Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fairbanks -- May 13, 2015

Chena River in Fairbanks on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Heat Wave! Anchorageites don't know how to deal with sun and 72 degrees. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 77 degrees.

We're here for the annual Alaska Bar Association and Judges' Conference -- well, I am, and Jim is exploring Fairbanks on his own.

The conference opened at 8:30 a.m. with a pair of pipers from the Fairbanks Red Hackle Pipe Band. Bar President Geoff Wildridge (behind the table on the stage) said that the Bar intended to keep up the pace with a jam fest this evening, and more music throughout the conference.

After an excellent set of morning programs, Constitutional Convention delegate Vic Fisher  (left) and Retired Justice Bud Carpeneti talked about Alaska's merit selection system for judicial selection and retention. It was a privilege that not enough Alaska citizens have, to hear two such articulate and knowledgeable people talk based on the facts and their personal experiences about why Alaska has one of the best set of judges anywhere.

At the afternoon break we got a chance to explore bits of old Fairbanks.

A Farmall tractor from the 1930s?

We have no idea what this is, but at the moment it appears more decorative than functional.

Last season's rosehips; this year's leaves.

Jim wants one. After he chatted with the guy briefly about the car, the driver roared off down the street with his unmuffled engine reverberating through the hot sunny afternoon.

A dog that wanted to come out and play, or so he said.

A house with solar panels on the roof - several plywood-boarded windows and ditto for the front door. Some of the houses in the area seem to have seen better days, and others are well-kept and trim. This area of Fairbanks feels like 1950s Midwest with wood frame houses from the era, sidewalks, straight streets set out in a grid. Instead of maples, the trees are white birches and other northern species

One evening event was a reception at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center near the Chena River. It features the plane flown by Episcopal Bishop William Gordon Jr. all around the state (his son, Bill Gordon, served on the Alaska Judicial Council and is now on the Alaska Bar Board of Governors). The small planes always seem so tiny for such a huge state.

Dinner for the judges was at Gambardella's. When we arrived, the on-site gardener was busily potting flowers and arranging them around a fountain -- "so the judges can enjoy them," she said.

An establishment just down the street from our hotel.

Also in the neighborhood. Note that the left section of the house is logs, painted white, and the roof on that section is different from the roof on the front section. Jim especially liked the slated window to the right hand side of the house.

Ducks walking across the bridge over the Chena that carries two lanes of traffic each way. One wants to say, as the cars screech to a stop, "Fly! Why are you walking when you can fly?" They must have their reasons.

I didn't get a chance to post photos on the blog last night, so am including a few from yesterday's drive up the Parks Highway.

Seen in the Starbucks parking lot in Wasilla (yes, Wasilla has a stand-alone Starbucks drive-in and coffeeshop). Are the crutches related to the sports car?

One of the bridges over the Nenana River.

Rain clouds overhead, and rainbow to the east.

Denali, The Great One, from the South end of Denali State Park.

Denali's neighbors to the west, which I like almost better than Denali.

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