February 27, 2011

It’s Ice Alaska Time!

Filed under: Everyday Life,Interesting Things,Photography — Susan Stevenson @ 7:54 pm

I love this time of year. There’s so much to be entertained by and my favorite is the World Ice Art Championships. The park opened officially on Tuesday, and (as always) I purchased a season pass, so I could go as many times as I want. I also like the collector pin that comes with a season pass, and will add it to my collection.  I think I have seven of them now. I don’t think I bought a season pass in 2004, so I didn’t get a pin that year.  I need to gather them up and put them all together in one place.

After our 18″ snow last weekend, we had warm temperatures which was really nice. Then we got another 5″ of snow and really heavy winds. It was so heavy that trees went down all over town – taking out power lines and phone lines. We had one tree go down in our yard, and it fell on the guide wires for the power pole in the easement behind our house. It was a fairly thin spruce tree – already dead – but if it would have fallen on our electric lines instead, that would have been really bad.

We did have a 3 hour power outage at one point, and I am so very thankful for the linemen who work for GVEA. I think a tree fell on the lines on the next street over.

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Steve’s on his 7-day-off rotation, which is nice. He helped me move furniture back into the office/photography room. I still have so much to do to get the boxes of stuff out of the guest room so I can set the bed back up for Chris’ visit.  But it’s so nice to see the old office freshly painted, with clean carpet. The way we’ve put the furniture makes it looks so much more spacious than before.

He took me out to run errands on Friday, as the roads were still deep with snow in some places and I was glad for his truck. But for the most part, the snowplows did a fabulous job of getting the roads cleared.  Since we were out, I asked him if he’d take me by the Ice Park so I could get my season pass and do a quick lap through the single block sculptures.

Steve only goes to the park once – and that’s after the big sculptures are up, and at night. I think he’ll go with me when Chris is here; we’ll make a night of it.  But he was willing to wait for me in the parking lot so I could do a quick visit and check out the single block sculptures.

It was sunny, and not too cold, when I entered the park. And then a huge cloud rolled over us and hail started to fall. It was horrible! I had to turn my back to the wind, and taking photos was a real challenge. A few minutes later it was all over.  The weather has been so strange!

Here are photos of some of the single block sculptures:

Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska

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February 21, 2011

Snow blind!

Filed under: Everyday Life,Photography — Susan Stevenson @ 8:48 pm

Yesterday, Interior Alaska had a major snowstorm. Some are saying it’s the most snow that’s fallen in one day since the 1990s.  I know it’s the most I’ve ever seen since we moved here in 2003.

It started falling yesterday morning, and I was out in it. I had a photo shoot at noon in North Pole, and then drove into Fairbanks to run a few errands and meet up with an online friend. While it wasn’t too heavy when I left my house, it progressively got worse as I was working. By the time I left their home, my car was covered in snow, and the snow in their driveway was getting deeper by the minute.

I jumped on the Richardson Hwy as soon as I could, thinking the highway would be a safer and less stressful drive. I was wrong. With only one lane totally clear, and quickly icing windows, I seriously considered just going home.

There is one thing that irritates me more than anything else, when driving in bad weather.  Why do some people insist on passing in bad conditions; jumping in the other snow-covered lane, and kicking up enough snow to render everyone in the right lane snow blind?  I was terrified, as I couldn’t even see the brake lights of the car in front of me until I was right on him. At the same time, I didn’t want to slow down too much, as I was afraid the person behind me wouldn’t be able to see my brake lights either. Since my accident, I’ve been a little nervous when driving in snowy weather, or on icy roads. I’ll be glad when everything thaws.

Speaking of my accident… I have my car back! Hooray! It was ready for pickup on Friday. I’m so happy! They detailed it for me too, which was a nice surprise. They washed it inside and out, vacuumed it, wiped everything down, etc. Nice touch. The front end looks good as new. It’s nice to have my *freedom* again.

Friend Corinne

So after I ran a few errands yesterday, I met my online friend Corinne at the Ice Park. Corinne is visiting from Arizona, and will be in Fairbanks until Thursday. From here she will travel to Anchorage where she will be volunteering at the Iditarod – both the ceremonial start in Anchorage, and the re-start in Willow. She won’t be going home until the first week in March. This isn’t her first visit to Alaska, and I know it won’t be her last. She’s really been enjoying herself.  I’m glad we had the opportunity to meet. Perhaps someday we’ll meet again, if Steve and I find ourselves visiting Arizona again.

Ice Alaska officially opens to the public tomorrow. Yesterday, the only thing we saw were a few ice sculptures in the kiddie park, and the big slides they have near the ice harvesting pond. They’ll start carving the single blocks first, and then move onto the multi blocks. I always get a season pass so I can watch them carve, as well as see the finished art.  I just hope this heavy snow doesn’t slow things down. The parking lot was a mess when I was there, and a bucket loader was working hard to clear it.

Here are a few photos I took at the ice park:

Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska Ice Alaska Ice Alaska
Ice Alaska

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February 16, 2011

Missing my car!

Filed under: Everyday Life — Susan Stevenson @ 11:56 pm

Forty BelowHello everyone! Sorry for the delay in making an entry but my car has been in the shop since Monday getting it’s new bumper, and I’ve been stranded. This means I haven’t been able to get out and shoot. How does anyone survive being a one-car family? I am so spoiled! Steve’s on night shift this week, and I’ve been pretty much trapped at home after 3pm.

The lack of car isn’t the only reason I haven’t been out and about. Leaving the warm cocoon of my home when it’s 40 below, is not exactly something I particularly want to do. Fortunately, I tended to everything that had to be done before I dropped off my car. I can’t wait to get it back. (Hopefully by Friday)

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Late on the 9th, my online friend Liz and her husband Kurtis flew into Fairbanks. Interior Alaska sure welcomed them with this frigid weather. I suppose if someone wants to see what it’s like to survive a winter in AK, coming when it’s 40 below would be an excellent lesson.

They drove over to the Newsminer building to wave to their friends on the Arctic Cam website. I happened to be monitoring the cam that morning and saw them standing there. How neat to be able to come all the way to Fairbanks and to alert your friends all over the country to tune in at a certain time to see you wave!

The next day (Thursday), I drove into town to meet Liz and Kurtis. I felt like I knew Liz forever, and Kurtis was very nice and quite easy to talk to. I enjoyed talking to him about his memories of living in Fairbanks when he was a kid/young adult.

They invited me to accompany them to Chena Hot Springs Resort, and I jumped at the chance for a roadtrip and to spend more time with them.  We didn’t see any moose along the way, which was unusual as Chena Hot Springs Road is usually the one drive where you’re guaranteed to see moose.

When we got to the springs, we took a walk around the area and decided to have lunch at the restaurant. It was darn cold so being inside was much more preferable than being outside! Here are a few photos I took:

These mallards were quite frosty:
Frosty Mallards

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