We hit Fairbanks twice. We spent the night on the way to Chena Hot Springs at a hotel between first and second avenue and on Cushman. I first was here in the winters of 1974 and 1975. It was pipeline boomtown and Cushman was the wild west, or perhaps the wild north. Second Avenue was, as I remember it, called Two Street. This time we had a hotel room overlooking Two Street. I didn’t have to worry about not sleeping, it was quiet even though we were across the street from the Mecca Bar. Two Street Station and some of the other hangouts are closed. But there is an art gallery, the Two Street Gallery is in the art deco Co-Op Plaza (pictured.) It’s been a long time since I have been in Fairbanks.
We drove through Fairbanks again on the way south and had to stop to look at the University’s famous temperature sign. University of Alaska students like to have their pictures taken near the sign, in their swim suits, when it is below minus 30. The University is trying to discourage this but the temperature sign is an attractive nuisance. On the ferry we met a family moving south from Fairbanks. Before they left they, of course, needed to get their picture. As we sat at the stop sign near the thermometer a car pulled up and a kid in a bathing suit jumped out for his dad to take a picture.
We didn’t have time to stop at the new Museum of the North, but we drove by and it is on my list. But driving up the hill to the museum we got to a spot where the sun shone through the ice fog and we saw, not one sun dog, not two sun dogs, but a full sunbow from the University’s ridge.