Robert and his team at the Eagle River Classic on Day 2.
Photo credit: Anchorage Daily News
Well, here we are again on the psycho circus, otherwise known as the cattle train to the great white north. This time it is a rare treat. I’m on one of the few combi planes in the Alaska Airlines fleet. It is unique in that it the front of the plane is loaded with cargo–most likely people’s impulse purchaes from Amazon and Ikea heading to Alaska. The paying folk sit in the back of the plane and have to walk outside and up a flight of stairs just like our Commander in Chief, P-BO, himself.
I am surrounded by guys in fake fedoras, girls with badly painted toenails and business men traveling in three piece suits. How in the world could anyone be comfortable in a clip on tie and an ill-fitting, way-to-tight vest? Why are they wearing a suit anyway? It’s a evening flight to Anchorage that arrives sometime around 2:30 in the morning. Who are they trying to impress? The tourist with the camera around his neck and a “made in China” Alaska t-shirt with a cute and cuddly moose and bear cheerily holding hands.
I have taken this trip many times over the past couple years. Each time the cargo hold of the aircraft is a little heavier with my four or five bags stuffed full of things we left behind on our move up. You know, important stuff like X-boxes, wooden bowls and coffee that’s been stashed away in the freezer at the in-laws.
In another is two bottles of the finest handmade Colorado whiskey that money can buy. It’s from a small distillery in Denver. This isn’t your grandpa’s sippin’ whiskey, folks. This is 94 proof, put hair on your chest liquid amber!
I had to follow a couple of regulations according to the Alaska State Troopers. THOSE guys. They have their own “reality” show on Nat-Geo. It’s funny you notice the little things when you live in Alaska and you watch that show. Things like they say they are in Palmer and in reality (oops, there’s that word again) they are busting a drugged out junkie in Shanty Town some 35 miles away up the Parks Highway.
But getting back to the whiskey. If you watch Alaska State Troopers you know that a good portion of the Greatland is “dry”. That means no alcohol allowed! The regulations if you bring distilled spirits, or anything drink of pleasure for that matter, you have to follow the rules.
*Clearly marked in no less than 2 inch letters in contrasting colors the words: Alcoholic Beverage
*A receipt taped to the box outlining the contents, quantity and price of the items there in
*and..telling the airlines,or worse the cute flight attendant in the too-tight skirt, is not an excuse if you don’t follow above.
If you don’t follow the rules there is a good chance they will confiscate your booze and you will go to jail and pay a hefty fine. Heck you might even make it on the Troopers show.
But back to the Stranahans…the name of the whiskey I’m transporting. We bring up a bottle or two for gifts. This stuff is for things that we celebrate in Alaska; hunting season, fishing season, break up, freeze up, PFD check day, or just your regular old Saturday night.
We don’t waste the good stuff on bar mitzvahs, birthday parties or Monday Night Football. That’s what Alaskan Amber (beer brewed in Juneau) is for.
I am so proud of my little girl!
Nicole is a freshman at Houston High School in Alaska and is the starting catcher on the junior varsity team and the back-up catcher on varsity. As a freshman!
Nicole is away from home for the first time playing games in Kenai and Homer.
On the way down she texted me and said she was in Anchorage.
Being the typical dad I gave my fatherly advice:
Have fun, be safe, act like a lady and smash that ball!
I then said,
Don’t spend all your time texting, look to the right and you may see a whale in the inlet!
Nicole texted back, “Sweet!”
Nicole just moved up to Alaska over Christmas break. She stayed in Colorado with her grandparents until her mom, Michele, could get a job up here. I didn’t want to have the kids up here if mom would have to return home for lack of work.
Why does this matter?
Nicole moved from a school in the Denver suburbs with thousands of kids roaming the halls to a little school of just a few hundred kids. Sports aside, she has been given the job as the newspaper photographer for next year and is doing great in her classes.
Who would have thought my little flea (the name we have called her since she was little–we are dog trainers ya know!) would do so well living in the sticks in Alaska.
Way to go Flea! Smash that ball!
Robert Forto is mushin’ down a dream in the wilds of Alaska. He and is wife are raising two teenagers at Forto’s Fort.
At a recent stop at Burger King in the booming metropolis of Anchorage, Alaska, Michele and I walked into a firestorm behind the counter. Some young guy with what looked like a 5 o’clock shadow but was most likely a 5-week old beard was being yelled at by the manager in a pressed white polyester shirt, a pair of Dickies, and a headset like you might see on the sidelines of an NFL game.
He was asking for a break. Why not. Every barely-above-making-minimum-wage worker in this great country is ENTITLED to a break every couple hours to munch on a meal that he prepared himself, right?
The lady manager was ASSERTING her authority to the lowly hourly workin’ stiff in full decibel that you might just be able to hear all the way across the busy Dimond Boulevard.
The guy just wanted to sit down and rest his tired feet. That’s all.
After three or four minutes of this back and forth she asked–no demanded–I want respect from people on my shift. And sent him to drop a batch of fries.
As you may know, Burger King has been struggling of late with not only their food but their image. Wendy and the Clown have beat out the King in popularity for the last year or so and they realized that they needed to do something about it.
That they did.
They just released a new, or shall we say “updated”, menu with what they are calling Chef Choice Burgers. This is what we ordered and it was dang good! It looks and tastes just like one of those mouth-watering sandwiches being hawked by supermodels and gals named Paris.
All that aside, how can you update you image if your staff behind the counter is berating the uniform-with-the-name tag set? Why do they wear name tags anyway? Does the customer really care if John, Adam, Suzie or some guy named Q is serving him? I doubt it.
That being said, the lady manager that was sportin’ the head set and a pair of Dickies isn’t doing much for the King. In my opinion she needs to head down the street to a place that is named after a Queen–but my guess is they won’t tolerate that behavior there either.
What do you think?
Michele and I headed out early for Anchorage to pick up Hugh Neff’s Iditarod team at the airport. He finished 17th this year and we are proud of him and his dogs for running a great race. But that is a story for another day….
On our way down to the city we talked about stopping for breakfast. Denny’s was our first choice. I know, blah!
Then Michele said, “we should stop there. They are always busy!”
It is the Lucky Wishbone. The little place has been serving up some of the best fried chicken in Alaska since 1955.
The restaurant is on the right as soon as you hit Anchorage on 5th and Karluk St. Its decor is plain and simple and looks like it should be profiled on The Food Network shows called Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
Even after half a century George and Peg do things the same way–using chicken that is flown in from the Lower 48 and never frozen.
The chicken is to die for! It is made to order and pan fried style. As Michele said, “it’s just like grammy’s!”
Served simple in a basket with fries, a corn muffin and honey–in three sizes:
You can even order gizzards, livers and giblets if that’s your thing.
On a side note, it just so happened to be St. Patrick’s Day and the place was decked out in green and an old guy kept getting kissed. I guess it was his lucky day!
If you are visiting Alaska or just a local that’s wants to get away from the chain fast-food joints, you have to check out the Lucky Wishbone.
You’ll be glad you did!