Alaska is huge. Not just big, not just expansive, but HUGE! Huge to the extent that there are many places that don't have road systems. Even our state capital can't be reached except by boat or plane. I could spend the next 100 years here and still not see and do everything that I'd like to. I will never make it to all the Native Alaskan villages, my wallet and the fact that I work Monday through Friday won't permit. Now, if I had a job like my friend Julie, who works as an optical tech, going from village to village, I'd possibly make a lot of village trips. But, even she doesn't go to all of them. They have optical techs who go to certain areas, and she won't make it to all the villages either. I know that realistically I won't go camping at every camp ground that can be found in Alaska. There just aren't enough available camping weekends in the summer, in my lifetime, to camp them all. I won't make it to every glacier, see every lake, river, stream or waterway. I will never hike to the top of Denali. Although there are many other towns in Alaska, some with populations of less than 10, some with populations in the tens of thousands, I probably won't make them all either. I've resolved myself to the fact that I am limited by a mortal body and an empty wallet. However, I am capable of seeing one place completely, and that is my own town.
Part of my job is driving around 2 days a week doing home inspections all over Anchorage, Eagle River, Girdwood and as far north as Peters Creek. In my "travels," I've seen things that others probably haven't seen, or if they have seen they probably don't take the time to really notice. There are sculptures and statues all over Anchorage. From elementary schools to churches, from small businesses to corporate headquarters, art is all around Anchorage in abundance. There are carved totem poles, bronze sculptures, iron facades, and interesting buildings with true character throughout the city. There are mural painted walls, antler covered homes, and touches of Alaskan charm on every street. I've started looking forward to my Monday and Tuesday drives, and I've decided to take my camera along to snap some photos of my "Alaskan Drive Bys" in Anchorage. In fact, I'm going to start posting them here as part of a whole "Drive By Shootings" series (sorry for the play on words).
I've come to the conclusion that it's ok if I don't see all of Alaska. It's ok if I'm not going to be able to see and do all that I'd like throughout the rest of Alaska. I'm in ALASKA! That's exciting in itself! I'll focus on what I'm capable of seeing and doing right here in South Central AK and appreciate it for the opportunities it affords. I'm still going to hike, camp and drive where ever I can and take some special trips, but for now, I'm going to relish what Anchorage has to offer. I'm looking forward to playing tourist in my own back yard. I'll not act like Anchorage is just a "jump off" spot to see the rest of Alaska, but rather the staging platform for this summer's adventures. Maybe the things I find in my drive bys will help others appreciate Anchorage as well. I have an aunt with muscular dystrophy who isn't capable of hiking, biking, camping, climbing or flying all over Alaska. Her actions and adventures are limited to what she can see from the car window, or where her wheel chair can get her. So, I dedicate my drive by segments to my Aunt Cheryl. Look for future entries, I can guarantee you haven't seen all of Anchorage like this before!