Xmas in Alaska!!

Trip Start Jun 14, 2013
Trip End Jul 07, 2013

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Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, AK
The North Pole

Flag of United States  , Alaska
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today we took it easy for once. We only had 200 miles to drive today. I say "only" but it's still like driving from London to Leeds! Anyway, by Alaskan standards, it felt like a walk in the park. So, after a bit of a lay-in and a leisurely breakfast, that's what we did: we had a walk in the park. Pioneer Park to be exact, which turned out to be a very good move. Pioneer Park is not just any green park, it attempts to tell the story of the Fairbanks pioneer spirit and piut it into practice - and a very good job it does too. The first thing you're greeted with is a colossal paddle steamer in a dry dock, then a train carriage, an old plane and an authentic Western-style high street. The interesting thing is none of these are replicas or models but the real deal. For example, there must have been 20 or so buildings which have been picked up from Fairbanks city centre and placed in the middle of this park. So, you had someone's actual house/log cabin displaced to this park. Believe us, it was fascinating. Add to this, an excellent children's play area and an outdoors food hall and Pioneer Park is well worth a visit.
We then headed onto the local Museum which again turned out to be excellent: a fascinating summing-up of topics we'd dipped in and out of so far on our trip, ie. Native American culture, wildlife, gold, oil, etc.
We left Fairbanks feeling it was a far nicer city than Anchorage with a lot more charm and care taken to make its residents feel proud, despite the killer spraying!
I think today we're getting animal fever. Hjalmar managed to mistake an animal for a postbox and I started runnning from a poodle thinking it might be a bear! Although, we did see a real moose on the side of the road but, by then, we were convinced it was a rubbish bin!
About 20 miles outside of Fairbanks, we visited one of the strangest places you're ever going to visit: North Pole, Alaska. Of course, in an attempt to grab the tourist dollar, they've turned over half the town to a 365 day of the year Xmas theme, including a huge Xmas emporium complete with Santa's Grotto. It was horrible but we had to send a postcard and buy souvenirs. This only added to the rather surreal feeling we had all day started with a kind gesture from a pair of Christians who were staying in the B&B who just had to continue their missionary work by talking at us for half an hour about Christ and their work and finishing it all off by supplying us with copies of the Gideon's bible. How kind and thoughtful!?! You can never be saved enough.
This evening, we ended up in Tok (pronounced Toke - shortened from Tokyo Camp) which just seems to be a strip of practical outlets surrounding the junction of 2 of Alaska's great roads. Totally charmless but very necessary when you're in the middle of nowhere.
Tomorrow, we head over the Canadian border into Yukon territory and onto Whitehorse. It's probably going to be the hardest day on our grand tour (400 miles of driving) but, afterwards, we're rewarded with a few days driving down the Cassiar Highway, one of Canada's great roads.
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Harald on

I really didn't expect you to see so many interesting, but also weird things on your adventure. I find it very entertaining reading about it all.
Keep on driving safely.

Bodil Cowling on

If you come across a Grizzlie (or a Bed Bug) on your walks in the park keep eye contact,
wave your arms to look larger and back away slowly without running (then
lock yourselves into your car, ) xxx

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