Driving into Fairbanks at night

Here’s a new video of Jack driving into Fairbanks the other night, sped up so it’s not too tedious.  It’s pretty late so not much is going on.  Some trucks cleaning up the Steese Highway, that’s about it.  It’s in HD so don’t let YouTube show you a poor quality video, if you have decent internet.  And it does have some music on it so you may want to reduce the volume if you are sensitive to that.  When you add music through YouTube, you can’t determine the volume, so it’s loud.


Fairbanks is saved by the dam…again!

Recently Fairbanks and the surrounding areas have been getting a lot of rain.  So when Jack and I visited the Chena Dam the other day the floodgates had been lowered in order to prevent high water from flowing downstream toward Fairbanks.  This results in the river backing up into the reservoir area behind the dam but saves Fairbanks as it has many times since it was built almost 40 years ago.

Dermot Cole of Alaska Dispatch News wrote in 2014 when the floodgates were lowered then that Fairbanks’ “most effective flood insurance policy … takes the form of an unusual dam with four 30-ton gates that operate like giant garage doors, stemming the flow of high water when the river rises. The floodgates are one element in an extensive federal flood control project that cost a quarter-billion dollars by the time of its completion in 1979.”

Click on the first photo and scroll to the right to read the captions.

For more info:  a slideshow on the Army Corp website and this pamphlet for a little more in depth information.




Lampreys falling from the sky?!?!?

Neither Jack nor I have seen these lampreys (thank goodness) but lately they’ve been found in strange locations like parking lots and front lawns.   They spawn at this time of year in the local rivers and Alaska Fish & Game says most likely they are being dropped by seagulls who can’t manage to hold the wiggling creatures.  Terrifying, that’s all I have to say about it!

The below photos are from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s Facebook page (where they have detailed captions) and  you can look that up or get info from this article:  http://qz.com/425653/terrifying-vampire-fish-are-raining-down-on-alaskans/

This one explains their life cycle and how the native people harvest them through the ice:  http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=278



Alaska governor declares state disaster

Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo via Alaska Dispatch News

Department of Transportation and Public Facilities photo via Alaska Dispatch News

Governor Walker declared the situation on the Dalton Highway a state disaster.

According to Alaska Dispatch News, this will enable the state to bring up private contractors to help.  700 to 800 loads are backed up in Fairbanks.  Jack is on his way up there right now.  Check out this article, it shows some aerial footage of the road.





Engine on fire

A few years ago a truck engine spontaneously caught fire.  It was an electrical issue with the truck.  It had popped a breaker and when the breaker was flipped back, the fire started.  That’s what is thought to have happened.  In the photos you can only see smoke, and the Fairbanks Fire Department working to put it out.  We can imagine it was some seriously toxic smoke, as it is anytime a vehicle catches fire.  The Carlile employees including Jack moved the vehicles that were next to it immediately but couldn’t do anything about the fire.

(For those of you lucky souls who don’t have to deal with the cold temperatures, trucks and all vehicles are plugged in before driving to heat up the oil and anti-freeze.)

Click a photo to see it full size, then scroll through.


A raven’s eye tour of Fairbanks

Flying into Fairbanks one day in 2008 the airplane took an unusual route.  Instead of coming in from the southwest it came in from the southeast, flying over Harding Lake and Salcha and circling over Farmers Loop across north of town into the airport.  Maybe this direction of landing is normal, I don’t know, I have never experienced it before, but this day happened to be beautifully clear and I captured some great photos of the Tanana River and various Fairbanks landmarks.

Click on the first one and then scroll to the right for an overhead, raven’s eye, tour of Fairbanks.


Curved directional pipe for crude oil

Crude oil pipe on truckI snapped these on Friday when this truck was fueling up to head north.Crude oil pipe on truck

Jack says they are used for crude oil and that they lay on their sides, not upright like on the truck. You can see the actual metal portion of the pipe that is colored green with anti-corrosion paint.  The black is thinner metal and in between the two is foam insulation.

This load is obviously going to Deadhorse or Prudhoe Bay.  (FYI:  Deadhorse refers to the “town” where companies have their operations, and Prudhoe Bay refers to the actual oil fields and is a much larger area.)

Click on the photos for larger images.