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Destinations Racing to Nome
Huskies beat horsepower on the way into Nome, when a dogsled team beat our bus

Nome's story is of the gold rush era, current gold-mining efforts, reindeer herding, commercial fishing and dog sledding. Our introduction to Nome was a race between our bus on the road and a sled dog team on the beach (The huskies won.) Afterwards, we peppered the musher, as he was called, with questions about the Iditarod, the legendary dog sled race across Alaska, with its finish line in Nome.

At Little Creek Mining Station, we panned for gold and were actually able to haul in four gold flakes and a tiny nugget. We then met a personable reindeer in full velvet that let us touch its warm antlers. Domesticated wild caribou and reindeer have long provided food and skins for native people of the region.

Nome and Kotzebue whet our appetites for the far north. Our flight from Anchorage provided a spectacular view of Mt. McKinley (Denali) en route to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay. This region, 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of the Arctic Circle, is one of the most remote areas in North America. We flew into Deadhorse to find an August wind-chill factor of 28 degrees (-2 Celsius), and not a single horse, dead or alive.

What we did find were our motor coach and the most highly concentrated business activity on the entire North Slope, thanks to one of this century's richest oil strikes. Prudhoe Bay is the largest oil field in North America, currently transporting 20 percent of the nation's domestic oil production. Here oil begins its long journey through the Trans-Alaska pipeline to Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in North America. One of the largest pipeline systems in the world, this was an awesome engineering feat. The route covers 800 miles (1,280 km), crosses three mountain ranges and countless rivers and streams.


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