Travel Route: Fairbanks – Delta Junction – Chitina
Where is Fairbanks?
Fairbanks is about a 200-mile drive from the Arctic Circle. I was excited to get that far up north, I thought it would be like some little old mining town in the middle of nowhere, but it’s not. Yes, Fairbank started as a gold-mining town in 1901 and still is, but the construction of the Alcan Road during WWII and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in 1973-77 made it hub city for rural Alaskans.
It is surprisingly warm here, 70F. The sunset today was at 12:47 am, and promptly came up again two hours later. Those two hours of ‘darkness’ aren’t dark at all, but a twilight.
Fairbanks is an excellent spot to observe and experience the Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights). There are web sites that provide predictions on when the phenomena can be seen. I am sure it’s a euphoric, spiritual experience to watch mother nature’s artistic display, but that happens only in the winter.
What is the Alcan Road?
The highway section between Fairbanks and Delta Junction is part of the Alcan Road; it was built in 1942 by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. More than 10,000 troops took part in its construction, which was completed in a record time of less than a year. The primary military justification for the construction was the defense and re-supply of the skyway to Alaska and Siberia. Russian pilots picked up over 7000 aircraft in Fairbanks and flew them across Siberia to the Russian front. The airplanes helped the soviets withstand the full force of the German Army until the Allies could open a Second Front with D-Day Invasion at Normandy in 1944.
The morning was cloudy and drizzly; later, the sun showed up for a few hours till it got misty again. The green color is dominant with all its shades and tones. Cars are few and far in between. The number of human outposts can be counted on less than one hand. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline shows up sporadically. The road is in great condition. The scenery is spectacular. The silence is all around. I love it!