Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Onward to Hot Spot

The journey between Coldspot to Fairbanks was another 9+ hour drive, all of it scenic, all of it interesting. Lunchtime today was at the Hot Spot Cafe, plumb out in the middle of nowhere on the Dalton Highway, home to the $9.50 hamburger that's big enough for two and welcome potty break. Denny and I did indeed split a burger, being forewarned by Don and Vicki of their size and then treated ourselves to candy bars for dessert. We could have had milkshakes but we passed. All of this is pretty amazing when you considered there is no electricity here. For the most part people who live in the lesser traveled areas of Alaska live with generators, propane tanks, woodburning stoves, solar and outhouses. It is what it is if you want to live here.

And yet there were flower beds and vegetable gardens and good food and pleasant surroundings and residents willing to share their table with a bunch of tourists. Alaska is the type of place where people come to make their fortune or get away from something and either turn tail or hunker down and make a go of it. The gal that runs the Hot Spot Cafe sells Ice Road Trucker shirts and gear and the only reason she can do that is because in the wintertime she drives a pilot car for the guys on the Ice Road. Folks here are a hardy breed indeed.
Supplies come in by road or by helicopter. This one came in and the biker totally did not see or hear him. So the chopper coming down behind him was a big surprise!After a leisurely lunch (with plenty of time to shop in the gift store, of course--a standing joke by this time) we boarded the bus to finish this day's trip down to Fairbanks where we'd bask in the luxury of a real hotel again. Bathtubs! Hair dryers! Queen sized beds instead of twins! Whee!

A beaver den.

Of course there were still a couple more pit stops. One, at the Yukon River, allowed us to see the
E.L. Patton bridge which is the only bridge over the Yukon River in Alaska, despite the fact that the river is 1900 miles long! It also has a very unusual cage connected to it which houses the pipeline as it crosses the river and the bridge is carefully monitored by camera.
Our next pit stop was Joy, Alaska; population one family.The family that lives here have adopted 18 children over the years, raising all of them with no running water, no electricity and having to use outhouses in -20 winters. Did I not mention that Alaskans are hardy? For pin money in the summer, the kids have their own lemonade stand.One of the nine outhouses we were allowed to use.And if you couldn't find anything in the obligatory stop inside the general store/gift shop, you could always buy your a Checker Aerobus Limo--cheap!Our day ended at the luxurious Fairbanks Princess Hotel where we were able to relax with adult beverages and put our feet up for a couple of days. Life is good (despite the grumpy look on Denny's face!)

3 comments:

SkippyMom said...

Those motorcycle pics are wicked. lol These are great [buy why DOES Denny look so grumpy.]

Vert word: condi "What's wrong condi smile?" [can't he]

ceipui said...

You know so much more about the area than we do, for instance, you know the name of that bridge (rest stop). I'm wondering if it's because you had a more informative tour guide?

RV Vagabonds said...

CeiPui--we did have a wonderful tour bus driver, but I also have a great friend who took the same tour earlier in the year and things that I missed she picked up so I snagged some additional information from her.

Isn't Alaska an awesome place?

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