Thursday, March 06, 2008

Things I Miss in Alaska

Krispy Kreme DonutsAfter posting thirteen Great Things About Alaska I got calls to post a list giving equal time to the other side of life in the Last Frontier (Tim? Are you there?) I don't like being negative but I suppose to be perfectly fair I ought to present the reasons why Alaska may not be for you (you knew there had to be plenty of reasons otherwise why would everyone be living in California?)

So don't say I didn't warn you. Presenting thirteen things I miss here in Alaska. Sniff. Really miss!

1. Krispy Kreme. And for that matter Olive Garden, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma. What other stores or restaurants are we missing? We're about to get a Target . . . but the worst, the WORST part about not having a Pottery Barn is that if you order something from their catalog they rob you blind on the shipping, it'll cost you more to ship the item than the item is worth. I'd understand it if it cost them more to ship it up here but air shipping is air shipping. It doesn't cost them any more to get it up here but they figure we must be loaded or something and can afford paying $50 to ship a napkin ring. In protest I'm boycotting and you just wait, I'll bring down The Man--you'll see.

Oh! And about Krispy Kreme--we Alaskans are so desperate for these guys that it's common for people to have a cargo of them overnighted up here to sell in fundraisers. You'll see a stand set up in a parking lot advertising Krispy Kremes to benefit the women's shelter or something. There's a Krispy Kreme next door to the airport on Maui and you'll see Alaskans carrying boxes of donuts on the flight home.

U23D2. Drive-in movies. I'm not even going to get started on not having U23D or IMAX theaters--the subject is just too painful and my therapist says I'll never get over it if I keep talking about it ("Is she serious? Does she really have a therapist?") Oh how I really miss drive-in movies. But what's the point of having them when it's not dark enough in the summer to see the screen properly? And there's not really anyone lining up to see one in the winter--funny thing. We used to go to the drive-in in Orem and I'd back my little Nissan Sentra coup into the stall, pop the back hatch, put down the seats then recline against pillows to watch the movie--is there anything more American and "remember when?" than that?

3. Fruit trees. Oh how I miss these. We can grow crab apples and some arctic strains of apples but otherwise gardening is limited to the cold-weather basics. Gardening gurus here claim that in some micro-climates around town you can grow special strains of pears and cherries but I've never known anyone successful with these. I guess that's what you get for living in a Zone 2--no asparagus, melons, pumpkins, peppers, cucumbers or citrus.

When Andrew and I were at school in Utah we lived in an apartment complex that had apricot trees on the grounds and I remember taking a walk one morning and finding apricots lying all over the lawn where they'd dropped. I was so fascinated by the idea of fruit just GROWING in nature like that and couldn't bear the thought of apricots just lying there that I gathered up as many as I could hold and took them home. Not that I knew what to do with them because they weren't for eating and were all overripe but they sat on my counter for a while as a mute testimony to my desire for fruit trees. I long for a garden where I could grow limes, mangoes, grapefruits, or plums.

4. Road trips. From Anchorage you can drive for seven hours north and finally hit Fairbanks. Five hours south and you'll find Homer but you can't drive to most settlements in the state. Juneau is only accessible by air or water, ditto Sitka and Ketchikan (Hi Terri!) You can't drive to to many places, you have to fly (which is why so many people have pilots licenses here) and to drive to the Lower 48 you have to go north from Anchorage for six or seven hours then hang a right at Tok and head south through Canada. With conditions like these who takes road trips? We don't drive anywhere--at least not like people down south do.

When we lived in Washington D.C. we drove up to New York City for the President's Day weekend and I couldn't believe that after driving for an hour we'd been through four states. FOUR of them! Amazing. I love driving long distances and seeing new places, Andrew and I have drove from California to Washington D.C. and back again and loved every mile of it. Some day I'm going to start in Maine and drive right down the coast, following it all the way until I hit New Orleans. Someday.

Elms5. Sidewalks. With snow on the ground six months out of the year it's hard to keep sidewalks properly plowed so few places in Anchorage have them. You'll find them all through the downtown area and in one or two of the nicer suburbs but otherwise no sidewalks. It really bugged Andrew at first, you'd think it was the make-it-or-break-it issue for him, representing the line between civilization and the beasts but he's got used to it.

