Denali at Last June 4, 2015Uncategorizedroderick June 4, 2015. This morning, I made coffee in the hotel room in Fairbanks. The coffee machine has a little drawer that holds a filter bag of coffee. Unfortunately, Merrianne made ramen right after that, and forgot to take out the coffee bag. Our morning excursion was to a gold dredge. That big pipe in the background has nothing to do with the dredge. From the entrance, we got on a little train that took us to the actual dredge. And this is the dredge – a huge, boat-like factory that moves along scooping up dirt, separating gold, and spitting out tailings. While there, we got to try our hand at panning gold. Merrianne got $12 worth. I got $7 worth. We put our gold flakes together and Merrianne bought a locket to put them in. Just before leaving the dredge, we were shown the pipe, which is a section of the Alaska Pipeline. This is a “pig” that passes through the pipeline from station to station, keeping the pipeline clear inside. Note the First Nation spelling of the name for the pipeline. Many of the buildings in Fairbanks have these vents coming up from the ground, sometimes blowing warm air. Every one that we saw was painted in a different way. After lunch, we took a long bus ride to Denali. The tour guide pointed out this area, which is where the bus is that the guy in “Into the Wild” died in. The locals hate it, because tourists come looking for the bus, and some get lost and have to be rescued. Just after that, I heard someone yell, “Moose! Moose!” There was a moose and calf right on the right side of the bus. I tried to take a picture, but it didn’t come out well. Can you see the moose? In fact, all of my animal pictures came out terrible. Here’s another moose we saw near the visitor’s center. I use the term, “saw,” loosely. We arrived at the McKinley Chalet, a property owned by Holland America. There’s a little commercial area with resorts and shops just outside the border of Denali National Park. The chalet was a considerable distance downhill from the main road, but the complex had a shuttle bus that ran every 15 minutes to take people around the property. Wi-fi is free, but only at the lobby, which is a 15-minute walk from our room. These were in the bargain section of a gift shop. Merrianne and I went to the Salmon Bake for dinner. While we were waiting for our dinner to arrive, I slapped a mosquito. The market price for King Crab was $42. I normally wouldn’t buy a dinner that expensive, but decided to get it since we were on vacation. Merrianne got a grilled salmon dinner for about $25. We ate every bit.