Monday, August 21, 2017

Our Favorites From Fairbanks

Here are some of our favorite experiences from our two week stay in Fairbanks.  River's Edge RV Park, our homebase for that period, was comfortable and centrally located for all of our mini excursions.

Alaska Museum of the North on the campus of Alaska University Fairbanks
We found this museum fascinating with so much to see here, learn and experience.  Even the architecture of the museum was intriguing.

There were many Native Alaskan artifacts but this very old Chilkat Robe got my attention.  It's possibly over  150 years old.

Here, an artist is getting an exhibit ready for a polar bear exhibit.

Examples of Native Alaskan life, Alaska geology, astronomy, historical reference, natural science history..why it was all here anything Alaskan for folks to learn, marvel and enjoy.
Native Alaskan fish traps

The second floor housed a wonderful art gallery with non-native and Native Alaskan artists depicting all kinds of scenes from Alaska.  We also found three Ansel Adams photographs, two of which were made in Denali National Park.

Morris Thompson Cultural Center
Focusing on the Native Alaskan art, music and culture this newly built Center was fun and full of surprises.
 Athabascan Beadwork inspires the sidewalk mosaics..

This original historic cabin, built around 1910 is located very close to it's original location near the Chena River.  Now located  on the property of the Thompson Cultural Center, it's an educational look back into the past of how many Alaskans lived 100 years ago.

Entering the Morris Thompson Cultural Center was a visual treat! Paper cranes filled the sun lit entrance windows.
We even saw a live Native Alaskan music and dance exhibit.
One of the many highlights of the center is their Moose Antler Arch.

Alaska Salmon Bake at Pioneer Park
Wow..this dinner was delicious and we enjoyed that all-you-can-eat grilled salmon.
Some of the old mining equipment displayed in Pioneer Park from the gold rush days.
This old steam shovel worked in Hawaii and even helped dig the Panama Canal before it's final working days in the Alaska gold mines.

The Tanana Valley Farmer's Market showcases only Alaska made and grown products.

We enjoyed a fun afternoon exploring the Tanana Valley State Fair too.

Yummy visit to the Northern Most Brewery in North America
Silver Gulch Brewery and Restaurant

We got an up close and personal view of the most amazing engineering feat:
Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

Cramer's Field Migratory Waterfoul Refuge
What a treat to see hundreds of Alaska's Sandhill Cranes at their late summer migratory stop.

Our visit to the Fountainhead Auto Museum turned out to be a real highlight.
This nationally acclaimed auto museum holds apx 80 (corrected number here!) American-made automobiles ranging from years 1898 to 1938.  What made this museum so interesting to me was the original period clothing displayed with each auto.  It seemed to make each exhibit come to life.  Below is a very small sampling of some of the cars in this fascinating museum.
1912 Premier Roadster
early 1860's bicycles
1905 Winton with 1910 Motoring Ensemble.  That's an ivory silk duster with trim, textured raw silk day dress accompanied with straw hat, silk flowers and netted veil.

This small display case held decorative items used on the clothing..all made with bird feathers.

1906 Pope-Toledo
Early version of a snowmobile..1917 Ford Snow Flyer

1933 Auburn
1931 Cord

Our last day trip was to the Arctic Circle by the Dalton Highway.
 The Haul Road, as it is also called on the History Channel's Ice Road Truckers is the only highway up to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and Deadhorse.  We found the Dalton Highway wet, muddy (some pavement, some just dirt road) and was filled with monster-sized pot holes.  We traveled as far north as Gobblers Knob Turnout (MP132), then made the U-turn to travel back to Fairbanks.  It was a 485 mile round trip journey that day.
The Dalton Highway was hastily constructed for installing and continued maintenance of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.  The Pipeline is visible throughout many sections of the highway.

That's the E.L. Patton Yukon River Bridge. 
A view of the bridge from the Yukon River.
Yukon Crossing Visitor Contact Station
Getting our "official" Arctic Circle Crossing Certificate.

We saw some wildlife on our drive, mostly birds such as Sandhill Cranes, a hawk and this duck in the wigeon family, I think.

This group of motorcyclists drove up for their photo in front of the Arctic Circle sign too.


Our time in Fairbanks and our Alaskan Summer have come to a conclusion.  It's time to move southward, back down the Alaska Highway towards Canada and finally the lower 48 States. We have enjoyed our time here immensely.  We have met the most friendly folks, camped in some beautiful places, seen spectacular landscapes and experienced some fabulous food.  Hopefully, again one day, we can make this memorable, remarkable journey back to
Alaska "The Last Frontier".

More Later.