Day 5: The Railroad to Fairbanks

Arrived at Fairbanks at 7:45, 15 minutes ahead of schedule, after a rickety ride on the Alaskan Railroad. Well, it seemed rickety, probably because we were going so much faster than yesterday. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant ride. It was only four hours, so that may have had something to do with it.Imagine, a four hour ride on a train being a “pleasant ride”! Well, in comparison to the eight hour ride we took yesterday!

Really, though, both trips were great!!

Had an ordeal getting to the train station in Denali, though. We arrived back from town-seeing, sat down and chilled (I got my chocolate!!), then waited for an hour for the bus to come collect us to go to the train station.

Well, 3pm rolled around and no bus. We kept looking and looking on the itinerary, but it just said “3:00 pm – Bus to train depot”. We noticed others from our train ride on the previous day milling around, looking confused as well. We all banded together and looked confused together, but finally, at around 3:15, a shuttle bus showed up to haul us to the depot. It was just drama, drama, drama… LOL!!

Anyway, the train ride was relatively uneventful. As we left the Denali area, the scenery became surprisingly more green. Maybe a change in elevation, I dunno, but here in Fairbanks, it is a lot greener!

So, one funny story. There’s a small town on the railroad called Ferry. It is called Ferry because the town is split by a river and goods were delivered to one side or another by boats, based on where the goods were going (Anchorage or Fairbanks).

Well, over time the town lost it’s importance in such things. Now it’s just a town split by a river, with a railroad bridge connecting the two.

The townsfolk used to use the railroad bridge to get back and forth, but after an accident years ago, the railroad decided to disallow the use of the bridge, for safety purposes, by the townsfolk.

This made the townsfolk very angry. So much so, that one 4th of July, all of the townsfolk, all 32 of them, came out to moon the train as it passed by. And now it’s become tradition that every 4th of July, there’s a full moon in Ferry, AK!

Fairbanks is a fair sized city. It took us longer to get from the train depot than it did in Anchorage. Of course, the depot didn’t seem to be in downtown…

Now we’re at the Westmark Hotel. The rooms here are decidedly superior to the ones that we stayed at in Anchorage. In fact, this room pretty nice. It’s got a kitchen and desk and sitting area, lots of drawers (though we’ll never use them) and very nice blackout curtains. Because, we are in Fairbanks, after all, where sunset today occurs in 2 hours 20 minutes, at 11:51 pm.

Not to worry, though. The night is long. Sunrise is at 3:44 am.

I think I’ll sleep in tomorrow. Maybe till 6am, if ma doesn’t wake me up with her power yoga!!