The hubby’s parents came up to stay with us for a week, and we had a great visit! While they were here, we decided to take a road trip to Fairbanks Alaska. I’ll be honest; Fairbanks isn’t my most favorite part of Alaska. Last time I was there was 15 years ago in January on a school basketball trip. Did I mention it’s common for Fairbanks to hit 50 below zero every winter?
But this trip was special thanks to some history involved. Thirty-six years ago the hubby was born; five days after that, his military dad was shipped to Fairbanks, Alaska, for 40 days of training. He hadn’t been to Fairbanks since. So, we decided to make the long 330 mile drive in a very quick trip (one day up, one day down).
The drive up involved lots of road construction. We couldn’t see Mt. McKinley because of the clouds. We saw NO animals (which was crazy!). We got a flat tire right outside of Fairbanks. And the morning of the second day, I realized I didn’t have all the pictures I had been snapping because there was no memory card in my camera. Sigh…
But even with all that, it was a great trip and a wonderful visit.
After arriving in Fairbanks, doing some quick sightseeing, we ate dinner in Fox, a nearby town, at The Silver Gulch. It was delicious! Best creme brulee I’ve ever had! The halibut fish tacos were good too. For those of you who are military or retired military, the Holiday Inn Express on Fort Wainwright is really nice!
The next morning, we took the Riverboat Discovery Tour. It was so much fun! Thankfully, I had my good ol’ 35 mm camera with me, and for the shots I thought I got on my digital camera but didn’t, my father-in-law was gracious to let me use his photos.
Originally steamboating supplies up and down the Yukon River and it’s tributaries, the Binkley family now operates the Discovery III as a tour along the Tanana River, which flows through the heart of Fairbanks. Read the family’s history HERE.
Our tour started off seeing a real Alaskan Bush pilot land and then take off on the river beside the boat.
We then continued along the river until we came to Susan Butcher’s, an Alaskan legend dog musher and four-time Iditarod champion, dog kennels. Sadly, Susan passed away of cancer several years ago, but her husband, Dave, and daughter, Tekla, are doing a wonderful job continuing her mother’s legend! See a mushing demonstration and see cute puppies already training for the big race!
Further along the river, we swing by a traditional Alaska Native fish camp for a demonstration of traditional salmon fishing, cleaning, and preparing of tasty treats!
Near the fish camp, we got to get off the Discovery III and explore a Chena Indian village. Throughout the village were traditional trapper and gold miner cabins, lots of Alaskan animal furs, Alaskan tradition demonstrations, and much more!
The drive back home was much of the same as the trip up. No animals, construction, and clouds covering McKinley. The mountain creates it’s own weather patterns due to its height, so seeing the peak can be rare.
The Riverboat Discovery was so much fun. I recommend it to anyone touring Fairbanks! (We didn’t have time, but I think Pioneer Land looks fun too!)