Who needs sidewalks when we have bike trails? I can't say this is a fact but Anchorage might have more bike trails than any other city in the U.S. We'd be a top contender I'm sure. Running is very popular here so for six months the trails are used for running and biking and the other six months they're used for cross-country skiing. Darn practical if you ask me.

Oops! I'd better watch it or I'll get too optimistic for this post. I'm concentrating on things I miss, right? Uh--I guess to get back to the negative side you have to be careful running all over the trails winter or summer because in some places you could encounter a moose or a bear. Or even a pack of wolves. Up near Elmendorf AFB earlier this winter they were having trouble with a pack of wolves roaming around and eating people's dogs in an Alaskan version of poodle antipasto. Not pleasant. Not exactly your average raccoon or squirrel infestation.

6. Oak and elm. Right there with the sidewalks are the large, beautiful trees you find lining the avenues in other cities. To have quaint streets where the trees arch in graceful canopies over the road, providing shade in the summer and acorns in the fall would be so wonderful. We have spruce, birch, aspen, alder, willow and the odd Japanese maple that pops up here and there as the latest craze in suburban landscaping but that's it--no beech, oak, elm, chestnut, hickory or walnut. I'd never seen an acorn until I moved away to college.

7. Warm summer nights. Right there with my first acorn was my first lightning storm. We don't get warm enough in the summer for much lightning here. You may have a freak day where you get a few rumblings but even with that it's too light outside to actually see a fork of electricity. I still remember standing at my dorm window watching a brilliant storm light up the sky and I was in awe. My room mates all made fun of me of course--I mean you're a hick if you haven't seen a lot of things but if you haven't seen lightning you're just a freak. I wish we had more storms like that.

Cricket8. Crickets. No warm summer nights and no darkness means no crickets. I'm sure there are people somewhere who might find cicadas, crickets, katydids, fireflies, etc. irritating but to me they're just lovely. The soft, rhythmic chirping in the evenings is just the quaintest, most relaxing thing and I wish we had them here. We do have an occasional grasshopper or cricket show up in my garden but you never hear any at night. Ever--just mosquitoes and they only buzz. In your ear. While you're trying to sleep.

9. Manicured roads and public places. The ground is frozen year-round in most of Alaska, even in a great part of Anchorage, and as I come from a family of civil engineers where permafrost was the bread and butter I guess I'm okay with that. However, it makes things like utility lines, septic tanks and cemeteries difficult (though not so much in Anchorage). To put in something like an automated sprinkler system is pretty frivolous given the circumstances and without watering systems it's hard to keep public parks and lawns well watered and manicured like you'd see in San Diego.

Add to that the gravel that gets dumped on the roads in winter to keep cars from sliding and the medians of every road are gravelly, dusty messes. The freezing and thawing that the roads go through produces pot holes worse than a teenager with the world's worst case of acne and all the chunks of asphalt get thrown up along the roads making for a very rugged, wild and rustic look. It can be pretty in places where wild flowers have sprung up but you'll never see lush medians filled with green ivy like you would in Seattle or pretty little rows of orange trees along the streets like you would in Phoenix. Nope, sorry.

10. Astronomy. Well, actually we have astronomy of course (it's not like we don't have the same stars and planets and moon as the rest of you) but it's not easy to study. You can't see anything in the bright summer nights and in the winter when it finally gets dark it's too darn cold to venture outside with your telescope--you'd freeze your little peepers right to the eye piece! This really kills me because I'd love to have one of those Mead telescopes where I could go out and view the stars on warm summer nights but it just isn't going to happen. That's what vacations in Hawaii are for apparently.

Florian Lake, Minnesota11. Warm water. When we lived in North Dakota we used to head out into Minnesota on weekends to spend a day at the lake. I'd never done anything so fun in all my years in Alaska because the water here doesn't ever get warm enough to comfortably swim in. It's cold. As in freezing one's giblets cold.

Many of the lakes and streams are fed by glaciers which means it's like swimming in ice water (how pleasant, not to mention dangerous) and the ones that aren't just don't get enough summer heat to warm them up properly. There are a few exceptions--up at Big Lake north of Anchorage you'll find people jet skiing or water skiing on the water but the smart ones are wearing wet suits--and most of you would probably think they were crazy for even that. No beaches, no swimming.

