Wow!  An 11 hour ride on the AK RR to Fairbanks!  It was wonderful!  We rode up in the dome car like we did earlier this summer…always a treat!  After almost 3 solid weeks of rain and overcast skies, Mother Nature shone on us and our 3 day excursion!  We even got to see the peak of  DENALI (formerly Mt. McKinley)!!!  Less than 30% of people who come to Alaska are blessed with that view…as the clouds usually hide the summit which is no wonder at 20,310′!

The sky could NOT have been any bluer on the days of our trip!  Much gratitude!

Views from the train

Brandon…bartender ‘extreme’…lol

Old mine shaft entrance

There she goes……

Surprise ‘waterfall’

Sam, mug-transporter

Old mining hut

Some beaver handi-work

My first Bloody Mary…
all veggies were Alaska

Our trusty conductor

Train ‘show n tell’…
Brandon brought this zucchini
in that he got at the state fair…WHOA!

If you zoom in, you’ll be able to see
the osprey!

Awesome stairs in the train

View from the back of the train
on the inside

Cool bridge

She’s a-comin’ ’round the bend

 The ride north was amazing inside the train as well.  The staff was once again incredible!  Our seats were right in front of the bar where Brandon kept us hydrated and entertained for 11 hours!  Not only did out tour guides keep us well informed about what we were seeing, but the engineer actually stopped the train at several places for photo taking!  A few highlights were when a bald eagle flew directly overhead and we were able to watch it through the panoramic windows fly from one side of the train to the other and perch on a high branch….it was fabulous!  The meals were delicious and my ‘cosmo’ was , well…you only needed one!!!
   We arrived in Fairbanks at 8:15 PM sharp and found the shuttle from the Brightwater Hotel waiting for us.  Our room was great and soon after we got settled in, we were sound asleep!  In the morning we had a wonderful breakfast in the hotel cafe and then hopped on the shuttle to the airport to pick up our rental car for the day…a KIA Soul…little shoebox…LOL  There is much to see and do in Fairbanks, but we had our sites on a few specific things…seeing the pipeline (previous post), visiting SANTA in the North Pole and hanging out at the Chena Hot Springs Resort!

“I’ve been very very good!”

I got HIS number…lol

“Aww, c’mon, Rudolph, lift your head
so we can see your red nose…please?”

beautiful mural on Santa’s house

  Santa!!!  How exciting it was to go to the North Pole (AK theme town) and see Santa’s House and the reindeer yard.  Did I sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what I wanted for Christmas???  You bet I did AND I even gave him a little kiss to ensure my requests be honored…LOL
Fun facts about the North Pole…
1) The term refers to multiple places – geographic northernmost point on Earth, the magnetic north and last but not least Santa’s headquarters!
2) At his time, no country owns the North Pole, but it really belongs to Santa Claus, his flying reindeer and toy-making elves.
3) Canada’s postal service is a believer and has given the postal code HOH OHO to mail addressed to Santa!
4) Geographically, the spot is 13,400′ deep in the Arctic Ocean at 90* latitude north where the axis intersects with the Earth’s surface.
5) Magnetic north is not the same as ‘true north’.  It’s about 500 miles south.  Magnetic fields are drifting currently at about 25 miles/year in a NW direction.  Could cause problems at some point for migrating birds and human navigation.  Eventually, the North and South poles will “flip” and compasses will point south.  Don’t worry…it won’t happen in our lifetime…the last “flip” occurred 730,000 years ago!!!  WHEW!!!

The rock lake

Gardens between the lake and the indoor pool

This is their ice skating pond in the winter

Nice racks…lol

One heck of a planter!


 Chena Hot Springs Resort for the afternoon was the perfect end to a beautiful day.  The rock lake was crystal clear with hot pockets, a cool misting shower in the center (you could see a rainbow through the water droplets because of the way the sun was shining…amazing…shifted from white light to a full spectrum) and a powerful shoot of water at one end.  It was soothing and invigorating! We relaxed to the max!  The indoor pool was tepid and pleasant, but the lake was our favorite!!!
   That night the Aurora Borealis was slated to be visible.  So, at about 2:00AM Carl and I went outside to walk around downtown Fairbanks in search for colors in the sky!  We walked through the Great Heart Plaza by the fountain and heard music piped into the streets from somewhere…it was so cool!  Too much ambien light, so we jumped in our rental car and headed out of town…still no sightings, so we decided to take the car back to the airport!  The Bridgewater Hotel, once again, came to our rescue in the middle of the night to pick us up!  While we waited, we had a little picnic snack of bananas and peanut butter that I picked up at the gas station when we topped off the tank.  So fun!

Fountain in the park

Chena River

A dangerous place!

Got fudge???

Fairbanks at 2:00 AM

From the ground…you get the
structure and no clock face

From on top of a park bench, you get
clock face and no structure…LOL

How cool is THIS?


A fun storefront

Love the whole grass plot/garden
 on the roof look


 Very little sleep was had back at the hotel as our shuttle to the railroad depot was gonna beckon us in 2 and a half hours…OMG!  All packed and ready to go at 6:00AM, we had breakfast in the cafe and then off we went for our 11 hour ride south back to Wasilla!  And, of course, it was just as wonderful as the ride north.  We were able to catch up on  a little sleep then!  LOL

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