Tok to Fairbanks, Alaska

As I start writing this, it’s a few minutes before sunrise, which will be at 4:02. It’s only 47°F (8.3°C) right now but it’s forecast to be mostly sunny with a high of 69 (20C) – a perfect day to explore Fairbanks!

Much of yesterday was cold and wet, and the drive from Tok to Fairbanks doesn’t have many stops of interest so I have few photos to show you today. We saw a cow moose and calf on the highway just before reaching Delta Junction but my attempt to slowly get close were unsuccessful (any sighting is a good sighting, though 🙂 ). The first stop was at the end of the Alaska Highway, Mile 1422, at Delta Junction, Alaska. The New York Times recently published an article which contained a comment that the Alaska Highway is 1,488 miles long. It definitely isn’t, but I’ve been trying to figure out where that number came from. The only thing I can think of is that the reporter may think that it’s the actual driving distance from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks (though Mapquest says that it’s 1,461 miles).

The end of the Alaska Highway

I started having problems with my camera at the Delta Junction stop and thought that it was dying. But after much searching and frustration, I found the problem and fixed it. It had somehow gotten changed to a strange setting that requires you to confirm that you want to save each photo that you just took – why would I take a photo if I didn’t want to save it???

The next stop was for lunch at Rika’s Roadhouse, which is a wonderful stop in good weather, not as much in the rain (though the food is still excellent). This is one of the many interpretive displays.

Rika's Roadhouse - Richardson Highway, Alaska

Just a minute after leaving Rika’s, we got our first look at the Trans Alaska Pipeline, the operation of which is one of the 2 most important economic drivers in the state (the other is the military). On the tour today we’ll get a much closer look at it, but the impressive crossing of the Tanana River is worth a short stop.

Trans Alaska Pipeline - Tanana River Bridge

A visit to Santa Claus House at North Pole is a must!

Santa Claus House - North Pole, Alaska

We had a quick look at the historic downtown area, Golden Heart Park in particular. When I first came to Fairbanks in 1985 it was a wild place, still reeling from the post-pipeline-construction crash, but the city has done a great job of cleaning this area up. The Looking for Love Again project, focused on the long-abandoned Polaris Hotel, is an interesting extension of that cleanup.

We’re now at the Wedgewood Resort, an excellent property – I’ll show you why I think that in the next post 🙂

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