United States
Fairbanks

Here you’ll find travel reports about Fairbanks. Discover travel destinations in the United States of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

14 travelers at this place:

  • Day15

    DENALI TO FAIRBANKS

    June 8, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Our departure time from Denali is 2.30 pm so we have a leisurely morning to enjoy our last day in the Alaskan mountains. After breakfast we strolled around the shops and galleries in Denali. The shops are just for the tourist season and even the traffic lights are turned off when the tourists leave. The galleries of native arts and crafts usually have some very beautiful merchandise but with our luggage allowance restrictions we have to keep our dollars in our pocket! After shopping, we walked along the Nenana River nature trail and enjoyed seeing and reading about the native plants and trees which are blooming rapidly due to the long hours of daylight.

    Our bus driver, Faith, delivered the bus safety announcement in song accompanied by her yuk - a novel idea. We had another moose sighting just by the highway. Faith was in her early 20s and was up in Alaska with her husband (who was driving the bus in front) for their 1st season. Faith had already picked up some amusing stories including one about the little town of Ferry which originally had houses on both sides of the river but when the Alaskan railway was built they built a bridge over the river and the residents were initially allowed to use it but it was then decided to be too dangerous so crossing the bridge was banned. The residence were most unhappy about this decision and their method of protest was for them all to line up when a train came through and they dropped their pants to moon at the passengers!!!! Alaskan Railways quickly decided to reverse their decision. But every 4 July the residents come out and moon for the train passengers and tickets for this journey have to be booked well in advance.

    We stopped at Nenana for coffee and super big cakes and biscuits were on offer. Nenana holds an annual competition where people can buy a ticket for $2.50 and have to guess the exact date and time the ice will break on the river (this usually happens late April/early May). The prize money is usually around $200,000. Nanana had also been a first stop for the Iditarod mushers race.

    After the stop Faith arranged an Alaska trivia quiz with 'gold' chocolates (Rolos) as the prize for each correct answer. Faith also sang the Alaskan national song to us. It was an entertaining journey and Faith earned her tip.

    When we arrived in Fairbanks we walked downtown and saw the square, fountain, clock and old style shop fronts. We didn't find any of the restaurants too appealing in town so we returned to our hotel and enjoyed a meal there. Fairbanks, like most other Alaskan Towns, was established due to the Gold Rush. There is a large military presence in the area and the town flourished when the 800 mile Alaska Oil pipeline was under construction but then declined. Tourism is a major but seasonal industry here. There are a number of smarter and more modern shopping plazas out of town and the town has a university and an international airport plus a bush plane airport. The town is in the interior, only 120 miles from the Artic Circle and has a dry climate and less snowfall than other areas but temperatures in winter are still 30 or 40 degreesF below zero and people and planes get around on skis, snowshoes or snow machines.
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  • Day16

    FAIRBANKS

    June 9, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Today's excursion was an excellent finale to our Alaska Experience.

    Our coach driver Emma also offered us a musical safety announcement and sang us the Alaskan National song en route to our first stop, the Alaska Pipeline and Gold Dredger 8. Our guide, Tim, filled us in on the details of the pipeline. Oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay in 1968 and the Alyeska Pipeline Company started designing the pipeline in 1970. The pipeline was an epic feat of petroleum engineering. The pipe diameter is 48 inches, spans 3 mountains, 30 rivers and streams and terminates in the ice free port of Valdez. Construction lasted from 1974 to 1977 and cost $8 billion. The pipeline included many elevated crossings to avoid disturbing movement of big game herds and areas of permafrost.

    We boarded a replica train of the Tanana Valley railway and before setting off we were entertained with music performed by Emma's (the bus driver) Dad. During the train journey we had a informative talk and stops explaining how much water was required for the dredging operation and how in 1929 the Davison Ditch was built to carry water 91 miles from the headwaters of the Chatanika River to Fox where the dredger is today.

    Gold Dredger 8 was built in Pennsylvania, dismantled and transported to San Francisco, then shipped to Seward, and finally taken by train to Fox. It operated between 1928 and 1959. The dredger mechanically dug into the bank, scooping up the gold bearing gravel, it then went into the trimmer and stacker to separate out the gold. The gold was then heated and made into gold bars and finally was posted off to the federal bank.

    When we arrived we were given a poke sack of pay dirt and a pan. We were seated at a trough of water and taught how to pan for gold. Tony and I ended up with $28 of gold which we had put in a locket and stuck on a magnet. We also received free coffee and cookies. We were entertained by fiddle playing on the train before we set off back.

