Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 11 – Fairbanks, Alaska

This morning we left our current campground.


It was $40 a night and right next to a highway. Our site was also near to the dumpster and the RV wash station where someone was kind enough to wash their trailer with the high pressure hose this morning before 7 am.

Now we are at a real parking lot, at a place called Pioneer Park.


This place used to be called Alaska Land. It is a kiddy amusement park much like Centerville in Toronto. They allow RVs to stay overnight in specially marked very wide spaces in their parking lot. It is $12 a night, free WIFI and no hookups but we don’t need any. Once we are inside the RV we can easily ignore the lack of scenery outside as well. They also gave us coupons for $4 off each for an all you can eat salmon dinner that we were going to go to tonight anyway.

I know it may seem kind of cheap to have $100K RV and worry about paying a few buck for a campsite. It just annoys me to pay a lot for hookups that we don’t need in places that aren’t much better than parking lots. $20 to $30 dollars at night saved over the 140 or so days we will be out can pay for a lot of gas.

After settling in, we went to a place called Creamer’s Fields Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. It is a former dairy farm with huge open fields that the birds use as a resting place when they migrate. There are hiking trails and viewing platforms all around the fields. The only big birds we saw were Canada Geese.


We took our lunch with us, planning to have it at one of the stops. Unfortunately the hiking trails went into a forest that was basically a swamp. Jennie had sprayed and had her net but I had not. This is the first time in a very long time that the mosquitoes really bothered me. Let’s just say that we always kept moving and it was a pretty hurried hike. At least the trail looked nice because there were wild roses everywhere.




There were lots of trees at crazy angles because sometime there are cracks in the ground and the surface water gets down to the permafrost, freezes back to the surface and creates ice wedges that push the trees over.


We delayed our lunch until we got back to some picnic tables near the car.

We went back to the RV and decided to at least walk through Pioneer Park. There were a bunch of old cabins converted into arts and crafts shops.


I used benches like this a lot.



The only thing that really interested us was another sternwheeler.


On the inside were intricate models of all the towns and villages that it had served when it was active.


They were amazingly detailed.




The Alaska Salmon Bake was located just beside Pioneer Park.

All you can eat salmon, prime rib and deep fried cod along with salads, drinks and desert.

There were only 3 or 4 tour buses here when we arrived so it was not very busy. We could walk right up to each station. On Saturday we had driven by here and it was packed. They have seating for many hundreds of people inside and out. After that wave of bus people left it got pretty lonely.

Overall the meal was pretty good especially the prime rib and the cod. The salmon was a bit dry but I guess on slower nights it’s hard to keep just enough cooked and ready without overdoing it. There was lots of sauces to liven it up though.

Jennie shouldn’t play with her food.

They had a bunch of old relics outside. I loved this steam shovel. A sign said it had worked on the Panama Canal and a hydroelectric project up here. Who knows?

We will decide if we stay longer at Pioneer Park after we see how it is tonight. We will be in Fairbanks for 2 more days and leave on Thursday for Denali.

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