We arrived in Fairbanks today and took another opportunity to take hot showers, wash a few clothes, use actual wifi, and drink good beer! Jorgito and Maddie were right – we do like our camping set-up more than the hotel stays, but sometimes a woman needs to wash her hair. We spent two nights in the Bridgewater Hotel so we could stay on schedule and make our way to Prudhoe Bay for our Saturday afternoon Arctic Ocean adventure. Arriving early means more cold nights on the Arctic tundra.
On the way to Fairbanks, we made a quick stop at North Pole…saw Santa, read hundreds of letters written to him over the years (see photos above) and mailed post cards to Zoey, Zander and Lilly! Zoey, don’t forget to check your iPod – I texted proof of my location. Notice the Christmas wish letter from the child who just wanted to be able to keep taking music lessons – remember how lucky we are to have what we have, do what we do, share what we share. Not everyone has the life we live.
Fairbanks was not what I expected. It is a small city with the usual businesses (Napa Auto, Safeway, Starbucks and REI), but if you lifted it out of its location, you could have put it anywhere else and never known it was from Alaska. It rained much of the time we were there, but we did manage to eat two delicious dinners that included three different types of wild salmon, bacon wrapped caribou meatloaf, Alaskan King Crab legs, and lamp pops! Yes, that was a lot of food for two dinners…we were stuffed. We sampled 4 or 5 different beers from local Alaskan breweries – none of which were Alaskan Amber, and finally saw a grizzly bear. You can see from the picture below that he was giant, but gentle.
No trip to town is complete without a stop at the Home Depot, Jorge’s home away from home. The platform in the bed of the truck needed a few extra screws to hold it in place and help the drawer system function properly. While we do have almost one of everything in the tool storage space behind the driver’s seat, we left the cordless drill in our garage. Not a problem. We just parked the truck in the contractors’ covered parking bay, took out a few things, rented the tool from the Home Depot friends, and Jorge made the repairs.
The clouds were ominous on both days, and hang gliding/paragliding was not an option. Foiled once again, however there is one thing of which we are certain – you cannot control the weather. Ever. No matter how hard we try.
We did have one slight mishap at the hotel parking lot. While we slept, some derelict climbed up on top of our car and stole one of our shiny new, bright red metal gas cans. Yes, the one that was full of gas. We spent some time in the afternoon looking for a replacement, finally finding one in the Sportsman Warehouse. We also bought locks, hoping to avoid this issue when we return to Fairbanks after visiting Deadhorse and the Arctic Sea.
We are including some pictures of the truck and its amenities. You can see that we follow my favorite motto – A place for everything, and everything in its place. This helps keep things organized. The buckles and straps keep things from flying all over when we navigate the dirt highways. Yes, that is my basket and my yoga mat. We already have some ideas about how to improve things for the next trip (the Pan-American highway all the way to the tip of South America), but for now – things are working very well.
Days 9 and 10 – 220 mi…minor repairs at the Fairbanks Home Depot remind us of home.