After the long train ride to Carcross, we boarded a tour bus (provided by the WP&YR as part of the journey), and took a scenic ride back to Skagway, including the lovely Emerald Lake (above). We had a nice dinner at the Skagway Brewing Co. and another good night’s rest. Sunday morning, we packed and headed back North on the AlCan Highway.
After a stop in Whitehorse for some Tim Hortons and a few liters of petrol, we rolled in to Beaver Creek in the Yukon for the night.
The Westmark Inn in Beaver Creek is a bit of an older establishment but had a certain flair all its own. There was a dinner theater in the back, and a combination bar and recreation hall in the central building. The rec hall featured a mini-museum literally stuffed with animals that a notable local taxidermist had prepared.
At the time we thought this might be as close to an adult moose as we might get on this trip.
The next day we re-entered Alaska and rolled on toward Fairbanks, retracing our steps back to Tok, where we stopped at Fast Eddy’s for a lunch that would fill up a lumberjack.
We cruised on Northward toward Fairbanks, keeping a sharp eye out for animals and admiring the many views along the way.
… and then we saw her!
My wife and son had already spotted a male moose on the right side of the road, but we were too late to stop. Not a mile further up the road, though, we saw this lady calmly munching on fireweed. We quickly pulled off the road and snapped off a few shots, along with our other car with the rest of the family and a tour bus that was following us and whose driver was sharp enough to realize why we’d stopped.
Next up on the tour was the Tanana River crossing of the Alyeska (Alaska) Pipeline at Big Delta, just north of Delta Junction.
The Pipeline was one of the main attractions my father wanted to show his grandchildren, so we stopped here for a bit and got a few more shots, before moving on once more.
As we approached Fairbanks, we passed Eielson Air Force Base. Sprawling across the plain north of the road, it was a magnificent sight. My sister was driving, so I whipped up the camera for a panoramic shot of the flight line as we drove by… only to have it knocked down by my sister’s “mom arm”. She had spotted the warning sign forbidding any stopping or photography near the base, and figured we did not need to get arrested on this base. Oh well. The view is seared in my memory… and on Google Maps!
In Fairbanks, we visited the Pipeline again, at a small park set up to allow visitors to examine the pipe closely.
… and then ate at the Cookie Jar, which has been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” TV show.
Day two at Fairbanks found us at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum, which is a fantastic showcase of Alaskan history and nature. It’s a must-see for sure.
The downstairs area is a natural and human history museum, while the upstairs is an art gallery featuring the works of both native and contemporary Alaskan artists.
One of the funniest sights of the whole trip… on our way through town to our hotel, I looked off to the left and saw one of those typical modern bank signs that show the temperature with a dot-matrix display… the temperature was 74˚F … and the display showed flames beneath the number…
Next up… Denali!