May 31 – June 2: We left Tok on Monday, May 31, heading north on our last leg of the Alaska Highway, toward Fairbanks. We could smell and see the smoke from wildfires that were threatening a few miles north. Firefighter crews were changing shifts as we passed through the burning areas. We watched them prepare to go into the fire to keep it from spreading into the nearby village. The smoke clouded the distant mountain views for the day, but we still enjoyed our surroundings, the healthy spruce, the lakes and rivers on our way. About 100 miles north of Tok is Delta Junction, a small crossroad town that marks the end of the Alaska Highway, 1,422 miles. We had to have a photo here.
There is also an interesting display outside the visitors center showing the pipe used in three Alaska pipeline projects. The diameter is surprising. Of course, the pipeline is a part of each Alaskan’s life. We caught sight of one section as we traveled today and expect we’ll learn more in the next month or so.
The next stop on our Alaska Adventure is Fairbanks. From Delta Junction, we took the Richardson Highway north. Alaskans mostly refer to their highways by names rather than numbers, although they do have numbers. We’re getting accustomed to it slowly.
One important place in Alaska, of course, is the North Pole. It would be a shame to pass by without visiting Santa. And our road led there on May 31, 2010, about 15 miles east of Fairbanks. Santa was very sociable. His reindeer seemed as though they were relaxing and perhaps storing energy for their next busy season. The town’s light poles are painted like candy canes. It’s a place “where the spirit of Christmas lives year round.”
Now we are exploring the city of Fairbanks for a few days. Home is at Pioneer Park, a historical and amusement center. There is a designated parking area where rvers can boondock for up to four days for $12.00. If you’re interested in staying in the city, this spot serves well. We’re on day two now, experiencing Fairbanks’ visitor center, parks, restaurants, stores and people. See you down the road again!