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  • Mags Brown

Mag's American Road Trip | Part One

Our last day in Fairbanks

I love hot tubs! I really love hot tubs! But on this trip, I've discovered something I love even more - hot springs! Sitting in a hot, flowing river has to be one of the best experiences I have ever enjoyed. With different temperatures as you move up or down stream and different groups of folks to chat with as everyone relaxes (we were invited to have drinks with a couple from Anchorage and to stay with a lovely lady and her family from Georgia), Chena Hot Springs is a pretty 'cool' place to be!

But not as cool as our next experience - the Aurora Ice Museum - oh my! We were advised to bring hat and gloves and as we entered the hallway, we donned parkas provided to keep us from freezing. Y'know, the one-size-fits-nobody type. Glamorous.......but we were appreciative of them as we entered the 25F (-4C) room. I just had to stand and look for a moment, trying to take it all in.

The huge room had different areas. First was the workroom where knives, chisels and other unidentifiable instruments were lying on an ice plinth beside gloves and goggles. Waist-high walls of ice divided up the work area, also providing extra work surfaces. Past the workroom, past amazing ice carvings of all shapes and sizes, past a magnificent huge pair of horses and their riders (not dissimilar to King George setting out to stay his dragon), past a beautifully carved and perfectly shaped female model, and you step up into the chapel. Semicircular, beautifully decorated with flowers frozen in ice, an ice lectern stands just waiting for the officiants, bride, groom and witnesses. Yes, for CA$600, you can get married in the ice chapel and for another CA$600 you can honeymoon in one of the four ice-bedrooms. Each bedroom is unique in size, bed shape and ice-decor but includes the use of furs to keep you warm (or alive..).

There are no facilities and certainly no room service and, when the lights go off, it's dark! The other two spaces of interest are the igloo where you can crawl in and play the ice-xylophone (of course we did!) and then the main feature, the ice bar. Ice stools to sit on (kindly covered in moose skin so you don't get a cold wet bot) and ice bar to lean on, ice cocktail glasses to drink your appletini out of - what more could you want. The barman (our tour guide) didn't seem to need to measure as he poured from a bottle of apple juice in one hand and vodka in the other. Delicious....

The three-hour trip to Chena was well worth it - a great end to our time in Fairbanks.

Now I just have to put Lambie and Tok into the washer/drier to get the slightly sulphuric river water out of their saturated bodies. I told them not to fall in the water, but did they listen?

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