Monthly Archives: June 2012

Turistas Dos…

I ran into a couple of turistas today. They were in a large RV, taking up a dozen parking spaces at a store I had to make a quick stop at. I’d like to say that I don’t enjoy making jokes of the Recreational Vampires, but it’s great fun, so it would be a lie if I did actually say such a thing.
They chatted me up a bit because I was driving the Beetle today. As luck would have it, they, of course, used to own one.

Me: “How long are you in Fairbanks?”
Turistas: “We’re going up to Prudhoe Bay; that’s where Alaska’s oil comes from.”
Me: “Yes, I’m familiar with Prudhoe Bay.”
Turistas: “But we’ll be back in time for the fireworks.”
Me: “Excuse me?”
Turistas: “The Fourth of July! We’ll be back in Fairbanks for that.”
Me: “Fairbanks doesn’t do fireworks for the Fourth.”
Turistas: “Of course they do! Who ever heard of a town not having Fourth of July Fireworks?!”
Me: “Every town north of Anchorage.”
Turistas: “That makes no sense. Surely you have fireworks. When would you do them if not July Fourth?”
Me: “New Years.”
Then I promptly walked away as quickly as I could without actually running.

If it’s not rainin’, it’s smokin’

Photo courtesy of the Daily News-Miner

Well, we’ve gone a week without rain, and the wild fires are starting to pop up. We had six days in a row with highs over 78 degrees and four of those have been above 80, although that streak did end today. We call that a heat wave in Alaska.

On Sunday morning the Bear Creek Fire, which is 100 miles south of Fairbanks and running parallel to the Parks Highway, was at 1500 acres, 24 hours later it was at 20,000 acres. It started out as four separate fires that joined up on Sunday to give you the photo above. Three of those fires were from lightning, the other was man-made. I haven’t heard the what that final ignition source was.

Interesting tid-bits:
There are 33 active fires in Alaska.
We’ve had 257 fires to date.
117,450 acres have burned in Alaska so far this year.


From The Skagway News:

“A newcomer to Alaska was on a tour and asked about the flora and fauna. At one point the guide talked about Rubus Spectabilis, aka Salmonberry, to which the … lady responded, ‘Alaskan salmon eat berries? How do they jump that high?'”

The Midnight Sun Festival

It’s Summer Solstice Weekend in Fairbanks.

After hauling six dump loads of rock and distributing it for several hours today, I planned on a relaxing evening on my deck with a cold cerveza. Sadly, I’ve received visitors who convinced me to join them in viewing the 30th Midnight Sun Run. Since most Solstice events start at 10pm, I still have some time to chill out.

The Sun Run is a 10K race that starts at 10pm on the University of Alaska-Fairbanks campus, and runs through city streets along the Chena River, eventually ending at Alaska Land… errr Pioneer Park. This is not your average road race: Costumes are encouraged, and the Army representatives have, on more than one occasion, pulled a howitzer along for good measure. The race starts, not with a starter pistol, but with cannon fire that you can hear throughout the valley. The MSR usually draws around 3000 runners. I’ve done the race twice, but sadly, registration is closed, and I will have to be a spectator in 2012.

Tomorrow morning at Pike’s Landing is the start of the Yukon 800 boat race. The race has been called “The longest, roughest, toughest, speed boat race in the world, traveling 800 miles along the Chena, Tanana and Yukon rivers”. Harold Attla, who has won the race 10 times, finished the 800 run last year with a time of 12 hours, 22 minutes, 26 seconds. Make it 11 Harold.

And finally.
Where: Downtown Fairbanks.
When: All Day on Sunday.
What: The Midnight Sun Festival takes over the heart of downtown. It’s a mass of Alaskan humanity with some tourists thrown in for confusion. Lots of live music… often competing, food, drink, food, entertainment, food, crafts and I believe the 3 on 3 b-ball tourney is back this year.
The tourists don’t seem to really understand why The Solstice is such a big deal here, but they do seem to enjoy the eclectic activities all the same. The Summer Solstice is one big party in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Time to grab a bottle of bug dope and head off towards campus.

Weekend Plans

Guess what I’ll be doing on Saturday?

Chattooga River Festival

In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the release of the film “Deliverance”, communities along the Chattooga River, made infamous in the film, are celebrating with their first Festival.

Enjoy the “Dueling Banjos”.

Midnight Sun Baseball

Tonight is the 107th Midnight Sun Baseball game. The Alaska Goldpanners take the field against the Everett Merchants. The first pitch is at 10:30pm at Growden Memorial Park. The game is played entirely without artificial lights.

Enjoy The Solstice… it’s all down hill from here…