Today has been a day full of driving – 350 miles to be exact. Our luggage seemed to expand during the trip, so Tom, Baylee and I are crammed in the backseat of our Suburban huddled under the Hello Kitty blanket and resting on the UGA pillow pet, still stuck in the same construction zone we were in an hour ago. They say there’s two seasons in Alaska: winter and construction. I’m beginning to agree.
We left the hotel (another Springhill Suite) this morning a bit later than planned and made a stop on our way out at the Alaskan Museum. I took one look at the exhibits, knew it wasn’t for me, and headed to the kid’s area to work on a puzzle for the entire three hours we were there.
We stopped at what seemed to be a ghost town about 60 miles outside of Fairbanks called Nenana to have a picnic. We then went into the Visitor’s Center, the only place that showed any sign of human activity, where we met the nicest lady who told us all about the tiny town. We even took our turn participating in the Nenana Ice Classic 2014. The Tenana River usually freezes over during the months of October and November. Once the ice starts melting in the spring, a tripod is planted two feet into the river ice between the highway bridge and the railroad bridge. Once it floats 100 feet, it breaks a cord and sirens shout throughout the city. Hundreds of thousands buy tickets during the year and make their guess as to what time the ice will break – down to the exact minute. The closest guess, which, most of the time is right on the money gets the grand prize. In 2013, the jackpot totaled $318,500. Each tickets costs $2.50, so that’s where they get the money to fund the annual contest. We each bought a ticket, so I’m certain we’ll be getting a call next year so they’ll know where to send our money.
Our route back to Wasilla took us back through the same towns we passed on the way up to Fairbanks. We stopped back at Denali, much to my dismay, to get a few photos of us with the National Park sign.
After dinner, we did a little bit of Sarah Palin stalking until we came back to our “inn” which doubles as a reindeer refuge. Win.