State #2 in my All 50 States Travelogue is…
When I tell people I’ve been to all 50 states people often ask, “even Alaska?”
Yes! Even Alaska! It’s one of the 50 states! I’ve actually been to our 49th state multiple times (5, I think, two of the trips kind of blend together), with my first visit being relatively early in my touring career.
Back in mid/late ‘90s, as an eager, young comedian new to the college entertainment market, I showcased at the Pacific Northwest Regional NACA conference and landed myself a ton of shows over the next year throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. University of Alaska Anchorage took advantage of one of those blocks of shows and brought me up for a show in April 1997.
I spent a few extra days in and around Anchorage and took a day trip up to Talkeetna, a few hours north, to see if I could get a glimpse of Denali, the highest mountain in North America. The weather gods were good to me that day and the normally clouded over peak was on full display.
I’ve been back to UAA a few times since, once in February during a big festival called the Fur Rondy, and a couple times in August during orientation. Each gig I would take time for a few day trips, a snowy drive down to Seward on the Kenai peninsula and an August trip to the Alaska State Fair in Palmer to name a few.
In the summer of 2018 I got my first taste of southeast Alaska working a cruise ship that took me from Juneau to Vancouver, with a stop in the town of Ketchikan. While having lunch in Ketchikan a local asked me if I was a charter boat captain—fishing is the main industry there, aside from tourism—and I had to confess that I came in on a cruise ship. At least I could take solace in the fact that I wasn’t such an obvious tourist.
- Top left: view of Denali from near Talkeetna, AK, 1997
- Top center: selfie in beautiful downtown Talkeetna! 2004
- Top right: top of Flat Top Mountain, outside of Anchorage, 2004
- Bottom left: selfie from cruise ship with downtown Juneau behind, 2018
- Bottom center: signpost in Anchorage, 2004
- Bottom right: selfie on Creek Street in Ketchikan, 2018