Wednesday, 2 September 2015
02.09.2015 - 02.09.2015
Enjoyed a buffet breakfast and happened to walk past the dreaded Gift Shop. On reviewing our luggage last night I realised I was short of a lightweight rain/wind jacket. Marked down on special for just US$24.95 were just the jacket I needed. Jenny decided she could use one as well so another US$50 on the credit card.
First activity for the day was the Riverboat cruise on the Discovery III. She is four decks tall, weighs 250 tons and built in the style of the Mississippi paddle steamers. The MC for the tour was a vastly knowledgeable guy with a smooth delivery and an ability to continue talking whilst underwater. His first trick was to call up a mate in a float-plane who demonstrated the bush pilot's ability to take off and land in confined spaces. All the while the pilot is providing a commentary and explaining the history and reliance on these nimble aircraft. Impressive show.
We sail along the Chena River looking into the back yards of some impressive log-cabin mansions. We pull up alongside a breeding/training facility for sled dogs. There are dozens of very excited multicoloured mutts barking and jumping around. We were provided with a commentary from the widower husband of Susan Howlet Butcher (December 26, 1954 – August 5, 2006) she was an American dog musher, noteworthy as the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1986, the second four-time winner in 1990, and the first to win four out of five sequential years. She is commemorated in Alaska by the Susan Butcher Day. The take home message was about her dog 'Granite' who was ridiculed and considered worthless and went on to lead her to victory.
Next stop was a recreation of a Chana Village where we received detailed and beautifully presented explanation of village life for the local Athabascan Indians. Most of the presenters were summer hired student from the University of Alaska. All of them were descendant from local or other Native Alaskan people. Very knowledgeable and confident presenters.
Back on the boat and returned to Steamboat Landing where we were treated to a hot beef stew, roast vegetables and chocolate brownie desert. There must have been over 300 people there and we were all fed and out into the gift shop within 45 minutes. The entire morning was first class and reflected a well practised team of skilled operators.
back on the coach and off to the Goldstream Dredge No. 8 which is a ladder dredge operated by the Fairbanks Exploration Co. from 1928 to 1959. It is located on the old Steese Highway between Fairbanks and Fox in the central part of the U.S. state of Alaska. Starting in the 1920s, water was brought to the area through the 90-mile (145 km) Davidson Ditch for gold mining. The Goldstream Dredge No. 8 cut a 4.5-mile (7.2 km) track and produced 7.5 million ounces of gold. The dredge was named a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1986. In 1984, it was listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
We panned for gold and between us we fount US$ 44 worth which was then preserved in a locket costing an additional US$ 129. There must be some logic there ??
Back on the coach and back to the lodge with just sufficient time to change for a five course dinner with wine. I thought the food was great, but then I've never knocked back any food. The wine was fine, not so in the opinion of more knowledgeable individuals at the table.
Tomorrow the luggage must be outside the room by 06:00 and the coach departs at 07:00. Chris, the tour guide, introduced the suffix 'ish' when dealing with arrival times but departure times are as stated. We should arrive at our next destination about 12:30 ish depending on travel conditions.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony