Sunday, January 11, 2009

State Memories Project: Alaska

For a look at what I'm up to here, read this. And feel free to chip in your own state memories...either her or on your own blogs. I enjoyed my wife's and Spoon's last week.

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I am six years old. We have just spent three weeks in a camper, driving from Littleton, Colorado, all the way to Alaska. My parents are the only people of driving age. Of course, at six, I don’t realize how massively taxing this all has been. Along the way, Dad has planned countless gorgeous stops: Banff, Jasper, Writing-on-Stone National Park…we parked the camper in some really gorgeous locations. And it rained. It rained constantly. So we played Hearts in the camper every night. We played often enough that my kid sister once shot the moon. She was four.

So when we got to Alaska and there was a nice day, we jumped on it. We wound up at Cook Inlet, not far from Anchorage. It was somewhat chilly, but waves from the North Pacific were slamming into a little nook in the beach. All three of my siblings and I threw ourselves against the waves on the beach, wearing old college sweatshirts. I’m not sure how much of this I remember myself or how much I have convinced myself I remember from looking at the slides of exhausted, happy kids in sopping-wet sweatshirts (adult sized, if I recall correctly). But I remember it being as fun as a waterpark. I think we were the only people around, and I recall just going nuts in the surf. Those waves were as big as the state to me.

Postscript: The parents’ original plan was to take a cruise ship down to Seattle and then drive the camper home. But they must have underestimated the toll that driving the Alaskan Highway would take. They sold the camper in Anchorage and used the money to fly us all home.

And you?...


3 comments:

Alison said...

Never been to Alaska, although I really want to go someday. This whole story, though, reminds me of the cross-country road trip I went on when I was 11. My mom and sister and I flew out to California, where we met up with my aunt (mom's sister) and her two kids. They were in the process of moving to Atlanta, so while the movers were taking all their stuff across the country, my mom and aunt drove from Bakersfield to Cleveland in an old Ford Econoline van with four kids between 3 and 11 and a dog.

It was a fantastic trip, but the more I look back on it, the crazier I think they were.

Anonymous said...

That trip was a life long dream come true for me. TRP got all of it right. He has been the family's oral historian from an early age. I have a hundred memories from that trip but one in particular was being on the Homer Spit where all the crab boats come in and buying all the fresh king crab meat our refrigerator would hold. We ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until it was gone.

Anonymous said...

I recently visited TRP at his new home, and he and Dad (TRP's my brother) mentioned this. I thought I'd try to join in.

My family always talks about the Alaska trip being the only time I ever shot the moon playing hearts against them, but I don't actually remember that (I was four). I remember standing at a railing looking out over water, and my eldest brother told me that was where Atlantis sank, and if you dove in, it was still down there. I considered giving it a try, but didn't. Deep in my heart, though, I still believe Atlantis lies somewhere under the water off the coast of Alaska.