Alaska 2008 – Day 13, July 16

Day 13, July 16

New Tires, Cheena Hot Springs, and the group splits up

11 miles

The next morning, we have a good breakfast cooked by Verna, and we talk about what we want to do while we wait for the bikes to be done at Thunder Road. This town has tons of great options, museums, galleries, old town. Just outside of town is Cheena Hot Springs, we decide to head out there and check it out.

Steve is in a pissy mood, everything we say seems to rub him the wrong way. You can tell he’s a grenade with the pin pulled halfway out, and he’s just waiting for someone to give it one more tug. Although my allergy meds are doing their best, I still feel like crud, and I’m not really in the mood to placate Steve or anyone else, but we all sort of walk on eggshells and get along.

Cheena is really a neat place, we wander around and check out the hot springs and outbuildings. The main reason we’re here is the ice hotel. We sign up for the tour and wander around a bit until our tour’s ready. The ice hotel is so cool, literally! They give you big parkas to wear, and you need them, it’s way below freezing. It is beautiful in here, the sculptures are amazing, and the lighting really sets it off. We have a great time exploring.

Once the tour is done, we go to the restaurant and have a wonderful lunch. They grow many of their own veggies here, so the salad and sandwiches are top-notch. Lots of vegetarian options for Mike to choose from too!

Returning to town, Steve has one of his ‘tantrum boy’ moments. A week ago we’d all decided NOT to run the Dalton highway, but instead to head to Dawson City via Top of the World highway and hit the Arctic Circle on the way to Inuvik. Suddenly Steve decides he and John will take the Dalton to the Arctic Circle, and we can do whatever we want. He and Mike talk it over, and we decide to split up.

Good riddance. We take off for our new hotel that’s a ways out of town.

We arrive late in the evening, and are greeted by the owner Debbie, who takes us to our room via the back porch. First we are struck by the sweeping vista – a wide green lawn slopes gently away towards dense forest, with Fairbanks visible in the distance. Next we were amazed by our room. It’s large, with two queen beds, an armoire and television, but the neatest thing are the antiques, the room had display cabinets full of the coolest things, vintage aspirin boxes, cola bottles, dolls, so much great stuff!

After we get settled in, we explore the foyer outside our room. There are more antiques including a very old phone booth and other old goodies pertaining to communication, along with neat posters and other ephemera from old Alaska. Upstairs is the breakfast room, with huge picture windows looking out on the lawn and down in to Fairbanks. This room houses the most unusual pieces, many from Alaska at the turn of the century.


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