Part 8: Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs and Coldfoot, AK.


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The Trip

We spent several days in Fairbanks, AK with our friends Dan and Janet. We did needed actions like changing oil, cleaning clothes and general re-supply. After we were fully stocked, we drove to Chena Hot Springs to see the sights and then we resumed our trek north to Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Dan and Janet were doing some landscaping so he had to bring out his boy-toy to assist in the efforts.

A side view of Dan's U500.

Since the last time we were in Fairbanks, Dan added this solar array.

Next day, we went to Chena Hot Springs to see the facility. Dan had told us they were developing the hot springs as an energy source. The truck above was part of the drilling setup.

The hot springs had this cool sno-cat.

This is a newer version of the sno-cat in the previous photo.

They also had several track Haaglund vehicles to take tourists around during the winter.

They use a pair of goats as "recycling engines" for any edible trash produced at the hot springs.

As we left the energy production facility, we spotted this moose that came down to drink at the pond.

On the way back to Fairbanks we spotted this fine, custom piece of equipment. This was a logging skidder that was modified for fire control. These tires were filled with water to provide weight and traction.

Two of the Skidgines were built. Note the fire hoses on the back and the nozzles on the front.

Next morning, we packed and headed north toward Coldfoot, Alaska. Within 60 miles of Fairbanks, we came across this moose cow and calf crossing the highway.

On the road side, we spotted this flower that looks something like a rose. Perhaps it is a wild rose.

We crossed the mighty Yukon River before we got to Coldfoot Camp. On the river bank was a set of equipment that serviced the barges that bring equipment up river from the ocean.

The barge was unloading some large cargo on the river bank.

On the north bank of the Yukon River, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAP) is clearly visible and elevated to prevent damage to the permafrost. The silver gadgets at the top of the support posts are passive radiators that dissipate heat that is conducted from pipe to the posts.

The TAP has bends to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction.

A number of the meadows close to the road were covered in white flowers.

One of the pumping stations on the pipeline route. I believe that there are 11 pump stations total over the course of the whole TAP.

Rain was building in the distance beyond the pump station.

We arrived at Coldfoot Camp and got what we needed: diesel, ice, food and a flat place to set up the camper. In the background of the photo above are the hotel "suites" that were left over from when this was a construction camp. The quarters are basically a bunch of mobile homes bolted together.

There is not a lot at Coldfoot Camp. There is the store, mess hall/bar, a generator building, some fuel storage tanks and a big dirt parking area for the truckers. Coldfoot is the only fuel between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay, nearly 500 miles. Coldfoot is about half way and EVERYBODY stops there for fuel.

We passed a number of motorcyclists that were making the run to Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay). There were also some hearty bicyclists that were abusing themselves on the same road. Coldfoot lets campers pitch tents nearly anywhere as long as they are not in the way of the trucks ingress and egress.

The facility at Coldfoot was basic in every respect. But, the food was reasonably good and we were able to get fuel and water for the camper. Next morning, we broke camp and did the last segment of our trek to Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2009, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.