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> The Journey Home, Lots of Delays at the airport
Tom_Crumrine
post Jul 6 2005, 09:55 PM
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7 July 2005

On the second of July I started my trip home. Going to the airport at 2 I was really excited to go home and see my girlfriend and all of my other friends who have been enjoying NH while I have been gone. I also had to cut my trip a little short because in the regular world of NH I had to replace the roof on my house. It was covered in moss and needed to be fixed so I figured I would use my new moss and lichen identification skills in the process.

All of my trips to Alaska had gone so smoothly so I wasn't expecting such a bad return trip. I'll give the short version but I had 12 hours worth of delays, had to go through security 4 times (the last time getting the extra search where they look for criminal devices inside the front of your pants), and wound up flying on Northwest rather than Alaska Air.

Before I left, as I mentioned before, I got to spend some time exploring Fairbanks. I stopped at the Yukon Quest museum. It was much the same as a museum you would find in any small town. I guess I was expecting something fantastic since it was Alaska but they just had a small museum with 10 connected rooms and some local treasures. Much like the museum in my hometown of Tiffin it didn't really have anything that amazing but it was an interesting look back at daily life in Alaska.

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The room showed here is mock up of a cabin that early gold hunters might have stayed in. From a book I read about the Klondike I doubt that their rooms were even this nice. I never knew what a hard life it was to try to find gold in Alaska. Those that made it surely made some money but a great number couldn't even make the trip from the coast where they were dropped off to the gold sites. It really made me remember what a harsh place Alaska could be.

After the trip to the museum I went to rent a bicycle for the day at Pioneer Village. Pioneer Village is an interesting little small town area. On a Thursday afternoon it was sparsely populated and it did not seem to be a super fun place once you passed the age of 9 or so. I ran into military man on leave wandering around and seemed to be in the same situation as me--not exactly knowing what to do with a day off in Fairbanks. When I saw this....

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and realized that maybe Pioneer Village wasn't for me. I rented my bike and headed off for lunch.

Again I didn't really know where to go. Also very similar to my hometown of Tiffin, Ohio there were plenty of international fast food restaurants but I hadn't really come to Alaska to eat at Taco Bell. I started biking around town and was considering asking someone for a recommendation when I saw this place.

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I have a great friend named Jay so I thought I could eat here and maybe get hime a t-shirt. I also love to try wings in all areas of the country so I thought I would give it a try. The wings were tasty but very small. They were even smaller than the wings they have at BW3s. The buffalo were good but the Yukon Crisp, which I was hoping would be original and good, were very over salted as though they had been in old fryer oil. The onion rings wound up being the highlight--a recommendation from the server that I was glad for because they served those really thick and always baked potato uncooked steak fries. When I asked for a t-shirt the server was very helpful and understood why it would be neat to give my friend a Jay Bird's t-shirt that said Alaska on it. He then brought me back a t-shirt that didn't say Jay Bird's on it. I mentioned this and he told me with an unknowing and way too happy smile that they USED to have Jay Bird's t-shirts but now all they have are ones that say food world. Oh well--I hope Jay will appreciate the effort.

At home today I began the process of re-shingling the roof. I had to come back early from Alaska to do this so I thought I would share a little of the work with anyone who might still be reading. The life of a teacher means learning about science and making sure the roof doesn't leak too. The first thing I had to do was create a new wall for the garage. The previous owner had attached a chicken coop to the side and its weight had made the middle of the roof leak. After tying the chicken coop to my car and pulling it off I jacked up the roof to level and replaced the wall. Its good to be home...

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Thanks to all of you who read one or all of these posts throughout the last few weeks. It was really frustrating to try to publicize this trip so I appreciate very much those of you that took some time to check in on me. Over the next few months I will continue to make posts the science at Toolik and how I plan to use what I have learned. And maybe I'll include a few details of the new roof winds up so people can see what a teacher does in the summer.

Thanks-Tom
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Steve_Marshall
post Jul 7 2005, 01:18 AM
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Hey Tom,
Just wanted to let you know I've been reading along too. Sounds like you had a great time, and I may need some of your moss and lichen identification skills for the post I'm going to make about the BASC research projects in Barrow that I had a chance to check out. Sounds like they are doing some projects very similar to yours.

Anyway, I didn't get much of a chance to reply since my internet access on the ship was very limited, and my project mostly coincided with yours, but wanted to let you know I was reading some, and then more when I got back to a high-speed 24hr connection. It's funny how spoiled I've become with that type of luxury.

Glad your back, but don't make those home projects more of an adventure or more dangerous than your Alaska trip!

Steve
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