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Alaska Cruises

In Fairbanks, we started our day with the Riverboat Cruise. A coach picked us up at the hotel, and brought us to the dock. At the dock, prior to boarding, there is a large gift shop to explore. The Riverboat Discovery is an actual paddlewheel. The adventure is filled with a combination of history and present Alaskan way of life. Bush pilots demonstrate take offs and landings on water and land beside the boat. The only way to get closer would be to board the plane!
As we traveled the BLANK river, we passed the governors residence where President Reagan has stayed, and the home of Susan , the 4 time winner of the ididerod. The boat stops, and Susan and her husband show, from the riverbank, their dogs and demonstrate the sled runs. Along the way there is wildlife to see. The riverboat stops at a village where we disembark and learn about early Alaskan life, drying salmon, and the sled dogs are there from the previous demonstration. This was one of the best adventures we have experienced for the price. It is operated by a private family (whose grandfather started the riverboat run when it was necessary for survival). It flourished into a business back then, and now is part of a tourist experience. Anyone staying in Fairbanks can enjoy this excursion. The tour lasts 3 ˝ to 4 hours.

In the afternoon, we continued our adventure with a 30 min drive to a gold mine. On the way, our driver filled us in with history as well as answered our questions. At the gold mine, we boarded a train and traveled a short ways down into an actual mine where mining was demonstrated by the owners, who actually were panning for gold, met and married and are still at it today. They are full of enthusiasm and information. They detailed and demonstrated the process, and it was exciting watching them have gold in their pans while we watched. Then it was our turn!
Each of us received a bag of “pay dirt” and we went at it. A lot of staff were there to help. One passenger actually found a nugget. Everyone found gold, some more than others. I have been to gold towns and this demonstration and experience was better than I have experienced before.
After you pan your gold, they will weigh it for you and tell you the current value. Then you can browse the gift shop and enjoy complimentary cookies etc before returning to the train for the trip back to the parking lot.
Our next stop was the Alaskan pipeline. This is a good opportunity to see and learn about the technology that went into creating the pipeline to withstand earthquakes, permafrost, etc. I found this interesting and informative, however, the men seemed to be more into this stop.
Then we drove through the city of Fairbanks with our driver explaining life in this area.
We had to admit, we thoroughly enjoyed the day and would recommend it to anyone. We came to experience Alaska. To see history, life sled dogs, bush pilots and the pipeline was more than we expected from our first day.

PRINCESS LODGE - FAIRBANKS

It was a pleasant wilderness lodge with a helpful staff. During our Alaskan adventure, I felt this lodge was the most organized and helpful. There are restaurants on site, one with buffet meals and cafés. You could also go out to the town of Fairbanks (about a 15 min trip) to a restaurant. The staff at the Outrigger desk can assist you with transportation and information (as well as suggestions).

 

 


 

 

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