The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Beauty of Alaska

Posted on | July 9, 2023 | 1 Comment

Kings Mountain reaches an altitude of 5,800 feet above sea level, towering nearly 3,000 feet above the Matanuska River valley below, and there’s really no way that a photo can convey the impression of standing there in person looking up at that massive peak in three-dimensional space. Breathtaking is all I can say, and while the Alaska Chamber of Commerce isn’t paying me to say this — c’mon, hit the freaking tip jar — I’d certainly recommend that every American should pay a visit.

About three hours from now, our plane leaves for the return flight home, and we’ve had a wonderful time during our visit. Just driving along the highways here is a splendid adventure, surrounded by vast forests of fir, birch and cottonwood, with gigantic mountains on every horizon, their peaks often shrouded in clouds, making them look like scenery from a Lord of the Rings movie: “Here be orcs!”

‘Who you calling an ‘orc,’ mister?’

Our granddaughter Juniper is about two months old and, as you can see, is about twice the size of a 12-ounce cup of coffee. That photo was taken Saturday at the Alaska Zoo, where we spent about five hours, including a break at the zoo coffee shop where we enjoyed some entertainment.

Walk don’t run to see the SpeNerds

The SpeNerds (their name a play on words for the Spenard neighborhood of Anchorage) bill themselves as “Alaska’s Premier Instrumental Surf Trio,” and let no man dispute their claim to that honor. Among the various tunes they performed was Dick Dale’s classic “Misirlou” (which gained renewed popularity in the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction). At one point during their performance, they played the theme song from Goldfinger, and talking to them after the gig, while they were packing up their gear, I suggested that should have been segued into “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers, to which guitarist Fred Brosius replied that they’d played that one before I arrived. My son plays guitar, and I was telling him how the surf rock sound came about at a period when the electric guitar was still something of a novelty, and guitarists were experimenting with effects like reverb and tremolo, and this sonic experimentation must be appreciated in its historic context. Cultural education is an ongoing obligation of parenthood. Meanwhile . . .

The sergeant gives Juniper airborne training

We spent the Fourth of July at the Glacier View Car Launch, and I apologize that I don’t have any videos of my own to share, but they’re easy to find online. And, of course, I bought the T-shirt, because what’s the point of visiting Alaska if you don’t bring home some souvenirs?

The sergeant and his family

With Mrs. McCain at the Car Launch

Well, we weren’t just tourists, here for sightseeing. We wouldn’t have visited Alaska if not for the fact that our son and his family are here, and this was our first chance to see our newest grandchild. They’ll be coming to visit us at Christmas, but for now I must pack up the laptop and head to the airport, leaving just enough time for me to once more remind readers of the Five Most Important Words in the English Language:





One Response to “The Beauty of Alaska”

  1. Bad Movies for Bad People : The Other McCain
    July 10th, 2023 @ 7:44 am

    […] We’ve got a long layover before the next leg of our flight back home from Alaska, which gives me an opportunity to explain what was wrong with the lousy in-flight movie on the way […]