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Antique Cars and Santa Claus

The girls and guys went their separate ways this morning. The guys went into Fairbanks to see the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, and they were very impressed. Most of the cars on display are from the late 19th and early 20th century and most are functional. The museum prides itself in historically authentic vehicle restoration, and several are winners of the Concors d'Elegance competition. Of special interest was the car pictured here. It is the first car built in Alaska, a 1905 Sheldon runabout, built by Bobby Sheldon in Skagway. Sheldon had never seen an automobile but improvised one capable of going 15 mph to impress a lady. In 1913 Sheldon was the first motorist to drive the 370-mile trail between Fairbanks and Valdez. Meanwhile, the girls visited Santa and his reindeer in North Pole. The Santa Claus house has a gift shop with the most Christmas decorations I have ever seen, and Jackie and I tried to give it the attention it deserves. We also visited with Santa himself and assured him that we have both been very good girls this year. We ended the evening by dining at a great restaurant, the Pump House in Fairbanks, which is a National Historic Monument. It uses many parts of the Chena Pump House that serviced the Fairbanks Exploration Company as it furnished water to the gold dredges in the Cripple Creek Valley. It was reconstructed in 1978 and contains many authentic relics from the gold rush and Victorian era. The food was excellent and as we enjoyed the lovely weather on the deck we saw the Discovery III returning from its tour.

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