The Days of Camp Wal-Mart

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are still parked at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Fairbanks.  Yesterday (Tuesday 8/9) was the vet appointment for Ruby and Finnegan.  Ruby has another 90 day supply of her kidney disease medication and Finnegan is now up to date on his rabies vaccination booster.  We also have the all important health travel papers to allow us to bring both pets back into Canada on our way down to the lower 48.  Tomorrow (Thursday 8/11) we are expecting our order of gluten free oats to arrive at the local food co-op.  Should the oats arrive as expected we intend to leave Fairbanks either tomorrow afternoon or Friday.

In the meantime we are taking the time to do more exploring.  Monday afternoon (it was actually sunny!) we explored Pioneer Park http://www.alaska.org/detail/pioneer-park.  The largest river boat west of the Mississippi, Nenana, has been preserved as the center piece of the park.  The park also houses the original steam engine #1 used on the Tanana Valley Railroad starting in 1905.  The railroad museum, where engine #1 is displayed, also has a small railroad that encircles the entire park.  We rode the narrow gauge train around the park.  While the steam engine is still operable, the museum uses a gasoline powered electric locomotive to run the daily tours.  We also ran into two brothers; Bob and Keith who we had met up on the Dalton Highway.  The younger brother Bob, takes his older brother Keith on vacation with him.  According to them, Keith is the oldest surviving Spina Bifida patient in Indiana.  We were delighted to have a chance to catch up with them again.

What visit to the Fairbanks area would be complete without a visit to the town of North Pole https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Pole,_Alaska?  That was what we thought as well.  So, we drove about 11 miles east of Fairbanks to North Pole yesterday.  This is definitely a tourist trap.  We went to the Santa Claus House as well as visited the Reindeer training center to see the captive Reindeer.  I think the best part of the visit was leaving.  Hah!  We are not much for tourist traps, but we did enjoy the bulletin board in the store with all the “letters to Santa”.   Some of them were very humorous!

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One of the other “things to do” in North Pole is to mail letters and postcards from the local post office so they bear the “North Pole” postmark.  We took advantage of this ourselves and got a few letters and post cards in the mail.  Speaking of letters, we heard the rate of postal stamps was reduced.  Is this true?

Finally, we took a few minutes to hike the short little nature trail called Beaver Springs Slough.  This short trail meanders alongside the slough within the heart of the city.  At the entrance to the trail is a cabin commemorating the cabin the original homesteaders Bon V. and Bernice Davis built when the originally homesteaded the area in 1944.

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Now we can say we have been to the North Pole … the city that is!  (good tourists that we are!)

Hilary and I also took some time yesterday evening to walk around the downtown Chena River waterfront area.  The waterfront has been developed nicely to give a natural riparian transition from the city to the river waters with plenty of paved walking trails to allow one to enjoy the transition area.  Check out the sculpture the city placed just to the north of the downtown area on the north bank of the Chena River.  It is called “Polaris”.

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Later today we are heading out to drive down a road called Murphy Dome Road http://www.alaska.org/detail/murphy-dome.  We are looking forward to the views hoping the partly cloudy skies forecasted turn out to be true!

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