FRIDAY MAY 28, 1999
Fairbanks AK (rest day)

          The Captain Bartlett Inn turned out to be a great pick, although somewhat pricy at $100/night. The hotel was surrounded like a moat with fire lanes, however, placing the parking lot far off to the side of the hotel and requiring a long bag drag to the room. Once inside the hotel, however, we found a pleasant atmosphere and a room with many amenities, including solid blackout curtains, a fan, and other great stuff. No tub, however. The blackout curtains were probably the most welcome item, helping us sleep through the bright night, though I woke up a couple of times.
          We woke up around 10 am, called the Northern Alaska Tour Company to make arrangements to join a Barrow tour on Saturday (the airfare was about the same price as the tour with lodging, so we elected to take the tour), then went to the northernmost Denny's in the world for breakfast. The restaurant was very crowded but we were able to get a seat in a secluded part of the restaurant. Their waitstaff service was hurried but good, although the "souvenir certificates" they offer were not available. We then drove to the downtown district, which mostly consisted of a smattering of gift shops.
          The University of Alaska at Fairbanks had a great museum detailing the cultural and anthropologic history of the state; unfortunately there were almost no exhibits showing Alaska's very unique geological background. Regardless we were entertained there for a couple of hours and the museum earned a solid B+ rating from us.
          From there we made an unsuccessful effort to find the National Weather Service (caused by duplicate street names around Fairbanks), then headed back to the hotel for about 2 hours of rest. At 5 pm we decided to try the dining room at Captain Bartlett's, starting with an Alaskan Oatmeal Stout which was an outstanding beer. I had the fish + chips and Shannon had the chicken strips. The food and service were excellent!
          We went to see the 7:30 pm showing of the Star Wars movie at the only theater in town, Regal Cinemas Goldstream, a fairly large theater with 10 screens. The movie complex was somewhat dirty but seemed to be very popular among locals. Star Wars was fascinating and played to a 2/3rds packed audience, but was slightly out of focus for the first 45 minutes. The movie was over just before 10 pm, and we walked outside into bright sunshine; a weird experience. We went back to the hotel to go to bed and get rested up.
          A word of warning -- throughout the day we were disappointed to see that Fairbanks was pretty much closed off to tourists until June 1; we found that the ice sculpture museum was closed until May 29 and the northern lights film we were looking forward to at UAF was unavailable until June (geez...!!) Because of this ridiculous scheduling I would suggest that anyone planning a trip to Fairbanks before June or after August should do their homework and call ahead to various attractions first before making a journey.

Miles driven today: 0 (no travel miles)
Business ratings (0-4 stars):
Captain Bartlett Inn, Fairbanks AK * * * 1/2 (would get 4 stars with tub)
Regal Cinemas Goldstream, Fairbanks AK * * 1/2

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Fairbanks, AK -- Beautiful colors paint the Alaskan sky at 1 a.m.

Fairbanks, AK -- high noon in Fairbanks, and we just stopped at the theater (left of service road) to get advance tickets for Star Wars.

Fairbanks, AK -- the excellent Captain Bartlett's Inn that we stayed at for two days.