Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Snow?!

I wake up, open up the front door and BAM, new inch and a half of snow! Holy crap.. I love Fairbanks. 3-5 inches expected.. happy almost May??? Everyone is going to be cranky today...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The end of 22

High today: 44
Low today: 32

I have to document the ridiculousness of age 22. It was a very crazy time, I moved 7 times if you include the in-between weeks in Pittsburgh (that's right, try to find me USPS!).

Just for kicks, a year in review.. Julie-style. Starting with last year's bday, with the annual end-of-year BBQ at E-street! Headed off to Fairbanks hesitantly but didn't take long to feel comfortable. Wandered north of most of existence into untouched land. Got to finally run off of that mountain at Alyeska after over a year of waiting.Saw Denali in all her glory.Moved into a household with awesome roommates and cute puppies. Did my last couple of collegiate mountain bike races. Spent a lot of time enjoying a light work load... and of course leaving some footprints...
Hit the black diamonds for the first time (this pic isn't the black diamond, haha)
Had fun with my best friends for one last good throw-down.
Learned how to XC skiGot to experience that "special" temperature of 40 belowWas completely astonished by the aurora.
And.. went to the North Pole!
Not a bad year.. not a bad year at all. And that's only a fourth of it. Here's to the next being just as great!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring time in Fairbanks

High today: 57
Low today: 29
Woohoo! Hot Licks finally opened for the season! I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to go there since January. Maybe it's my inability to go a very long time without ice cream, or just the joy of getting ice cream at an actual ice cream stand. In any case, these four studs came along with me to enjoy our first Hot Licks for the season.

Just a week ago it was 5 below in the mornings and we had a solid 9 new inches of snow on the ground. Now, with a few days of warm temperatures, most of the snow has melted off of the side roads and now they are pretty muddy but drying up quickly. It's incredible how quickly the turn around from winter.. to.. summer has been. I took the below picture yesterday but even today it looks incredibly different. The gritty Fairbanks dirt is already penetrating back into my bike cables and the giant slow mosquitoes are beginning to show their ugly faces.Even the delicious smell of Alaska has returned. I first smelt it two or so weeks ago when I was riding into work and there was still a lot of snow on the ground. I still don't know what is producing that smell but it makes me happy and reminds me of the very first day I laid foot in the state.

A few more weeks and the trails will be good for riding. CAN'T WAIT! Oh, and in 2.5 weeks Aviva and Justin will be here.. even better!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

To the North Pole and Back

High today: 28
Low today: -5

I flew to the north pole today.
The north pole you say??? Yes! In fact, over it, and around the world in less than a minute!
Got some last minute news on Wed. evening of going on the DC-8 with the ARCTAS program.

We flew over the frozen Yukon River...
Over the beautiful Brooks Range...
Over Prudhoe Bay...
Did a spiral OVER Prudhoe Bay and got within 250 feet of the ground...
Flew over thousands of miles of sea ice...
Got to hang out in the cockpit for awhile...
Watched the weather conditions and chemical traces changed as we descended and ascended through plumes.

Check out the video of the sea ice.. nothing exciting but it gives you a better idea than snapshots do.
video

I wonder how long this ice has been here.. a world of white and blue.
It was a long flight - about 10 hours long. Some people had to take a snoozer.
Jing took me down in the pit to see the PSU ATHOS laser.

"Hey do you guys see that dark line off to the right? I think it's the north pole.. it must have fallen over" - crew memberAustin giving a thumbs up for crossing the north pole. The GPSs on the plane went totally out of wack when we did this!
I went and sat up in the cockpit when we did a missed approach at Barrow. Henry gave me some pointers on getting some neat pictures.Barrow looks much nicer in the winter than the summer..
Sun sets around 9:30pm nowadays.
Another day well spent. I'll have a map of our route one I get the GPS coords. uploaded and made...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We Are.. Penn State!

Finally got together with the Penn Staters tonight for dinner. From left to right you have me, Dave (my old classmate), Hans (my old cloud physics prof. and neighbor), Jing (just met him), and Dr. Brune (head of the PSU meteo department). Chad is the only one missing - he had to head back to PA a bit sooner. It was great seeing them and a really good refresher for me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Snowy morning in Fairbanks

We got about 6 inches of WET heavy snow overnight.. you know, east coast style.It was beautiful on the side roads..

but nasty on the main roads.
Despite the weather we got to see some airplanes today. These are the research aircraft here for the big project.
This P3 is one of the hurricane hunters! Sadly I could remember tracking every single one of the hurricanes.. since.. uhh.. 1996? They have stickers on the P3 showing which storms this plane flew into.
We got firsthand tours of the research aircraft.
And look who was on board! It's Dave and Jing, laser beam extraordinares!The snow flew away and the skies cleared up to a nice breezy day...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Skiing in the White Mountains

High today: 36
Low today: 5

A place exists only 35 miles north of Fairbanks that I didn't know about. Well, I knew about it but didn't know that it was so close! To make up for our busted Denali Hwy trip, the group of us up for it went up to the White Mountains to go skiing.

I actually brought my bike just in case I had to bag the skis. It was my first ski trip and first time not on groomed/track-laid trails, but wanted to see if I could do it. It was 7 miles to Lee's cabin which is where the girls and I stopped to turn back around. The guys were skate-skiing so they went off ahead of us. It was a ton of fun skiing.. I think I could really get into it.. I just love my bike too much to commit to something else. :-)
Kris, Valerie and Kristin before we started out... followed by Steffen and Trevor.
Woohoo we made it!! By mile 10 on the way back I was starting to hit a wall physically. The trip was great though.. can't wait to do it again next year! Glad I got to get out here before the snow is gone.. the original owner of my skis suggested getting up to Lee's cabin so here you go!