we arrived there after spending a night in an amazing trailer suite, complete with possible blood stains on the ceiling and a door that almost locked. there was a doorhandle that locked and then it had a deadbolt that turned but there was no locking part to it. awesome. i woke up a few times throughout the night thinking that there was a bear sleeping on the couch but it must have been my imagination. or else the bear was just gone by the time we got up.
as you can see from amanda's post, the sun never went down. it looked the same when we got up as it did when we went to bed. very strange. it is going to be very hard to head back east and lose not only time but also daylight!
we arrived at amanda's uncle's place, our reason for the whole trip. her uncle was as cool as she said he would be. he even made us a super delicious vegan pasta dinner! so nice to have home cooked food. sure, we have been cooking food along the way but it isn't the same. still trying to figure out what the difference is though.
the next day we explored fairbanks a bit and then took a cruise down the chena river on a paddlewheel steamboat. i am very excited about this, it was one of the things i wanted to do but i wasn't sure amanda would like to do it. the chena river flows through the center of fairbanks and up until not too long ago it was one of the only ways into the city. that or by plane.
the boat ride was fun. we learned all about the property values around the city (still not sure why he was talking about that) and the different kinds of log cabins and the importance of the river being kept clean so the salmon can use it to breed. it made a few stops along the river where they had little performances set up to talk about things like bush pilots and their importance to commerce and just general travel for probably 3/4 of the state. alaska is big and not very easy to traverse. travel by car is not really an option once you leave the cities and towns and even some of those roads are barely passable. another stop was at a dogsled kennel where we met the dogs. further up the river we stopped at a "native village" which was not set up for commerce we were told a few times before we were allowed off the boat. they showed us how they dress a salmon, turn animal hide into leather using moose brains, how to hunt animals using other animal bones to kill them and other things that we didn't really want to see. subsistance living is still a major way of life in alaska, practiced by most of the people who live in the real native villages outside of the larger populated areas. it is pretty amazing to think that they are living the same way their relatives have lived for the past kajillion years.