Yes fans, the dreamstreamrs, vaunted chasers of 75 degrees, have hit a new low. Read on and see how they found -40 degrees Farenheit.
Our caravan group stayed in River’s Edge Resort and Campground in Fairbanks. The campground did a great job keeping together our large group, despite several other caravans also parked. Nice campground on the Chena River, close to groceries, gas, airport, restaurants, and attractions.
The group spent one very pleasant morning cruising the Chena River on this sternwheeler, Discovery III. This four-story monster quietly and smoothly paddled a couple hundred passengers down and back up the river. Our young captain is third or fourth generation piloting Discovery sternwheelers on the Chena River. We had a great narrator, good weather, and good views up and down the river.
The riverboat company arranged a few activities for our interest, and a fly-in and take-off by this Super Cub was one of the more spectacular. We had heard before, and the narrator explained, these Super Cubs are capable of take-off in very short space, as little as 200 feet. These single-seat aircraft are lightweight because they are fabric stretched over a tubular steel frame.
Our cruise also stopped by David Monson’s dog training setup. He showed us how they develop confidence in the dogs while watching for the characteristics needed for lead, swing, or wheel dogs. Each job requires different temperament and the best mushers breed, train and match their dogs perfectly to the jobs. We had fun watching the penned dogs reacting to the hitched dogs getting ready to mush — the penned dogs started prancing circles around their dog houses as if to say, “we’re ready to pace if you want us instead”.
At our next stop we visited a replica Athabascan village complete with fish processing, various shelters, birchbark canoes, lush kitchen garden, examples of all the animal furs important to their culture, and another great narration about the many features displayed.
Our narrator at this point is demonstrating Inupiat moose call. She first explains the low rumbling grunt sound is typical for the moose call. Then she raised the birchbark megaphone to her mouth and called, “here moosie, here moosie.” She attracted no moose but seemed to gain a following of potential hunters. She had previously shown her sense of humor so we weren’t too surprised and had a good laugh.
Deb and Jim have talked several times in these blogs about appropriately-sized housing. This one is too small, but reportedly was a very welcome shelter for trappers working the line. A wood-fired heating stove, tightly stuffed joints, perhaps one small window combined to make this a tight little cabin. So tight they often installed a vent to replace the oxygen consumed by the heater — we’ve seen these vents in several cabins elsewhere.
Our cruise ended where we started, at this riverfront complex operated by the same family since 1898. Good vision, great flexibility and endurance probably played a strong role. The Discovery III was the focus of our day with these folks, but they weren’t done with us yet.
The icing on the cake was our visit to their -40F room. Jim is wearing shorts and Birkenstock sandals sans socks. We’re in a pretty cold place for a very few minutes. Charts probably exist for effects of extended exposure (810,000 hits for “extended cold exposure”), but we didn’t chill at all in the few minutes we stayed. Credit our fleeces and parkas, perhaps.
Fairbanks Alaska has so many neat things to do we won’t be able to write about them all without synopsizing. We thought this one was a big deal because it was so very well done, we enjoyed it a lot, and had fun pictures from the riverboat cruise. A river tour on the Discovery III was a great day for us, we’d gladly do it again. We’re glad our caravan provided us this experience.
Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
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