It hasn’t been the easiest of roads to get here with our hitch issue and acquisition of a new vehicle but we did it. And it feels real good. Our first order of business is to find a dump station which just happens to be the place where our buddies Jeff, Kerri and Tim are holed up.
We thought this dense field of dandelions thriving next to the dump station was amazing… until a mama moose with twin calves casually strolled by. I’m guessing this first sighting in Alaska won’t be the last of the amazing wildlife will be seeing this summer.
This pit stop at Big Delta State Historic Site just outside of Delta Junction was the perfect spot to stretch our legs and learn about its historical importance as a crossroad for travelers back in the day.
But who wants to earn about rusty cars and tools when there are chickens around?!?! I don’t blame them. I’m a sucker for animals too.
Just when I thought my photos of the kids couldn’t get any cuter, this happens. Man, this little boy loves his biggest sister.
After days and days of driving, we had a choice to make. Settle here for the night or keep driving one more day and then settle for a week. We choose the latter so off to Fairbanks we go!
The downside of getting to Fairbanks early was the air quality due to a nearby wildfire. Actually, more than 200 fires are currently burning in Alaska so it’s going to be tough get a breath of fresh air. Our first stop in Fairbanks was the car wash. After miles and miles of road grim, it was time for a proper wash. Well, proper enough. After $30 bucks of quarters, we threw in the towel and called it a day. The truck fared well but the pebbles on the roads have scratched up the clear coating on the Airstream a bit. The Mish carries her new travel scars with pride.
After settling in at the local Elks Lodge for the night, we ventured 60 miles outside of town to Chena Hot Springs Resort for a dip in the springs and to check out the Ice Museum and Hotel.
The famous Aurora Ice Hotel is sculpted by a world-class husband and wife team.
As we entered the Ice Hotel, we all got to wear warm parkas since the entire thing is keep at 25 degrees year around. The first version of the hotel melted with the long daylight hours and 90 degree summer days but a second version was rebuilt with an unique chiller run using the geothermal power.
Hmmmm, maybe wearing flip fops wasn’t the best idea.
After the tour, the kids were exploring the rooms wearing comically-oversized parkas as the adults sat on caribou fur atop ice stools at the ice bar sipping on their signature appletini in a martini glass made of ice. It might have been $15 extra but I got to drink it in this unique hotel… and keep the glass! Jeff was awesome enough to carry a cooler bag and blasted his AC in hopes to save all our ice glasses.
Why did we choose to stay at the Elks Lodge in town? Because friends were welcome to camp with us, they offered free internet and showers and best of all… free laundry!!!
The smokey hazy skies in Fairbanks were barley tolerable for about 24 hours or so.
We tried to keep the kids inside all day but that didn’t go as planned because we were all going nuts.
That’s one way to use binoculars, Luka.
The kids have been avoiding their nature journals the past week. I can’t really blame them with all the driving we’ve been doing. So I decided I would nature journal all alone.
The first minute they ignored me. The second minute they kept peeking over at me. The third minute they started to ask questions. And by the fourth minute they were asking me where their journals were.
So remember the ice martini glasses we saved from the Ice Hotel?
They are now replenished with Kerri’s famous #calypsococktails. We usually like to sip her cocktails but today we were pounding them back.
Because today our glasses were literally disappearing before our eyes.
We ventured into Pioneer Park in town for a day of historical exploration.
A couple dozen buildings from the early days of Fairbanks were not demolished as they usually are in other large cities. These building were actually moved to Pioneer Park to help preserve Alaska’s past.
Even though Alaska has a short growing season, the plants are thriving due to constant daylight in the peak of summer.
Our stop at the playground didn’t last too long when something else was spotted.
A stream lined with rocks. They girls did a great job keeping dry.
Luka? Not so much.
Oh, life with a boy!!!
Before we say good-bye to Fairbanks, the kids earned a Junior Ranger badge at the visitor center.
And Dan was on a mission to install airbags so we stop looking like newbs. Haha. Because we were settled at the Eks Lodge for a week, he was able to order parts from Amazon and have them delivered to our doorstep. No problem.
Dan didn’t have all the necessary tools but got the job done. He started the job at 5pm after work and completed the job around 10pm, with plenty of daylight to spare. Haha.
While he works on our saggy bottom truck, Yoda lounges in the Mish.
Mila eats some ice cream.
Ava plays some Minecraft and Luka naps.
Sometimes Mila insists on turning the camera on me. Hello!
Alright, we’ve had enough of city life. Time to head into the wilderness.
Thanks for reading,
Linda James Haas · October 31, 2015 at 4:14 pm
Just started following you a few weeks ago. Loving the pictures, blogs etc. Fun to relive our 3 trips to Alaska! What a wonderful experience for you and especially the kids. Wish I had raised my kids on the road! Save travels – hope to maybe meet up one of these days 🙂
malimish · November 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm
thank you for following along!
AlexGemmell · November 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm
Great blog! We love your adventures 🙂 May I ask about your F250 truck? You say that Dan is installing “airbags so we stop looking like newbs”. Airbags? Is that something to do with the suspension? Why does that make you look like newbs? I’m confused! Also: isn’t that a new truck? We want to get an F250 but I’m now worried something is wrong with them if you need to “repair” it so soon after buying it.
malimish · November 6, 2015 at 5:05 pm
after we loaded the bed of the truck and hitched the airstream I was noticing some sag to the rear suspension. Even with weight distribution I was not able to correct it. I installed help air bags for the rear suspension to keep it from sagging. It is a new truck but I think because most F250 buyers these days are using them for fun and not for work, they are building them to ride a little softer.
AlexGemmell · November 8, 2015 at 3:51 pm
Hmmm, well that’s disappointing to hear about the F250s! Thank you for the info – I’ll pay more attention to this when we come to buy one. Maybe now we have a reason to opt for the slightly stiffer F350!
malimish · November 9, 2015 at 11:12 am
yeah i would say if you are concerned with the rear end sagging then f350 would be a good upgrade. you might sacrifice the ride quality a bit when not towing though. I have also heard that the Ram 2500 are much stiffer and doesnt sag as much but i dont have any first hand info.