We didn't even have many swimming pools here in town when I was growing up, just one or two at the high schools, because the freezing and thawing made them difficult to build and therefore making pools expensive. There are more nowadays of course but it sure made it hard to learn how to swim.

12. History. Sure there have been people living in Alaska for thousands of years but modern history is rather sparse. Anchorage had just graduated from being a tent town when my grandparents moved here back in 1949 and it's still a new place. People don't retire here typically and the median age is somewhere around 30. It's young! So to compare it to a place like Boston where I walked down streets crowded with ghosts and every building was an historical landmark Anchorage comes up historically lacking. It's kind of funny, the latest thing in the schools is to have courses on Alaskan or Anchorage history and I can't help but wonder what they teach--seriously, it could take all of three hours to cover the basic points but they somehow stretch it into a semester.

Beluga Point, Alaska13. Four seasons. We only have three: summer, winter and break-up. Haven't heard of break-up? No, it's not the holiday following Valentine's Day it's the official title given to the period of time in Alaska when the snow finishes the last stages of melting and the ground thaws, leaving that nasty, rotten, fetid smell that anyone who's ever smelled it will never forget. It's the season when the snow finally melts, revealing all the trash that has blown out of the back of pickup trucks for the past six months. It's the season when the grass is mushy, smashed and brown and everything is covered with a thick layer of smelly mud.

Essentially, if Alaska were a beautiful woman--perhaps for the sake of argument the most beautiful woman in the world--one with long flowing hair, creamy pale Nordic skin and forget-me-not blue eyes then break-up would be the time when you woke up next to her and she was without make-up, her hair rather matted and her mouth reeking of morning breath. You'd wonder what on earth you'd got yourself into but then once she was showered and dressed and done up right you'd remember. Yup, that would be break-up. Be glad if you're missing it--and then plan on visitng Alaska in June after she's showered and put together properly.

So there you have it, thirteen reasons that balance out the previous list--so how do you feel about moving now?


If you missed it, there's a new Write-Away Contest topic for March posted and running--are you game?

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Anonymous said...

I am still laughing about the Krispy Kreme, when we lived in Cuba it was the same way. Someone would fly them in and the line would be 100 people long before they even got off the plane!

Elizabeth said...

Ya know. Michelle, Drive-ins have died a death down here. It's a nostalgia thing.

I remember they used to show a double-feature--something the kiddos would like and then a more grown up feature. We kids would go to the drive-in in our jammies, fall asleep in the back seat, then the folks would get to watch the second movie in peace. Good memories.

Barbara H. said...

I don't know if there is a lack of sunlight in the winter where you are, but I have friends up at North Pole where they are in the dark a great park of the day. I just don't think I could handle that!! Or the extreme cold!

Interesting list!

Jubilee on Earth said...

This was a very interesting post! I loved it. It still sounds beautiful...


Anonymous said...

I heard that Krispy Kreme isn't doing so great at least in the lower 48. They overbuilt (we have 3 in our area, which is way too many). I don't think I've ever shopped at a Pottery Barn either--must find one! Happy TT!

Melli said...

Well, heck! I live 30 minutes SOUTH of Washington DC, and I don't have sidewalks either! You gotta search far & wide in Calvert County to find a sidewalk! And yea... I've lived here 20 years - and I still miss 'em! So... I getcha!

Stephanie said...

Ah Michelle, thanks! Not sure if you will deter Tim though! :)

Does your family ever travel via the ferries? Or is that just down the Sitka/Juneau way? We used them some while there. Found it interesting, people bringing their cars and all. I'm sure it would be annoying if that was the only choice! Very slow travel for sure!

TAMY & the SGT said...

I am so with you. We recently transplanted from southern California to the U.P. and I miss Krispy Kreme, theaters that show more than one movie, Chili's and Bed Bath & Beyond the most! Oh and I almost forgot Starbucks!

crazy working mom said...

On #1 alone I will have to stay where I am! :) *LOL*

Happy TT.

Kris said...

