On our way into Fairbanks, we stopped in North Pole, Alaska. Some of the attractions were closed for the summer and wouldn’t re-open until November, but that didn’t stop us from taking pictures.
We stopped at the reindeer training center called Antler Academy. The reindeer were resting up for their big night in a couple of months.
We went to the Santa Claus House. This is a gift shop, where you can meet Santa and buy North Pole souvenirs.
We didn’t get to sit on Santa’s lap, but we sent a postcard to our grandkids with a message from Santa. There is a mailbox inside Santa’s House so you can mail the postcards. The postcards receive the North Pole postmark. Whitney and Wyatt were pretty excited when they heard we were at the North Pole.
The city of North Pole, gets into the Christmas spirit, year round. The street poles are wrapped like candy canes, as are most business signs.
It only took 4 campgrounds to find a place to stay for the 3 nights we would be in the Fairbanks area. It wasn’t due to crowds, but most had shut down their tenting areas for the winter. The nice folks at Riverview RV Park, opened their tenting area for us. This saved about $30.00 a night in comparison to the RV spots. To celebrate our good fortune we looked to see if there were any Triple D spots in Fairbanks. We are big fans of the food show, “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”. We found one called the Cookie Jar.
The food was excellent. We had the prime rib special and a chicken fried steak. However, the chicken fried steak was the star, as it is made with prime rib!!! Our waitress was Katie. She is a student at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Her family owns a reindeer ranch in Nome, Alaska. Since it was closing time, she answered all our questions about reindeers, Alaska, and whether we should use the term Eskimos, since we were told to call Native Americans, First Nation in Canada. She even showed us a cool trick with her hand to use when talking about Alaska. It was a great way to celebrate our arrival in Fairbanks. We had travelled 4434 miles, and just about halfway through our road trip adventure.
We woke the next morning with a list of “chores” we need to accomplish, things we needed to buy, and places we wanted to see in Fairbanks. Our first stop was Pioneer Park. This tells the history of Fairbanks through displays. It was free to enter the park.
The Harding Car aka the Denali Car is on display. This is the train car that US President Warren G. Harding rode in, when he came to Alaska in 1923 to drive the Golden Spike to complete the Alaska Railroad.
The Historical buildings of Fairbanks have been moved to the park. They have been restored. There is a sign on each building indicating where there were located in Fairbanks.
There is a raven sculpture as well as a place to get your picture as a dog sled musher.
The museum is full of a variety of items and has lots of information of the history of Fairbanks.
For $7 you can watch a presentation on Fairbanks. It is in a rotating theater and is told through paintings.
There is also a large display on the 1967 FAirbanks Flood.
The steam ship on display is a nice example of the boats used to transport goods and passengers.
Since we were at the halfway point of the trip, we had the oil changed in the pick-up and re-stocked our camping supplies at Sam’s Club and Walmart. We then found the offical Alaska Highway marker in downtown Fairbanks.
Fairbanks is considered the unofficial end to the Alaska Highway. The people of Alaska call it the Alaska Highway, while the people in Canada call it the Alcan Highway. Fairbanks is called the Golden Heart City, so the highway marker is in Golden Heart Plaza. There are some statues as well as the offices of the Yukon Quest, a 1000 mile dog sled race that starts in Fairbanks. There were also numerous ducks who were enjoying the afternoon drizzle.
We finished the day by eating the leftovers from the Cookie Jar.
Monday morning we awoke to the sound of Reveille, as the Fort Wainwright, a US Army base was right next to the campground. We caught up on our laundry, and then headed to the University of Alaska- Fairbanks campus. We saw Musk oxen at the Large Animal Research Station.
The campus has a Kolmakovsky block house that has been restored. It is a relic from the Russian-American Trading Post from the 1850s.
We then picked Jerie up at the Fairbanks airport. She had been working at a fishing lodge on Prince of Wales Island on the inside passage of Alaska for the last 3 months.
The first thing she wanted to do was eat at Taco Bell. She also could not resist the crepe shop next door. It was a good choice, the crepes were delicious.
Since she was not with us when we went to the North Pole and it was close to our campground we stopped and took picture. You can never get enough of Santa’s home.
Santa’s reindeer and sleigh
With Jerie joining our trip, we are ready for the next week of Alaska adventures…