Monday, July 30, 2012

Lantern Sprucing

Today I received some news that I will be splitting my middle school and another elementary school this year!  Now I'm mentally prepping myself for the difference...

Anyhoo, I started sprucing my lantern this weekend.  My intention was to make it summery and not too fallish, yet at least.

Here's what it looks like with a flame, which is hard to see.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Last Frontier

Day 1: Travel Day

The journey to the last frontier began with me flying solo to Denver for my connection flight to Fairbanks. 

I was surprised to find that there are flights out there that still serve food!  Mental note: 5 hour flight=food. 

This picture was taken at 11 PM!  After factoring in the time difference (3 hours,) my poor body was so confused.


After Jodie picked me up at the airport, I met my canine nephew Enzo!  Isn't he the cutest ball of fuzz?!?!


Day 2: Berry Picking and Eric's Arrival

Alaska's landscaping is so beautiful and green this time of year! So different than our crispy, chicken-fried grass at home.  I loved the spruce and birch trees.


Jodie and Jason informed me that our berry picking sight was actually part of the permafrost.  The only creatures out and about besides the three of us were the mosquitos.

By the way, this was at 10:30 PM!

Here's Jason demonstrating to me what to look for.


The ground was really squishy.


For the sake of keeping it real, here I am with zero make-up and a still very confused body. 

Jodie teaching me how to use the fancy berry picker.

Walk time!

Neat house in the neighborhood

Day 3: JM Hair Studios Tour and The Riverboat Discovery

Jodie's salon was so cute with all kinds of Alaskan antiques.  You could really tell that her clients appreciated having her quality of salon. 

Eric and I were very happy get fancy haircuts also.

Our riverboat tour was a nice way to see a little bit of everything that Fairbanks had to offer.  It was a tad pricey, but totally worth it for an entire afternoon. 

(We quickly realized that our combined ages didn't add up to the average river boater's, lol!)

Our boat was called the Discovery 3.

The views were hands down gorgeous!

Most likely this was the part that sold it for the mister.  We witnessed a seaplane take off and land. 

Did you know that 1 in 60 Alaskans is a pilot?  This led to many discussions about moving.  I told him he'd better come up in the winter before he makes that decision...

My favorite part was seeing the sled dogs.  They weren't nearly as big as I imagined.

It was evident these dogs LOVED their job.  They were yipping their heads off in anticipation of pulling the 4-wheeler.

After running around the pond, they all jumped into the river to cool off.  And then excused themselves to go #2.

Then we saw caribou!

Next, we were dropped off at a Chena Indian village to learn about hunting, clothing, and survival during the harsh Alaskan winters.

Another favorite moment was meeting and petting the sled dogs.  I'm now convinced that these are Jozie's distant relatives!


Another interesting part of the village was the fish camp.  We saw the tools and machinery the Chena used to harvest salmon, the drying process (as seen in the picture below) and also the smokehouse.

By the way, I'm holding me breath here because it was STINKY!

Our boat getting ready to head back.


Here's the original Riverboat Discovery which I believe they said was built in the 50's.


Jodie and Jason were so happy it was warm enough to put the top down on their jeep.  Notice that Eric is sporting fleece.  70 degree temps were pretty cool after our 100+ days!

Reindeer farm!

This is quite possibly my favorite picture from the whole trip.  Notice the sign.  This was right after eating at The Salmon Bake "where salmon tastes like candy!" according to Eric.


I like that the only way you can tell a difference between the next couple pictures is Eric's swinging.  You caught me, I wasn't really swinging on Bullwinkle.

On the way home from our day's adventure, we had a wild moose sighting!  In true National Geographic style, we parked and quietly stalked him until he came out of the brush.  Then we went paparazi on him!


Day 4: The North Pole and Eielson Airforce Base


Considering my zeal and zest for everything Christmas, this was another highlight of the trip for me.  I visited the real life North Pole!!!!!!!!!!!


Santa's chair

Letters to Santa

Santa's fancy sleigh


Santa's reindeer

Later in the day, Jason gave us a tour of Eielson Airforce Base.  This was the highlight of the trip for Eric.


He was like a kid in a candystore, so happy!

Unfortunately our time in Alaska was drawing to a close, so we bid our doggie nephew ado and ate a feast of halibut burgers before returning to the lower 48.

P.S. Doesn't my hair look great?!  Thanks Jodie!

We had an AWESOME time visiting!  Thanks so much Jodie and Jason!  We're keeping our fingers crossed that your next base is the one you're hoping for :0)