Once upon a time on a trip to Alaska, day 13

 Fairbanks, Alaska

Wednesday, June 27, 1973

Musk ox and baby

 On our first full day in Fairbanks we saw musk-oxen.  At the University of Alaska’s musk-ox farm, which apparently still exists as the Large Animal Research Station.   We had to view them from a platform far enough away from them that we needed binoculars to really get a good look at them, but we saw them, and I remember thinking it was pretty cool.

 We also went to the museum on the University of Alaska campus, which is now called The Museum of the North  and is in a different building than the one we visited.  What I remember most about it was the taxidermied Alaskan brown bear in the entryway.  It had been posed on its hind legs, and that puppy was tall.  I don’t remember how tall, precisely, but it reached close to a very high ceiling.  My diary notes a number of Eskimo (more properly Inuit) and animal exhibits and that I enjoyed myself greatly.  But I was always very fond of museums, even as a kid. 

 In the afternoon we went to something called Alaskaland, which apparently still exists under the name Pioneer Park.  My diary says I wasn’t very impressed with it, but the webpage makes it look like it’s got a lot more to it these days, and as I love historic re-creations like this, I suspect now it would be right up my alley.  I also had no idea that it was originally built as part of the 1967 Alaska centennial celebrations.  The centennial of the purchase of Alaska by the U.S., that is.  Alaska as a state is three months older than I am.

 After that we returned the shock absorbers/leaves/whatever we’d bought the day before to Penneys, I’m assuming because they didn’t fit the land barge.

 I remember really liking Fairbanks.  I also remember being very impressed with how each parking space all over town had an electric outlet so you could plug your car in to keep it from freezing solid in the wintertime.  The ones in the University of Alaska parking lot looked like a grove of parking meters.  The concept of ice fog bemused me at the time, too, but since we were there just after the summer solstice, neither frozen cars nor frozen fog was an issue for us.  Our issue, as I remember it, was that it never got properly dark enough to sleep, and we ended up putting cardboard in the trailer windows at bedtime to block the sunshine.

 True Gold, a novel about the Klondike Gold Rush, is now available through Amazon and Smashwords