The evening we arrived in Fairbanks we checked into our respective hotels and were collected, almost at the appointed time, by Jackal and taken to the ball park for the Midnight Sun baseball game
We arrived fairly late in proceedings and had to scatter in order to find seating. A few of us ended up sitting in the unofficial cheer leading squad for the gam. There was a sea of orange T-shirts sported by a group of children from the Alaska Great Lakes Project
This enthusiastic group would start up cheers at various points during the match and since we were sitting amongst them were encouraged to join in. I don’t think any of us will ever forget the chant “oh sa sa sa oh sa sa sa hit em in the head with a big kielbasa”. It was my first ever live baseball game and I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the game itself. It started at 22:30 and was played without lights until it finished at around 2:00 the following morning.
The day after the game we did the Jackal tour of Fairbanks including the Alaska Museum at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, saw the hall where the founding papers of Alaska were signed and stopped to take some pictures of a wind experiment that had various aircraft on it.
We next went off to see the Alyeska Pipeline that transports oil from Prudhoe Bay in the north to Valdez where it is loaded onto tankers for shipping around the globe.
A brief stop at a natural spring for some fresh water and then we went on to Big Daddy’s BBQ for some lunch. Yep Texas BBQ in Alaska.
Next up was a real treat of visiting the North Pole. North Pole AK that is. The story goes that any mail sent to Santa Claus ends up being delivered to the post office in this town. The street lamps all sit atop candy canes as does the golden arches sign. There is a lovely kitsch Santa Village complete with enormous Santa out the front.
Following this it was a mad dash to the airport for our flight down to Anchorage.
I used the self-service check-in and made my way upstairs to the security checkpoint. The TSA agent on checking my passport said ‘Where do you live?’ I said London. He said ‘Australian living in London visiting Fairbanks. You get around a bit.’ I said I sure do.
After security it was down to the gate where boarding had already commenced and I was able to walk straight on to the plane.
Flight AS0190 FAI-ANC Seat 17F
Departure time: 17:55
I made my way to my seat and made myself comfortable and a flight time of 45 minutes was announced. We pushed back at 17:53 and taxied out for a take off of 17:59.
Once in the air and the belt signs were turned off the crew came around with an abbreviated services, due to the short flight time. This service consisted of water or juice and a pretzel snack. On the longer flights AS have a buy on board scheme where you can get alcohol or food for a charge.
There were some views of Mt McKinley from the sky on this return to Anchorage and I was lucky enough to be on the right side of the plane.
We touched down at 18:43 and had a brief drink and pow-wow about the following days proceedings in the Alaska Airlines Boardroom at ANC before heading off to our hotels for the night.
After a very early start I caught the hotel shuttle back to ANC and used the self-service check-in again to get BPs for my flight. At the stupid time of 05:00 security was quick and the body radiation device picked up a false positive in my leg that required the touchy feely treatment. Great, not only do they irradiate us, they don’t even bloody work properly.
I entered the boardroom using my priority pass and grabbed a yoghurt and fruit for breakfast. On offer in the mornings was coffee, tea, fruit, yoghurt, pastries, bagels, boiled eggs and the famous pancake machine.
The rest of the FT gang appeared and we started to move in drips and drabs down to the gate at the end of the pier.
Boarding had already commenced and I walked straight up to the agent who scanned my BP. I went down stairs and walked out and over to the plane. Today’s aircraft was a 737-400 combi, the front half of which is for freight and seating only starts at the over-wing exit row and back. One needs to board the aircraft using steps from the rear door.
Flight AS0155 FAI-OTZ-OME Seat 17F
Aircraft: 737-400 Combi
Departure time: 06:00
A flying time of 1 hour and 15 minutes was announced to Kotzebue and we pushed back at 06:00 and we were hurtling down the runway 10 minutes later. This flight to Nome does a triangular route of Anchorage to Kotzebue then Kotzebue to Nome and finally Nome to Anchorage all with the same flight number.
The cabin is all economy and the service on board was not the abridged version mentioned above. Buy on board alcohol and food and free water, juice, sodas etc with some cinnamon bagel chips & pretzel snack.
The captain announced at 06:56 that we had just crossed over into the Arctic circle and you may have felt a small speed bump. Previously Jackal had asked the crew if they would ask the captain if he would announce when we crossed this point.
We touched down at 07:26 into Kotzebue and would be on the ground for 45 minutes or so.
On the ground the crew came around with cups and water if we wanted some.
After those that were getting off did so and those that were getting on did likewise a flight time of 34 minutes was announced and we rolled forward at 08:14 and took off just a couple of minutes later.
In the air on this short flight was the abridged water and juice service.
We landed at 08:50 into Nome Alaska the home of the DO for the next day or so.