Friday, July 23, 2010

The Great Northern Adventure, Day 6: Visiting North Pole, Meeting Santa, and Eating Reindeer

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Woke up in Beaver Creek.  Crossed back into Alaska, stopping at the border for some photos.

We stopped at a visitor center, with bathrooms and nice views.
Mountains Come Out Of The Sky


We stopped at yet another Westmark, this time in Tok for a proper lunch.  This one included red snapper, reindeer sausage, chicken, and sweet potato fries.  It really hit the spot.

Back on the road, stopping at Rika's Roadhouse for some strawberry and rhubarb pie and ice cream.

Yet another stop, this time at North Pole, Alaska.  We went to Santa's house, met the man and his reindeer (whose relatives were quietly digesting inside us at the time), and perused the tourist wonderwasteland that is Santa's house.

By the early evening we were at our hotel in Fairbanks: The Westmark on Noble @ 10th Avenue.  We're here for two nights, which is a nice break from all the packing and unpacking.  We said goodbye to our motorcoach driver and handed him some cash somewhere in the neighborhood of the "suggested gratuity" amount of $4/person/day.  (More on tipping later, what a racket.)

We scheduled our first "excursion": the Alaska Salmon Bake in Fairbanks.  We took Dad with us because we knew he'd enjoy it too.  We were picked up in a blue-painted school bus and dropped off at Pioneer Park, where the salmon bake is.

We had all-you-can-eat fire-roasted wild salmon, prime rib, fried cod and halibut, sides, desserts, and drinks.  We ate outside in the dry 80F air.  It was great to just sit outside, eat, and relax.

We walked around Pioneer Park to help digest some of that fantastic food, and caught the 9:20pm school bus back to the Westmark.

This far north, sunset is at 12:20 am and sunrise is at 3:29 am, though it never really gets all that dark in between.  We've never seen anything like it.


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