Zeb and Eider Duck Visit Nenana, Alaska

Driving south from Fairbanks on the Parks Highway, Nenana captured our attention.   Driving over the Alaska Native Veterans’ Honor Bridge, we stopped near the Visitor’s Center.   A sign explained that this bridge was dedicated to Native Alaskans, Eskimo and Indian, that fought in the wars for the United States.

Memorial Bridge over Tanana River. Entering Nenana, Alaska

A great cause and a great bridge.    Another sign and statue was dedicated to The Alaska Territorial Guard.

Alaska Territorial Guard

The sign referred to the years 1942-1947.   Here is a wooden tug boat, Taku Chief.

Taku Chief

Taku Chief was one of the last wooden tugs used on inland Alaskan rivers.   The wooden tug was designed by H. C. Hanson and launched by Olson and Sunde Marine Works in 1938.   Taku Chief was retired here, in Nenana, in 1978.  Further into town we visited the  Alaska Railroad Museum.

Train station and Alaska Railroad Mseum

The railroad depot was completed in 1923, the same year that Presiden Warren Harding arrived here to drive the final golden spike, near the bridge, to commemorate the completion of the railroad between Anchorage and Nenana.   Near the train station is the site of the Nenana Ice Classic.

Nenana Ice Classic

Every spring there is a huge contest to predict the exact month, day, hour, minute and second of the ice break up on the Tanana River.   This tripod, attached to a clock, sits on the ice.   When the tripod moves, the ice has melted enough and the  winner of the spring classic is declared.  The winner wins several thousand US dollars.   One of the oldest buildings in Nenana, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church was built in 1905.

St.Mark’s Episcopal Church

The inside is beautiful.

Inside St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

In the early years, school was held here also.    Continuing through town, we stopped at the cultural center.

Nenana Cultrual Center

We watched some young boys practicing on drums.   The next building really called to us.


Bakeries are always good.   We saw large cinnamon rolls with carmel topping.

Fresh, hot cinammon roll. Delicious!

The lady told us those were baked yesterday.   She would go upstairs to get a fresher one.   The baker sent her downstairs to get oven mits for our roll.   You can’t get baked goods any fresher!   And it was delicious.  After savoring our roll, we walked behind the bakery and admired the boats on the bank of the Tanana River.

Boat on bank of Tanana River

We really liked Nenana and will stop here if we are ever in the area again.   It would be nice to see you there also.


The Alaska Pipeline with Zeb and Eider Duck

Today Eider Duck wants to show us the famous Alaska Pipeline.   Remember, Eider lived with his dad in North Pole, Alaska, near Fairbanks.   He knows what the tourists wanted to see.   A few miles north of Fairbanks, at Fox, Alaska, we can see and touch the pipeline.   But first, a little about the famous Alaska Pipeline.  The real name is Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).

Alaska Pipeline Facts

The pipeline was built to transport oil from the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, north of Arctic Circle and near the Arctic Ocean, to the ice free port of Valdez.  This was a very big engineering accomplishment in the 1970’s.

Zeb and Eider on the Alaska Pipeline

While this looks like the pipeline is rather low to the round, it isn’t.   Mom could hardly reach this ledge for us to sit.   This pipeline is 800 miles (1300 km) long.  An average of 1.5 million barrels of oil are transported through the pipeline every day.   It takes 11.9 days to reach Valdez.   The oil travels at 3.7 miles per hour (6 kilometers per hour).   There is a constant need to clean the inside of the pipe.

Pigs in the Pipeline

Items, called pigs, are put in the pipeline at Prudhoe Bay, for cleaning and other maintenance reasons.   Let’s look at the original and the current pigs.

Retired Pig and Current Pig

They have made changes since 1977.  The pipeline is elevated to protect the frozen ground.  Oil from the ground enters the pipeline at 120 degrees F (49C).   The oil cools to 111 degrees (44C) while traveling through the pipeline.    Permanently frozen ground is called permafrost.   If this permafrost thaws, the ground becomes unstable.   This is not good.  The pipe is insulated to keep the ground cold and release the heat into the air.   Also, moose, caribou, and reindeer migrate through much of northern Alaska.   These large animals must be able to walk under the pipeline.   An Alaskan moose is often 6 feet tall.   Sometimes the pipeline is underground.

Pipeline emerging from underground

Here we can see the underground pipe breaking through the earth’s surface and continuing above ground.   When the pipeline is above ground, it has a zig zag pattern.   This zig zag layout allows for movement in the line, caused by heat, weather conditions and earthquakes.   This part of the Alaska Pipeline is south of Delta Junction, about 120 miles from Valdez.

Pipeline  Photo from internet free photos.

From the hill, you can see the zig zag pattern of the pipeline, heading toward the mountains.  Before building the pipeline, a 360 mile road from the Yukon River to Prudhoe Bay, needed to be built.   This road is used by excellent truck drivers, all year, to carry supplies to the people working in Prudhoe Bay.   The frozen area, north of the Arctic Circle, is difficult for construction.   The frigid winter temperatures, ice, wind, and snow, make living and driving conditions very difficult.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks and humans are in awe of those that built, maintain and work in these conditions.

