Drove around town to see some of the sites. Rode by the Rivers Edge RV Park on the other side of town. It's very nice; a little tidier than Riverview but more crowded. It's also closer to most of the attractions.
On Saturday there is a Farmer's Market--yum, fresh vegies. Unfortunately, we were a little early; they only had a few green peppers and cucumbers. There are other homemade goodies like breads, cakes, jellies, etc. plus lots of crafts.
Sams and Walmart are here so we did Randy's favorite thing--shopping for food (which takes forever because he has to look at everything down every aisle). Sams' prices were pretty much the same as ours at home--were we shocked! Time to stock up on food!
Had to see Santaland in North Pole. Thought it would be shops in a cute little village setting. Wrong! Just a store full of Christmas decorations. The Santa and the reindeer were real!
Then a bit of bad luck. The car wouldn't start. Tried jumping it; determined it wasn't the battery; thought it might be the starter. Randy got under there to do the old standby--hit it with a hammer; still no luck. The people here are so nice; lots of offers to help. In the end, we called AAA and had it towed to the Chrylsler Jeep dealer. The tow truck young man drove us to the campground. He was born here and told us all kinds of stories about living in this area, what it's like during the winter (glad we're not here during all the 60 below days), and places he's been to tow cars. You sure don't want to drive your own vehicle on the Dalton highway up to the Artic Circle!
Lucky us--the jeep got fixed the next day! Heard about a restaurant the "locals" like—Ivory Jacks. We drove outside of town and up the mountain to this lodge-looking place with all kinds of local memorabilia. The door handle from the previous bar that burned down was an Oosik, which was on display. Great atmosphere; so-so food. Drove around Ester Dome road; great views to the south of the distant mountains. First time seeing a caution road sign for “Dog Sled.”
Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge & Nature Trails is very interesting, especially if you like birds/nature. The people in the visitor center are very nice; they loan binoculars and mosquito spray. Thank goodness for the bug spray; mega mosquitoes! The trails are very good. We walked the trail to where the birds were being banded to track their migratory patterns. There are long nets set up throughout the forest to catch the birds so they can be tagged; even saw a bird in the net. Not a lot of birds at this time of the year—Canadian geese and Sandhill cranes.
Took the Riverboat Discovery cruise up the Chena River. Bought the Alaska Toursaver, which has buy one, get one free coupons for many Alaska activities. It was a beautiful sunny day so the 3½ hour tour was wonderful! The tour included watching a bush pilot take off and land on the river, Susan Butcher’s sled dog kennels, and an hour tour of a replica Athabascan Indian village narrated by native Alaskans.
Went on the tour with our Tennessee friends so had dinner at the Pump House restaurant again. The burgers were excellent; the seafood chowder fantastic—full of crab, shrimp, and fish.
Alaska Museum of the North is wonderful. We spent four hours looking at their many exhibits on the history of Alaska—native cultures, gold, animals, early explorers, art gallery. Watched two films—Aurora Borealis and Winter in Fairbanks. We were impressed with the variety and quality of Alaskan-made items in the gift shop, and the students working even explained the native history of the items.
Toured the Ice Museum, which is really unique! The ice sculptures were incredible—jack-o-lantern with a lift-up lid, two life-size horses with knights jousting, a chapel, the coke bear, a bar, fireplace, igloo, four bedrooms you could actually stay in--for $600 per night. Each bedroom had something different—bed was a bear lying on its back, Christmas tree, outhouse, shower. All sculpted out of ice blocks—very impressive! The colored lighting from under the sculptures made the pieces look very dramatic.
Fairbanks May 30-June 4
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Fairbanks, Alaska, United States