Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"I told you! I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines." - Napoleon, Napoleon Dynamite

A knotty moose, poised to charge our car. Thank heavens it was made of wood. Also, it looks like Elvis brought drove his car to get some ice cream up here.

It’s almost tourist season. My in-laws, though not the typical tourists, still fit the mold (class A motor home, funny accents, think 40ºF is cold) and are the vanguard of the flocks of tourists to follow.

I first heard about one of our best tourist traps when my friend first told me about The Knotty Shop. When he told me about it, I thought the he was telling me about The Naughty Shop, and was wondering just where he thought this relationship was going. Now I know that The Knotty Shop is an ice cream store masquerading as a tourist trap just south of Fairbanks.

Given that it was a dull, boring Sunday, and I wanted to give my in-laws something to do besides watch The Weather Channel® or Fox News©, I floated the idea that we go to The Knotty Shop. The Mrs. quickly explained to her parents that it wasn’t a place where lingerie and leather were the main products, and it was decided we’d go. After a hearty breakfast of eggs and reindeer sausage, away we went.

The drive was nice. As tourist traps go, The Knotty Shop is a good one – all Alaska, all the time. I’ve been there before, and written about it. But this time it was actually our destination, versus being a stop on the way someplace. I actually looked at the stuff they were selling. They had the usual Alaska license plates, Alaska cups, Alaska shot glasses, Alaska t-shirts, Alaska hats, and Alaska toilet paper. In addition, they have a taxidermist's dream, stuffed fox, caribou, wolverine, and badger in a big display, perfect for family photo shoots. They also had more exotic products:

A whale shoulder bone (who knew about they had arms?) carved to show, well, looks like a party or maybe a KISS concert. Yours for only $4,200.00 US.

A walrus tusk set. Didn't check the price, but potentially more than my car is worth.

I’m hoping some of the tourists saved some money so they could afford some of the pricier do-dads, though in truth I think The Knotty Shop doesn’t sell many whale shoulder blades during the course of a summer tourist season.

We finally got our ice cream. It was good and, in my case, chock full o’ chocolaty goodness. We sat outside and ate. As we did, a guy got out of a minivan that pulled up. Normally, I don’t notice people so much, but this guy, well, he had long flowing locks of curled blonde hair like Sammy Hagar.

One of the personal bits of philosophy of The Mrs. is that you have to be rich to dress like a pirate, so if you see anyone dressed like a pirate out in public, well, they’re rich. He wasn’t dressed like a pirate. He was, however, wearing an REO Speedwagon t-shirt from Tour 1984-85, which is fairly amazing since, well, that means the shirt is old enough to buy vodka.

Was he in REO Speedwagon, or does he just have a concert t-shirt collection that will never stop? Don’t know. And, there were more important things, namely, ice cream.

My father-in-law decided to buy The Boy some suckers, so he handed me his cone as he walked into the store. I didn’t eat all of it.

The Knotty Shop is a good place to go and buy whale bones, but I still prefer the ice cream. And, if that guy was in REO Speedwagon? I still prefer anything to REO Speedwagon.


Blogger brotherbill said...

Soooooo... Elvis lives. In Fairbanks and goes to the ice cream shop. I knew it!

8:54 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Does the Knotty Shop sell bears? Naughty bears?

9:57 PM  
Blogger Coldfoot said...

A 1984 REO Speedwagon shirt? I was with you up to that point.

This is obviously a work of fiction, or a high school writing project that you dug out, polished up and posted.

No one in Alaska is that gay.

It could have been a Canadian tourist, I guess. Possibly a French Canadian. Certainly not a regular Canadian. They aren't that gay either.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Uncle Crappy said...

I've been to Kiss concerts. That's pretty close.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Sara Jean said...

Hey, i'm old enough to buy vodka too! And considering I, like the shirt, was made in 1984, saying that is still a relatively new experience.

7:18 PM  
Blogger dogsled_stacie said...

LOL!!! I like that Coldfoot - "not a regular Canadian" - you'd be surprised, hell I still feel like it's 1988 with all the 80's crap our main radio station plays. I had enough Glass Tiger, Bryan Adams (he NEVER goes awayyyy!!!), WHAM, Tears for Fears, etc, to last 10 lifetimes!

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your article in my Dio shirt from McNichols arena (we didn't have big cola sponsership in those days)and if you attended a concert in McNichols you can buy what ever you want in any store.

Do they still play "Achy Breaky Heart" up there (for the tourists at least)?

6:37 AM  
Blogger W&MGrad said...

I just stumpled on your blog and I have to say it's quite the fun read! I almost want to move to Alaska.....

8:32 AM  
Blogger John said...

Yes, Elvis is alive. Or REO. Not sure which. REO needs more hair-care products, though by now The King might need some Propecia.

Ohhh, naughty, naughty bears. Actually, they sell logs carved into bears. When they're all lined up, it makes you think of an army of three foot high clone bears on soma.

Seriously. He was wearing the shirt, and had the big hair set for the stage.

Probably not a rock star, though, given the minivan and the lack of sunglasses.

I did go to a concert once (can't remember who - Foghat?) and saw a biker looking dude wearing a Rick Springfield shirt.

Ehhh. That just makes bikers look bad.

uncle crappy,
Been to a single KISS concert. I think in the non-makeup phase. Them not wearing makeup. And me, too.

Congrats! I *don't* remember turning 21. Which, I think, is for the best.

dogsled stacie,
Nooooo not "Cuts Like a Knife" . . . arrgh.

Did you have to mention Bryan Adams?

You can release yourself, but the only way is downnnnnnnnn . . .

I have not heard "Achy Breaky Heart" up here. But I have heard Ronnie James . . .

Welcome, and thanks! Alaska has been a great place for us, though I wonder if our neighbors would disagree . . . ?

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Knotty Shop must be seen to be believed. Thanks for bringing back a good memory and making me more homesick for Alaska than I've ever been. One of these days....

5:25 PM  

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