Saturday, August 8, 2009. 205 miles from Fairbanks to Tok. This begins the long bus trek through the inner reaches of Alaska and the Yukon Territory. Our first stop included the Alaska Pipeline and then on to Gold Dredge #8 for some old iron photos and gold panning. I think the only gold that was panned was tourist’s gold. 🙂
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint is located at Milepost F 8.4 on the Steese Highway just outside Fairbanks. This 48 inch pipeline carries oil 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to the pipeline terminal at Port Valdez. Construction began in 1975 and finished in 1977. The first tanker load of oil shipped out of Valdez on Aug. 1, 1977. Travel time for the crude oil from Prudhoe Bay to the Valdez terminal is 8 1/2 days, with more than 9 million barrels of oil in the pipeline at any given time. The pipeline is owned and operated by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Unocal and Koch Alaska.
Gold Dredge #8
Described as either a floating workhorse or a mechanical gold pan, Gold Dredge No. 8 extracted millions of ounces of gold from the frozen Alaskan ground. Today, the Gold Dredge No. 8 National Historic District serves as a monument to the hard working miners who built Fairbanks.
Now let’s get down to why we are here. Pan gold, SELL gold.
Moving on down the road, we stopped at Rika’s Roadhouse. (Tourist trap complete with coffee, potty stop and gift shoppe.). The Valdez-to-Fairbanks trail brought travelers to the banks of the Tanana River, where they crossed by ferry. Rika’s Roadhouse at Big Delta State Historical Park was restored in the late 1970’s by the state of Alaska and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.