Made it back from Texas and into Fairbanks to find that the Old Man had managed to keep the dogs alive and explored a bit of Fairbanks on his own. With our time table shortened a bit we hung out in North Pole AK home to Santa Claus while I caught up on work and of course went and saw the big guy to see if he would send some check up letters to some children we know, rumor has it they forgot that the naughty and nice list runs all year long.
One last night in North Pole and then we headed up toward the Arctic Circle. We knew the road would be rough and we were ready and our time very short. Literally we were driving up sleeping, and driving back all the way to the lower 48. It was a hard journey on Luna, on us, and on the pups, but it was journey I am so glad we took. I mean how many people get to say they drove up to the Arctic Circle?
Off we went following the Alaskan Pipeline and Dalton Highway. I was adamant that we stop right outside of Fairbanks so I could see the pipeline, little did I know we would see it our whole drive. Still not sure why the pipeline was a must do on my list, but people are strange.
The ride was bumpy, but the area was pretty and the road while bad was thankfully not as bad as we thought it would be. That being said when we made it to Coldfoot Camp and the first thing we did was head to the bar so the Old Man could enjoy and beer before he started to enjoy his scotch and cigars. Six hours of total focus trying to avoid large holes and avoiding semis takes it out of you. Beer, Scotch, and cigars are the only answer, at least in this family.
We did make it over to the visitor center we got to pick out our own movie “Flight of Alaska” that took us on an airplane ride through the area. With our time short we didn’t have time to drive or fly up to Deadhorse and finish out the highway, but watching it on the big screen made us feel like we were there and it was easier on Luna.
There isn’t much to Coldfoot Camp just a few trailers and a row of what they call a hotel I call dorms. Most tourist fly in and stay in the town of Coldfoot which offers a few hotels and such, the oil workers stay at the camp. Camp was fun the dogs could run free they even made a friend. We met a few of the workers and women who worked in the restaurant/store/post office and everyone was extremely friendly. Above the Arctic Circle in summer means you have either sunlight or daylight for 24 hours, woke up at 3am and I could still read my book without a light. It is crazy, but amazing. They don’t it land of the midnight sun for nothing.
Sadly we woke up early (hello daylight) and started on our much dreaded and hurried drive back to the Lower 48. While I know we have a day or two left in Alaska and all of that spent driving I am so sad to leave. Part of me feels like our van life is coming to an end because getting to Alaska was such a big part of why we started and part of me is really sad to be leaving Alaska. Alaska made a huge impression on me and in some respects changed me, but that is for another article. For now we are heading south and east. We have a quick stop in Whitehorse, YK again for some interviews the Old Man has set up and then we take the Al-Can all the way to the end. We cheated a bit on the way up with Hwy 37 and meeting the Al-Can in the middle, but this time we are on the way to Mile 0 in Dawson’s Creek.
Bye Alaska until we meet again.