Work's over! LQ and I headed to Sea-Tac International Airport in the late morning to catch our flight from Seattle to Fairbanks. Finally, our holiday began!!!! We booked our flight tickets from http://www.alaskaair.com/ about 2 months before departure. Alaska Airlines is a semi-low cost carrier where you get one drink and one snack on board, as well as free seat selection (get the window seat). It was USD 209 one-way and we need to top up USD 25 for each check-in luggage at the airport, by either cash or credit card. Together with the check-in luggage it's about SGD 325 one-way from Seattle to Fairbanks. Ouch.
|Flying Alaska Airlines to Fairbanks! (Taken at Sea-Tac airport in Seattle)|
|Snacks on board|
|THIS IS WHY I ALWAYS GET THE WINDOW SEAT|
|Fairbanks International Airport|
|Chrysler Town and Country|
|View outside the window|
|Brewster's Signature Steak Bits - USD12.99|
|Brewster Burger - USD 10.99|
|Kettle Chips, so cheap here!|
|On the way back to Best Western Plus Chena River Lodge|
Chasing Lights Day 1
Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights hunting in Fairbanks
The staff at Best Western recommended us to head to Ester Dome to catch the Northern Lights. The forecasted Auroral activity for today was average, 3. We used this website http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast, created by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, for the forecast.
Ester Dome was about 10.3 miles/16.6 km, 20 minutes drive away from Best Western Plus Chena River Lodge. We set off at 12am after the sun finally sets near midnight. It wasn't a smooth journey as the road was really dark without street lights and a random wild animal, be it a moose or a bear, may just step onto the road. I was really careful while driving.
We couldn't find a spot to park our car or rather, we couldn't find a safe spot that we could get out of the car. Luckily, I spotted a slot just big enough for our car, facing a nice row of trees. Then, we waited. We were discussing that the sky was really bright, the northern lights would appear anytime. But there's like nothing after a good while. So I just took out my camera, randomly taking a photo of the trees. OH MY GOD!!!! IT'S THERE IT'S THERE!!! We couldn't see the lights with our eyes but our cameras could auto-adjust to capture it!!! So thankful for my curiosity otherwise we would not even know that the lights were already dancing right in front of us!! An advice is, if the sky got brighter, IT IS THE NORTHERN LIGHTS. We could feel it too. Not exaggerating at all. =D
|Northern Lights on my Canon S100|
|Beautiful!!! Even though there's only such a bit. (Credits to LQ)|
|Northern light accompanied by countless stars (Credits to LQ)|
|Effect caused by a car that passed by (Credits to LQ)|
|Mild lights can be seen next to our hotel, in the city|
As we slept late last night due to Northern Lights chasing, we woke up at about 8am+ to eat our breakfast which only available till 9am and got back to sleep till noon.
Breakfast spread by Best Western Plus Chena River Lodge
|Breakfast Cereals and Milk|
|Fruits, Yogurts and Pastries|
|Microwave, Hot/Cold Drinks|
|Scrambled Eggs with Bacon and Potatoes|
|Making my waffle|
|Waffle with bacon and scrambled eggs|
|Mixed Breakfast Cereals|
The Cookie Jar Restaurant
Address: 1006 Cadillac Ct, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat 6.30am - 9.00pm; Sun 8.00am - 4.00pm
As recommended by our colleague, FW, who visited Fairbanks last year (2014), we drove to The Cookie Jar Restaurant to have our lunch. It was about 10 minutes drive from our hotel, via Johansen Expressway.
The fried steak we ordered was pretty disappointing. I think we were expecting too much. Nevertheless, the toasts accompanying the main dishes and the cinnamon roll were good.
|Cookie Jar Country Fried Steak USD 15.99|
|Beerock USD 7.99|
|Cinnamon Roll USD 4.99|
|Huge Cinnamon Roll|
Fairbanks Walmart Supercenter
Address: 537 Johansen Expy, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States
Operating Hours: 24 hours
My first visit to the Walmart! Been hearing how significant a Walmart is all the way from Singapore and now I could finally experience it myself. It was really gigantic. They sell literally everything! You name it, they have it. LQ and I did most of our shopping here. *no tax*
|Yes, you can buy a gun in Walmart!|
Downtown was a short drive from Walmart. We parked at a free parking spot and roamed around the empty downtown. Seriously, Fairbanks was so quiet.
|Nice church spotted|
|Chena River, melting in process...|
Surprisingly, there were quite a number of Thai restaurants at Downtown, Fairbanks. We were crazily craving for spicy food after almost a week in USA. Although we weren't hungry, we picked one with a small car park and went in to satisfy our needs. =D
Tiparos Thai Food
Address: 404 Lacey Street, Fairbanks AK 99701
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-9pm; Sat Closed; Sun 12pm-8pm
Contact: +1 907-455-8424
Operated by Thai immigrants, Tiparos sell authentic Thai food including Tom Yum and Pad Thai. The taste wasn't exactly like the Tom Yum I tasted in Thailand, I bet it was due to the ingredients bought in the US. It was awesome and spicy enough for us.
|Tiparos Thai Food|
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Address: 505 S Chandlar Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775, United States
Museum of the North is located in the University of Alaska Fairbanks. However, it was already closed when we got there in the evening. We walked around the campus, and chanced upon a concert hall full of people. Then, um, we took the brochure, went in, sat down and watched the entire concert for free. =P
The campus was so nice!! I miss my school days in university...
Chasing Lights Day 2
Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights hunting in Fairbanks
Creamers Field State Migratory Waterfowl Refuge
Address: 1300 College Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States
Creamer's Field is a wildlife sanctuary as well as a dairy farm. Sadly, there's too much light which spoils the view of northern lights. And Canon S100 ain't good enough to capture it's raw beauty.
We actually drove back to yesterday's spot along Ester Dome road again. Below are 2 pictures taken by my Canon S100.
Fairbanks is a place to get away from city life as it is really peaceful. In Chinese saying, it would be a 鸟不生蛋 (birds don't lay egg) place - meaning there's nothing much here. Northern lights would be a reason strong enough for people to visit Fairbanks. Thank you mother nature for showering us with such fantastic night view full of stars and a glimpse of the legendary Northern Lights.
Onward to Anchorage tomorrow~~
2016 Seattle-Arizona (Blogging soon)
- Apr 2016 Part 1 Seattle
- Apr 2016 Part 2 Arizona Road Trip
- Apr 2016 Part 3 Arizona Road Trip
- Apr 2016 Part 4 Arizona Road Trip
- Apr 2015 Part 1 Singapore - Tokyo - Seattle
- Apr 2015 Part 2 Seattle, Washington
- Apr 2015 Part 3 Seattle, Washington
- Apr 2015, Part 5 Anchorage, Alaska