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