The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tok to Fairbanks, AK

We didn’t quite make it to Fairbanks in one day as planned.  Instead, we made a few stops along the way and spent Tuesday night at Eielson AFB FamCamp, about 26 miles south of Fairbanks and just 10 miles from the North Pole, the town known for its Santa Village and Candy Cane light poles.

On the Road

The roads in Alaska have been MUCH better than in the Yukon and British Columbia.  There are still frost heaves and road construction, but the repairs seem to be smoother. 

We were surprised by the ice flow still on the Robertson River.


delta meat

We were underwhelmed by our stop at the Delta Junction Meat & Sausage Company.  We were able to sample elk, reindeer, and buffalo sausages, but with a toothpick from a single snack tray with two plastic cups of dipping sauces.  The “lobby” was maybe 8’ x 10’ and contained a couple of coolers with their packaged meats.  We were not allowed to tour because it was an inspection day.  Oh well, we bought a couple of packages of jerky sticks, some BBQ sauce and we were on our way.  As others before us have noted, the writers of the ads in the guidebook have vivid imaginations.  We think the number one industry in our travels has been Marketing (i.e., Creative Writing).

IMG_3750In Delta Junction we pulled into the Visitor’s Center that celebrates the END of the Alaskan Highway!  Because we took the Cassiar Highway on our trip from Prince George, we didn’t really drive the entire 1422 frost heave (eh, highway), but we will be doing the lower half on our return trip out of Alaska.

They also had some  giant mosquito sculptures and fun signs


Our touring partners Frank and Gloria King, typically drive ahead of us mosey-pokes, so they wanted to wait for us so we could go into the Air Force FamCamp together.  They chose to stop at The Knotty Shop, which not only had a large parking lot for RVers, but offered a FREE ICE CREAM CONE if you brought in their ad in the Milepost Magazine.  Of course you need to buy the second cone if you want to keep peace in the rig.  Once inside, we were quite surprised at the wildlife display that was done by the family’s 30-year old son.


North Pole, Alaska

Once we got settled into our Eielson AFB campIMG_3795sites, we hopped into the King’s truck and headed for the North Pole.  No, not the arctic image you have in mind, but a town built around a giant Christmas store.  We were greeted with candy cane light poles and then parking for tour buses, RVs and throngs of tourist buying goodies for the grandkids and themselves. (OK, so I’m one of them!)  Adults were also welcome to sit on Santa’s lap, but I did decline the offer.  I didn’t want the jolly ol’ guy to have to file for worker’s compensation!


Santa’s reindeer grazing behind the building didn’t look the best which might have accounted for the designated “handicap sled parking” space in front of the store.


After dinner at The Elf’s Den, we headed back to the AFB IMG_3803and stopped at a somewhat hidden “point of interest” called “Lady of the Lake” -- the remains of a WB-29 weather reconnaissance aircraft that rests in a water-filled gravel pit. This plane was intentionally placed here to serve as a training site to help rescuers learn how to conduct underwater extractions from downed aircraft. 



Besides killer-size mosquitos, the only wildlife we saw Tuesday were two moose cows, each with a baby.  What was pretty remarkable about these sightings was the fact that they were exactly where the Milepost travel guide said to look for moose in the ponds on either side of the road. Unfortunately, I was looking and not taking photos!

NEXT:  Playing Tourist in Fairbanks


IdahoRV said...

Judy...what is your honest opinion about the food at the Elf's Den. I believe that is one of the restaurants that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and something we wanted to try. If it's not that good, we'll probably pass on it. I hope you're enjoying your trip so far and we'll catch you on the road somewhere up here.

Jan White said...

The Chinese restaurant in North Pole is excellent. You won't be that far since Fairbanks is just down the road.
The Pump House is excellent and is on the Chena River (in Fairbanks). They have brunch on Sundays, excellent to. Pioneer Park has a salmon bake, pretty good. There is also a play put on at the other end from the salmon bake, does the story of Fairbanks. It's very entertaining, an evening well spent. I know you will love all the flowers on every street corner in Fairbanks, and especially at the Pump House. Enjoy your stay.

Judy and Luke Rinehimer said...

Jan, we saw the Pump House from the Riverboat cruise yesterday. Did the Salmon Bake on Friday night when they add all-you-can-eat King Crab Legs. We are staying at Pioneer Park and they gave us a $4 dinner coupon and $6 theatre coupon which we haven't used yet. Going to Summer Solstice Festival today after a Father's Day brunch at a popular restaurant that folks rave about their pies on bumper stickers.