It gets right cold up there!!

Alaska Travel Blog

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Trying to actually get to Fairbanks Alaska is probably half the fun, trying to get back is interesting to say the least. My first attempt to venture boldly north was thwarted by an apparent volcanic eruption somewhere in the vicinity of ANC (I could not spell Anchorage Airport) Jet engines have a little trouble with volcanic ash and I rather prefer the jet engines to remain untroubled until landing.

The following week a successful arrival for my connection in Anchorage was greeted with the usual gate change info, I smiled and headed for the appropriate gate only to find that during my short walk it was changed again. I smiled and made my way toward the next gate to find it somewhat quiet. The plane arrived and it was obviously full as all eight people got off. The plane then left, however I still remained at this rather quiet gate. I hunted down what looked like a member of Alaskan Airlines only to find, yes, the gate had been changed!! When I finally arrived at my gate the gate agent started to say something about my tardiness but the look she received led to her unfinished sentence.

Fairbanks is different to say the least, I stopped on the side of the airport exit road to just look around and found myself being gazed upon by two rather large fat moose looking beasts they were a fair size and only about 4 feet away. I assumed they were moose but as I have not really had the pleasure of being up close and personal with one before I am still none too sure.  I thought that maybe they were as worried as I was about this close encounter but they hid it better than me so I opted for the comfort of the rental car and a speedy retreat.

I have to say if you are impressed by landscape, mountains and forests Fairbanks is a must see its views from almost anywhere are outstanding. Fairbanks is actually classed as a small city, population about 32K most of which I think were on vacation when I got there. Apparently founded around 1901 it is not exactly the land that time forgot but you can see the buildings are old and it reminded me of pictures I had seen of America in the 60’s in today’s fashionable society you could probably call it retro and get away with it.

The downside was the very expensive Quality Inn I stayed in, it would be polite to call it awful but with it already being evening time I had little choice. The hotel restaurant should be renamed “pot luck” they have no idea what’s in the kitchen pantry and the menu is really just for casual reading as they did not have anything on it. The German couple on the next table to me simply walked out in disgust.

The mornings were a shock to the system, walk outside the door and the balmy 75 degree evening weather I had experienced turned into a 32 degree freeze, I quickly returned to my broom cupboard and changed the short sleeve T shirt I had planned for that day.

 I did get to visit Santa’s house in North Pole, of course here it is Christmas all year round. They have street lights in the shape of candy canes, reindeer in the parking lot; well they were behind a fence but still impressive and never ending tapes of Christmas music to welcome you. The elves in the house were helpful as I dispatched letters off to friends and family with the North Pole postmark on them.  I did notice not all the items on sale in Santa’s were the usual mass market type of junk we often see but some quite old original and o so expensive antique tree decorations.  

My return to the airport and indeed the first connecting flight was spent casually chatting with a bunch of guys dressed in camouflage jackets and NRA baseball caps. They had apparently spent the week taking pot shots at the local wildlife and seemed to think I would be impressed with their manly exploits and the size of their telescopic sights. They mentioned they were envious of my living in the Phoenix area as the young ladies walk the streets scantily clad or indeed naked, I decided not to shatter their illusions and managed to slip away from them during the 3 gate changes in Anchorage.

shirlan says:
Thank you for the blog Mark. We loved the bit of Alaska that we saw and would one day love to get further into it and go to Santa's house. :-)
Posted on: Sep 20, 2008
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