My sense of humor is rather sophisticated, or at least, I’d like to think so. But I still have a weak spot for the kind of double entendres and low-brow irony that makes a ten-year-old snicker. So naturally, when I rolled up on a place called Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn, I couldn’t resist the urge to stop.
Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn is located on the George Parks Highway, Alaska Route 3. As the name suggests, it’s about halfway between Fairbanks and Nenana.
Yes, I was interested in Skinny Dick’s. I really wanted to see Skinny Dick’s. I wasn’t sure if I’d be satisfied with Skinny Dick’s, but I was willing to give it a try.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way… let’s get serious. This place is pretty much the only place to stop along this stretch of the Parks Highway. The road is somewhat boring otherwise, so you’ll probably need a break.
The name wasn’t suggestive enough, so Richard added a couple of happy polar bears to the sign. As you might expect, the bears play a big role in the bar’s merchandise business.
And let’s be clear about something. The signs outside might make this look like a quirky gift shop, but it’s about 75% bar, 20% adult toy store, and 5% non-x-rated gift shop. As soon as I stepped in the door, I realized I was way out of my element. But that didn’t stop me from buying a PG-rated bumper sticker. I passed on the t-shirt, because come on, would I ever actually wear that? No, I would not.
[tmt_info =””]Here’s how the name evolved. It was first built in 1955, and got the name Halfway House in 1969. In 1981, a guy named Richard (nicknamed Skinny) purchased the bar. And because Skinny Richard’s Halfway House just wasn’t quite awesome enough, in 1985, he finished renaming the place.[/tmt_info]
Before and after Skinny Dick’s, the Parks Highway isn’t as scenic as I had hoped. It’s pretty enough, but there aren’t many places worth stopping. About halfway between the Halfway Inn and Fairbanks, there is a turnout with a nice view looking south, towards the Nenana River. A plaque attached to a rock serves as a half-hearted effort to commemorate the road’s namesake, George Parks.