As we ferried out of the last frontier, we got to reflecting on some of the things we learned during our Alaskan stay, most of them from our 3 nights in Homer with Larry and Pam—Janet’s junior high school pal! We learned more from them than we could ever hope to retain. The following days we kept finding ourselves saying, “Pam said…” and “I think Larry told us that…”
A few fun facts:
1. There are 22 breweries in Alaska (we visited 5 of them), several of them started by the same gentleman. Apparently if you don’t have a brewery, your town isn’t legitimately on the map these days.
2. The various species of salmon each have two main runs every season between roughly May and late September. There’s silver, pink, king, chum… and several more. (Pam says the chum have the best eggs for caviar.)
3. Alaska is the size of two Texases and a California. There’s a t-shirt that shows an outline of Texas inside of the Alaskan border and reads: “Texas. Now isn’t that cute!”
4. Kodiak bears are actually not a separate species from brown/ grizzly bears. In fact, polar bears are also in the same species. Occasionally they successfully breed, what are known as Polar-Grizzles or Grizzly-Polar bears, taking on the mother bear’s habits and mannerisms.
5. Since becoming the 50th state, Alaska has consistently relied on federal funding to stay afloat. This, despite its tremendous oil money that affords residents no state taxes; in fact, each year Alaskan residents receive somewhere around $800 per person just for being residents. Alaksa has also cast its electoral votes for the Republican candidate in every presidential election, with the exception of LBJ’s 1964 landslide victory that swept the nation in the wake of beloved JFK’s assassination. The sentiment, as Jason summed up with his analogy of a teenager heading off for college, is: now give me my independence, just keep sending the checks.