For an explanation of the State Memories project go here. That's Sweetie's explanation. I haven't been to as many states as he has, and I'm too lazy to try to figure out what state would be next on my list, so I'm adjusting the rules as I see fit. My plan is if I have not been to a state, but I have a significant memory that involves that state, that shall be my "official" state memory.
And Alaska is just such a state.
Summer of 1993 I was working at a party rental and supply store in Portland, awaiting my Senior year of college. It took me two years to complete my Junior year of college, with a significant sabbatical in the middle, and during that break from school I worked at this place and they brought me on for the summer. It was a fun place to work, the only real side effect being I think I Halloweened myself out during my tenure there.
Anyhow, I was working one afternoon and two good friends of mine, plus a buddy of theirs, walked into the shop. My friends were from Grants Pass, which is about a 4-5 hour drive from Portland, and these guys are not the party-planning types, so it was a bit of a surprise when they walked in.
I questioned them with a "What the hell are you doing here?" and there response was:
"We're going to Alaska to the summer to live in a tent and make a lot of money, you should come with us."
OK, let's weigh out the options here:
- While Alaska can be a lucrative place to work, jobs have not been lined up, and I had a pretty good job going at the moment.
- I like plumbing, and do not want to live in a tent for the summer.
- While the offer had been made, I had turned down the opportunity to share a house with these three guys at school the next year in which I had been promised exclusive rights to the master bedroom and bathroom. A tent, in Alaska, no way, no day.
So, I turned them down, but promised them a bon voyage party that evening instead. That was the night that we confirmed that a car's headlights will not shine through a jug of Terminator.
I heard from the boys a couple of times while they were in Alaska. This was the days before cell phones, so the campers would line up at the pay phone outside of the local K-Mart to call friends and family. And, hearing the tales of their adventures I never once regretted my decision to stay in the continental 48 that summer.