After spending 54 years from birth to 2008 living in Iowa I was presented with an opportunity to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. My blog is a diary of the adventure to get to Alaska, day to day life in Alaska, as well as facts for loved ones left behind in the Lower 48. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Internet Access 24/7

These are some pics I took on the way to Alaska.

We got the internet hooked up this morning - woo hoo! No more trying to outguess the neighbors and what time they are on so I can hitch a ride and post.

Thursday afternoon at work I was sitting in my office and someone hollered "MOOSE!" We hopped up from our desks to see a mother and baby moose directly across the road from our facility. I'd heard that the pair had frequently been seen in the early morning at the corner by our office, so wasn't expecting to see them out of their normal hangout. We took a brief moose pause, then went back to work. My desk is on the front (west) side of the building, overlooking the main entrance and across the road from an empty lot which has many small trees..sometime I'll have to remember to take my camera to work and snap some photos to share with you.

Friday over my lunch hour I got my Alaska Driver's License. It cost $20 for 5 years. It feels weird having an Alaska driver's license, having an Iowa DL for my entire life. The Alaska licenses have a small red heart on the license to indicate organ donor. They have posters at the DMV indicating all the body parts that can be donated...including the skin, bones, etc. I had always thought of organs and eyes, but not skin and bones.

Nate had Friday off so he took my van to the Chrysler dealer and got the rest of the winterizing done. We got an engine heater put on in Sioux City, but were advised by the locals that we also needed water, oil and battery heaters. Nate hopes that for the sake of the money we've spent on heaters we have a chance to use them. At car dealerships license plates can also be purchased in Alaska. Nate had to get my signature before the license plates could be purchased, so that will have to happen another day. He tried to do it today, but the dealerships are closed on Saturdays.

About the heaters...when the temps here dip low (-40 to -60 has been reported) if you want to drive you need to plug in your vehicle. Our apartment building has outlets for our cars, and throughout the parking lot at BGH there are posts with outlets for this purpose.

When we woke up this morning the sun was shining, so we decided to go to the Tanana Valley State Fair. We stopped by Camilla and Brian's and left off some of our items for storage, then traveled to the fair together. Nate and I got caught up in the vendor building while Camilla and Brian moved on. Normally at fairs I'm not swayed to make any purchases, however the cooler temp (mid 50's) must have worked to the vendor's advantage. I purchased Oxy Balls and Dryer Magic (washes laundry without using detergent), Infinte Aloe Skin Cream ( AND....yeah, big spender...several fragrances of aroma sensations aromatherapy oils ( The oils are supposed to be good for specific conditions, such as headaches, relaxation, snoring, relaxation, insomnia, basically you name it. During the moving process I found that I missed scents the most of anything...they enhance my relaxation and give me peace.

They had a Taste of Alaska exhibit at the fair where they served Alaska grown vegetables as well as reindeer sausage and moose sausage. Alaska Grown is a prominent theme here, as are t-shirts and sweatshirts with Alaska written on them. I checked out an Alaska t-shirt the other day and discovered (go figure) it was not even made in America. No purchase there!

We went through the small animal building and took a look and touched sheep, rabbits, etc. The animals we saw at the fair were the same one would expect in Iowa. The weather, however, was MUCH nicer than 1st of August fairs in Iowa. It did drizzle lightly while we were there so Nate pulled out the umbrella.

We didn't purchase any food at the fair...turkey legs cost $7.50, caramel apples $6.

Nate picked up a brochure to volunteer at the March ice sculpture event. I'll keep the blog updated with their website so you can enjoy it too. Several IA BGH employees were in Fairbanks in March 08 and saw the sculptures, saying they were phenomenal. They harvest the ice in December, carve them, and put lights behind them. I'm told people from all over the world come to see the ice sculptures.

As we left the fair we noticed a co-worker standing in the parking was nice to see a familiar, friendly face.

As we experience Alaska we recall all of the signs that pointed to our coming here. Two years ago we attended a AAA seminar about Alaska. The couple said that the best time to go to Alaska is when you have plenty of time to spend here..and I guess we have plenty of time to spend since we're living here.

With these cooler temps I looked for my jeans and discovered I left them all behind in Iowa so after the fair we stopped by Value Village where I found two pair for a grand total of $6.00! Brian and Camilla left the fair much earlier than us, but we "found" them at Value Village.

I called my parents in Iowa this week and learned that they and my son Sam will be traveling to Oklahoma soon to visit my new grand niece, Avery. I've seen pictures of her and she is a beautiful baby. Her 5-year old big sister, Alexis, is crazy in love over Avery, something we were all concerned about. When mom mentioned they were going to OK, I had my first pangs of "wish I could go with you/missing the close proximity to my son and parents". I'm sure this won't be the last time.

We are still new enough to Alaska that we feel like tourists. Speaking of tourists, there are several tour buses that drive by our BGH facility and our apartment. Not sure why, but every time I've seen them they've always been empty. Fairbanks is a huge tourist area and prices reflect it.

The big news in Fairbanks at the present time is the flooding. They have received 1/4 of their annual rainfall in the past week. Several bridges are nearly overflowing and it is still raining on a regular basis. Some people have been forced to evacuate either due to flooding in their homes or roads to their homes/cabins being flooded. We are probably 20 blocks from the nearest bridge/body of water so don't have to worry about flooding, only earthquakes.

Monday Camilla and I fly to Anchorage...I planned on driving, but was informed it would be cheaper to fly than to drive, which I found to be true, not to mention saving 12 hours of driving vs. 3 hours of flying. I am required to attend the National School Lunch Program training and Camilla will be taking her registered nurse state boards. I'm already familiar with the Iowa and Nebraska food programs, and it's a federal program administered by the individual states, so will be learning the Alaska requirements.

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