Ed and Marilyn, summer trip 2005 travel blog

A VERY LARGE stuffed Grizz at Univ.of Alaska Fairbanks museum

Musk-ox at Univ.Alaska

Hello to all,

I neglected writing for a few days so I will catch up by writing a few words about Sunday, Aug. 7 and Mon., the 8th.

We drove from Tok, Alaska to Fairbanks. It was not an exciting ride, but wilderness with very few homes and a gas station every now and then. Fairbanks did not impress us too much, except for the Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks. Sunday afternoon we went to the state fair in Fairbanks. We had guessed that it would be a good fair with large amounts of agriculture, etc. However, it was not. They did have the large cabbages that Myrna wanted to see (67 lbs. won the first prize). The livestock in the barns were good to see - poultry, sheep, goats, pigs, but fewer cows than I had expected. We had been thinking of eating at the fair, but decided that we could make a better meal, so went shopping and back at the campground I cooked salmon, spinach salad and sweet potatoes.

Monday morning we headed to the University. The museum there is top quality. Alaska history, from the time of the natives to the present. Excellent displays, and information. It would take several hours to absorb all of it.

Next was a knitting shop, which was in a woman's log home, on the outskirts of Fairbanks. The owner specializes in Alaska Qiviut (Musk-ox wool), and other fine wools from around the world. The Qiviut yarn is beautiful - softer than angora and so warm. However it is not at all affordable. Another wool she carries is called "Shepherd's yarn", from the Alaska town of Talkeetna, which is a unique wool/husky dog fur blend. A couple of ladies were sitting in the dining room of the home, knitting along with the owner. Myrna has not knit in many years, but after seeing a sweater knit up for a sample, she purchased yarn, pattern and needles to make it. Butch was funny, saying "Imagine, Myrna buying yarn when she doesn't even knit!" We have many laughs as we work our way thru the country.

The large animal area for research at the Univ. was very interesting. We had a tour of the pastures with the musk-ox and the caribou. This was our first experience with musk-ox. We learned a great deal from the tour guide about their work with them. The musk-ox was common in Alaska many years ago, but was hunted to extinction, especially by the Russian Fur Traders who arrived in ships. They have been re-introduced and after one failing attempt, have now been well established. After hearing the process of combing the hair from the musk-ox, while corralled and put in stanchions, we realized why the yarn is very expensive. We have seen and felt scarves made from this yarn - exquisite. We first viewed the bulls fenced in an area by themselves and then the cows and calves. We also learned about their work with the caribou. What magnificent antlers!

On he road again to Denali National Park, south west of Fairbanks, where we camped outside the park, due to the late hour. Myrna cooked us a nice dinner of sausages and sauerkraut. Ed had eaten sauerkraut at the NJ gun club, but I had never done so. It was delicious and will be on our menu from now on. We do eat well and it seems to be an enjoyable part of our day, partially to talk about our adventures that day. Quick meals, but in our campers or outdoors most of the time.

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