Our base camp for this part of our journey was Riverbend RV park. It was a neatly-kept park and less than 10 minutes from the downtown core. On Monday, Mom and I drove into Fairbanks with several stops in mind. First, the laundry mat. CK, the bad kitty, wouldn't let Baby Girl into the bathroom to access the litter box and sometimes when you gotta go, you gotta go. So she did. On mom's sleep sack. Again. Aaarrgghhh!! We found a laundry that had a 5-load capacity washing machine so we could do everything at once. Less than an hour and a half later, laundry was done and we were off to our next stop. I needed a new camera battery. My backup battery would not hold a charge and thankfully Fairbanks had a really nice camera store where I was able to purchase a replacement. Genuine Nikon. Woo hoo!
Next on our to-do list was to find the two quilt shops in Fairbanks that were participating in the Row By Row Experience. We found them both easily and added their row patterns to our stash. Then it was time to restock the food supplies at the grocery store before heading back to the 5’er.
For dinner, George took us to the Turtle Club in Fox, north of Fairbanks. We had reservations and it was a good thing. The place was packed! The menu is not very big; mostly prime rib and a few other entrees. Mom and I had prime rib and George had a lobster/prime rib combo. We had enough leftovers to bring home for another meal. It was good eating. RUAT-YBYSAIA.
On the way back to camp after dinner, we stopped at a turnout with access and info on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. We missed the one turnout on our way to Valdez so this gave us another opportunity to see it up close.
|Pipeline North of Fairbanks|
The following morning, we left Fairbanks and headed back to Tok.
Not far from Fairbanks is the North Pole. Yep, home of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Of course we had to stop and say hello. Luckily, Santa was home that day. I also made sure to see his reindeer at the Antler Academy of Flying and Reindeer Games. Rudolph must have been on vacation as he was nowhere to be found. All other eight reindeer were present and accounted for. Cute little buggers. Much smaller than I anticipated.
|I've Been a Good Girl!|
At one point along the Alaska Highway is another pipeline access/info site. It crosses the Tanana River on a unique suspension bridge. We were able to stop and learn more about this feature. I have enjoyed the informative signs at these pullouts.
|Pipeline Suspension Bridge|
In Delta Junction, we braked for yet another quilt shop and asked about places to eat lunch. We opted for the Buffalo Drive-in and had burgers, fries and milk shakes. It was a very popular place for lunch, even with the locals, but the service was fast.
The Alaska Highway in most places between Fairbanks and Tok was not very scenic, especially when the skies were gray and rainy at times. Lots of trees line the roadway with not a lot in between. The few scenic pullouts were not worth the stop unless you wanted to look at clouds covering most of the mountain range. The highway itself was in good shape with a few frost heaves and gravel construction zones. We saw one moose along the way and that was it.
|Birch Lake Area|
|Dot Lake Church|
|Alaska Highway Heading towards Tok|
I am beginning to think that our drives to Tok are jinxed. The last time we arrived in Tok is when we discovered we lost our chairs at some point. This time we nicked our left rear trailer jack somehow. Perhaps it was when we came back up onto the highway when we did a bathroom break. Maybe we bent it turning into the pipeline pullout. We didn’t know. George noticed the bent jack when we stopped to see the pipeline and were walking back to the truck. All we did know is that it required some repairs in Tok that we accomplished with some ingenuity and muscle power (no duct tape required). Poor See-More is taking a beating and we haven't even driven the worst road yet. Will it survive the Top of the World Highway? Time will tell.