Between shuttles, taxis, and planes – we were pleased to rent a car of our own. Once behind the wheel, we sighed in relief. We had a mission the first day or two and wanted to find all of Robert’s historical spots, which we did. I shared that journey in “Part 1 Exploring His Roots.”
After that, we could be tourists and just enjoy some of the spots in and around Fairbanks. North east of town was a little place called Fox, Alaska. My husband’s last name is Fox, so of course we had to go. Fox is comprised of two bars across from each other and one small building.
This was a two person company. The husband took pictures of the Northern Lights and the wife sold them (and the pictures imprinted on T-shirts). Tourist gold.
On the way back from Fox, we stopped by an information site that explained some of the Alaskan Pipeline. As an ex-welder, my husband was fascinated by the herculean task accomplished.
I’m about as cheesy as they come, so when I realized that there was a place called, North Pole, Alaska, I just HAD to go. So, after being well educated with the science and technology of the great Alaskan pipeline, we traveled southeast of Fairbanks to the North Pole.
Although the town was larger than Fox, other than all the lamp posts being decorated as candy canes, the real tourist gold was right here….Santa’s place.
We played and bought a few treats for family back in Oregon. Thank goodness we had a suitcase limit, because I picked up a new friend.
Each morning after the hotel breakfast, Robert and I would split up. I explored around the hotel (code for twitter- ha) and he took off to explore the town, mostly on foot. He wanted to get a beard trim from a barber who had been part of the community for a while. He also purchased a goat skin that would fit his hand-made drum. He’s still pretty happy about that.
Then there was the Ice Museum. He felt about the Ice Museum the way I felt about the North Pole, so of course we went. Traveling off season has its benefits and disadvantages. We were the only two in the museum. First, a 20 minute movie about how ice was harvested for the annual ice carving. The movie was well done and fascinating. The skill and technical know-how needed to create these sculptures is jaw-dropping.
When the movie finished, on came the lights and the glass windows around the theatre lit up to reveal real ice sculptures decorated with flashing lights. We went from about 50F/10C degrees in the theatre to 26F/-3.3C degrees in the ice room.
Cheesy, but would not have missed it!
While we had fun visiting different spots, we were discouraged that almost everything we found was made outside the USA. In talking with locals, we were directed to The Great Alaskan Bowl Company.
This was our favorite store in Fairbanks. The birch trees, so prominent in the landscape, are crafted into beautiful bowls. They also have tons of other things made in Alaska. Tourist gold.
Added note: My husband, who carries some kind of a compass in his head, was able to find his way around all the one way streets and the downtown road construction. Pretty dang proud of him.
Coming soon Part 5: Museums