Man stirs and puts spices in a big pot with a dinosaur skull floating on top. Illustration
Art by Tim Bower.

I visited Alaska last year and got so frustrated on the roads! Why are the drivers so atrocious? 

Well, you have to keep in mind that there were no paved roads in Alaska until seven years ago. We’re used to hiking, skiing, or mushing dogs to get around. Getting behind the wheel of an automobile is a foreign concept for us and it’s going to take a little while for everyone to master the skill. Some Alaskans who owned four-wheelers and snowmachines are more comfortable with motorized vehicles, but they’re used to going wherever they want as fast as they like.  

I love stopping at small diners while road tripping. Any recommendations for some in Alaska? 

Oliver’s Off-Road Roadhouse between Beluga and Skwentna is a great BYOWMB joint. For the uninitiated, that’s Bring Your Own Woolly Mammoth Bones. The road on the way to Oliver’s is a fossil hotspot, so keep your eyes peeled for prehistoric remains. Bring what you find to Oliver, and he’ll add it to his famous Ancient Animals Stew. If you contribute, Oliver will give you a free bowl of stew and a flagon of his rainwater ale… which we’re pretty sure is just rain that gets collected in a barrel. But it’s impolite to turn down such hospitality, so quaff away.  

When I visited Alaska, I noticed a lot of huge garages. Do people in Alaska own a lot of cars? 

Yes, and not just cars. We also own ATVS, snowmachines, campers, boats, planes, and all matter of machinery. These are not, however, what the garages are for. The garage is a signal of superior Alaskaness. A sign to all neighbors and passersby that the homeowner is indeed an outdoorsy Alaskan. The cars and other toys can be seen in the driveway, side yard, back yard, front yard, or wherever. Then what, you might ask, is in the garage? I’d answer that, but I have to go out to my garage to sort through some things and work on a project. 

I’m flying into Anchorage this summer and staying in the state for a few days. I’d like to drive and see more of Alaska. Do you have any suggested road trip itineraries? 

  • Day 1: Arrive in Anchorage and enjoy the city.
  • Day 2: Wake up early to maximize the long daylight hours and begin driving to Homer. A few hours later: Realize you’re only halfway to Homer. Even later: Arrive exhausted but force your traveling partner into having fun.
  • Day 3: Wake up early to start driving to Seward. A few hours later: Get in a shouting match with your traveling partner during which you insist you didn’t realize Alaska is “gargantuan.”
  • Day 3, night: A silent dinner.
  • Day 4: Agree that next time you should stay longer.
  • Day 5: Head home. 

Alexander Deedy formerly worked as the assistant editor and digital content manager for Alaska magazine.

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