Lessons from AlaskaPosted: October 27, 2011
I have been in Alaska two and a half months. During this time, I have looked at incredible mountains, watched sunsets, seen wildlife, taken journeys I never expected, and come to understand why people love this place so much. As we move into winter, the world here is changing, and it has brought out the quirky side of this place and the people who live here. So here are five things I have learned so far:
#1. Static electricity is practically a weapon. No kidding. Remember when you used to rub your socked feet on the floor to shock your siblings? Well here, you become shock-able by walking, sitting, or maybe even just breathing. It is like having lightening bolts on your finger tips. Important Note: Ground yourself before you kiss good-night or you will get more than you bargained for.
#2. Carhartt is king. Enough said.
#3. Can you identify a log splitter? Well, Lucas and I can’t. We were driving past Lowe’s last weekend and the front of the store was crowded with winter tools. We easily picked out snow blowers (thanks, MI upper peninsula) and shovels, but as we drove past a narrow, shiny, black and red tool Lucas tells me he thinks he saw a cannon. A personal cannon. I decide it must be a civilian-size avalanche cannon. (They really do shoot rounds from avalanche cannons into the mountains in places to protect things like roads and ski resorts.) On the second drive past we are about to pat ourselves on the back for accurate guessing, until we read the sign. Log splitter. In a place where most (or at least lots) of homes are heated by wood burning stoves, this makes sense. Bonus: I can now identify a log splitter.
#4. Cars plug in. They are not electric, rather, it gets so cold here that your car battery just can’t take it. So businesses and homes have a place to plug the car into giving the battery a enough juice to start the engine. The grill of each Alaskan car it fitted with a plug sticking out. Then you need an all-weather extension cord to connect your car to meter-like plug station. It hasn’t been cold enough to try this out yet, but we have all the right tools to make it happen. I will post pictures when it is put into action.
#5. Snow mobiles are really snow machines. I have no idea why, but up here everyone calls them snow machines. And they are as legitimate for transportation as a car or a truck. You can even take your snow machine through the Wendy’s drive through window.
I am sure there are more important lessons to be learned as we move deeper into the season, but that is it for now!