Fairbanks, AK

June 25, 2015

It is always good when you enjoy the place where you are living and the people you are doing life with. The Chena River Flood Control Project is run by the Army Corps of Engineers with the campgrounds being run by the local borough. Recreation possibilities abound in this beautiful place and the dam area shared with community groups (local police training, dog training, wildlife groups, fishing groups, etc.) whenever possible. Every day, visitors hike to the top of the dam or hike the trails in and around the dam, fish in the many ponds, lakes and rivers or go boating. The two volunteer host couples serve as a presence on both ends of the dam and we help with grounds keeping, flower planting, painting and office work. We will help out at parades and festivals in North Pole throughout the summer. We are enjoying getting to know the Rangers and staff that work here and it is nice to have good friends here that we share volunteer host duties with. What could be better?

A few more pictures of the dam, Connie planting flowers outside the office and our trailer.

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The 2 Volunteer Host Couples have one overlapping day off, on Tuesdays. We spent last Tuesday touring the Chena River on the sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery. My son David and his finance Christine are back from their Denali trip and they went along also.

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Part of the riverboat program was watching a float plane taking off and landing, a visit to the dog kennels of Susan Butcher, a musher and four time winner of the Iditarod and a visit to an Indian village where we learned about surviving the Arctic winters.  The ceremonial coat modeled by one of the Indians is an antique worth thousands of dollars.  Beautiful isn’t it?

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We spotted a great looking restaurant while we were on the riverboat so we headed there for dinner.

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We had a great day on the river and we are enjoying this part of Alaska!

Cliff and Cyndy

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North Pole AK

June 14, 2015

The Chena River Flood Project is situated outside the cities of North Pole and Fairbanks AK and run by the Army Corps of Engineers. The dam was created to control the flooding in the Fairbanks area. Two volunteer host couples are needed each summer to help with maintenance and special projects around the dam – that would be us and our good friends, Ed and Connie Allen. We arrived last week and are getting settled in – we have a storage shed, a grassy yard with flowers to plant, our own Gator to drive around and friends close by! We feel very appreciated and are looking forward to getting involved here and getting to know the staff working here. A few shots of the office and Visitor’s Center, some maintenance being done to the dam and our trailer.

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New wildlife, or at least wildlife we’ve not seen before! The porcupine was behind our trailer and the swan in a lake close by. Rumor has it we will see moose, woodchucks and grizzly as one of the Rangers killed a bear not far from here a couple of years ago. Mosquitos and flying bug things abound making it hard to be outside but we have bug zappers and bug coils and bug sprays and we plan to use them all.

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We went to dinner last night in a town just north of Fairbanks called Fox. Along the way we crossed the Alaskan pipeline, we have seen it from a distance but never this close.

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It is warm here, about 78 today and heading into the 80’s later in the week. Seems too hot for me but Cliff is loving the idea of summer and wearing short sleeve shirts. More to come as we start volunteering on Wednesday!

Cliff and Cyndy

 

Seward AK

June 9, 2015

We live a gypsy lifestyle, we travel to a new location every couple of months and thus we say goodbye to people we care about every couple of months. The goodbyes to Dave and Rochelle were softened by the fact that we plan to return to Soldotna for another visit in July. As we were leaving their yard, we saw the resident momma moose and her 2 babies.

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We headed to Seward and saw this beauty on the way.

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We visited Exit Glacier and hiked the path to the edge. We are enjoying son David and his finance Christine for this part of our journey.

 

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We are camped right next to the water in Seward and watched a cruise ship head out yesterday.

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Tomorrow we start our travels again, heading north to Fairbanks. David and Christine will stay in Seward for a kayak adventure and join us later in the month in Fairbanks.

Cliff and Cyndy

Homer AK

June 1, 2015

Homer Alaska is one of our favorite places to visit. The drive there provides stunning glimpses of the ocean and some big mountains across the water.

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We stopped at one of the Russian Orthodox Churches and drove through a village right on the water.

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We stopped at the overlook and posed for pictures.

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We saw moose and eagles on the drive to Homer.

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We saw this eagle and the sea otter at lunch.

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After lunch at Land’s End, a restaurant at the end of the spit we found the quilt store located inside a hardware store. We wandered out to Bear Creek Winery, where we sampled fruit wines and found a few we liked to take home with us. We stopped for dinner at Rocky’s on the way home and a bunch of tired but happy people returned to Soldotna. It was a good day!

Cliff and Cyndy

Caribou and Trailer Trash

May 31, 2015

Scratch off another animal from the bucket list, Cliff spotted a herd of caribou today on a trip from Soldotna to the Home Depot in Kenai. Just when you least expect it, there they are and none of them were flying or had a red noses.

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We are enjoying our visit with Dave and Rochelle in Soldotna and now Connie, Ed and Connie’s sister Cheri have joined us. Rochelle is always talking about the Alaskan tendency to just keep rusty old cars, appliances, etc. and leave them lying out in the yard. Trailer Trash, and she is right, this state seems to have more than it’s share of unkempt looking houses with everything imaginable strewn around the yard. But not in the very neat Schneider yard, things are stored in the garage or the shop and the grass is cut and flowers planted all around. Looks great until friends show up and start moving in their trailers and big trucks and unpack a bit. So the story today is how the Schneider’s yard turned into “trailer trash” almost overnight!

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And we just love being the “trailer trash” in the yard!

Cliff and Cyndy