What I consider to be a highlight of this summer vacation is over, and it was with some regret that we left Denali National Park and Preserve yesterday. Such a grand place to see the natural wonder of our great world!
We spent last night in Fairbanks and today toured Ft. Wainwright, where I was stationed for 2 ½ years. Things have really changed there with new living facilities for our Army heroes, but we were still able to find the old quarters where we lived. Back then Laurie had to walk to school a half mile every day sometimes at –40 degrees F. We even verified the mileage to prove her claim! We also bought discounted Alaska souvenirs at the PX and just generally did the reminiscence thing for a while.
We then went to Fox, AK, to the Eldorado Mine, where we took a tour of a real, operating placer mine and got to do our own panning for gold. They supplied us with a small bag of concentrate from the mine and gave us all lessons of how to make the gold appear magically in our gold pans! We all found some, and of course, the three gals confiscated Kevin’s and mine and had some jewelry made from it. Jacob would not relinquish his claim—of all of us, he (the birthday boy) found the most gold and he is proud of it!
Now we are in North Pole, Alaska, camped at Santa Land RV camp “where Santa spends his summer”. This is one of the nicer commercial parks that we have been in. There are little signs of Christmas cheer everywhere and they even loaned us the movie Elf!
The most surprising part of the day happened while the gals shopped at Santa Claus House and Kevin and I ran an errand (escaped). Believe it or not, I spied a man who I met at Daytona’s Bike Week this past March who has been traveling the world on his own motorcycle for 10 years! I yelled a greeting out the camper window when we passed at a stop sign, then pulled into a parking lot and had a good chat with him. I will enclose a picture of him here. We are fortunate to have run into him since he is just returning from the exact routes that Kevin and I are planning to travel next week. He was a plethora of information about road conditions, where to pitch our tents and even how to protect ourselves from the rocks that will come flying from the trucks who are masters of the road to Prudhoe Bay and the oil fields up there.
We’re winding down for the evening now. Rain is falling. It will hopefully help the local forest fire fighting efforts and clear the smoke from the air for our last day in this area tomorrow.