Fairbanks, Alaska

August 10

Seems like I am always playing catch up with my blog on this trip. The last entry was from the Mckinley Lodge in Denali. This entry is being penned at the Fairbanks Airport as we await our flight to Anchorage, the first leg of our trip home. We overnight in Anchorage and fly to Van tomorrow afternoon and have a red-eye from Vancouver to Toronto arriving in TO at 6:35 am on Tuesday.

From Denali we were bused to Fairbanks where we stayed at the Westmark Hotel. It was a very nice room where we spent the last 3 days. Along the way from Denali we stopped at the village of Nenana. This is today an aboriginal village on the Nenana River.

They had an interesting presentation in the community centre and for once, the price of food was really reasonable with chocolate bars $1 and other such snacks about the same. We arrived at the Westmark, checked out the menu at the 2 restaurants and quickly decided to search our more reasonably priced options. Had dinner at Iris at the Golden Nugget and it was quite good.

The following day we had essentially had a full day of tours. The first one took us to “Gold Dredge #8”. The first thing we did here was to have a presentation on the Alaskan Pipeline.

We found this quite interesting and took numerous pics. We then went on a short train ride where the different methods of collecting gold were described and demonstrated. All very interesting! We exited the train and then we panned for gold. We were given our “poke” and shown how to use the pan & combined we collected $23 worth of gold which we then put into a locket that cost $29. Ya ya, I know what you are saying . . .

From Gold Dredge #8 we went on a river cruise featuring the “Discovery III” untitled-3a paddle wheeler. Again, a highly recommended tour. We saw many beautiful homes on the river bank and stopped at an Iditarod mushers (Female rookie of the year) kennels and she demonstrated using a 4×4 how the dogs run. The dogs were really anxious to get pulling this sled on wheels with extreme amounts of barking and jumping up and down. As soon as they were allowed to take off all barking stopped and they really took off. Last on the trip was a very interesting visit to a native village with three separate presentations on fishing, housing and clothing. Dinner was once again at the Iris.

Gold Dredge Slide Show

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Paddle Wheel Slide Show

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Yesterday, as some of you may know was spent at the North Pole . . . well the village of North Pole, AK. This was somewhat disappointing as thejill-santa “Santa” store here was a far cry from the one we saw in NC last fall. Still an interesting place to go. We had lunch at the “Pagoda” restaurant and it was very big and very good! This restaurant had been featured on Diners Drive Ins & Dives and lived up to its reputation.

We had spotted, earlier in the day a place called “The Jazz Bistro on 4th Street” and decided to go there for dinner. Downtown Fairbanks was a ghost town on Saturday night & unfortunately there was no live Jazz band. However the owner spent some time with us (we were likely his only customers for the night) and we had some interesting conversation. He is a Cuban by birth (Latin Cuisine) and his wife is from Alabama. Very nice people. If we were to ever revisit Fairbanks (highly unlikely) we would definitely return to the Jazz Bistro.

Well, that brings us to today. After grabbing a muffin and a coffee in the hotel the four us went back to our rooms to pack.

This unfortunate task was completed by about 11:00 am and we walked to downtown and the river walk. This was a nice walk and at around 1:00 we had lunch at a very nice place called The Crapery. Quite unique crepe sandwiches and very, very good.

From here we went back to the hotel, where we had previously checked out and I read about Sundays Jays game where we completed the sweep of the Yankees. My Jays are certainly doing well!

This has been a wonderful trip made even better sharing it with our good friends form North Carolina, Charlie and Martha. I think after 14 very good days we have confirmed that we are both good travel partners and plan on doing it again. Thanks to Martha and Charlie for making this trip extra special!

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