Friday, 9 November 2012


When I got into Fairbanks Catherine Brosnan gave me directions to their home. After one or two wrong turns I was cycling along a bike path when the smiling cyclist coming in the opposite direction stopped me and said I must be Billy. It was Eddie Brosnan who had come out on his bike to track me down. They must have wondered how I had made it the 500 miles from Prudhoe Bay if I struggled to make it the few miles to their home. Once in the door they showed me where I would be staying. Not only did I have my own bedroom with a huge double bed to myself but I had my own bathroom and pretty much my own floor to myself in their basement area. This was luxurious by anyone's standards but compared to where I had been sleeping for the past week it was out of this world. Probably just as well for their sake's that I had my own floor before I had the opportunity to wash myself and my gear. I didn't waste any time in jumping into the shower for  a good scrub. Later, after my thorough wash and a huge feed I got a second wind and stayed up for a few hours having a great chat.

The next few days involved some very necessary relaxing, recovering, lots of washing and even more eating. The Brosnan's, who I had never met before, treated me like a long lost son. A long lost extremely hungry son.  My appetite had increased exponentially from my exertions of getting to Fairbanks. Despite my almost insatiable appetite, Catherine, being a proper Irish mammy, made it her mission to make sure I was well feed and Eddie made sure that I never went thirsty! Their hospitality was phenomenal. It was so nice to be in a true home from home. So nice in fact that I found it hard to leave.

During my time in Fairbanks I made sure to check out the city.

Fairbanks is the second biggest city in Alaska after Anchorage and the largest in interior Alaska. Founded in 1901 by T.E. Barnette who was planning on setting up a trading post further up river at Tanna Cross. Barnette chartered the steamboat LavelleYoung from captain CW Adams. They came up the Chena river but were not able to make it as far as Tanna Cross due to low water levels. Barnette was convinced by a few nearby gold prospectors such as Felix Pedro to set up his trading post at the location where they disembarked which is now modern day Fairbanks.

I eventually had to hit the road, but fully recovered, with everything good and clean again.
It may be thousands of miles from Ireland but I can certainly promise you that the "Cead Mile Failte" is more than alive and well in Fairbanks.

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