AN Olice Garden is slated to go in to the new Target complex at this point (whether they follow through is another thing!)...I have ins you see...I KNOWWWWWW things. Hehe.

Shannon said...

I don't live as far north as you, but I so relate to three things you posted about missing.

When we moved out West from the Northeast. . . drive-ins (we don't have any where we live) and Dunkin Donuts Coffee have been sorely missed.

And the gravel on the road in the winter is new for me as well ( :

Tamara said...

You so hit the nail right square on the head! The one I miss the most is being able to drive places. It can feel so isolated with only two options, north or south.

Robin said...

I can identify with a bunch of these - but from the opposite direction! Not a decent donut to be had anywhere in the country, shipping from all those American stores is outrageous (I hate seeing all those low prices and not being able to take advantage, but that's what trips back to the States are for LOL), and far fewer big trees, it's too dry. Ivy? Forget about it. I'm always amazed by how GREEN everything is when I go home for a visit.

Hope you're having a fantastic vacation and soaking up all that sun and warmth.

John & Laura said...

I'm impressed with how many places you've lived or visited in the "lower 48". What a great post. I will think of you every time I see an acorn or a Krispy Kreme.

Tasina said...

We moved from St. Louis back to South Dakota (where I'm from). I miss lots of big city things. Krispy Kreme....*sigh*

Nicholas said...

Well, there's a gap in the market ready to be exploited! Buy a Krispy Kreme franchise. You'll clean up!

Becca said...

13 more reasons to love the Deep South, I suppose. Your TT made me feel cooooold! Just thinking of glacier fed streams...shiver...

Lilibeth said...

Ah, I have lived in Gunnison Colorado and had a mini taste of some of that. The break up season was dismal...and sometimes my eyes just longed for green...any green. The winters were long and white...but there was free ice skating in the park, and the winter evening skies were a deep turquoise that I've never seen anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

When you mention having to fly, my ears perked right up. Here in Kodiak, we have to fly to Anchorage (the BIG city for us) for a shopping day. We moved here in'07 from Florida - go ahead and laugh! - and Dunkin Donuts coffee, Olive Garden, and Panera Bread are the ones I miss the most. Oh, and we DROVE the whole way here from Florida. If you ever get that chance, do it!!! We had the trip of a lifetime. We saw so much and did so much. Hey, rather then share it all, maybe I should write it as an entry in one of your writing contests. Great post. Totally related to all of it. And this is not our first time living here - we loved it so mucht hat we had to come back!

Pamela said...

#3. You could have made apricot butter. yum.

#4. Yeah! No unexpected guests.

#10. Except for me, when I come to see the northern lights.

Thanks for giving me a great lesson -- and the opportunity to respond with the sillies.

Anonymous said...

We are also missing Macys. And UPS. Some places won't mail order to Alaska because no UPS (isn't that the reason? I'm new here).

pussreboots said...

Fascinating post. I personally don't understand the Krispy Kreme craze. I don't like the way they taste. Happy TT.

Marketing Mama said...

Well, they closed all the Krispy Kreme stores in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago... so none for us now either! I have a friend from Anchorage who always wants to eat at PF Changs when she comes to visit - and Olive Garden. If you haven't had PF Changs, it's like a fancy chinese restaurant. There are a select few in big cities... Fun post! :)

luvmy4sons said...

Maybe Ohio isn't so bad! LOL!

Picturing of Life said...

Lost of you miss from Alaska :D 3 years ago, i also move to here. From asia country to Europe...From 2 season to 4 season... Need lots of adaptation time.

Visit My T13, List of movies that I don‘t watch Thanks

Darla said...

We used to have a drive-in here. It closed last fall. *sniff*

Some of this is like living overseas. I could happily live the rest of my life without chain restaurants (well, except for fast food), but I very much miss the quirky and unusual, and I'd kill for a good Mexican restaurant--or any restaurant with more than one token salad on the menu, or...

And the shipping--we have an APO address, meaning they only have to get the package to New York, but lots of places still won't ship here, or charge us an arm & leg to do so.

On the other hand, we've got history up the wazoo here.

Babystepper said...

