Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back in Alaska

I landed in Fairbanks at around 12:30am to cold weather and thick ice fog. Lee picked me up from the airport, and we stopped at the UAF sign to get a temperature picture:


That's pretty cold. I got to my cabin to find I was out of heating fuel, and it was just as cold inside as outside. We played a quick game of 'find the liquid', where the first person to find something in a liquid state wins. No one won. My breath in the air looked really cool, and I tried blowing a few fog-rings. Also, couch cushions are hard as a rock at that temperature. Then Lee gave me a ride to the gas station to buy two 5 gallon jugs worth of heating fuel. I told him he could head home and get some sleep, and I'd deal with warming the place up on my own. I turned on all my electric heaters, and the burners on the oven, and got the heater started up. It blew lukewarm air but kept throwing error codes and shutting off like it was still out of fuel. So I decided to put another two jugs worth of fuel in it. First step: dig out my car:

Snowy car

Shoveling snow off the driveway, digging out the car, and working it around in the loose snow out to the road took an hour. Then it was off to fill my fuel jugs up again. This happened:

This is new...

The car's thermometer only reads down to -22ºF, and when it's colder than that it usually just reads -22 forever. This has never happened before. It was around -46ºF when I took this. Still a few shy of the elusive -50.

Got the fuel back to the cabin and dumped it in the tank on top of the fuel I put in earlier. By now the cabin was warming up (probably around 0ºF) so I decided to go to bed. Grabbing all my blankets to throw on the bed, and when I pulled the electric blanket off the couch, the cord was cold and brittle, and the rubber insulation on the wires just up and crumbled off like it was powder, leaving bare copper wires. Well. Bed was comfortably warm after a little body heat warmed it up. I woke up at 6am, it was still cold and the heater was beeping, so I reset it. Same deal at 7am. Woke up again at 9am to a warm 60ºF cabin and the heater has been running fine ever since. Welcome back to Fairbanks!