Tok to Fairbanks

The rain and clouds disappeared on Sunday morning (7/2) and revealed perfectly blue skies and lots of mountains.  We left Tok, AK for the final leg of the Alaska Highway. The views were stunning.  We kept asking ourselves “Are we really in Alaska?”  Then, we looked outside to see these spectacular mountain views, and we knew we had truly arrived.  

The views along the Alaska Highway just outside of Tok, AK were beautiful, given the perfect weather.
This gives you a perspective of what we saw out the windshield of our RV

The Alaska Highway ends at Delta Junction, AK.  We enjoyed the 1,422 miles of this great road, so we stopped at the Delta Junction Visitor Center to take a few selfies and celebrate our accomplishment.  From Delta Junction, we headed north on the Richardson Highway toward Fairbanks.   

We spent 12 glorious days traveling the entire length of the Alaska Highway.
The Delta Junction Visitor Center had a life sized replica of those insects that always seem to find Steve.

The drive from Delta Junction to Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway allowed for spectacular views of the Alaska Range from multiple vantage points.  We’ve had some days when overcast skies prevented us from viewing mountains, but not on Sunday (7/2).  The panoramic view below is actually 12 photos stitched tother, so it may take a while to load.  I’ve also included one of the 12 photos all by itself, as another way to show how clearly we were able to see the Alaska Range.  

We continued north along the Richardson Highway to North Pole, Alaska.  This is a tourist attraction made for silly selfies and we certainly fell for the trap.  There was also a huge store with lots of souvenirs for sale, conveniently right on site, so that we could fully practice the art of being a tourist. 

Lucy was less excited about this photo opportunity than we were.
Thank goodness for tourist traps so we can get more selfies.

On Sunday night (7/2) we stayed at the Fairbanks / Chena River KOA which, oddly enough, is located in the town of North Pole.  We didn’t have any reservations, and since this was a holiday weekend, good campground sites were somewhat difficult to find.  We ended up in the overflow area, with a scenic view of the back of a  convenience store.  It was another warm afternoon, so we appreciated the chance to plug into electricity.  Lucy and I went for a walk to see the nearby Chena River in the evening.   

"But Dad, I don't care if the sign says no swimming, I want to go in!"

Monday (7/3) was spent in Fairbanks.  There really isn’t much to see in this town, but we picked up some supplies, visited a nice off-leash dog park, and then headed to the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.  The campus  overlooks the city and provides a glimpse of the Alaska range far off in the distance.  We think we might have even seen Denali!  The range is over 100 miles away, so none of the photos turned out.  That’s ok, because we’ve already exceeded the maximum allowable limit for mountain photos in one blog post.  The campus is home to the Museum of the North, a modern, well designed facility that has unique displays of Alaskan history and art.  We watched a film about Alaska’s dinosaurs and especially enjoyed the various history exhibits. 

A full sized grizzly provided a silly selfie opportunity we just could not pass up.
Lucy and Earl had to wait outside while we enjoyed the Museum of the North.

Since we were in a ‘big city’, we decided to treat ourselves to a nice restaurant meal after the visit to the museum.  We drove to four different restaurants which were all closed for the 4th of July holiday.  I guess everyone in Fairbanks leaves town for the holiday weekend.  We finally found a touristy place that was open so that we could dine before we heading to our reserved overnight spot.  We stayed at the River’s Edge RV Park, which was yet another park filled to the brim with RVs parked closely together, and not nearly as nice as the web site photos indicate.  But, we really didn’t expect wilderness in downtown Fairbanks.   Tuesday we head to Nenana, AK and then to Denali National Park. 

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