Alaska or Bust? My knees say “No!”


Aurora Borealis ~ Northern Lights

Awhile ago my daughter and I watched a TV movie entitled Northern Lights. The movie was based on a book by Nora Roberts. (I have never read anything by her, and don’t plan to.) Since watching this, Daphne has been begging for us to move to The Last Frontier – Alaska. Here are her reasons: “California is too crowded. It’s too noisy. In Alaska there are plenty of wide open spaces. We’ll have snow. We would be able to see the Aurora Borealis. Wouldn’t that be awesome? And we could move to Soldotna. Your college friend lives there and your friend and her husband from here just moved to Soldotna. You, meaning me, would have people you know there and we’d still have privacy. It would be a great adventure.”

My answer originally was “no” because my father was still alive and I didn’t want to leave him. Also my grandbabies are here. I don’t want to drive in the snow for 6 months out of the year. It is too freaking cold! And my knees say “NO!” (I have injured my knees and they just don’t bend like they used to. Plus my sister and I inherited my dad’s bad knees. His knees were literally bone on bone.)

Her rebuttal: “We’ll have central heating.”
My reply: “That’s great for you, but I am going to have to leave the central heating and drive to work in the cold, if the engine is not frozen.”
Daphne: “But Mom, we get a dividend for living there.”
Me:“ But Daphne, that will all go to pay the heating bill.”
Daphne: “But, Mom, don’t you want to do something adventurous?”
Me: “It depends on what you mean by adventurous. I’m not 30 any more.”
Daphne: “But, Mom, when your business (Sugar and Spice Designs) takes off, you’ll only have to go out to the mail box with the orders. You won’t have to work as much.”
Me: “And in my old age I could slip on my way to said mail box and break a hip. I could get swallowed up in a snow drift. No one would be able to find me and I would freeze to death.”

And so it goes around and around. Daphne’s latest deal is this: If she loses 100 pounds and keeps it off for 6 months, we move to Alaska. Now how am I supposed to argue with that? I do want her to be healthy and happy. This is getting serious.

So what do we know about Alaska? I had just read the following information in a magazine, and tried to dissuade her from choosing Alaska, thinking that when she heard the stats she would decide that going to Alaska would be even too much of an adventure for her. Didn’t faze her.

  • The average temperature in the Last Frontier is 37* F. Egad! Who wants to leave the house when it is that cold? But, no work, no pay mortgage.
  • The lowest temperature on record is – 80* F at Prospect Creek Camp in 1971. (“Mom, how many years ago was that?”)
  • The average annual snowfall is in Alyeska, Alaska – 178 inches. Are you kidding me?
  • 5% of Alaska is covered by glaciers. Now that makes me feel warm and cozy all over. How about you?
  • The magnitude of the strongest recorded earthquake is 9.2. That would be strong enough to crack the glaciers. Doesn’t sound safe to me.
    There are 40 active volcanoes there. Well, at least part of the state has thermal heat. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling warmer already.
  • The land area of Alaska is 586,412 square miles. Well, Daphne is right about one thing – there is plenty of open space there. Four hundred and twenty-five Rhode Islands could fit inside the territory.
  • The length of the Alaska coastline is 6640 miles. Russia is only 120 miles away. I wonder if a passport is required to take that short jaunt to Siberia.
  • Alaska’s Yukon River is 1980 miles long making it the 3rd longest river in the US.
  • On the bright side, no pun intended, there are 84 summer days with no sunset in northern Alaska. Okay, I will admit that is pretty awesome. 67 days without a sunrise in the northernmost Alaskan town, Barrow. As Pink Floyd said, “See you on the dark side of the moon!”

In case I decide to traipse across the Kodiak Archipelago in my snowshoes (I wonder what size snowshoe I would wear.) I will need to steer clear of the 3500 Kodiak bears who live there. Kodiaks are one of the 2 largest bears in the world. The average weight of the male Kodiak is between 600 and 900 pounds. If I am blessed to escape their claws and jaws, I will could be eaten by their cousins, the polar bears. Polar bears are the other biggest bears in the world All right there in Alaska. Who knew?

Remember, I will still need to be working when I am 95. So when I am older and have a big dowager’s hump, I may experience some difficulty getting to work considering that only 20% of Alaska’s roads are paved. 20% is nothing in an area of 586,412 square miles. But if I were a true Alaskan I would be like the other adventurous souls who live there and travel on roads of ice that form across rivers and the ground. Sounds like a quick trip. Ha! And, hey, wouldn’t it be a hoot to watch this old lady put snow chains on the tires of a tiny sports car in a blizzard. Now there’s some adventure to be had. Maybe I will have to invest in a snow mobile, one that converts into a jet ski in case the ice bridge cracks and I end up in the Yukon River. Uh huh. In case I need to go to the capital city of Juneau, I’ll need to hitch a ride on a boat or airplane.

Now Alaska has one good thing going for it. Dawn, my friend, listen to this little tidbit of hope. The percentage of the population that is male is 52.4% That is higher than any other state in the good old US of A. (I do wonder how this compares to Siberia.) So if we go to Alaska, Daphne and I, and you, too, Dawn, may just find men with whom we can share our lives. I will admit to being a bit worried, though. Have you watched all those shows about Alaska? Well, I have, and I have to tell you, those men scare me. On one show, one of the slummocking backwoodsmen was trying to hook up water for a tub. Well, I guess he was making the effort to be clean. The other guys are either trying to fish or hunt deer. Fishing, okay. Just don’t come back home smelling like a dead fish. And deer hunters… No can do. I can’t deal with someone who shoots Bambi’s mother. Then brings it home, skins it, expecting me to cook it. Plus, I am pretty certain that there will be a new antler rack hanging over the fire place? If something is going to be hanging over my fireplace, it is not going to be something that was alive at one time.

So, see Daphne. Even when there is something positive like extra men hanging around, it doesn’t work for me. Some folks can handle big adventure on the Final Frontier, but I think I’d like something tamer. So what do you say to losing that 100 pounds and keeping it off, and we move somewhere milder like Oregon, Washington, or the Blue Grass State, Tennessee? My knees would thank you and so would my sanity.

PS – Dawn, if I find any suitable spare men in those locations I will definitely call you up.

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