I had never thought about most of those. Especially the astronomy. We take our warm summer nights for granted. Out here in the country the stars are amazing. Especially during the meteor showers. I also love our Oklahoma thunderstorms.

Tammy said...

Fun post! Sorry you have to miss out on so many things! My husband and I moved from California to Michigan, and we were totally awed by the lightning! There isn't very much lightning in Californa either.

What I miss most about living in Michigan is the serious lack of grocery stores. There's no competition, so the prices can be as high as they please. In California, we had the choice of shopping at Save Mart, Pay Less, Albertsons, Win-Co, Safeway, etc, etc, and here in Michigan we have about two choices. *sniff, sniff* LOL

Beth said...

I felt very claustrophobic reading this post.

And not to rub it in or anything, but I live in Winston-Salem, NC...home of Krispy Kreme.

Bahama Mama said...

So funny because Krispy Kreme is on the top of my daughter and husband's list too. I'm allergic so I don't miss them (well I've forgotten what they taste like but I'm sure I would miss them if I remembered). Wierd because today I posted on "nostalgia" which is a similar theme to yours :-)

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

There was a drive in in Orem? Where was it?

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Oh, I'm so glad you have a lot of things to love about Alaska too. And I love your description of break up season. My poor husband has to suffer break up season every morning =)

Julie said...

Oh - the crickets and the thunderstorms - that would kill me! Those are some of my most favorite things!

Janet said...

Hmm. Some of that sounds awfully familiar.

We have no:
1. Krispy Kreme. And for that matter Olive Garden, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma. And no Target. And no Macaroni's Grill. And no Thai food.

We have no:
2. Drive-in movies. Yep, no Imax either. We do have a couple of theatres with 6 screens each though! They haven't been cleaned since they were built, but hey, it's a movie right.

We DO have:
3. Fruit trees. Well, we don't because we have no sun on our property, but there are parts of the county that have them. Hostas, that's what we have. Hostas.

4. Road Trips.
Oh yeah, we have these, you betcha. If you want anything at all, you have to take a road trip. In approximately 3 hours you can find some of the things you mentioned. Except Krispy Kreme. More like 6 hours to a Krispy Kreme. I'd love to do the Maine to New Orleans thing, too. I've never been to New England.

On no, no 5. Sidewalks. No bike trails. Heck, we barely have roads. We are 6 miles from the nearest 2-lane road. Our road is paved (one lane with periodic gravel wide spots for passing) but only gets maintained about every 5-6 years. Or at election time. We do have coyotes that will eat pet cats, but no wolf population.

6. Oak and elm. Well, we have these, but you can forget about the planned graceful tree-lined sidewalk look. And most of them have been clearcut already, so they are all pretty tiny.

7. Warm summer nights. We have these. Warm and STICKY summer nights. Humidity is between 95 and 100% all summer.

8. Crickets. We do have these, and spring peepers too. These I love. We have our own frog pond (created when some frogs laid eggs in our cooler). I'm surprised you have mosquitoes - I would have thought it didn't get warm enough. That and they're all here waiting for me to venture out the door. I am bug bait.

9. Manicured roads and public places. BWAHAHAHAHA. No. See #5. And we have the potholes and the gravel thing too. And mud. Always the mud.

10. Astronomy. This we can do since we're well away from city lights. Although (and this is nOT a complaint) in the summer we can't see the sky for the trees.

11. Warm water. I never would have guessed that North Dakota water would be warm. We have warm water but you don't want to swim in it because of the pollution - coal sludge, human waste (straight pipes, don't you know), and general trash.

12. History. This we have, being one of the earlier settled states. It is a checkered history to be sure, but still it's there. Our particular county mostly has a history of racism, coal mining atrocities, poverty, and corruption of elected officials. Some of which, most unfortunately, is not yet history.

13. Four seasons. I love the description of breakup. We do have 4 seasons, but Winter is 8 months. Spring interjects about 5 days into Winter's reign, but Winter always comes back and stomps her flat every time she tries to come out (witness last year's deep freeze in April, killing every azalea and spring flower in the state). Summer starts in July and lasts through the end of September. August and September being the 2 hottest months, in the 90s and 100s. The local pool opens Memorial Day and closes August 1, just before school starts. We have about 1 month of fall in October. I really do need to live on the Equator.

