Chena Hot Springs Trip
We all decided to take a trip to Chena Hot Springs with Eric and Jeanette's daughter (Marissa), son-in-law (Alec), and their grandaughter (Reagan). It was a facinating trip. This was a resort which had been owned by the state and taken over by a private investor. It had been losing money for the state, but this fellow decided to make it an ecological showplace. He figured out how to generate geothermal power (even though the water is only 160 degrees) and this power runs the whole resort, including the Ice Palace, greenhouses, hotel and such. It makes more power than they can use...so they are looking at selling it to the state.
The generator uses a refrigerant which boils at 140 degrees and was the first of it's kind. It is a closed system, so nothing is wasted.
They organically grow a lot of the vegtables which they use in the restaurant in a green house which is warmed by the power they generate.
The Ice Palace was extremely interesting. It uses power from the geothermal generator to run a ammonia-evaporator chiller which keeps it at about 20 degrees (although it felt colder). You put on parkas for the tour (but I had shorts and sandles so was a little cold.
The baby got well bundled for the tour.
There were ice sculptors at work making ice glasses for the appletini's one could buy and have at the ice bar. We declined. They had tried to serve Coca Cola there, but it froze up when it hit the glasses.
The Ice sculptures were life size, and some of them were years old. Here are a few pictures, but I put a slide show together of many more here.
You could rent a room there for the night, but I'm thinking no one would spend the night there. They also have held weddings there, which I would assume would be quite short. After that tour, we had to visit the hot springs themselves to warm up. They had several pools including this outdoor pool.
After that, we headed back to North Pole. Had to stop and take a picture of a sign you might only see in Alaska.
In this part of Alaska, moose are everywhere and one was playing in a pond when we got out. Check out the developing antlers, moose lose theirs every year. Eric tried his moose call and it went away.