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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Texas in Alaska: The Lone Star and The North Star

If Alaska were the United States, the Kenai Peninsula would be Texas. I should say that it would be a Texas with lots of water. Like Texas, there are pickups everywhere and glory be, there are roads, very good roads. (That is quite a treat for a Southeast Alaskan used to fewer than 100 miles of road.) Here's another similarity: it takes a long time on the Kenai Peninsula to drive from one end of it to the other. If you have ever driven across Texas, you know exactly what I mean. There are other reminders of Texas on the Kenai. I passed roads named Chevron and Tesoro and Halliburton.  That says something right there. During the pipeline years, when crowds of Texans worked in the oil industry in Alaska and many Alaskans even started wearing cowboy boots, one of the jokes told was that if you divided Alaska in half, Texas would then be the THIRD largest state. Bet you can tell who told that joke.

However, there are differences. I doubt that Texans are exhorted by road signs to brake for moose. With the number that are killed on the roads, it's a mystery as to how there are any left for hunters.

Another difference: I doubt that Texans are as crazy about fishing as Alaskans on the Kenai are. The Kenai is all about fish and fishing. Everywhere at this time of year, people are enthusiastically catching them, freezing them, smoking them, and canning them.  They operate charter boat operations, fishing lodges and cabins, stores selling gear, smoking facilities, and even real estate agencies touting "sportsman properties."

Although there is some Texas there, the Kenai is its own place, another kind of Alaska where enough people need the kind of service that this sign advertises. I'll bet you wouldn't see this in Texas.

1 comment:

  1. There are many, many more similarities than you might think, and that was one of the things that struck me most after I moved here. Of course, no one likes to hear that, on either side.