I also need to stop writing posts in other people's comment section.

The Mama Bear said...

I can imagine these are all things to be missed, thus why I may visit Alaska but could never stay.
Pop by The Cafe for my TT13, if you like.

Heather said...

Our Krispy Kreme shut down after about a year. But if Olive Garden did that I'd be at a total loss.

No drive-ins either. I remember going as a kid. My mom and her sisters would pop a garbage bag full of popcorn for us to bring. A garbage bag. Sounds yummy no?

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

I sill want to live there. None of those thing turn me off. I miss it. Thanks for the link love too!

Anonymous said...

I can't say I blame you for missing road trips. I love me a good road trip.

Lara said...

If it makes you feel any better, all the drive ins in Utah Valley are gone. I miss them too (I grew up in Orem). I would totally still go and can't quite understand why they felt the need to get rid of them.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Isn't the break-up smell due to more than the garbage? Doesn't it have something to do with thick ice and glaciers and ... Alaskan stuff?

Otherwise, I'd think we'd get break-up smell here in Minnesota, too. But we just get that spring smell of snow melting, fresh dirt and new life. Not a bad aroma at all. In fact, I'm looking forward to a nostril 'o spring.

{Karla} said...

we have a drive in about 20 minutes away, which is perfect for our large family!!

But, yeah, I feel ya... we moved around A LOT and there were always things I missed, no matter how much I loved where we were. It's amazing the things that we take for granted.

Happy T13 (stop by - you'll get a giggle out of mine!)


Robyn Jones said...

This is a great post! I used to live in NWT..and that was cold enough for me...I visited Juneau once...the light all the time would drive me batty too...

my4kids said...

Thanks for the nod on your post here! I saw a bunch of people coming from your site this morning and had to find out what was up.

I agree with a lot of what you say. I do miss Krispy Kreme. We had only recently gotten them in Portland and I doubt Ketchikan will ever get small.
Drive ins in Oregon had died off about 10 years ago I think they closed the last one. I loved those but yeah I can't see going to them much here, just wouldn't work since the only time it wouldn't be freezing or to light would be spring or fall when we have the constant downpours of rain, you know livingin a rainforest and all don't make for good drive in, not to mention where would they put it? We have no areas big enough to even be considered flat enough. I miss the drives also we used to go on drives all the time but here we only 30 miles of road total and at the moment after this winter they are all in very bad shape it's almost like driving on unpaved ground anyway.
The shipping thing is crazy also really if I can ship things pretty cheap to the lower 48 why do the stores all think they can charge super high rates! Makes no sense to me. I do miss those stores though especialy Target but that is another thing I don't expect to see ever in Ketchikan, they are just excited to have a Walmart here. I will stay off the topic of restaurants cause that makes me homesick also. But we do have a Starbucks! So that helps..a bit.
We don't realy have much in the way of sidewalks either but not a lot of walking anyway where we live unless you don't mind the visits with the bears! Yeah I'm still working my head around the bears thing.
Hmm I'm sure I could address my agreement on several more of your points but since I've already turning this into a post (practically) I suppose I should sign off.
I do love my new home though even with the stuff I miss.

Amber M. said...

My mom is loudly rejoicing about your Target. We usually have to go to ours the same day she arrives when she visits. We can't WAIT for our visit home...despite all the thinsg we miss there, the summer more than makes up for it. FUN post.

Jacki said...

I feel for you on the Krispy Kremes....those are heavenly when they are just a little warm and you have a cup of coffee.

formerAK said...

As someone who moved the other way -- AK to DC with a stop in between -- I can tell you there are a lot more things I miss now here, then I missed then there.

But both are great places to live in very different ways.

I'll take a Double Musky pepper steak over the Palm any day. (And the drive's much nicer ...)

I'll take a freezer full of halibut and salmon over bumping carts and dyed farmed fish at Giant.

I'll take driving through 6 inches of snow like it was nothing rather than three-quarters of an inch paralyzing in the city in "Winter Blast 2008."

I'd rather watch Seawolves hockey than Dan Snyder mess up the Redskins.

I'd rather have a traffic jam caused by a moose than a road-rager run amuck.

