Thursday, May 17, 2007

I had a co-worker just return from a week long trip to Alaska. She and her husband flew up to Anchorage, rented a trailer, and drove up the highway to Fairbanks and came back. I'd heard some of the stories from the trip, but I could easily have heard more. She kept saying that Alaska is a different world from the rest of the US, and I would have to agree.

My two years in Alaska are at times a blur, due to spending 5-9 months at a time in the same two villages. After such a long time, a trip out to the big city of Anchorage is nothing short of entering another culture. I remember spending an hour in KMart, admiring the selection and prices (food and clothes in Bush Alaska are usually twice the price elsewhere due to shipping), and then going over the Boarders Books to do the same thing. The experience in the grocery store was similar.

However, the most interesting and most amazing part was driving a little 1987 Pontiac through a blizzard from Anchorage to Nenana in early January. I visited another Christian Radio station (KIAM), and our station (KAKN) was in the middle of creating a partnership with them. Going through mountain passes with heavy winds in a temperamental vehicle (prone to dying on said mountain passes) in January is probably the second best way to see the interior of Alaska. The first seems to be renting a trailer in Anchorage and going in May. I may have to try that someday.

Then again, this the road trip I want to go on if I'm going to go that far. The Dalton Highway is 400+ miles of varying road qualities that lands you a short distance from the Arctic Ocean. Even the village at the end of the road isn't so much a village as it is a small hub for oil workers. I can't imagine what happens if you pop a tire or run out of gas, but I'm sure you'd have a story or two for your grandchildren. Check out the pictures on the site I linked; they routinely serve as a Desktop for my computer at work.

Maybe it's the fact that it's about 45 degrees out combined with talking about Alaska with someone who just was there, but I've been thinking about the summer in Alaska again. I should find an excuse to make it up there. Anyone have a vehicle they need driven up to Anchorage? I've got PTO saved up.


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