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Published: August 14th 2015
We have four nights in Fairbanks. The roads were good, the distance about 111 miles from Denali ... a short drive on a chilly day. Along the way we made a stop in a small town named Nenana. The story has it that a lady won the entire town in a pool game. It was also the starting point of the 1925 Diphtheria Serum Race to Nome. As we pulled in to the small town, we had a caravan of at least 8-10 motorhomes with tow cars lining the entire length of this town, only to find most of the town closed down since the death of this elderly lady. Nenana also has the Ice Classic yearly, where they place a huge iron piece out on the frozen river and sell chances on the day, hour, and second that the ice will break. Guess this is quite a huge event. Tickets were on sale already for next winter. We arrived on Tuesday and it feels like we have been busy ever since. A bus picked the group up that evening for the Alaska Salmon Bake followed by some great entertainment. It was the best we have had so far ... with
one of the cast of four originally from Madison, Wisconsin.
A tour of Fairbanks was scheduled for Wednesday morning, along with lunch, and then a trip to Gold Dredge 8, an old gold mine located near the Alaska Pipeline. We were given a lesson and chance to all pan for gold ... and you guessed it, everyone found gold! The catch to this was that they were ready to sell you jewelry to show off your gold nuggets. Yup, I also finally gave in and purchased a locket, after Jim gave me his $30 to combine with my $13. They sure saw all of us coming!!
Today was our free day, so we took a drive to the Arctic Circle. It was about 210 miles from here, with part of the road paved and the other part gravel. There were very limited services (including bathroom) along the way. We had another couple with us, so it was a good trip. Once we got to the Arctic Circle (latitude line), we stopped and got our pictures taken with the sign, as well as receiving a certificate that we had driven the Dalton Highway. The scenery along the way was
quite interesting, as we went from lots of trees to very little of anything ... the tundra. At times you could see for miles and miles. We also drove right along side of the Alaska Pipeline, where we could see it both above ground and where it was buried. The locations of the above ground are due to permafrost.
Tomorrow is our final day in Fairbanks. Again we have a group boat ride scheduled. After that, Jim and I need to get to the North Pole. I know Santa is waiting for us!! More after that trip .....
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