The Bouchers at Home on the Road travel blog

Native fish traps along the Yukon River, Fairbanks.

Beautiful handmade Alaskan Native Parka.

Native method of salmon smoking.

One of the sternwheelers used for Yukon River tours.

Susan Butcher's dogs.

Typical view along the Dalton HWY

Richard and I at the Arctic Circle.

Poppy feeling the permafrost beneath the tundra.

11 PM on the Dalton HWY

Women asking directions at Coldfoot Camp on Dalton HWY

2-5 August 2006

Fairbanks Days 15-18

The drive to Fairbanks was good, with more beautiful scenery, and a couple of stops to break up the drive. One stop was at North Pole, AK, where many of us arranged to have Santa letters sent to the grandchildren next Christmas. Fairbanks is the most northerly of our stops. The city itself is very well layed out, and clean. The military is very present here, and is probably a big contributor to the economy.

Our first evening in Fairbanks we all went to see a 'photosymphony' of the Northern Lights - a series of outstanding pictures of the Northern Lights set to music. The man who creates the photosymphony gave a very informative talk before his show. After that we trooped over to the Malamute Saloon (not far away), for yet another variety show.

Day 2 of our Fairbanks stay included a tour of the University of Alaska Museum (outstanding!), followed by an excellent luncheon at the Pump House. In the afternoon, we had a tour of a gold mine with more gold panning (and more gold collected) - which we enjoy.

On D3, we took a large stern-wheeler cruise up the Yukon River (with hordes of cruise-ship passengers!). The views of life along the river were good - although waterfront property values with big homes are coming to AK, too. The nice part is that the area remains unique, and with no restrictions on zoning and building, it has not yet developed the McMansion theme. After the river cruise, we went to Pioneer Park to visit the attractions, and have yet another salmon dinner :)

On D4, Richard and I (and a few other people) did a Fly/Drive to the Arctic Circle. We flew up in a small 6 seater, and drove back in a small tour bus. Although it was a very long day, it was an amazing trip. We had our pictures taken at the Arctic Circle, felt the ice (permafrost) beneath the Tundra, and saw miles and miles of the Pileline (which parallels the road - the Dempster HWY - into Fairbanks). It was still light out when we got back to the airport (and our cars) after midnight - although it was dusk. The late hour made for a short night's sleep, since we needed to leave for Denali in the morning.

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