Alaska Road Trip: North Pole, Alaska (Part 3)

Day 3 – North Pole and a Giant Tube of Oil

Jim’s North Pole, Alaska Christmas Birthday

After the previous day’s flight-seeing induced puke-fest we were in dire need of comfort, so we spent the day indulging in one of our favorite travel hobbies: weird small towns!

We drove some 200 miles north through Fairbanks and straight into North Pole, Alaska where we were promptly eaten by a gigantic Santa.

north pole, alaska gigantic santa

Santa feeds on milk, cookies, and overgrown children.

Here’s a funny story: My birthday is December 14th, so Christmas and my birthday are almost a package deal.  Jim’s birthday is July 5th, he doesn’t associate his birthday Christmas.  Well, we fixed that.  Behold, CHRISTMAS ON JULY 5th!

north pole, alaska in july

We loved North Pole’s reindeer pen.   The reindeer walk up close to the fence, giving everyone a great view of their fuzzy antlers and patchy fur.  (Plz no one tell them how much I love eating reindeer sausage :P)

north pole, alaska reindeer pen

We also loved the hand-painted tiles all over the Santa Claus house (and tried our best to replicate the slightly awkward kissing Clauses).

North Pole, Alaska tile mural

One more thing before we depart North Pole.  Here’s our obligatory photo of our well-traveled Wy at the furthest north he’s ever been:

North Pole, Alaska Wy Goes With

Thanks, North Pole, Alaska – you were a riot!  (For anyone wondering, we spent about 2 hours here total, and that was plenty of time to see everything.)

Trans-Alaska Pipeline

On the way back we stopped at the Trans-Alaska Pipeline near Fairbanks, which is all exposed and stuff so you can just walk right up to it and pretend to hug it, which is exactly what we did.

Trans Alaska Pipeline hug

Mandi: hugger of fish, whales, and oil pipelines.

Trans Alaska Pipeline touch

Reach out and touch pipe!

We geeked out about the pipeline for nearly an hour, which is about 50 minutes longer than other visitors hung out.  If you like massive engineering projects, you’d love this thing.  It’s built to withstand buckling and earthquakes, and it has shipped nearly 16 billion barrels of oil in its 33-some years.  Oh, look at me science-ing while there’s talking to do…

Trans Alaska Pipeline pig

Hey, pig. Yeah, you.

Trans Alaska pipeline near Fairbanks

The Drive Back

… was uneventful, except for when we stopped at Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn. We had high expectations after seeing their humping bears sign (Alaska is full of weird shit), but it’s just a bar with some barely R-rated sex toys and crude T-shirts for sale.

Alaska Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn


The drive back was also insanely scenic (Alaska is insanely scenic).

Alaska scenery between Fairbanks and Denali

 Sadly, our brief time in Alaska is almost over.  Tomorrow (here in Part 4) we’ll drive back to Anchorage for an overnight stay before flying back to Seattle on Sunday morning.

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