Tag Archives: homer

i reach inside the arctic circle and then head off to no place like nome!

on thursday morning, i battled rush hour traffic to hit o’hare airport for a nine thirty flight to anchorage.  at two o’clock anchorage time (five o’clock chicago time?) i was picking up a rental car and heading for homer–the “land’s end” of alaskan roadways–to meet f2fb friend #233 christy russ.  we had a wonderful dinner on the shore and then i hit the hay at the best western.

the next morning i was so disoriented. there was no starbucks, which is the alternative to garmin gps. instead, there are little espresso shacks everywhere. this one also sold ice cream. i don't know. . ice cream? alaska?


on highway one, there were lots of signs advising drivers to “give a moose a brake!” and listing the number of moose killed on any particular stretch of road.  i longed to get a moose–not with my car but with my flip camera!  instead, i braked for a brown bear AND its cub crossing the highway.  i pulled over, grabbed the flip, and then . . . decided that this blog should really focus on my experiences of meeting my facebook friends–and while i have several dogs, a dead man, and a cat as my facebook friends, i pretty certain i don’t have any brown bears.  however, when i wondered about moose.

at ted stevens airport looked out onto the tarmac to see the jet that alaska airlines picked out just for me!

the tinkerbell jet! decorated inside and out with tinkerbell’s motto “follow me to the most magical place on earth!” our first stop was kotzebue, just inside the arctic circle. it was raining and snowing and we landed on a tiny strip of tundra. pilots for alaska airlines don’t like to use up a long runway!

at kotzebue, the friday commuter crowd embarked from the aft–back–of the plane.  the stairs to the tarmac are slippery when wet!  everyone knew everyone–i met a gal who was flying into nome to watch her niece and nephew wrestle.  wrestling is a big sport in nome for girls and boys both.  so is volleyball and basketball.  baseball?  uh, not so much.

downtown nome has a subway sandwich shop with a movie theater. taggers decorated the outside of the theater/dining establishment. when i was in nome, the movie contagion was playing. nome was the destination of the 1925 “great race of mercy” wherein dog sled teams brought diptheria vaccine to the city. balto, fritz and togo were famous lead dogs on the relay teams, but balto is the only one who scored a disney contract.


in nome, i was met by f2fb friend #234 ian coglan.  ian is the son of laura and mike coglan (f2fb friends #137 and 138) he works at the KICY radio station in nome.  KICY is associated with the covenant church of which ian is a member.  ian has a morning show on the fm station but also works at dubbing and loading up shows on both the fm and am station.  KICY also has a russian language show which is a favorite of folks in siberia.

ian took me to airport pizza–aptly named not just because it’s on the flight path of incoming jets but also because the restaurant delivers via plane to outlying communities.  after a quick dinner, it was time for me to retire to the aurora inn.  the next day, ian promised me a tour of nome and i had promised him an interview on kicy!

at one time, nome was gold rush city! these days, the population has stabilized at 3,500 residents--about fifty percent of the population is native american, mostly of the inupiat tribe. this giant pan for finding gold is at the town's center, along with many mining troughs. gold continues to be found in nome but not by individuals with ambition, courage, and a pan!

a f2fb friend takes me to the land’s end!


planes, trains and automobiles was bromantic comedy about two men who employ all transportation modes to make it home for the thanksgiving--for my f2fb project i've employed taxis, planes, trains, automobiles, bipedalism, bicycles, and one rickshaw!

f2fb friend #233 christy russ lives in homer, alaska, so i was out like a shot from the house at six a.m. central standard time and aiming for chicago’s o’hare airport.  the six hour flight was fun because the world touring cast of the chippendale’s dance troupe was seated all around me.  they seemed to have incredible trouble getting into and out of their seats, particularly if they had to negotiate over the laps of one of their fellow dancers.  but they had such good humor about this, giggling and poking each other–i wonder if all dance troupes have such joie de vivre.

after the flight, there was a little tussle because i couldn’t remember which rental car company i was using.  it was fun getting to know the agents from alamo, enterprise, budget, thrifty, avis, economy.  then there was a five hour trip south west toward homer, alaska.  homer boasts the land’s end restaurant which is — wait for it! — the western most part of the state of alaska which can be reached without using a ferry or plane!  it’s the end of the road.

christy is the sister of f2fb friend #84 cory russ rickerson, who teaches in madison wisconsin.  christy grew up in winnetka and northfield and it takes incredible courage to come to “land’s end” to live.  she did this a year and a half ago and now works with the developmentally disabled in homer.  i had met her at her mother’s funeral and then again at a fourth of july softball game. but because her and cory’s mother was at one time married to f2fb friend #100 bill seymour, she and i have a lot of friends in common.  so we end up noticing what each other is up to through facebook posts.

christy is a fabulously glamorous woman anywhere, but in homer, alaska, i think she would make a great mayor!

after dinner, i returned to my hotel–the best western–and fell asleep fully clothed with my shoes still on, holding my toothbrush, thinking i really should take a shower.   i woke up two hours later not remembering where i was.  suddenly convinced i was dying–heart attack or anaphylactic shock from the seafood i ate with christy,  i went out into the parking lot for some bracing alaska air.  i considered whether homer would have a hospital.  if they did, would it be open?  would the emergency room nurses laugh at me?  would i die out here?  would joseph and eastman retrieve my body?

there were several men in a second floor bedroom partying and hanging out their window.  we chatted.  i went back into my room.  i thought, “i’m really scared out here at the end of the world as i know it–and i will be above the arctic circle tomorrow!  i can’t do this sort of stuff!”

and then i took an ativan, got six beads into a rosary and went back to sleep.  the next morning i begin a five hour drive back into anchorage, a three hour flight to kotsebue and then a half hour puddle jump to nome to meet f2fb friend #234 ian coglan.  he’s a missionary who works at the kicy radio station.