Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 4 in Alaska - Midnight Sun Run

If you've been following my Facebook posts, you've probably noticed posts about mileage. I've been preparing for my first 10K race EVER. It was the Midnight Sun Run, which takes place on the summer solstice (when the sun doesn't set) in Fairbanks, Alaska. In fact, this will have been my first race since I ran track in 8th grade. So in other words... a very very very long time ago.

The others in the wedding party racing were all (at one point in time) cross country runners in high school. The exception being Corrie's parents who would be walking with Eva's 2 children. So there was a bit of pressure to do well.

We didn't begin when the cannon blasted and the clock started, as we were waiting for the rest of our party to show up. As a result, our time is off by about 10 minutes.

I used Hal Higdon's Couch to 10K running plan, which you can see by clicking HERE.

Since being on vacation I haven't returned to a weekly workout schedule, but I'm thinking of doing this Running II Plan, which you can see by clicking HERE. Still trying to decide.

Either way, I'm proud of myself and what I accomplished. I ran the whole 10K (6.2 miles) without stopping. Not even Brian can say that, even though he beat me.

This pretty much concludes Day 4, since we spent most of the day relaxing at Chena Hot Springs before the race.

Day 3 in Alaska- The Pipeline

Just north of Fairbanks is an area where you can see and touch part of the Alaskan Pipeline. The end point of the Pipeline, we saw in Valdez.

And it continues to go all the way north to Prudoe Bay.

There were several times during our trip in which we'd look out the window and see the Alaskan pipeline heading north with us. However, it wasn't as easy to get out of the car and touch it until a small stop north of Fairbanks.

They use "pigs" to help clean the pipeline. The large rusted one is one of the ones first used when the pipeline was built.

Then apparently the innovation changed and these newer "pigs" are now used.

According to Corrie, it's ok to touch the pipeline, but not shoot it. Not that we had planned on doing that or even had that. She said that a few years ago someone shot at the pipeline and they weren't seen from again. It's considered an act of terrorism to attempt or succeed at harming the pipeline.

Again it was interesting to see and understand the engineering that took place to make the pipeline expand 800 miles across taiga and artic terrain.

For more pipeline facts and information, click HERE.

Otherwise, I'm done for day 3, as we simply made our way to Chena Hot Springs (Wedding location) for a good nights sleep.

Day 3 in Alaska- North Pole Bound

How could we be destined for Fairbanks and not stop at the North Pole, which is directly south of the city and in route to our destination?

When I told the kids we'd be going to the North Pole to see Santa Clause they were excited. They gave me their Christmas lists and asked me to check on our "Elf on a Shelf"- Digby.

After visiting Santa's house, we went to go see Santa's reindeer.

And for all the little ones who wish to send letters and wishlists to Santa this December, you can send them here. They will keep them and then send your child a letter postmarked from the North Pole.

But don't worry.... you still have time.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Day 3 in Alaska- Life Living in Alaska

We stopped in Tok to visit Nick's family. I got a better understanding of what life is like living in Alaska... or at least along the road system in Alaska.

The idea of buying an item is often overlooked and instead the average Alaskan consumer looks at how they themselves can create it. Usually by finding items typically disgarded. An example would be this sauna... created by Nick.

Or this smoker... again created by Nick.

And by gardening, they are able to cut the household expenses, therefore many have greenhouses to extend the growing season in Alaska. (Martin's garden is producing more in June in Alaska than mine in the same month in Texas.

Again you can see how inventive he was in the heating and watering of the various fruits and vegtables within his greenhouse.

Nick's dad has been working with his honeybees, so I got an insight into the whole honey making process. I even got to eat some pollen.... still not exactly sure whether I liked it or not. It's very difficult to explain the taste. The texture though is like circus peanuts (on a very small scale)... you know the nasty orange things that NO ONE eats... except for Brian.

Even in their homes you'll not find the 2nd living space or a formal dining room typically. Space is used wisely and efficiently. Here is Martin's dining room.

And the smaller the space, means the less energy to heat the home... which is vital during the winter months in Alaska.

While there I got an appreciation for engineering. I wish I had more of an engineering brain. If you believe the saying "Necessity is the mother of all invention", then I believe most of the state of Alaska is composed of engineers and inventors. You can bet Walmart doesn't make as much of a profit in Alaska than they do in the other states, like Texas, where we are addicted to a consumer society.

For much much more information on what life is really like in Alaska, you should go to his blog by clicking HERE. I just got a glimpse of the lifestyle and my brief impressions may be biased.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Day 2 in Alaska- Stan Stephens Cruise (Part 2- Icebergs)


This is the Columbian Glacier that they were coming from.

 Can you see the mist from where the glacier was "calving" (aka- ice falling from the glacier into the water to become an iceberg)

When a glacier calves you can hear a loud crack almost like thunder as it falls off the glacier and into the water.

 Most of the pictures from the Columbian Glacier were taken a mile away from the glacier.

The cruise ship dipped in a net on the way out of Columbian Bay to collect some of the smaller icebergs. The icebergs were used for photo ops and then later ice for the lemonade on board the ship.

Definitely a MUST DO for your Alaskan bucket lists!

And thus ends the activities for Day 2- about a mile hike to and on the Worthington Glacier, a roadside stop at Bridal Veil and Horsetail Waterfalls, a 7 hour cruise, and over 7 hours of driving.