Fairbanks and Forward

We spent several days in Fairbanks. Took a sternwheeler riverboat downriver for a several hour cruise seeing a recreated Indian village, an Iditarod sled dog kennel, and met a bunch of people from all over – upstate New York, Dallas, etc. Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska, and more like the towns we are used to in the lower 48. Except … when one starts to notice, there are electrical outlets all over the place: on the exterior of building, in parking lots – but you soon figure out those are for the plugs you see hanging out of the front grill of vehicles. It gets pretty cold here in the winter and those engine heaters keep the cars operating in sub-zero temperatures. The temps right now in Fairbanks are quite warm – in the mid-80’s while we were there. Even had to sleep with the windows open at night!

The next stop was Denali National Park, home of Grizzly, Caribou, Mt. McKinley now known as Denali (the original native Alaskan name) among other wild life and geographical eye candy. We boarded a tour bus which took us some 60 miles into the interior where no not-authorized vehicles are allowed. We even had a Grizzly walk right past our bus, literally feet away. Boy, the cameras were snapping on that guy.

We tried to leave the Denali area, however, snapped an engine belt, and while our traveling companions continued south, on Tuesday night the rig was towed back to Fairbanks, with us following. Spent Wednesday there getting semi-fixed, then Thursday afternoon we headed back south to meet up with our friends in Anchorage. Although we do not like to drive after dark, the thing is, it never gets dark here, so night driving is not all that bad; actually better because there is little traffic, no stops for road work, and it is nearly as light as day. So we got 3 hours of sleep one night and 5 hours another – were we goofy.

You can definitely tell you are approaching a populated area as you get closer to Anchorage. About 100 miles out, passing through smaller communities and Wasilla, you begin to see houses, convenience stores, businesses and so on. And, as we tootled along, (at 11:00 pm, mind you) started to see folks out riding horses, bicycles, walking. Still hard to get used to. So, parked in Anchorage in a very nice RV park, we waited for Monday and Tuesday to see the Freightliner folks and the Caterpillar folks, and the air filter folks, to get us back in good working order so we could continue the trip!

While in Anchorage we visited Earthquake Park, the Saturday Market, the largest float plane airport in the world, the Alaska Zoo (where we saw two of the only three moose we’ve seen on this trip!), even though there are actually signs on the streets of Anchorage warning you to watch out for the moose on the roadways.

I hope my next input will be extolling the wonderful oceanfront communities of south western Alaska.