Monday, May 27, 2013

ATVs, Yak Burgers & Sketchy Bars

This past weekend we decided to go rafting. So we called up a tour service and were told the rivers are still frozen due to this epic winter. So we decided to go four-wheeling instead. We drove down to Healy, right outside Denali park. Healy is a tiny little town (it really consists of a coal mine, a gas station, and a campground) but it has a great brewery, 49th State, that happens to serve my favorite beer ever. We had dinner there, I had a yak burger (really, yak!) and their wee-heavy scottish ale (that’s my favorite ever). Then we picked up serious amounts of 49th state gear. We had to get a stainless steel growler of the wee-heavy and a couple of glasses to drink it with. I got a nifty bottle opener, a sticker that barely fits on my stickered up Nalgene, and I of course didn’t make it away from the sale rack without a t-shirt. 

 But I’m skipping ahead. First we went four-wheeling. It was pretty entertaining overall. I prefer four-wheelers to forklifts. We also got to wear pretty sweet helmets but we skipped the plastic pants and plastic bags for the shoes that our tour guides offered. It was slightly touristy even for my taste but it was partially because we couldn’t go out on all the trails because the snow was finally starting to melt. Places like “Dry Creek” had turned into rivers. Like I said, overall it was still a lot of fun. We took some good pictures and saw a handful of moose. One was even in the middle of the path. It was decently muddy too. Our tour took us over a carpeted road. Apparently the person who built the road asked a bunch of businesses to donate old carpet. It keeps the road from being entirely washed out and every year and having to be rebuilt from the start every time. I also found out there is an active volcano close by. As in, “That mountain right over there is actually a volcano. We don’t know the last time it erupted or when it might erupt next but it’s all good, don’t worry.” We had to laugh a little when we stopped by one of “Alaska’s famous dry cabins.” Essentially it was a larger version of where we’d gone camping this winter. Except it had couches and a real bed. 

 On the way back home we made one last stop at a bar called, Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn. I’m really not joking, I even got a sweatshirt. It was a typical Fairbanks bar…..interesting people and decorations. You never really know what to expect. The last bar we went to had magic fire powder in salt shakers and people playing Twister on the dance floor. Skinny Dick’s had a fat little pug occasionally wandering about but mostly just snoring on the floor. There was also a karaoke deer, a giant bra hanging from the ceiling, and a lot of ridiculous gag gifts. The bathroom doors were so covered in stickers and confusing signage that I honestly couldn’t tell which was supposed to be which. But the people were chatty and friendly. A russian man even told us a terrifying story about lighting people on fire with tires.

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