Thursday, June 28, 1973
Our last day in Fairbanks, we got out and did some more exploring in the morning. We drove north towards Circle Hot Springs, named so because they’re on the Arctic Circle. We didn’t go quite that far before we turned around and came back. We also drove a little piece south towards Mt. McKinley, but going the rest of the way would happen tomorrow.
In the afternoon, my father dropped my mother and me off at a dock on the Chena River and took the car to get it serviced. With all my comments about having this and that done to the car while we were in Fairbanks I guess hauling a trailer up the Alaska Highway must have been pretty hard on it.
The reason we went to the dock was to take a paddleboat ride on the river, probably this one or something similar. Mother and I bought the tickets, and Daddy caught a ride in a limousine (that’s what my diary says — I’m pretty sure I’d have known the difference between a limousine and a taxi at that point, but maybe it was courtesy of the car dealer or something) out to the dock, and we all went down the Chena River. Among other things, we visited a reconstruction of an early trapper’s cabin. Then we arrived at the confluence of the Chena and Tanana Rivers, and I noted in my diary that the Tanana was so much muddier than the Chena that it was almost like a line drawn in the water.
I liked it a lot, according to my diary. Boats were not a big part of my childhood, so the few times I got to ride on one it was an event to me. I remember the big wheel churning the water, and how it rained at at the few stops we made and then stopped raining as soon as we got back on board.
After the trip, we went to pick up the car (I don’t mention how we got there), and went back to our campsite to get ready to head for Mt. McKinley the next day.