A is for Alaska

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As part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge [April 2016} here is my first submission.

This will be one of my last musings about our time in Alaska. Enjoy!

06/15/08

On my way to work one day last week what did I happen to see but a 1969 orange Dodge Charger with “01” on its side and a Confederate flag on its roof.  The only thing wrong with this picture being as I am from Georgia is that the car was wearing Alaska plates.

The name of the subdivision we live is “Majestic Hills”.  The vision it evokes does not match the flat potato field reality for which the houses are built. Maybe it is a testament to the fabulous view we have of the Chugach Mountains.

The Chief of Police where I work is a friend of mine. I asked her the other day about the plus 10 mph law that Georgia has on its books for state highways of speeds posted at 55 mph and above. She said that Alaska has no such law and that you could get a ticket for going even 1 mile over the speed limit. But, she said that it usually isn’t worth their time to even turn around for someone doing less than 10 miles over the speed limit as there are so many out there doing 15.

Another conversation with the Chief revealed that the Alaska State Troopers, who are the main law enforcement agency here have 10 new deputized troopers cutting their teeth here in the valley. So, she said they will be writing up tickets for the least little infraction and that the valley is ripe for them. LOL

In the farmer’s field down from our house I saw over 400 Canadian geese resting for several days before they migrated northward. This is a popular field for all manner of migrating bird. This week we have over 70 Sandhill cranes. At first I thought they were trumpeter geese, then turkeys until I stopped and got a good look at them. We watched them fly over our house yesterday. It was neat.

The largest of the varieties of mosquitoes are out and about up here. They are so big and so slow that if one bites you then you sat there and let it. I have never seen such big mosquitoes in my life. They are rather comical. Now, the ones that sneak up on you and bite you are the real tiny ones.

Anchorage has now surpassed Seattle in the number of coffee spots and Seattle is the home of Starbucks! There are coffee shops and coffee drive-thru shacks EVERYWHERE up here. Those and chiropractors are on every corner.

We ventured up to Hatcher’s Pass late Sunday afternoon. It is about 17 miles north of Palmer. The higher up we got into the mountains the more snow was still on the ground as much as 1 to 2 feet deep. And, it’s JUNE!

The Wal-Mart $4 prescription drug program is so popular here that for all new prescriptions there is at least 24-hour wait. For refills it is 48 hours. Geesh. The local grocery store pharmacy such as Carr’s closes at 7 pm and doesn’t reopen until 9 am. How inconvenient.

Bread, crackers, cookies and the like take forever to go stale or mold. We had a loaf of bread that we finished off today that took us 3 weeks to eat and it was still ‘fresh’.

There are cracks in the roadway that buckle up during the winter freeze called ‘frost jacks’. One near our house would knock the front end of your call out of alignment should you hit it going more than 40 mph during the winter. Now, it has flattened out to where you almost don’t know it’s there.

 

7/29/08

Not one, not two but three or more. Many more. That’s how many children most households here in the valley seem to have. It is nothing unusual to see families with six or more kidlets. I’m guessing there’s not much else to do on long, cold winter nights. 😉

Wildflowers everywhere! It is so beautiful here in the ‘summer’. There are wildflowers all along the roadside, up the hillside and across the fields. The colors are so vivid and spectacular – purples, reds, yellows, whites and more. I never knew daisies grew wild.

This summer is cooler than usual. In a typical year there are 15 or more days above 70 with that peaking right about now. Yet, we have only had 2 to date. In fact a record cold high temp was set on July 17th along with a record rainfall the same day. Global warming my ass.

We drove Hatcher’s Pass from Palmer to Willow on July 20th. There is still snow up in the mountains. And, we were only at 3,885 ft!

What zoo doesn’t have monkeys or some kind of primate? The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage had no monkeys at all. No gorillas, no chimpanzees, no orangutans.  But, it does have many animals I have not seen before – snow leopards, wolverines, etc.

The morning of July 24th brought us a smattering of new snow on the tops of the mountains. Most folks were quick to say that there was no way this was STD. Summer Termination Dust is usually seen about the middle of October.

Bear sightings are everywhere up here on a daily basis though we haven’t seen on yet. Unfortunately, grizzlies have mauled two people so far this summer. One was a young lady in Anchorage riding her bike in a marathon that startled a mother bear protecting her cubs. The other lady was worker at a lodge down on the Kenai. Both will recover.

Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! I sent away for my passport renewal thinking it would be Christmas if I was lucky before I got it back based on last year’s horror stories only to get it in less than 2 weeks! What are the odds of that happening? Alaska rules!!!!

On July 26th we drove north on the Glenn Highway for about 100 miles up to Eureka Summit. The scenery was spectacular. We had wanted to walk down to the Matanuska Glacier but it was pouring down rain and we weren’t prepared to get wet. You can see this glacier from the highway. It is 24 miles long and between 2 and 4 miles wide.

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