Return to North Pole, Alaska with Zeb and Eider Duck

Here we are.  Back in North Pole, Alaska.

North Pole, Alaska

North Pole is a small town about 10-15 miles from Fairbanks.   First stop was Visitor’s Center, but they were closed.

Visitor’s Center in North Pole, Alaska

Yes, that is grass growing on the roof.   Good insulation.   In Fairbanks, we went to Denny’s for a quick meal.

Northern most Denny’s. Fairbanks, Alaska

And, we were at the most northern Denny’s in the world.   Quite impressive.   The town of North Pole is devoted to Christmas, all year long.

Santa at North Pole

Santa has his house here, since he does live at the North Pole.

Santa lives here.

He also has a really nice gift shop.   As we entered, we saw so many Christmas decorations.

Christmas ornaments and decorations

And more Christmas decorations.

So much for Christmas

They have so much and it is so much fun to look around.   There are ornaments and items from Alaska, and some from other parts of the world.   Another section of the shop features t-shirts and other clothing.

Santa shirts

They even have great flannel one piece pajamas.   And a trap door in the seat for humans when they get up during the night.   They are really warm.   Perfect for the long cold Alaskan winter nights.   After shopping, we discovered the fudge counter at Santa’s House.   Yum!   Going outside, next to Santa’s House, is the Antler Academy.

Antler Academy

Do you see the reindeer to the right of the Antler Academy?   They are real!  This is where the reindeer learn to fly so they can lead Santa’s sleigh around the world on Christmas Eve.

These graduates can fly

These are graduates of Antler Academy.   Flying with Santa now to practice for the very important trip in late December.   North Pole is a nice town with all modern shopping and restaurants.   But they have Santa’s House and the Antler Academy, also.   We hope you visit, we recommend summer, and enjoy the North Pole.

Reminder to Sam’s Club Members on Road Trips

We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, and humans have memberships to Sam’s Club.   This is part of Walmart corporation that sells in larger quantities.   We shop there, and often after shopping, we have a quick lunch.   Today we ordered a hot dog, a soft pretzel, and a soft drink.

This is a lot of food

We want to remind you that this is cheap.   Our total bill was $2.69.   This is in a western suburb of Denver, Colorado.    Prices vary by location, but if you are on a road trip, eating can get expensive.   Sam’s Club can give you financial relief.   Of course, while on road trips, we often eat at small local restaurants, but sometimes we just don’t want much.  And this much food today, was really too much.   If you are a Sam’s Club member, check out the snack bar.   They have 16 inch pizzas for $8.99.   They had really great looking salads, with chicken and ripe strawberries, blueberries and walnuts.    And only $5.48.

Looks delicious

Just a thought for all of us taking road trips this summer, or any time, really. Again, Nathan’s All Beef hot dog, soft pretzel and soft drink.

Nathan’s Hot Dogs. All beef and large.

Just $2.69.

Only $2.68

And free refills on soft drinks.   Diameter of hot dogs is larger than a quarter.   They have ice cream, also.   Just a reminder for travelers.

Paint Mines at Calhan, Colorado with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, got to go with the humans to Paint Mines in Calhan.   Calhan, Colorado, is southeast of Denver and northeast of Colorado Springs.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Here we are.   Mmmm, this doesn’t look to exciting yet.

Cactus? What is here?

Mom, I’m sitting by cactus and I don’t see anything different.   Walking on wide paths, suitable for strollers and wheel chairs, up the hill we go.   Nice.   A bench to rest.   Look at that.    Down the hill I see white formations.

Bench and a surprise ahead

Now I’m getting excited.

I like this white clay

These white formations look interesting and were unexpected for me.   And more.

White and gold. Great

Now I see lots of white and gold clay.   One of the signs at the entrance said the colored clay was used by naive American Indians to make colorful pottery.

Were these carved?

These formations were all naturally formed.   Sun, rain, snow, sleet, wind and all elements made fascinating shapes.   Walking further, this area looks different.

Seeing some red

In addition to the brilliant white, I am seeing some red clay.   Continuing along, we take another side path.   These paths are more difficult, but look what we saw.

Lots of colored clay

Red, white and gold.   Isn’t this great?  Further along, we now have some red layers in the white clay.

Red layers in the white clay

This is a wonderful place.   And I wasn’t sure we should walk back here?   So glad the humans insisted.   This cave is a natural shelter.

Natural shelter

Humans are believed to have lived here thousands of years ago and I bet they used this shelter.   Oh wow!

Looks like red velvet cupcake with white frosting.

Don’t these look like giant cupcakes?   OK, now you know, we have been eating cupcakes this week.   And ours also had white frosting.   But this is beautiful.


We hope this panorama shows you the colors and intensity of these paint mines.   Humans say it is really hot here, and we have been wandering around for more than two hours.   Time to leave.   We have only seen about half of the area.   I bet we will come back here again.

