Aug. 28-31. When I started to do this blog I didn’t anticipate weaving a tale of woe about car problems, but that is where our life is at this point. Clearly this trip is not going to meet the expectation we had for it in advance, but we are not going to declare it a disaster…yet. So our hopes for getting underway have been dashed a couple more time. The needed part (high pressure fuel pump) did arrive on Monday (8/29) and was installed on Tuesday, and it worked. The bad news was then the low pressure fuel pump, located in the gas tank, did not work, even though it seemed OK during diagnosis last week. The good news is that that part was in Anchorage and arrived this morning (Wednesday). The bad news is that the technician working on this had arranged to take this day off a month earlier for his daughter’s birthday. Apparently no other techs can work on this unless they are certified, or Ford won’t pay for the warranty repair. In desperation, we spent several hour this afternoon considering the purchase of new car, which we may do if we encounter another problem on Thursday. At this point, we have had to cancel our plan to go to Haines and take the ferry to Skagway and may have to take other trip shortening measures just to get home a week late.
On the brighter side, we are secure in our “Habitat” (home away from home) parked near the Chena river with power, water, and so-so internet access. The Chena river is a quiet tributary of the Tanana, which is big enough for barge/boat navigation and drains into the much larger Yukon River to the north. We have been enjoying sunny days and the tranquility of the nearly glass smooth Chena, which is active with ducks, kayakers, and power boats. Geese and Sand Hill cranes fly overhead, making their distinctive noises, as do zillions of planes, both large and small, coming and going from the Fairbanks airport, which is far busier than you would expect for a town of 33,000. We went back a couple of times to the Creamer Field Wildlife refuge to watch the cranes and also attended a lecture by a crane expert from California. The other big event was that we traveled last night about 25 miles north of Fairbanks to an elevation of 2000 feet away from city lights to watch the northern lights (Aurora Borealis). At this latitude, they are not so much north, as almost overhead. They were “level 5” (out of 9 possible) and we enjoyed watching them for about an hour last night. They make an arc around the magnetic pole and it was easy to see that curve as we watched, as well as the classic “waving curtains” that are often depicted.
LATE BREAKING NEWS-– As we were locking up the “Habitat” tonight, we noticed a terrific aurora display, better even than the one went out of town for last night! It is hard to capture with our primitive photos, but the featured photo of this post makes an attempt. Better in full motion!