Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some unique and fascinating facts about Alaska

The News:
A radio news blip the other day: An armed man on an ATV tried to highjack a car on Giest Road at a red light. The armed man remains at large, he escaped on his ATV after a high speed chase by police.

Community Bulletin on radio: For Sale: One piano, several sled dogs, Ithaca 10 gauge, M1 Grand Springfield. 30.06 and 450 rounds of ammunition. All great condition, call for price.
The Weather:
It’s a fact: it gets so cold in the winter that your tires freeze flat, and it takes a couple of miles of driving to get them round again.*

It’s also a fact that in this last month I have not seen a single car alarm remotely activated (or activated at all for that matter), but I have seen many cars remotely started. It’s a bit un-nerving at first to be talking to a friend and suddenly have the engine of the car next to you rev with no driver in sight. I guess at -40 degrees I’d want my car started and nice and cozy before I got out of the office too.

The Outdoors, People and Animals:
An Alaskan coast guard survey concluded that 50% of man overboard accidents resulted from the victim trying to relieve himself over the side of the vessel. *
Researchers on the northern tundra reported up to 9,000 mosquito bites per minute. At that rate a person would lose half of her blood supply in 2 hours!* (And yes, I live on the Northern Tundra - but I aint never seen them THAT bad).*

As of 2006 Anchorage police and wildlife officials got more annual calls concerning problem moose and bears then they did for hold-ups, bomb scares, liquor violations, escaped criminals, subjects resisting arrest, prostitution and 'illegal aliens' COMBINED! *
The Visitors:
The Anchorage visitor bureau and my friends in Juneau swear that numerous tourists step off the cruise ships and ask “What’s the elevation here?”*
The banker who switched over my account swore that in the summer he gets far too many people from the lower 48 who come into the bank to “cash in US money for Alaska money”.

The Anchorage Convention and visitors bureau reports these actual inquiries from tourists: “How much does Mount McKinley weigh?’ and “When do you turn on the Northern Lights?”*
A Denali Park Ranger reported leading a hike to the top of a small mountain in an area where there were no trails. An apprehensive tourist asked: “If there are no trails, how will we know when we get to the top?”*

The People, Culture and Gov‘t:
In 2006 Alaskans ranked number one in high school degrees, number one in ownership of Harley Davidson motorcycles, number one in the consumption of ice cream and the 2nd highest per capita consumers of Spam in the Nation.*

There is a town in Alaska (to remain unanimous) known for hosting an annual Fourth of July marksmanship match, where contestants fire from within an National Park, across an active airway runway, and across a navigable river. The winners in 2005 were the National Park Ranger and the Tribal Peace Officer.*
(this photo was taken along a main road, acouple hundred yards later it BEGIN)

Snowmobilers breaking trail for the Iditarod Trail Dog Race discovered that if they wired a can of SPAM to their exhaust manifold, they had a perfect hot meal in 50 miles.*
Talkeetna has a festival called Moose Dropping Festival with games and contests that center around the uses of dried moose droppings.*

Environmentalists (presumably in the lower 48) heard about the festival and demanded more information: “How high are the moose taken before they are dropped.” They were prepared to sue.**

Alaska is known for growing the largest Cabbages. The last record was set in 2000 with a cabbage that weighed 105.6 pounds!*

Since 1991 (originally started as a joke) Nome residents take their old x-mas trees and “plant” them in holes in the ice behind Fat Freddies restraunt. In 2006 there were 70 tree’s in the “forest” which also attracted many animals including pink wooden pigs, plywood walruses and plastic flamingoes.*
At Fort Yukon’s Spring Carnival - to be crowned Queen you need to participate in the usual talent show, questions, fancy gowns AND build a fire to melt snow, run in snow shoes and skin a rabbit.**
An Alaskan bank once offered new customers an Iditarod commemorative Smith & Wesson .44-caliber revolver.**
In 1974 Mount Edgecumbe, a massive volcano near Sitka Alaska, started spewing black smoke, the Tsunami alarms were sounded and people were in a near panic when one of the prominent businessmen admitted that he had hired helicopters to drop tires into the Volcano and then set them on fire as an April Fools joke.**

The story goes that Chicken, Alaska was named by a group of miners that found it a great place to hunt Ptarmigan (sorta like wild chickens, sorta) - but they couldn’t spell it so they named it the closest thing the could think of.**

**Moose Droppings and other Crimes Against Nature - Tom Brennan
* The Alaska Almanac 30th Anniversary Edition


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