    Our next stop was for lunch by the stern-boat dock. Our lunch was a stew made to an original pioneers' recipe. We boarded the stern wheeler boat for our 3 hour cruise and were told about the Binkley family who own the boat operation. In 1898 Charles Binkley hiked over the Chilkoot Pass (the Pass we saw near Skagway on the cruise part of our trip), he became a respected pilot and boat builder. His son, Jim Binkley followed in his footsteps and piloted freight vessels on the Yukon and Tanana Rivers in the 1940's. This was a challenging 2,000 mile round trip and involved working with native Alaskans, trappers, traders, miners, missionaries and prospectors. By the early 1950's the railroad and airplanes were taking most of the freight so Captain Jim and his wife Mary started a river boat excursion business in Fairbanks. Initially they purchased a 25 passenger boat in 1950 and went on to build Discovery I their first sternwheeler in their backyard. Their sons and grandsons have continued in the business usually starting from the age of 10 working in the gift shop and eventually becoming qualified captains. There are 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.

    The first entertainment on the boat was to watch a bush pilot takeoff and land a plane on the river. We then stopped at Susan Butcher's Champion Sled Dogs Kennel, and were shown some cute one month old husky puppies by Tekla, Susan's daughter and watched an Experience dog team race around the property. Susan won the 1,100 mile Iditarod Dog Sled Race 4 times and led the only climbing party to conquer by dog team Mount McKinley. Sadly she died of Leukemia in 2006 but her husband has tutored their daughters to become accomplished mushers and the championship kennels continue to flourish. Our final stop and disembarque was at the Athabaskan Indian Fish Camp, here we learnt about how they smoke the fish to feed the dogs and themselves throughout the long winter. We saw how they hunt the game and use their pelts for clothing and bedding and how they built their houses since western men have been in the area and also how they built canoes and dwellings before western men and when they were nomadic. We returned to the boat and enjoyed complimentary coffee and blueberry doughnuts and then sampled smoked salmon and cream cheese on crackers. We passed by Mary Binkley's house and she gave us all a cheery wave. Jim passed away in 2003 but Mary, at 92, still plays an active role in the company.

    We returned to the hotel for a quick supper and the quest of ensuring our check in bags only weigh 50 pounds!!! Tomorrow we have to be up at 2.30 am to get the 3.30 am shuttle to the airport, a short night but we know it won't get dark as we are now up to about 20 plus hours of full daylight.

    Before going to sleep I took a little time to reflect on our Alaskan experience. Alaska is a state (even though most of the time if feels like a separate country from the lower 48), a place of splendid natural beauty and teaming with magnificent wildlife. It has a feeling of being remote, some places are still only accessible by bush plane or boat, even towns like Fairbanks don't have gas supplies and there are plenty of people that live in dry houses with no running water and just an outhouse. For year round residents Summers, which are short, are about preparing for the long hard winters. Summers is a time for repairing the roads damaged by the winter weather, plentiful seasonal jobs for the tourist industry and 20 plus hours of day light. There are no school snow days in winter you just get your snow shoes on or jump on your snow machine and daylight is between 11 am and 2.30 pm! The Alaskans are a hardy bunch some native First Nation, others with family lines going back to the pioneers of the Gold Rush era and others just came here fell in love with the place and stayed. We 'lucked out', as they say in the US, we had clear blue skies most of the way which certainly adds to the experience but is not normal out here. It is definitely a place for wearing layers, you never know from one minute to the next what the temperature is going to be.

    If you have not been, put Alaska on your bucket list!!!
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  • Day12

    Besuch bei Santa Claus und Fairbanks

    August 9, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Wir starteten am Birch Lake wieder einmal bei Regen. Je länger wir fuhren desto besser wurde auch heute das Wetter und so stiegen wir in North Pole am Haus von Santa Claus im Sonnenschein aus. Im Haus des Weihnachtsmanns gibt es allerhand Weihnachtsdeko zu erwerben. Zudem war der Herr des Hauses anwesend und empfang Besucherinnen und Besucher jeden Alters (und Gewichts)... Alle, die Santa einmal näher kommen wollten für ein Foto oder ein kurzes Gespräch, wurden von ihm aufgefordert, sich auf seinen Schoß zu setzen.

    Neben dem Haus war - wie sollte es auch anders sein - der Stall der Rentiere, die fotografiert und sogar gestreichelt werden konnten.

    Nach diesem Besuch in North Pole fuhren wir weiter ins nahegelegene Fairbanks. Hier steuerten wir wie gewohnt zunächst die Touristeninformation an, die uns wieder freies WLAN und eine kostenlose und schöne Ausstellung über Alaska bot. Mit erneut neuen Broschüren für unsere Ziele der kommenden Tage verließen wir die Touristeninformation, als es erneut zu regnen begann. Wir beschlossen kurzerhand, aus dem Stadtrundgang eine Stadtrundfahrt zu machen und hierbei bei Wendy's einzukehren, einem Burgerladen, in dem wir einen Burger mit Pommes und einen mittleren Softdrink bestellten. Der mittlere Softdrink war knapp 1 Liter Sprite mit extrem viel Eis... ich habe nach der Hälfte aufgeben müssen.

