Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 17 - Top of the World - Part 2

This post is a continuation of my Alaska trip in 2012 for anyone reading my blog for the first time.

On my last post I said I was fast approaching the town of Chicken.  The town is a community founded on gold mining and is one of the few surviving gold rush towns in Alaska. The population was 7 at the 2010 Census but there's usually a few more during the summer months.
I hadn't seen anyone on the road for a long time and as I approached the Walker Fork River I decided to stop to rest and admire the scenery all around me.  The road was damp but smooth and allowed me to make good time without having to worry too much about the road.




As I pull into Chicken I see lots of heavy machinery that I'm sure had been used at one time or another on the gold mining operations.  Most of the heavy equipment is now rusting.  The town consists of a few houses, the famous sign at the entrance to the town proclaims "I got laid in Chicken".  I had seen so many pictures of motorcyclists in front of the sign but I was alone so I just took a picture of the sign with my bike.



I was dying to have a good cup of coffee and something to eat.  I park my bike in front of the "Cafe" and ask the lady if they have pancakes.  Of course we have she answers and they are delicious.



I decided to go for the hot chocolate instead of coffee and ordered myself a set of pancakes.  She was right, they were delicious, I took my time to savor them and warmed myself with the hot chocolate.


In front of the store I had seen a fenced in area with puppies crying inside .  After my delicious breakfast I walked over to see what all the commotion was about. I was surprised when I saw them, they were Siberian Huskies puppies with the bluest eyes I had ever seen.  There were a few puppies but two of them had unbelievable eyes, I was mesmerized.  Huskies are my wife's favorite dogs and I was sure she would love to see these puppies and would probably want to take one home. 

These pictures are not manipulated




Some of the rusted machinery and equipment.





I'm sure you would need chains when the temperature is -40 below freezing.

I visit the local mechanic which is also the guy running the place.  They have built a few cabins for the summer employees but he tells me he's the only one that stays year round in Chicken.  I asked him what if something happens and you are alone, he tells me you just have to deal with it and live through it because no one will get to you when it's 30 or 40 below.  It reminded me of the "Shining" with Jack Nicholson, stuck alone in such a desolate place.



Just up the hill is the F.E. Company Dredge No. 4, also known as the Pedro Dredge, originally owned by the Fairbanks Exploration Company.  
The dredge commenced operations in 1958 on lower Chicken Creek in September and worked for approximately five months every year thereafter until October 1967.  In 1998, the 500 ton dredge was moved overland to its current location at the Chicken Gold Camp.  More here
I walk around admiring the 500 ton machine. Each individual bucket would probably carry half a ton of material, they are gigantic.




It was time to leave Chicken and continue my trip to Fairbanks where I had been told I could get a room at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  I had clothes to wash and having a dorm room and access to washing machines would be perfect.  First I had to stop by the famous Chicken.


I leave Chicken and about 65 miles later traveling south I'm back on the Alaska Highway at the Tetlin Junction.  I make a right and head northwest towards Tok.  Soon I pass a huge river and bridge.  The mountains in the distance providing a beautiful backdrop as I head towards them.

 



Up ahead is Tok....to be continued



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