This sign tells much

This sign tells a little about this land.   We liked the sign and hope  you will enjoy it also.   This is definitely a good place to come and explore, learn, and just have your senses filled with the wonders of nature.

Zeb the Duck Visits Clive Cussler’s Automobile Museum

Clive Cussler writes great books, and he owns great cars.   At one time in his life, Clive Cussler, lived in Arvada, Colorado, near Denver.   Mr. Cussler collects and restores classic cars.   At any time,  60-70 of his cars are on display in his museum, near Denver.  Mom and a friend recently accompanied me to the museum.

Entrance to Clive Cusler Automobile Museum

I really liked the first car we saw as we entered.

First car as we entered. 1956 Continental

This 1956 Continental is gorgeous, and huge.

Says it all

Each automobile has a sign to explain the history of the car.   I decided to just show you the sign rather than paraphrase the information.   Look at this bright pink car.

I love this car

This is a 1936 Ford Cabriole Hot Rod.   Mr. Cussler often has a character in his book, Dirk Pitt, drive a car like he owns.

Featured in Atlantis Found

This Cabriole was featured in Atlantis Found.   And this bright red 1953 Allard J2X.

1953 Allard J2X

The 1953 Allard J2X was featured in his book, Shock Wave.

Featured in his book, Shock Wave

This Pierce Arrow was a surprise.

1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge Trailer

This is a 1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge Trailer.

Who knew?

And we thought motor homes were relatively new.  This orange car caught my attention.

1929 Duesenberg Model J-140

This 1929 Duesenberg Model J-140 was featured in his book, Flood Tide.   In the 1970s Mattel Toy Company patterned one of its famous “Hot Wheels” on this model.   What is this?   A boat in a car museum?   Of course.

Clive Cussler loves to recover shipwrecks

Clive Cussler has interests beyond writing and cars.   He loves to locate shipwrecks.   With this boat he helped find the H.I. Hunley, a Confederate submarine, the first submarine to ever sink a ship.   This happened during the United States Civil War in 1864.

Numa Survey

NUMA Survey is one of his boats.   You have noticed the popularity of the new electric cars.   But, maybe not really so new.

Detroit Electric Model 97

Here is a 1931 Detroit Electric Model 97.

Did you know this?

Wooden wheels?   Really?

Wooden wheel on 1931 Detroit Electric Model 97

Yes, really.   Here is a photo of the wooden wheel on this 1931 Detroit Electric Model 97.   When you are near Denver, you really would enjoy this museum.   However, it is only opened in the summer.  Check http://www.CusslerMuseum.com for more information.   There is a motorcycle in here.   And so many more cars.   And they are not only clean and shiney, there is not a flake of dust near these cars.   We hope  you visit soon.

Sand in the City with Zeb the Duck

Last Sunday I, Zeb the Duck, took mom to a festival, Sand in the City.   We went to Arvada, a suburb of Denver.   No oceans nearby, but sand was brought in and there was a beach party atmosphere.

Sand in the City in Arvada, Colorado

As we entered, this was our first sand sculpture.

Sand sculpture

About emotions.   There were many sand sculptures.

Sand sculpture

This one says Smash.  As you can guess, there were many human children.   When children are around, they often want to pick me up and take me home.   That is why mom doesn’t put me down and I am not in all the photos.   Look at this sculpture.

Sand sculpture with my giant relative

Sponsored by a local hospital, they have one of my giant relatives here.   We went to the back and I am in the picture with one of my favorite relatives.

I’m by a famous relative. And an ambulance?

And an ambulance?   Hope we don’t need one today.   This sculpture won first place.

First place sand sculpture

It is sponsored by Red Rocks Community College.   We just liked this one.

Sand Sculpture

No reason, we like it.   The Boy Scouts made this sculpture.

Sand Sculpture from Boy Scouts

We like the Boy Scouts.

Good detail work by Boy Scouts

Nice details guys.   With all the sand, we found the area for small humans to play in the sand.

Small humans play in sand

Looks like fun.   And this looks fun also.

Little humans have hula hoops and balls

Hula hoops and balls.   Too bad I, Zeb the Duck, am not human.   There were many other activities for children.   The large balls they get inside and try to walk.   Also face painting.   Lots of vendors selling great stuff.   And the food.   These are our two favorite festival food booths.

Our favorite food booths

We love Kettle Corn and Funnel Cakes are irresistible.   Some great costumes.

Cute costumes

Aren’t they cute?  The entertainment stage always seemed to have musicians.   And dancers.


Our beach party featured Pacific Island dances from Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti and others.   Dark storm clouds were coming over our Rocky Mountains.

Dark clouds. Time to leave?

We decided it might be time to leave.   Not raining yet, but we walked to our car and within 3 minutes in was raining hard.   We don’t know if the sand sculptures were covered or if they were damaged.   The festival had a few more hours before scheduled closing, but we think the sculptures were damaged.   A few hours later, the rain stopped, the sun was shining and our bright blue Colorado sky was clear.   We hope you are enjoying festivals this summer.   They are fun.