a tour.  Saw muskoxen, caribou, and reindeer.  Very interesting tour and we took pictures.  Cost $9.00 each, senior rate. 

Went to the Georgeson Botanical Garden.  It was small but very pretty.  We took pictures. Cost $2.00 each. 

The smoke got so bad during the evening we both coughed from it. 

07-30-2009     Thur     Day 107      

Weather:  Overcast all day with smoke hanging in the air like a moderate fog.  High of 74. 

Days Activities:   The smoke is still here.  We stayed in and kept the coach closed up and ran the fans so we were able to keep out most of the smoke. 

I made reservations for the El Dorado Gold Mine for tomorrow.  Didn’t pay for the tickets so may not go if the smoke doesn’t clear up some.   

07-31-2009     Fri     Day 108      

Weather:  Smoky with high in upper 70’s.

Days Activities:   We went on the El Dorado Gold Mine tour.  Saw it in 2005 but it is still an impressive attraction.  Had a coupon so cost was $34.95.  We panned $16.00 in gold. 

Got the oil changed in the pickup at Wal-Mart. 

08-01-2009     Sat     Day 109      

Weather:  Constant smoke with alternating sky from cloudy to sunny.  High in the mid 62. 

Fueled Pickup:   At Safeway in Fairbanks, AK.  $2.949. 

Fueled Pickup:   At Coldfoot Camp, AK.  $3.999.

This is the first day of our trip to Prudhoe Bay.  See "Archives 2009" - "2009 Alaska-Prudhoe Bay" TAB on the left.  

Returned to Fairbanks on the evening of 08-04-2009. 

Fairbanks portion of the trip continued below.

Waiting for the water to start flowing that will wash the dirt and gold down the sluice.

08-05-2009     Wed     Day 113     

Weather:  Smoky with a high of 72. 

Days Activities:   Went to the Farmer’s Market.  Nice market but extremely expensive.  Tomatoes were $5 and $6 a lb and not very good tomatoes at that.  Small bundles of green onions with 3 to 4 onions for $3.  Small batches of radishes for $3.  Small cucumbers about 4’ long for $1 each.   

I called Bayside RV in Valdez, 1-888-835-4425, and made reservations for one week starting 8/17 – cost $225.00 for full hookups with WiFi and cable TV.  Also got the address so that we can have our mail forwarded there – 230 E. Egan Drive, Valdez, AK 99686.  Will call the UPS Store tomorrow and have them send our mail there. 

08-06-2009     Thur     Day 114      

Weather:  Rainy and smoky with high of 59. 

Days Activities:   It started raining about 4 AM and rained off and on all day. 

I went in and bought tickets for “A Taste of Summer”, a wine tasting event, for Saturday night.  It is for the benefit of Hospice of the Tanana Valley. 

We went to Pioneer Park to the Palace Theatre this evening to a show – cost $18.00 each.   

We had planned on going to the Salmon Bake but because of the weather decided to postpone it to tomorrow. 

08-07-2009     Fri     Day 115      

Weather:  Overcast, damp, and smoky with high of 63. 

Fueled Pickup:   At Safeway in Fairbanks, AK.  $2.899.  Saved 20 cents per gallon. 

Days Activities:   In the afternoon we went to the Great Alaskan Bowl Company and looked at their bowls and watched a video on how they are made. 

Then we went to dinner at the Salmon Bake located in Pioneer Park.  We had prime rib, grilled salmon, fried cod, and fried halibut.  It was really good.  Regular price is $31.00 each but we got a senior rate of $28.00.   

Then on to the Ice Museum.  We saw a 25 minute video about the annual ice carving competition that is held in Fairbanks each March.  Then we got to tour 3 rooms that were kept at 25 degrees and held various ice scriptures.  Cost was $12.00 each. 

At the same location is a video showing of the Northern Lights.  The presentation was beautiful.  Cost for it is $8.00 each but we got combo tickets for $18.00 each for a total savings of $4.00. 

08-08-2009     Sat     Day 116      

Weather:  Smoky with high of 63. 

Days Activities:   We went to the Tanana Valley State Fair.  Not much there except a lot of food booths.  We did watch a dog pull contest.  The winning dog pulled 1,760 pounds.  Parking was $4.00 and fair admission was $5.00 each senior rate. 

After the fair we went to A Taste of Summer wine tasting.  Cost $30.00 each. 

08-09-2009     Sun     Day 117   

Weather:  Rain in the morning and sunny in the afternoon.  High of 64. 

Days Activities:   We were going to leave this morning but it rained.  I have not been able to find a replacement wiper blade for the motorhome so we stayed another day.  It is supposed to be sunny the next 3 days. 

Paid for another day. 

Drove pickup 1,546.2 miles. 

08-10-2009     Mon     Day 118      Trip Meter:   94.3      

Weather:  No smoke today but cloudy with high of 55.  A little sun with light sprinkle in the evening. 

Fueled Coach:   At Badger Gas in North Pole.  $3.649. 

Driving Directions:   Took Badger Road to North Pole then AK 2, aka Richardson Highway, south to the campground at Delta Junction. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 11:00 AM.  Sue drove to North Pole for a few groceries and I took the coach for propane and diesel.

Heading for Valdez.

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