United States
Fairbanks North Star Borough

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

31 travelers at this place:

  • Day13

    Wilderness Express to Denali

    August 25, 2017 in the United States ⋅

    We have boarded the Wilderness Express in Fairbanks bound this morning for Denali. This is a luxury train and we have a whole carriage to ourselves- a glass domed upper deck with bar and a dining car downstairs. Our carriage is the last so we have access to the back deck.

    Breakfast in the dining car is silver service as we travel through the taiga (little forest).We come to Nenana where 2 rivers meet; one flowing N-S and the other E-W. There are barges on the river and they supply the bush villages.

    We see Denali (Mt McKinley) from the distance. The highest mountain in North America, it is really clear. This is unusual as it is normally shrouded in cloud. It's more than 20,000 feet high.

    The train continues onwards the mountains past a coal mining area where there are visible scars on the landscape.
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  • Day12

    Fairbanks, AK

    August 24, 2017 in the United States ⋅

    A quick morning walk around a few streets close to our hotel. Fairbanks is a military, tourism and oil town so there are lots of services and facilities here.

    One of the main streets here in town is Lacey Street which crosses the Chena River which flows through town. There are few historical buildings left from the early days of this town established in 1902 because of fire that burnt most of the town down.

    A short walk leads us to the Visitor Centre where the Yukon Quest starts and finishes each year. It's a 1,000 mile dog sled race.

    There are lots of beautiful flowers and gardens surrounding the buildings and colourful hanging baskets. We even find some of the fattest rhubarb we have ever seen growing in the streets. The river walk along the banks of the Chena highlights the colourful and varied history of this town - the Gold which established the city here; WW2 and the Military which have a continuing presence in the army warning system; and the oil pipeline.

    We notice that all the cars have small power leads protruding from their front grills. They must be plugged in during winter to stop the engines from freezing.
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  • Day11

    North Pole

    August 23, 2017 in the United States ⋅

    What a surprise! We travel down Santa Claus Lane to Santa's House. The street lights are like candy canes.This is the place where Santa makes toys for the native children. The reindeer are feeding late in the afternoon.

  • Day12

    Alaska Pipeline

    August 24, 2017 in the United States ⋅

    The Alaska Pipeline runs for 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay in the north to Valdez in the south. It crosses 3 mountain ranges and more than 500 rivers and swamps. The pipeline is 48 inches in diameter but it is surrounded with heavy insulation making it look much bigger than it actually is. Construction began in 1975 and was completed in 1977 at a cost of US$8 billion. Companies using the pipeline are required to pay for the privilege and the monies are divided among all permanent Alaskan residents annually.

    There are 12 pumping stations along its length. Pigs (scraping machines) are sent in at each pumping station to keep the pipeline free from congestion. Oil coming out of the ground is at 120 degrees but it quickly cools off. Where there is permafrost, the pipeline is above ground. Throughout its length, there are measures to prevent its rupture caused by earthquakes and seismic shifts.
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  • Day12

    Salmon Bake and Golden Heart Revue

    August 24, 2017 in the United States ⋅

    We head out to Pioneer Park in the early evening for an all-you-can-eat salmon bake. Food is very good.
    Then into the Palace Theatre for a series of skits and songs tracing Fairbank's history. Very funny.

  • Day12

    Discovery III Cruise on the Chena River

    August 24, 2017 in the United States ⋅

    Arriving at the visitors centre, we go to the 40 below room and experience how cold -40 degrees really is. Thank goodness we are only in there for 30 secs.

    We board the Discovery III river boat to cruise the Chena River.

    A float plane takes off and lands in the river beside us. We pass by million dollar homes along the river with every imaginable adventure "toy" on hand - from planes, boats, jet skis, hot tubs, ATVs - you name it, they've got it. We cruise down to where the Chena meets the Tanana River and there on the silt marsh is a bald eagle sitting in a tree.Read more

  • Day12

    Athabaskan Village

    August 24, 2017 in the United States ⋅

    We rotate around 4 aspects of life in an Athabaskan Village.
    The fishing camp shows us how they set the fish trap then dried and smoked the salmon.
    The trapper's cabin shows us the various animals they hunted and how they used each part of the animal.
    The hunting camp shows us 3 types of dwelling depending on the permanence of the site. Snowshoes, canoes, and baskets made from animal products are on display.
    The fur cabin shows us how they made clothing from animal hides.
    All of the narration is done by young Athabaskan students who do a fabulous job.
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  • Day15


    June 8, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 12 °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, only120 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


    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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  • Day4

    Super excited to arrive into Alaska

    December 30, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 -12 °C

    Today was a travel day from Vancouver to Seattle and then onto Fairbanks. 4 1/2 hours of flights.
    -14 degrees on arrival at airport at 5pm. The cold air feeling that hits the back of your throat and takes your breath away.
    Checked into Marriott Springhill Suites for the night as we are being collected to transfer to Chena Hotsprings Resort tomorrow morning.
    Dinner at Big Daddy’s BBQ. Big meals - understatement!
    Super excited to be in Alaska!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Fairbanks North Star Borough, مقاطعة فيربانكس نورث ستار بورو, ফেয়ার বাংকস খা স্টার ব্যুরো, Borough de Fairbanks North Star, Fairbanks North Star, Fairbanks North Star megye, Ֆեյրբենկս Նորթ Ստար շրջան, Borough di Fairbanks North Star, フェアバンクスノーススター郡, Fairbanks North Star Kūn, Okręg Fairbanks North Star, Distrito de Fairbanks North Star, Фэрбанкс-Норт-Стар, Фербанкс Норт Стар, Фербенкс-Норт-Стар, فیئر بینکس نارتھ سٹار برو، الاسکا, Boro han Fairbanks North Star, 費爾班克斯-北極星自治市鎮

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