Thanksgiving Alaska-Style – before

What do Fairbanksans do for Thanksgiving in Alaska?  They leave the city go to a cold, tiny cabin with no electricity or running water, schlepp the entire contents of their homes up there for one night, celebrate, be merry, and schlepp everything down again. The end.

Probably not all Fairbanksans are planning this for their Thanksgiving holiday – but we are! Why you ask? That’s where I have no idea myself. It sounded like a great plan a few months ago when it was still warm-ish (20F) outside, light snow cover, 7 hours of daylight. It sounded like a fun adventure….

Today, however, I realize there may be no need to drive 2 hours to a cabin that is 40 miles below the Arctic Circle to get a feel for Alaskan adventure, for a few reasons; 1. we all already live in cabins, some have water some do not  2. we are now down to 5 hours of

Source: Dori Weinstein

daylight, sun rises at 10:30am and starts to set around 3:30pm  which makes for a lot of darkness really  3. with recent temperatures around -5F, 10 inches of snow on the ground and now an ice storm that made the whole city shut down for 2 days, that also cut electricity in a lot of areas, I’m thinking we really could just celebrate here and have the same effect.

I am a Thanksgiving grinch – I know.

Instead, we will brave the icy roads (think ice road truckers) head up on the road to the Arctic Ocean (there is only one road that goes to the Arctic Ocean) stop about 40 miles before the Arctic Circle, cram 10 people into a cabin that looks like a toy house (see below), cook 3 meals on a wood stove if we find wood to bring (wood in Fairbanks is a rare commodity in winter, seems everyone who has some hangs on it tightly for their own needs) bring just about everything from our homes with us (plates, forks, pots, stoves, firewood, food, water, TP, bedding, mat, bag of coal, lanterns, candles, etc.) and run into the chance that if temperatures drop significantly we won’t be able to start our cars and will have to live in the tiny cabin for the rest of our lives (I’m pretty sure there is no cell phone signal out there).

Blixt Cabin

What happens once temperatures are below -10F is that cars go on strike and decide they won’t start anymore.  Mostly b/c everything inside the engine freezes (oil, coolant, anything in liquid format).  So what we will all have to do this winter is plug our cars in to keep the fluids from freezing and battery warm.  It’s a funny sight really, all these long extension cords coming from the hoods of the cars, like a little “car leash.”  I’ll post a photo of it in the next blog.  But in any case, at cabins with no electricity this is really not an option.  I was told, the Alaskan alternative is to literally light a fire under the hood of the car, throw a blanket over it to capture the heat and warm up the engine that way.

Somehow purposely lighting a fire under a car just doesn’t seem like a very good idea to me.

Stay tuned for my “Thanksgiving Alaska-Style – after” report to find out how it all worked out and hopefully see some pictures of our adventure – if we make it back that is..


~ by yhossain on November 23, 2010.

3 Responses to “Thanksgiving Alaska-Style – before”

  1. Oh my goodness… I can’t wait to see pictures! I guess this little trip will make you VERY thankful that you don’t have to live in that cute little Blixt cabin near the arctic circle all winter long 🙂

  2. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! RE CAR THAWING… I don’t know if it would be enough in Alaska, but in Maine, several 2 lliter bottles filled with boiling water, blankets and just the right swear words worked pretty well. Takes longer than fires probably… Love ya

  3. Ming-Wai you are absolutely right, I appreciate electricity, water, and space so much.
    Roland that is a really great tip. We will have to keep that in mind in case we forget to plug our cars in or have to park somewhere without an electrical outlet. Sounds so much safer than lighting a fire. 😉
    Do the liter bottles go directly under the hood on the engine? Or ontop of the hood?

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