Get Away With Fran

August 17, 2009

From Radiance of the Seas to hello Fairbanks sunshine

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Today I said goodbye to the lovely Royal Caribbean cruise ship Radiance of the Seas and a very rainy Juneau and hello to Fairbanks, Alaska, sunshine (and the sun actually shines up here way into the night this time of year – when it’s not raining – since we’re pretty darn far north).

To get from Juneau to Fairbanks is not an easy task. We departed the ship for the Juneau International Airport (international because it gets one Canada flight a day), passing you-know-who’s former governor’s mansion and the small Alaska statehouse, to catch a flight on Alaska Airlines to Anchorage. From there we boarded a half cargo, half passenger 737-400, also Alaska Airlines, flying over Mount McKinley, snowy on top, and landing in Fairbanks. The trip took about six hours including time at the airports.

Roberta, a bubbly guide who works with Royal Caribbean cruisetour groups (this week I’m experiencing a sampling of Royal Caribbean’s cruisetour offerings, only shortened, along with some other writers), got us on our bus and to the Pike’s Waterfront Lodge (in photos below).

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The Lodge is only five minutes from the airport – you can see the airport from here – but is also distinctively “Green,” especially for Alaska (again, what’s her name hasn’t exactly advanced the “Green” cause). The Lodge is solar powered, the carpet in my room is made of recycled materials, and even the toilet paper is recycled (not as in reused, but as in recycled materials, drr).

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The Lodge calls itself “the friendliest hotel in Fairbanks.” Well, they did give us wooden nickels good for scoops of ice cream on arrival. That’s friendly!

Tonight we’re off to the Fairbanks Pump House, a historic building that really used to pump water for the city, and is now a restaurant.

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