An American AdventureAway We Go Logo


Fairbanks, Alaska and the Artic Circle

July 8, 2006

Hello again to all. Alaska hasn't been what we've expected so far. Everything is green, a bit warm with temps in the 80's, rain showers every day, and LOTS of mosquitoes! If I didn't know any better, I's say we made a wrong turn and ended up back in Florida!

We left Tok, Alaska on Wednesday morning and drove up to Fairbanks. On the way to Fairbanks we saw our first section of the Alaskan Oil Pipeline which stretches over 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay in the north down to Valdez in the south. This was a large bridge section suspended over the Yukon River. We stopped in the viewing area for lunch and pictures. There were several other RV's there as well. One of which was a couple I spoke to briefly from Ormond Beach, Florida. It wasn't long and we were quickly on our way.

Upon arriving in Fairbanks, we decided to camp at Pioneer Park. There's no hookups, but its only $10 a night. Pioneer Park is a theme park so to speak with a lot of old original log cabins from around Alaska which were moved to and restored here for their shops. They also have here the Riverboat Nenana which is the second largest wooden hull vessel in existence, an Alaskan Rail Road car used by President William Harding, and much more.

On Wednesday evening we ate dinner at the Greek restaurant there inside Pioneer Park. Yes I know what you're saying. We're in Alaska so why pick a Greek restaurant. Well we hadn't had Greek food in a while and the Salmon bake was an all you can eat. We weren't that hungry so we saved it for another day.

During our few days here in Fairbanks, we didn't do a whole lot. The weather was overcast and raining off and on the whole time. So I think that in combination with the long drive through Canada and the fact that we haven't slept very good, made us a bit tired and lazy. Oh speaking of not sleeping good, we haven't really seen nighttime since we got here. Even though there is about a three hour difference between sunset and sunrise, it doesn't get dark here. Hopefully we'll get used to it soon.

Yesterday we did take a drive in the Blazer up north along the Dalton Highway to reach the Artic Circle. We originally wanted to go all the way to Prudhoe Bay but that would take two days round trip. After inquiring about hotels to stay the night up there, finding them to be too expensive and the fact that there wasn't any snow on the ground anymore, we decided against it. Especially looking at the photos online without snow. The whole area was so flat, it looked like southern Louisiana! So we just drove up to the Artic Circle.

After about an hour north of Fairbanks, the weather did clear up which made for some nice scenery along the way. There was a couple of points of interest as well. For one the Alaskan Oil Pipeline was visible along the Dalton Highway for most of the trip.

There was also this hill called Finger Mountain. This was unusual in that most of the landscape up here is grassy fields, small trees and lots of bushes. It wasn't very rocky except this one hill. And the reason it is called Finger Mountain is because of one lone rock that points up out of the ground about 40 feet. I didn't get a good photo because I forgot my zoom lens and wasn't up to hiking all the way over to it. Plus there were a lot of bugs out. So the boys climbed on the nearby rocks for a little bit and we continued on.

A short time later we came across a valley which was blanketed by purple flowers. It looked really cool. I had to pull off the road a couple of times to get some pictures of it.

Finally we reached the Artic Circle. You know it just wasn't the same without the snow on the ground. There were a lot of folks there taking their pictures next to the sign and one offered to take ours so we could get everyone included in the shot. By this time the wind had died down and the mosquitoes were out in abundance. So it was a quick snap and we rushed back into the safety of the Blazer.

Oh I almost forgot. If you do make it up this way, there's not a whole lot of places to eat or get gas along the way as you can imagine. But about halfway up between Fairbanks and the Artic Circle near mile post 60 is a place called the Hot Spot Cafe. If you're traveling north, you'll pass another place at the river near mile post 57. Skip it and go on to the Hot Spot Cafe. The place doesn't look like much, but their "big burger" is probably one of the best burgers Cricket and I have ever eaten. It's $9.95 and doesn't come with french fries, but you won't need them. It was a meal by itself.

Well that's it for now. Today we leave for Denali National Park.

See you back soon,