Fairbanks and the North Pole

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July 6th 2017
Published: July 14th 2017
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While it was hard to part with the wonderful amenities that we had been enjoying in Tok, we knew we needed to get along in our journey. We pulled up stakes and headed out on Thursday venturing to our next destination which would end in Fairbanks. Along the way we stopped in Delta Junction, AK which is the end of the Alaska highway. Now remember we started it in Dawson Creek, BC, which was mile 0 and now we were ending it at mile 1422. Yes, that means we have driven all 1422 miles of it! We actually have driven 3406 miles so far on this trip and we still have a lot more to go. Crazy! I think this may be one of our longest road trips so far. Maybe not time but distance for sure. We will see. Outside of Delta Junction we stopped at Rika's Roadhouse which was an important crossroads for prospectors, travelers, traders, and the military during the early days of the 20th century. It has a cafe, gift shop and is part of the Big Delta State Historical Park. The grounds are right along the Tanana River and it is a very peaceful and pleasant place to have lunch (which we did.) It is also the first place you will get a good view of the Alaska pipeline. As you know this stretches on all throughout Alaska but you never even know it is there.

From here we ended up in North Pole, AK at Riverview RV Park. It is just outside Fairbanks on the Chena River. It was a nice park and was centrally located. Fairbanks is a big town compared to any we have been to recently. They have all the amenities you could want and their shopping selection is very good. We decided to stay here 5 nights to fit in all the things we wanted to do.

We started off going to the University's Large Animal Research sanctuary. They had Muskox and reindeer that they were studying in the wild as well as some that they had there at their facility. It was very interesting and of course we loved seeing the animals. Then I was dying to go to see Santa since we were in his city for goodness sakes! ?? I had been to the grocery store the night before and I spotted someone who looked a lot like him in the parking lot. I whipped out my camera and of course Don told me to put it away! I didn't because I wanted everyone to see that Santa shops at Safeway too! ??? Anyway, on to my North Pole experience. We get to Santa's house and it looks like Christmas threw up in there! Everything from floor to ceiling is Christmas. Well, what did I expect right? It's just that the prices were so jacked up that it really sucked all the merriment out of it. Boo Santa! ?? I did buy a few things for the sheer fact to say they were from Santa's house in the North Pole. I mean really, when are you ever going to have that opportunity again? It's cheesy I know, but the little kid in me can't help it. We also managed to find a triple "D" (Diners, Drive-in's and Dives's) here in Fairbanks can you believe it?! It was called the Cookie Jar and we managed to fit in an early dinner there. While we didn't see the show it was feature on, the food was very good. Well worth the stop.??

The next day we went on the Gold Dredge 8 tour which is one of the old gold mines that produced 3.5 million ounces of gold before it shut down. They let you pan for gold at the end of the tour and between Don & I we got $27 worth of gold. I had it put into a locket that can go on a necklace. It is pretty cool. Something that I will always have. They also have part of the Alaska pipeline that runs through the property and they talk about it and let you see it up close. There were a lot of interesting facts and figures but one of the most interesting I thought was that it actually generates 70% of Alaska's governmental revenue.

The following day we took a riverboat cruise down the Chena River on the paddle boat Discovery. We watched a bush pilot take off and land in the river, went to an Athabascan Indian Village and visited the sled dog kennels of the late Iditarod Champion Susan Butcher. It was a fun 3 hours filled with a lot of interesting things to see and do.

Finally our last day there happened to be our Anniversary. So we celebrated by going to the Salmon bake in Pioneer Village. It was something that we have never done before, and probably will never have the chance to do again, so we figure why not celebrate this way. It was fun and enjoyable but being with my hubby was the best part. After 24 years it just keeps getting better! ??

We are really loving Alaska and experiencing all it has to offer. Heading to Denali National Park next. Talk soon! ?

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