Friday, July 08, 2011

Touching the Pipeline

Yesterday we got close to the Alaska Pipeline at the point it crosses the Tanana River. The pipeline was supported by a "pipeline suspension bridge," but getting close to it here was blocked by a chain-link fence:
In Fairbanks, however, a small portion of the pipeline is available for tourist touching:
We couldn't reach quite high enough to touch it for the photo, but a few feet away the ground sloped up little more, and a quick jump equaled success!

This sign is across the road from the pipeline access point:

John said that 5 years ago it was part of a Sarah Palin campaign sign, but today it is a slogan of the Alaskan Independence Party. It refers to a proposal to run a natural gas pipeline along the Alaska Highway -- which would require paying Canada access and property rights for their section of highway.

We spent the rest of the day visiting Visitor Centers and gathering literature. We are trying to figure out if there is a way make the 1000-mile round trip to the Arctic Ocean without totally destroying our rig or car (the road is mostly unpaved, washboardy and potholed). We have been talking to people about planes, van trips, and rental cars. Everyone advises against taking the rig, and most advise against taking our car unless we have 2 rimmed spare tires, food and water (I don't think breakfast bars, our current "car food," count), survival gear, and a satellite radio or CB.

One final photo from Fairbanks today. I think the sign installers were in a manic phase:

We actually did find gas for under $4 -- the first time since we left Montana. Our record high price paid is $6.25 a gallon (converted from cost per liter) in Alberta, and our average price paid is $4.48.


Sharon Del Rosario said...

Good to know gas prices are coming down in Fairbanks. We'll hold off till we get there. I saw diesel at $4.60 today near Denali. Also glad you're checking all the possible hurdles before you drive to the Arctic Circle. Hope to see you two soon!

Nancy said...

Why don't you hook up with the Ice Road truckers and head north!