This is going to be a long Post with 108 photographs, so we hope you all have brought your popcorn for the show.
On Wednesday, September 9th, 2020, Patti and I left Anchorage, Alaska, and drove North to Fairbanks, Alaska. The drive is 360 miles and can be done (in theory) in 6 hours. I have never been able to do this taking from 7 to 10 hours depending upon the weather and the time of year. In the heart of winter, with temperatures in the subzero range and daylight limited to 4 hours, I often take two days to make the drive sleeping overnight en route in Talkeetna, Cantwell or Nenana, Alaska.
In Part 1 (please see the below link if you wish to refresh yourself on the beginning phase of our trip) I published a Post covering our drive North on September the 9th (the first day of our trip).
TODAY'S RHETORICAL QUESTION :
Captain, can you explain exactly why it has taken until now, Wednesday the 2nd of December (three ever-loving months), to re-visit your September trip to Manley Hot Springs?
First, right-off-the-bat, (see the below link) when we got to Manley we had basically NO INTERNET service during our entire visit. Yes on September the 14th I 'imposed' upon a local acquaintance in Manley (using his internet connection) to write the below short Post .
To make matters worse, on Friday September 11th (my very own personal 911 event) I experienced a near-death episode risking bleeding-out during the night. Then on Sunday September 27th (my second near-death episode), I took a very bad fall injuring my right arm from its wrist up to (and including) my shoulder.
Because I have been feeling very challenged health-wise, have been in a significant depressive episode, have been involved in an enervating (causing one to feel drained of energy or vitality) on-going series of doctor and physical therapy appointments, and like-all-of-you have been dealing with the challenges of hearing about the Covid 19 issues, to be honest, I simply have not been-up-to-finishing the significant task of chronicling our September visit to Manley Hot Springs.
Then we had been planning to fly South to Phoenix, Arizona, this upcoming Saturday the 5th of December and planning for this trip of several months also hindered me from beginning this series of Posts. Our December 5th trip has been rescheduled into late January of 2021 so I am now free-of-mind to begin the plunge into getting this trip chronicled.
The final push came from our friend Kleiner Bär who (a week or so ago) expressed dismay at my lack of activity here on blogspot and got me fired-up-again.
The time has come to resume our chronicle of our September 2020 visit to Manley.
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September 10th, 2020, we left the absolutely incredible 7 Gables Inn and Suites in Fairbanks and headed out to Manley Hot Springs, a 160-mile, 4-hour drive (the crazy drivers make it in 3 hours and 15 minutes).
We are ready to hit-the-road out to Manley.
I have been driving this road off and on for 22 years since June of 1998 when I purchased my cabin in Manley.
Our first major landmark on this trip is the Hilltop Truck Stop about 16 miles West out of Fairbanks. We stop at Hilltop to top-off our gasoline tank.
We often eat at Hilltop but did not do so this trip as we were anxious to get on-the-road to Manley.
We are turning left out of Hilltop onto the Elliott Highway. From this point we are about 142 miles from our cabin.
A little early September Autumn fog.
This first section of the Elliott Highway is also known as the-haul-road leading up to the oil fields in Prudhoe Bay Alaska some 500 miles from Fairbanks. As a result (see below) you see some very heavy equipment on the road.
In the above and below photos you can see the famous 800-mile Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline that runs from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, Alaska.
Oil Pipeline Pump Station 7 another familiar landmark we pass en route to Manley.
The Arctic Circle Trading Post located 60 miles out the Elliott Highway. Closed due to a total lack of tourists traveling due to Covid 19.
Sad little lemonade stand wondering where has all the business disappeared to.
Not meaning to confuse you but the below sign looks back East up the Elliott Highway heading towards Fairbanks.
Another familiar friend and landmark, The Colorado Creek Trailhead.
We are now ready to turn left and follow the Elliott Highway out another 80 miles to Manley.
Below we have made our left turn and face another 80-miles of (basically) a single lane dirt road. Yes there are a few paved sections but you get the idea.
As I mentioned above, since June of 1998, some 22-years, I have been driving the Elliott Highway between Manley and Fairbanks. Almost immediately after you turn left onto the dirt road section of the Elliott Highway, there is a small side road that takes you to a great viewing point of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline. In 22 years, this was the first time that I have taken this side road, not only to see it myself but also to show Patti the below views of the pipeline.
September 10th, dark ominous snow-skies. I have experienced major snow (back in 1992) earlier in September than this and I know what snow-skies look like.
What? A little sun! We welcomed it.
A pleasant rest area along the highway. This is another of our landmarks. We are now 43 miles from our cabin.