Saturday, June 23rd - The Riverboat Discovery and exploring North Pole:
We had early reservations for the Riverboat Discovery, so I set my alarm for 6:30am. After having a quick breakfast, we set off for the big paddlewheeler and our adventure cruise on the Chena River.
The Binkley family runs both the Eldorado Gold Mine and the Riverboat Discovery, and they do it in a first rate way. The narration is informative and humorous and makes for great entertainment.
When you board the boat, there are complimentary pastries and beverages for the passengers. A little bit of history about the sternwheeler and the business is shared, and the crew is introduced - most being members of the Binkley family.
Along the way, several demonstrations are given. A float plane pilot takes off and lands, there's a stop at Susan Butcher's kennel and you watch a team of dogs pull a four-wheeler (the summer way of training), and there's a stop at a fish wheel where you here from Dixie Alexander about fish camps and the Athabascan people.
The boat docks at the Chena Village and you get to rotate through several 'stations', where you learn more about native culture, dogsledding, hunting and trapping, and native clothing. It's quite interesting.
Donna really enjoyed this excursion, and of course bought even more souvenirs!
When we got back from the trip, we met Steve at the Pagoda for some Chinese food. From there, we drove across the street to the Santa Claus House so that Donna could get her photo taken with Santa. How can you come to North Pole and not see Santa? Again, she bought souvenirs. Did I mention that she had to buy another suitcase to take these things home? We also sent her home with some halibut and salmon - freshly caught within the last few weeks. We wrapped it up really good as it was frozen. (It was still frozen when she got home).
After the Santa Claus House, I drove Donna down to Chena Lakes Rec Area to show her where I like to go walking in the spring and fall. It's a much different place in the summertime with boaters and swimmers and families BBQing.
Here are some photos from Donna's last day in town: