The Alaskan Adventure - 72 Days - 6,264 Miles

Fairbanks, Alaska - Part A

August 3 - 6, 2004

River's Edge RV Park

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We left Denali National Park on a very sunny and almost cloudless day. It was very hard not staying another few days, hoping to see the "Big One." That's what the Alaskans call Mount McKinley.

In fact, I kept thinking about it as we were driving to Fairbanks and forgot to look for the Clear, Alaska turn off. The only thing at Clear is an Airforce station. It has the BMEWS, Ballistic Missile Early Warning System, radar and some of the NASA Satellite tracking systems. It is located only one mile off of the road between Denali and Fairbanks.

GE built and installed (late 1950's) the BMEWS radars (FPS-17 & FPS-79) in Shemya, Alaska; Clear, Alaska; Tule, Greenland; and Turkey. Shima and Turkey were to monitor Russian test launches. Clear & Tule were for early warning of over the pole missiles aimed at the US. I worked modifications to the Shemya & Turkey radars. In the 1960's, GE lost the support contract for Clear & Tule to Federal Electric.

When I was in Chile I worked on NASA Satellite tracking systems which are also in Clear.

All of these systems use very large antennas (the smallest being an 85 foot dish) and I was hoping to see them from the road.

One of the first things we did at Fairbanks was to take a riverboat cruise.
On the river cruise.
We stopped at a Athabascan Indian Village to view their way of life.

We stopped along side a bush pilot's runway for a short takeoff and landing demonstration. The plane started with it's tail lined up with the bushes in the background. In less than 100 feet he was airborne.

One of the many log houses. Most were designed built by the owners. Some owners order the stripped logs others cut the trees and get the logs themselves, which takes alot longer because they have to also strip the bark then let them age before using them.

Can you guess what the round structure with the chimney is?
Go down to the end of this file and get the answer.

You can see all kinds of boats on the water up here.
This barge is propelled by a paddlewheel which is powered by the junk car. Bolted to the rear lugs is a plate which is attached to a sprocket which chain drives the paddlewheel.

The round structure with the chimney is a wood fired hot tub!
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