we next headed downtown in a rag tag caravan of various people’s cars, including Dave’s old truck. I opened the door. It creaked, “Rust?,” I wondered. The drive along College Road and the houses, cabins and shacks reminded me of Dog Patch. This part of Fairbanks was a hodge-podge of odd, hand built houses and a few cheesy businesses and restaurants, none of them charming. We crossed over the Chena River into downtown. There also seemed to be a lot of litter floating around-something I hadn’t anticipated in the Last Frontier. The Chena struck me as a large meandering river, intersecting the town at so many points that it was hard to get oriented. We parked on the street and headed for the Rexall drug store where most of us bought whistles, space blankets and fire starter kits. It was a big place with everything under the sun, including a soda fountain and cigarettes. I stocked up on5 dollar cartons of More, the long, brown, skinny smokes that I thought looked sophisticated. Under Ray’s leadership, several of us walked down the street to Big Ray’s Army/Navy store to stock up on extra clothing. I bought a couple of flannel shirts, blue jeans, and extra socks (Harvey was fond of saying “You can’t have too many socks,” something I believe to this day. Ray was advising a couple of people on buying new boots, an unintended and costly expense, I was sure. We floated in and out of the two stores, with only a minimum of time to “tour” downtown. Second Avenue, I learned, was called “Two Street” by locals and consisted primarily of bars and drunks, both Native and non-Native. People had a habit of making a ton of dough up on the Slope over a 2 week shift, then came ‘to town’ for a week-most of their earnings went up in smoke or went down the hatch as alcohol. My favorite dive was Tommy’s Elbow Room, a dirty, dingy, grimy hole. I stuck my head in and saw a couple of people sitting at the bar, stewed at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and sucking on Lucky straights, I think. “Wow,” I thought, this is really the frontier and the frontier has a seemy aspect to it.