It had been raining all morning and now seemed like a good time to go find a bowl of soup and a cup of coffee. That's how we ended up at the Flying Squirrel Cafe just outside Talkeetna, Alaska where they had pasted the bear warning sign.
We decided to drive a few more miles and take a look at Talkeetna.
Back when I lived in Alaska, I'd heard of what the locals fondly refer to as Tee-Kay. It's long been a base for mountain climbers who fly from there to make an assault upon the summit of Mount McKinley. It's also home to dog mushers, eccentrics and misfits, making it a rowdy, deadhead, redneck Northern Exposure kind of town of 800 or so.
It's a bit more touristy these days I discovered--lots of rafting tours and gift shops and an explosion in microbrew possibilities at the town's numerous drinking establishments.
The "bad-boy" image of the town is probably more calculated than actual.
After all, this is a town that goes all out to impress visitors with its love of pots of beautiful blooming flowers.
In fact, Tee-Kay is so civilized that I found myself having return to Van Winkle high alert status. Yes, that was a vending box with a newspaper whose headline was trying to tempt me away from my news ban.
I walked on by. It was time to hit the road and keep on heading north. - V.W.