Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gold mines and riverboats!

We are still in Fairbanks. We decided to stay here another day and take in a couple activities. We bought the Alaska Toursaver book. We weren't sure it would be worth it for us, but we decided there were several things we might like.

The toursaver book is a book of coupons. . . most are buy one get one free items. So today we went on the Gold Dredge tour and the Riverboat Discovery cruise. One was $60 each and one was $40 each. So if we were paying for everything, it would have been $200. As it was, we paid for just one admission and got one free, $100. So on today's activities, we saved $100. The book costs $100, so we feel we have broken even today. Anything else we use it for will represent a true savings and there are several things in which we are interested.

We had tickets for the 10:30 visit to the Gold Dredge No. 8. It is an old dredge that operated in the area, finding gold for many years before it was retired. Actually it was still finding gold when it stopped but it became subject to new federal regulations including those of the EPA, OSHA, etc., and was not profitable to continue. Now new and different methods allow conformity to the laws, so the dredges were abandoned. We started our tour at a display for the pipeline and then took a train out to the dredge. Demonstrations on gold panning were given and then the train took us to a gold planning area where we all got a bag of sand to pan. It was fun and the four of us all found gold. You could purchase a necklace to put your gold in, but we decided just to keep it. We did do some browsing in the shops. We re-boarded the train and it took us back to the station where we started. It was a well done tour and informative as well.

We rode in Tab and Deanna's motorhome to the Riverboat Discovery location where we were scheduled for the 2 p.m. trip. We ate our sack lunches we brought in the motorhome in the parking lot. We boarded the boat and listened to the narrator talk about the history of the river and looked at some really gorgeous homes along the waterfront. We passed by one couple's home and they had both a plane and a boat docked at the pier. We continued on down the river and stopped at the kennels of the late Susan Butcher. She was a four-time Iditarod winner and her husband has continued her legacy of raising sled dogs and mushing. He gave a demonstration on how they train the dogs and hitched a team up to an ATV. The dogs were so excited and successfully pulled him around the yard and pond at about 20 mph.

On down the river, we stopped at an Indian village and disembarked the boat. We were introduced to the way of life of the Athabascan Indians by young members of those groups. They were articulate young women who are working summers to introduce people to how their ancestors lived in this land. Most were university students. It was an interesting lesson.
Tab, Deanna, and I all decided to experience the 40* below room. It is a freezer set to -40*, but it was actually a little warmer. It is definitely VERY cold. Interesting though.

Our tour finished about 5 p.m. and we headed back to the RV. we drove back to the camp and we are now relaxing. Well, Terry is sleeping. . .LOL

Till next time. . .



jocelyn said...

Big hood. Was that parka built for babywearing, like the amautik?

Dale said...

Nope, built for warmth at 40 below. There was a name for that hood. I can't remember but it's supposed to resemble the sun. There were several kinds of fur that went into it and took 6 months to make. The fur around the hood was a specific animal fur.