Friday, July 25, 2014

Alaska Adventure–Days 20 & 21

Fairbanks AK to Denali National Park

The drive from Fairbanks to Denali Park was a cold and rainy drive most of the way.  It never rained real hard but it was constant, and most of the time we were in low clouds.  There were a number of long construction areas, which were basically mud roads.  We started the journey with a white truck but ended with it being a nice, earthy, brown color.  We set up camp at the Riley Campground, which is near the entrance to Denali Park.  The rain held off a few minutes while we got parked, but started again and basically rained all night.  This is a campground that you definitely need reservations for in the summer, as it fills early.  We rolled the dice and scheduled the bus trip into the park for Saturday, as the forecast was only calling for a slight chance of rain.  The only way to really see Denali is via bus, as they only allow private cars for the first 16 miles of the 100 mile park road.  We decided to take the 8 hour bus trip which goes to the Eielson Visitor Center, which about 65 miles into the park.  Fingers crossed that the weather clears for Saturday.

This was our view most of the way.


On Friday (Day 21) the sun came out for a few minutes in the afternoon, so we took a short drive up the park road to the 16 mile point.  We did get some nice views of the park, but no wildlife yet.






You may remember from your earth sciences class in high school that the earth tilts on its axis by 20 some degrees.  The most obvious result of this tilt is the yearly seasons, but a second result is the fact that the days get longer the more north you are.  We have really noticed this as we have traveled north through the Yukon.  The sunset in Whitehorse was half an hour later then it was in Watson Lake which was a days drive away.  Always on the look out for interesting “data”, we complied some data relating to the length of days in Chandler AZ vs Fairbanks AK.

Chandler ---- Sunrise 5:32 AM, Sunset 7:34 PM, Length of day 14 hours 1 minute, Visible light 14 hours and 57 minutes

Fairbanks --- Sunrise 4:13 AM, Sunset 11:38 PM, Length of day 19 hours, 25 minutes, Visible light 22 hours and 55 minutes

Basically, in Fairbanks we are getting 8 hours more hours of light per day than we were at home!  Since we crossed in to Yukon Territory, we have not seen darkness.  When we go to bed, the sun is shining and when we get up the sun is shining.  Sometime in the wee hours of the morning it may be dark but we haven’t seen it.  The near constant sunlight does allow the locals to grow some fantastic vegetable gardens and flowers.

Another thing we found interesting is that the satellite dishes at home point up at about a 50 degree angle relative to the horizon, but in Fairbanks they basically point even with the horizon.



Todays Stats:

Miles driven: 147 miles
Hours on road: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Gas prices: $4.16



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