Fun Times in Fairbanks!

Although our purpose for visiting Fairbanks was to see the northern lights, we had daytime to explore.    Randy and I were in Fairbanks in 2010 with my parents on a cruise/land tour so we had already seen some of the sites.  Others were closed because of Covid, and still others were closed because it was late September and the summer tourist season was over.

A repeat activity was to stop at a roadside park highlighting the Alaska Oil Pipeline.  The pipeline is raised so the naturally hot oil doesn’t thaw the permafrost.
The pipeline goes 800 miles across Alaska from Prudhoe Bay in the north to Valdez in the south, and right through Fairbanks. We saw sections of it frequently
“Pigs” travel with the oil to clean and monitor the pipeline.
“Hold up the pipeline” is required photography!

Our cabin was just down the road from a great attraction – the Running Reindeer Ranch.  This is the ultimate story of: girl wants a pet, overcomes mom and financial hurdles to finally obtain two reindeer.  Of course, the girl grows up and moves away, leaving mom to care for the reindeer.  Years later, mom has turned the reindeer herd into a family business. Mom breeds reindeer and educates tourists about them, serving chocolate chip cookies from the same recipe the girl used to raise $2000 to buy that first reindeer.

This is 8 year old Olive, not one of the original reindeer, but the current herd matriarch.

There is an opening informative talk about reindeer. All the while the herd wanders around and through!   Reindeer are the same as caribou – just domesticated.  They need human support. Female reindeer and caribou grow antlers – unlike other horned or antlered animals.   All caribou and reindeer shed and grow new antlers each year.

The herd is currently about a dozen animals and, after learning about them, we all went for a walk through the aspen forest.

And posed with one of the two male reindeer.

Another fun afternoon was spent at the Fountainhead Antique Automobile Museum.   I always enjoy car museums way more than I expect to but this one had a unique twist.  Not only are the vintage cars on display, but corresponding vintage clothing are displayed as well!   How fun is that!

See how the silver grill on the car matches the silver pattern in the dress!  Crazy!

I’ve never been big on fashion except to appreciate it in a general way.  However, I did learn about a pigeon breasted bodice in this 1905 display.  It absolutely looks like a pigeon breast! Oh yeah! See the car in the background!

I learned about a “hobble skirt” from 1913.  Uhhh, why would they do that?

If Randy was writing this you’d get more car highlights.  Sorry, it is me.  Here are a few car things that I noticed, or were pointed out to me.

These cars from the same era don’t yet have consistency on whether the driver’s side is on the left or right.
A 1917 Ford Model T Snow Flyer.
This was Alaska’s first car, cobbled together in 1905 using miscellaneous parts by someone who had never seen a car except in magazines.   Twenty-two year old Sheldon gathered parts from bicycles, wagons, a boat engine, two bar stool seats and other miscellaneous items to build a car, in secret, to impress a girl.    She was impressed and joined him on many rides but they did not end up together.   A car with a story!
The displays were very well done.

Randy had a nice time looking at the cars and talking with the docent. (He said he barely noticed the clothes.) I enjoyed the car-fashion combinations.  It was a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon in Fairbanks.

I will end with one of Fairbanks’ famous photo opportunities.   The arch was made of over 100 moose and caribou antlers.  

Next post – The things we did away from Fairbanks!

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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3 Responses to Fun Times in Fairbanks!

  1. Donna Fischer says:

    So glad that you’re still wandering. 😘

  2. Mark P McClelland says:

    My main question: Was Rudolph there? Was he??? Some very interesting sites and descriptions. Looking forward to the “away” stories.

  3. We have visited many car museums but I have never seen matching clothing! I like it. It’s an interesting/unique idea.
    That is a great picture of yall “walking” your reindeer.

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