Birthday boy in Alaska

 

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After more than 920 days of being dragged around the World by his parents, Dodman got to celebrate his 3rd birthday on the road.

This time in Alaska.

 

Presents, wrapped in whatever we can find were first on the menu. Closely followed by pancakes, of course.

 

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His sisters have firm requirements to be stationary on their special days. Dodman is happy with having gifts, cake and being the boss. So we plopped him in his car seat with a pile of snacks and his favorite gift (an Alaskan moose water bottle) and left Fairbanks.

And made our way to North Pole.

With street names like St. Nicholas and Snowman,  this North Pole lacks the exotic magic of the actual top of the World, but is full of all the kitsch that is to be expected by one of the places that claims to be the home of Santa Claus.

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Turns out Santa’s workshop is in China. Out of the five six hundred and thousand trinkets on sale, ten were made in Alaska. Around here they call that diddly-squat.

The best thing about this stop was that it was quick and that we managed to get a crucial piece for the naming ceremony of our new car, performed by the VIP of the day.

“And we name you: Moose”

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The next few stops were of better value and with a lot less people around.

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Expecting being nominated for the Horrible Parents of the Year award, I admit that we used Dodman’s innocence and not only traveled on his birthday, but we set up camp, as well.

He was super happy raking the ground, though. All around our ‘palatial’ quarters.

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Tok, Alaska does not deliver much else though. It is just an inevitable stop as one criss-crosses the state. A quick visit to the local grocery store left us with the only fun option for celebratory dinner – camp fire roasted sausages in a bun.

Chosen by the birthday boy himself.

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While I slaved heavily over the heat to deliver a lovely crunch to Dodman’s sausage, he went around camp and invited everyone to his birthday party. Everyone being, the 5 other people that were crazy enough to camp in the middle of September in one of the coldest places in Alaska.

They joined us with big smiles and accepted his generously shared jelly beans and sour chews. The company turned up better than expected and we were all soon sharing stories and warming up around the fire.

 

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No special cakes this year, but by now the spirits were up and the now five year old proudly cut up his chosen carrot creation and spread more sweetness in the social mix.

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The sun was down and it was time to see if Alaska was going to deliver on my plan.

We have never chased after the Northern Lights. We passed Norway and Iceland without giving them a second thought. But since arriving at the last frontier people kept on talking about the possibility of catching them now. Not in a month or five, but now. And I got my hopes up.
And I started following the Aurora Borealis forecast.
And kept an eye on the weather of every place we were visiting or were going to visit.

And I knew that for my boy’s special day the skies were supposed to be clear over Tok and the prediction was for a high auroral activity.

I hoped Alaska was going to deliver some of the best fireworks for him.

So I started watching over the trees.

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I thought I saw something in the early night.

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And then mid sentence of talking to the wonderful couple from Canada, I looked up for my check up and saw it.

I grabbed my camera and ran away from the fire calling on the kids.

I think I squealed, but there is no proof of that.

 

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And just like that Alaska put the icing on top of a very simple, but wonderful in many ways day.

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Thus I will forgive it for freezing our butts off in the tent after that.
Although only because my boy slept like the baby he was not long ago.

Only five years, to be precise.