Thursday, July 29, 2010

North Pole Alaska

In reality we are parked 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle at present. We are next to Santa Claus House, home of the original letter to Santa and deed to one square inch of North Pole.
This is the most far north which we have come so far and, when we arrived Monday, we could not get into our shorts fast enough! It was the first real summer day we have had so far in Alaska. We are about fifteen miles from Fairbanks, a city known for its extreme weather. It can be -60 degrees in the winter and 95 degrees on a summer day. Whatever the explanation is for its weather proclivities, we are just happy to feel warm again. Tuesday we drove to the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in historic Fairbanks. I was just amazed at the beautiful flower gardens there. How did those flowers manage to bloom with the cloudy, wet, cool weather we have been having? Only explanation I have for that is the long days of sunshine, few though they may be.
 The visitor's center has exhibits pertaining to the public lands and parks of Alaska, also movies on life in  Alaska- both past and present. I did not realize that Fairbanks is noted for its winter sports as cross-country and downhill skiing, curling, ice hockey and dog mushing. I also learned at the center how the Alaskan pipeline saved the economy of Alaska and helped the state to improve its primitive infrastructure in the 1960s. While we were at the center we were treated to a concert provided by the Fairbanks Summer  Arts Festival. We heard some classical offerings provided by violin, cello and bass cello performers. That was an unexpected treat. From the visitor's center we walked over to the Golden Heart Plaza where there was a memorial to the pioneers of Alaska. As you can see by the picture, we were having another cloudy day. At least it was not raining!

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