Alaska: Canada for Americans Without Passports

Our one-year wedding anniversary is coming up. To celebrate, Jenny and I finally took our honeymoon. We’re back from it and not much tanner.

Of all the places to enjoy our honeymoon, Jenny and I picked Alaska. We didn’t take a cruise and the nicest meal we ate was a giant pancake that took up Jenny’s entire plate. Nevertheless, we both left Alaska longing to return despite the below freezing temperatures.

big pancake
Jenny was outside taking pictures when our order came. I told her not to be disappointed with her food, insinuating that her pancake was really tiny.

We’ll write more extensively about our trip in upcoming blog posts. Here I’d just like to point out how hospitable everyone in Alaska is. It’s a place filled with polite people in big jackets. It’s essentially Canada for Americans without passports.

I knew Alaska was different when all of the airport employees didn’t seem to want to hurt me. They were kind, helpful, and a lot more fun to be around than those I’ve met nearer to home. Even the truck drivers seemed like men I’d trust around a sick baby. Usually truck drivers are scary men. In Alaska, they are open to making new friends.

For much of our Alaskan stay we parked our butts above the Arctic Circle in a small town called Coldfoot. The population in this town is so small they couldn’t start a hockey team or put on a production of Twelve Angry Men without Eddie Murphy’s help playing multiple roles. Coldfoot is by far the smallest town I’ve ever been in. Average Catholic families are larger than the entire town’s population.

coldfoot alaska
The view from the Cafe aka the only place to eat within hundreds of miles.

Our adventure began in Fairbanks where we met the first welcoming individuals. The cab drivers were incredibly polite and thrilled with the $2 tips they received. After our return from Coldfoot, we even stopped into a nearby grocery store with the nicest old woman on the planet. Betty Jo was very insisted that we go back and get napkins for the friend chicken we purchased and not in a pushy-lower-48-states kind of way. She was actually looking out for us and the grease that could have potentially gotten on our hands.

The vibe in Coldfoot and along the way through the vast nothingness was even more relaxed than in Fairbanks. Each of the tour guides we encountered didn’t have an angry bone in their body. The tour guide who gave us an eight-hour bus ride up to the Arctic Circle even described his own hatred for humanity as “wanting more elbow room” when asked why he decided to return to Alaska.

On our way to Coldfoot, enjoying some elbow room after using an outhouse.

Despite Alaska’s reputation as the home of some insane people like Sarah Palin, Curt Schilling, and just about every other historical figure in the state’s history; it’s a beautiful place rich with kindness. Even the TSA Agents are nice people. Whenever someone would forget something at the security line they’d make an announcement for something as invaluable as snow pants. Back home I literally saw an agent ask in a low-voice twice before moving the forgotten computer to the side.

It’s amazing what a little bit of nature can do for a person’s soul and how much overcrowding can turn you into a bitter, spiteful grouch.

As far as things America has purchased goes, Alaska seems worth it.

8 thoughts on “Alaska: Canada for Americans Without Passports

  1. Ok now your writing has convinced me to visit Alaska (one day). But the snow, hmmmm…. as a citizen of tropical country (read: Indonesia), I’m not sure my husband and I could handle the cold 🙂 we went to Canberra and Melbourne once during autumn and it was still single digit (not even minus) and we barely survive a night.


  2. It is a small world after all! I lived for 14 years about a mile North or up the hill from the Arctic circle gift shop and (outhouse). Glad you enjoyed your time in my old home.


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