I'll take Seward or Homer over Ocean City or Rehobeth.
But if you do need another Continental fix, it's just a few blocks down Plyers Mill to Connecticut, so let me know ...

Maggie said...

Hmmm I kind of miss the four season's too, but not the warm water or the fruit trees. There are no drive in's that I know of and my kids have never seen a snow flake, they instead make sand angels. I guess every give has a take but I love your list, not to mention your Pirate husband in the previous post. Did you manage some pirate mickey and minnie ears? My kids love those.

Jessica said...

Sigh, Everytime your page loads and I see that box of doughnaughts I keep wishing i had ordered a box from the club that was selling them earlier this week. lol.

Sarah said...

Krispy Kremes - Ah yes. I will eat one for you. You sound like you have lived several places. Is Alaska the last stop? I would love to see it someday.

Shalee said...

Ummm, I guess if I lived so far from a donut I MIGHT want a Krispy Kreme. But really, I would have to be desperate for food. Otherwise, I settle up to Lamar's to have a good donut, not some round disc of lard. But hey that's just me.

I think I'll keep my white, skinny behind in the lower 48 states, thankyouverymuch. I might come visit someday, but really it would be to see you. You could show me some sites, but we'd better have a warm place to see them because last I checked - it's stinkin' cold in Alaska!

Diana said...

Enjoyed your list-- it gave me a new perspective on the year my husband lived with his aunt and uncle in Anchorage (before he was my husband, that is...)

Thanks for stopping by my Ladybug Limited hairclip site!

CoconutKate said...

And I thought Hawaii was bad. I'm now loving the annual moderate temperature and the 120 miles of coastline. :0)

Irene said...

What a great post! I was also hoping your would do a counter to the best 13 list! So educational!

I definitely was thinking that Alaska sounds wonderful, but I can't imagine missing out on thunderstorms, crickets and warm nights under a blanket of stars.

Honestly, there are good and bad things about pretty much everywhere! Thanks for that reminder. I appreciate my little world a little more now.

Oh, and I think Alaska still sounds wonderful....but maybe just for a visit.

WomensDaily said...

I've never had Krispy Kreme and from what I hear I should stay away from it under fear of addiction.

Tizzalicious said...

I moved countries, and I get moments where I miss a whole lot too!

Melissa said...

LOL. Krispy Kreme. I don't understand the fascination with Krispy Kreme!

The rest of it I get though. I live in Michigan. Not quite as arctic, but I definitely get the seasons thing.

Anonymous said...

I feel so bad for you that you do not have a Krispy Kreme nearby. We have several nearby (within 20 miles or so). All the gas stations and grocery stores around get fresh supply of Krispy Kreme each day. We still have civic groups and sports teams selling them on the streets most Saturday mornings. I cannot drive past one of those "Hot Fresh Now" signs without turning in to get some melt in your mouth doughnuts.

My husband and I have a dream to take the Ultimate Road Trip one year. We would like to homeschool our children that year and then rent, lease, or buy an RV and travel the country. We think it woudl be such an incredible experience.

I just love your blog. Your posts are always so detailed and entertaining. Thank you so much for your efforts! They are appreicated!

Theresa said...

Now that was positively negative. (Pun intended.) Actually, pretty sweet. I miss warm summer nights, too. And fireflies.

Jen@BigBinder said...

This is a really great post. When I first read the title I thought it was about what you missed about Alaska while you were on vacation.

Personally I think no Olive Garden would be kind of an incentive to move there but I know I'm in the minority on that one.

I know about the shipping. Yeah! Stick it to the Man! My brother lives in Soldotna and it costs ridiculous amounts of money to ship anything to him. He comes back to Michigan at least once a year so I just give him whatever it is then. Nothing like getting your birthday present 6 months late because your sister is cheap.

Fortunately the reverse is not true (shipping costs, or cheapness for that matter) and he is a drift boat guide on the Kenai, so I get fresh King salmon Fed Ex-ed to me each summer :)

Mo Mommy said...

