Flawless first day!
Trip Start Aug 26, 2011
14Trip End Sep 10, 2011
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Yesterday we flew from Hartford to Minneapolis to Fairbanks. The flights were on time and went just fine. The most interesting part of the flight to Fairbanks were the beautiful clouds we enjoyed over northern Canada. We arrived a little late, and the sun was still up at 8:30 PM (2030). That was pretty cool in late August. We grabbed a rental car and went to the hotel that will be our home for 3 days.
This morning dawned sunny and cool. We decided to drive up the Elliott Highway, made famous as part of the drive to the oil fields. This road is seen on the Ice Road Truckers TV show.
Our first stop was at a vista overlooking Fairbanks. We were very lucky that Denali (also known as Mt
The next stop was a viewing point for the Alaska Pipeline. This was on my must do list. The story of the pipeline is one of great human triumphs. It was not only fun to see the pipeline, we could actually feel the oil pulsing through it.
We then traveled north on the frost heave laden but paved highway. There were countless vistas and views of the pipeline. Unfortunately there were not many places to pull over where the best views occurred. We did see two huge moose, but there was no place to stop to photograph them. The views were awesome as the mountains rose above us and rivers ran below us. Mountain tops were often above the tree line, with the tundra already a dull brown as winter approaches. The birch trees were in peak color at the higher elevations and turning elsewhere. The spruce trees were increasingly scrawny as we climbed the higher hills. It was absolutely beautiful!
We went as far north as Joy, AK. You won't find this community on a map. It consists on one house on the west side of the highway, and one trading post on the east side
We retraced our route back to Fairbanks. After lunch at Wendy's we headed southeast to North Pole, AK. This is a small town that is famous for it's tourist traps with a Christmas theme. We visited Santa's house. While Annie shopped I walked around and enjoyed the beautiful day.
We returned to Fairbanks and picked up a few things at a grocery store. This evening we enjoyed a lovely dinner with new friends I met on the Cruice Critic website.
Be sure to check the photos and read the captions, for more details on our day.
Tomorrow we start the organized tour. Stay tuned!