It seems like we are in Fairbanks a long time, well we are. Joe was stationed here back in the mid 60's. Of course he doesn't recognize anything from back "in the olden days" I'm probably in trouble if he reads this.
Today we boarded the riverboat Discovery III, and what a great day we had. The Binkley family's steamboating tradition goes back over 100 years and five generations to the Klondike Gold Rush. In 1898, Charles M Binkley hiked over the Chilkoot Pass with other stampeders, he was not so much in search of gold as he was the chance to chart and navigate the Yukon River and its tributaries. He became a respected pilot and boat builder in the north. His son, Captain Jim Binkley Sr., followed in his father's footsteps and piloted freight vessels on the Yukon and Tanana Rivers in the 1940s. Today, the Binkley have 3 men and 1 woman that are U. S. Coast Guard-licensed riverboat captains. As years went by the paddle riverboats. became larger, the Discovery III is 280 tons, Beam of 34 ft and passenger capacity of 900
On each deck there are several TV screens to watch. This cute little airplane took off, circled and landed for us to see on the river. This plane also uses skis in the winter for landing on the river. In fact many people use the river as a road to and from work with snomobiles, dog sleds, cross country skiers and airplanes. It's a busy river in the winter. The river is frozen by end of October to where you can walk or drive on it.
Just one of the houses along the river.
The tour guide seemed to know everyone along the river, many came out to wave to us.
The Discovery I, docked in front of the Binkley's home.
Susan Butcher's home: Iditaron Champion and an Alaskan Legend, unfortunately died in 2006 of leulemia. Her husband and daughters carry on the tradition. This is Dave, Susan's husband talking to us on the boat through his microphone. This was a pretty cool stop. The logs in the front of the picture are at slightly different heights. This is a training ground for the 6 week old pups. At first they can't get over the logs until they are helped by a trainer, then they learn that they can go over the logs and learn to trust their trainers that the trainers would not tell them or expect them to do anything that they can't do., the pups learn at a very young age to trust their handlers and to be confident enough to try to get over the log.
Harnessing up the team, they are very anxious to start to pull
Continuing down the river we come to the Chena Village. A mock Indian Village where we disembark and toured in three groups. This was run very smoothly and lots of fun going to different "stations" to learn about the early Indian days and their survival.
Preparing Chum Salmon for dogs
This gal is an Athabascan Indian and has been doing this since she was about 3 years. She is now a junior at the University of Alaska, studying business.
Set up as a fish camp with a fishing wheel in front.
Left to right, Caribou, Moose, Grizzly Bear
A chief's rob, so very beautiful
Left to right, Red Fox, the black one is a Silver Fox, then a mixture of Red and Silver
and last is the Arctic Fox
Reindeer, which are domesticated caribou and a little smaller are farmed for their meat, just like cows.
tomorrow we go to Barrow, the most northern city in North America.