I tried to tell Tracy M that break-up is when the snow finally melts and all the people who've been trapped inside getting sick of one another call it quits. Thanks to you she didn't believe me.
Don't forget Red Lobster, Sephora, or easy access to Ikea.
My dad used to say "When the fruit up here starts to look good, you know you need a vacation". I do enjoy living near all kinds of fresh fruit now.
We planted a Japanese maple in our yard before we moved 6+ years ago. According to Google Earth it's still there. We're trendsetters!
I only saw lightning once in my whole Alaska life. I have still never seen a firefly, bummer.
What's truly sad is that I even miss the quirky things about AK sometimes.This list makes me think about all my friends and family still back home and everything they're missing too!

Mrs. W said...

I'm catching up on some blog-reading and obviously I'm coming to the party a bit late. But I just had to comment... sorry for the length! But the coincidence is so remarkable! My hubby and I were just discussing what we missed here in Central NY state since we moved from GA. We came up with a similar list:

- Normal Stores & Chain Establishments. Okay, there IS a way to get Krispy Kremes if we take a 5-hr train ride to NYC. We also miss TGIFridays, IKEA and real malls. The nearest mall is so crappy it has a Target as an anchor store. And that's just sad.

- A decent movie theater. Forget drive-ins! The best theater in the area (30 minute drive away, mind you) would be considered the WORST theater in our small suburb of Atlanta. The movies right here in town (5 mins away) would be a 99-cent theater in Georgia.

- Big trees. There was a blight around here about 8 years ago and the big trees I grew up with that overhung the streets as you described are all gone. :(

- Subdivisions. This city is old, old, old. Some might say quaint. But in reality, it's junky. And planned communities. Here the town just sprang up willy-nilly. Businesses right in the middle of residential districts. No rhyme or reason for bad-neighborhood a block away from good-neighborhood. Or the expensive neighborhood overlooking the senior citizen home with big automatic parking-lot lights and food-loading zone within view. Go figure.

- Public Transportation/Public Places. Totally unreliable bus service, poorly maintained sidewalks (when they're available, that is), and unfriendly to walkers/bicyclists. And while there ARE some maintained parks, they're not really useable. By that, I mean no grills, no picnic tables, few walking trails, none of which are maintained for use once the snow falls. This is a car-owners town, fo shiggity.

- Long Winters. Plan to have snow by Halloween, and well into April if not longer. Sure, we might have some warm days and temporary thaws interspersed, but you really want to wear sweaters and socks that entire time.

- Cold, Cold Lakes. Too cold for swimming. Definitely not warm enough. On the hottest summer days, when the sun is blistering your fair skin (because the winters are so long everyone is pasty white and burning by summertime), the lake still doesn't get over 65F. Everyone stops and shivers when a current runs past, and you find yourself running toward a group of urinating children. Ick.

- Southern Hospitality. 'Nuff said.

Telescopes Binoculars said...

While I've never been to Alaska, i'm in Canada which is sorta the same.

elena jane said...

i live in the 'burbs, no sidewalks here, hate it! i grew up in the city...hated that too tho!
our KK closed, i think dunkin donuts is far better. but i get the missing part....
made me smile, driving from NY to DC, it's nothing....right down I95 ;)

Malone! said...

This is awesome. I found you on Alex Year One. My 12yr daughter wanted to move to Alaska after our cruise a few years ago- we LOVED it, but your list shows her the sites we DIDN'T see. Thanks for the great post.

Prospect Hound said...

I live in Anchorage but I was lucky enough to get to see U2 3D while traveling. Ok, I ended up seeing it four times. It was, by far, the coolest and most moving experience I have had in a movie theater. And this is from someone who wasn't a U2 junkie. I am now. Simply an awesome experience.

You want some good news - Check this out:

Yep, Anchorage is in line to get an IMAX in the not too distant future. And if you didn't know, you can get a group of people together and watch any movie in the imax library. So two yearz from now, we, in theory, should be able to see U2 3D in Anchorage. I could probably see it ten times and still be impressed. If you don't get massive goosegumps watching it, ya best check your pulse.

Binoculars said...

Thanks for sharing .Nice blog beautiful pictures.

BYU Campus said...

There are still plenty of great drive-ins around provo. Plus, there are a few good places on campus that have been there for eons. Thanks for pointing out a few great places in Utah to not forget while I'm here!