Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anchorage to Fairbanks

Anchorage to Fairbanks

We arrived in Anchorage at 2:40, and our flight to Fairbanks was scheduled for 3:40. Because Delta wouldn’t transfer our luggage all the way to Fairbanks, I had to pick up the suitcases at the baggage claim area, go back to the ticketing area, and check the luggage. Carl waited at the gate with our carryon luggage while I RAN to get our two suitcases. When I got to the ticket counter, the gal told me there was no charge for flights in Alaska, so I checked them and made it back to the gate in time. Whew! I’m not used to RUNNING! As we walked through the jetway, I was calling Chena Hot Springs as we’d been instructed to let them know we’d need the shuttle from the airport.

On the flight into Anchorage, I was sitting next to a man who showed me Mount McKinley (Denali). Then on the flight to Fairbanks we happened to be on the left side of the plane which was best for viewing Denali. Both peaks were visible as the sun was setting about 4:30. It was an up-and-down hour long flight, and when we arrived in Anchorage, the temperature was 20 below zero. The van driver was waiting with a Chena Hot Springs Resort sign, looking for us.

On the drive 56 mile drive to the resort, it got down to 35 below zero. The van had “Moose lights” mounted on the roof which were trained on the ditches so that the driver could see 300 yards ahead of the van. At the resort we checked in, got our luggage into our room, and went to the restaurant. Carl had halibut “hali-bites” and I had a bowl of clam chowder “with a clam in every bite” and a Chena Fresh salad—made with leaf lettuce from the greenhouse on site. It was served with a wonderful walnut vinaigrette dressing. It was the only meal we had eaten all day. Thank goodness we had brought along a bag of Carl’s homemade beef jerky to munch with our complimentary sodas on the 3 flights.

After supper we checked out the hot springs before turning in for the night about 7:30. It was as dark as midnight on the drive to the resort! It does not seem like it’s 25 below zero because the air is dry. There is snow on the ground, but we didn’t need to put on our boots to walk over to the restaurant because the sidewalks have been cleared. The d├ęcor is typically “north woods” and the restaurant in the main lodge has mounted animal trophies from fox pelts to moose and caribou.

We put our name on the list for a knock on our door if the aurora borealis are visible, sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight, but they must not have been visible because we had a nice long catching up sleep.

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