    Nachdem wir nun mit vollem Magen Wendy's verlassen hatten, kam sie Sonne durch und wir fuhren zum Pioneer Parc. Dieser Park zeigt alte Häuser, Maschinen, Flugzeuge, einen alten Eisenbahnwagon sowie einen alten Raddampfer. In den Häusern waren kleine Geschäfte und Künstler untergebracht. Außerdem fuhr eine Bahn durch den Park. Der Eintritt in den sehr gepflegten und sehenswerten Park war kostenlos. Lediglich für einige Ausstellungen war ein geringer Eintrittspreis fällig, wenn man die jeweilige Ausstellung besuchen wollte.

    Nach dem Parkbesuch fuhren wir im Walmart Superstore einkaufen, der Wohnmobilen auf seinem Parkplatz eine kostenlose Übernachtung gestattet und seinen Kunden freies WLAN bietet. Der Parkplatz war allerdings nicht sonderlich schön, sodass wir in der Umgebung nach öffentlichen Campingplätzen suchten und etwas außerhalb von Fairbanks fündig wurden. Die Stellplätze in Fairbanks waren alle direkt hinter der Landebahn des Flughafens oder gerade von einem Volksfest belegt. So fuhren wir noch etwa 45 Minuten zum Rosehip Campground, wo wir einen schönen Stellplatz im Wald bekamen, am vorbei fließenden Fluss noch ein paar Fotos machten und schließlich Abendessen zubereiteten.

    Wir kochten Chili mit etwas Reis. Seitdem wir zum Kochen den Rauchmelder deinstallieren, klappt das mit dem kochen auch wunderbar und ohne den ganzen Campingplatz zu stören... Die Chilischote, die wir vorher bei Walmart gekauft hatten, hatte bei der Kassiererin schon zu Irritationen geführt. Sie hatte noch nie nur eine einzige Chilischote verkauft. Da die milden Schoten bereits ausverkauft waren, musste wir zu den schärferen greifen... und die war wirklich scharf... und eine hat vollkommen ausgereicht. Den Rest des gekochten Chilis haben wir eingefroren. So können wir in den nächsten Tagen noch einmal davon essen. so ging ein schöner und ereignisreicher Tag im Wald von Rosehip Campground zu Ende.
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  • Day21

    Fairbanks continued

    June 5, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    Today was a relaxing day after yesterday's long Dalton Highway experience. We did go on a stern wheel paddle boat. This boat travels the Chena River from Fairbanks. We saw a float plane take off as we started down the river. The boat stops at the dog mushing facility of Susan Butcher. Susan Butcher is an American dog musher and is the second woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1986, the second four-time winner in 1990, and the first to win four out of five sequential years. Although Susan died in 2006, her husband and two daughters have kept up the dog sled training facility on the Chena River. We were able to meet her daughter Tekla who gave a demonstration on the training. In the summer months they use an ATV (without the engine) to train the dogs. The next stop was to a remake of an Athabaskan village. Our guides in the village were native Alaskans from some of the local tribes.

    The Athabascan people traditionally lived in Interior Alaska that begins south of the Brooks Mountain Range and continues down to the Kenai Peninsula. There are eleven linguistic groups of Athabascans in Alaska. Athabascan people have traditionally lived along five major river ways: the Yukon, the Tanana, the Susitna, the Kuskokwim, and the Copper river drainages. Athabascans migrated seasonally, traveling in small groups to fish, hunt and trap. They did not live in log cabins until the white people became known to them. Clothing was made of caribou and moose hide. Moose and caribou hide moccasins and boots were important parts of the wardrobe. Styles of moccasins vary depending on conditions. Both men and women are adept at sewing, although women traditionally did most of skin sewing. Canoes were made of birch bark, moose hide, and cottonwood. All Athabascans used sleds --with and without dogs to pull them – snowshoes and dogs as pack animals. Photo 4 is of a fishing wheel. This is how salmon were caught.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Fairbanks, فيربانكس, Feyrbanks, Феърбанкс, فربنکس, פיירבנקס, FAI, フェアバンクス, ფერბენკსი, 페어뱅크스, Fērbenksa, Фербенкс, फेरबँक्स, Фэрбенкс, फेयरब्याङ्क्स, 99701, Фэрбанкс, Фербанкс, فیئر بینکس، الاسکا, 費爾班克斯

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