A chronicle of life on the road from O.B. Sirius (Zoe) and Sundog (John)
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Yesterday we took a trip to see the town of Palmer. The town is small, with the usual bars, restaurants, and tourist shops. We happened to stumble upon a street market -- a few farmers with vegetables, some Alaska crafters, and a live band who seemed to only know Aretha Franklin tunes (was she shoeless to channel the Natural Woman?).
John helped the local high school cheerleaders with their fundraiser:
And Chad Carpenter, the writer of Tundra Comics was there signing books. If Tundra Comics hasn't yet invaded your consciousness, think of "The Far Side, " happily reincarnated.
After the market, we visited the Valley's "agricultural showcase" and saw several beautiful flower gardens. They let you know that Palmer seems to be *the* place for growing freakishly huge veggies, such as a 127 pound cabbage, a 96.95 pound kohlarabi, or an 18.99 pound carrot. They say it is a combination of weather and 20 hours/day summer sunlight that gives them the edge in the monster-veggie competition. I suspect a little help from Sasquatch.
Palmer also has a statue to Balto the dog.
If you are unfamiliar with Balto, his fame and the Iditerod began together in the winter of 1925. Diptheria was menacing Nome, and there was not enough serum there to inoculate the residents. The waterways were iced in, and reliable air transport was still a good ten years away. For a while it seemed that the residents of Nome would have to take their chances. Then the dog mushers came to the rescue -- the serum was shipped by train from Anchorage to Nenana, and then carried by teams of dog sleds the remaining 674 miles in 5 and a half days, saving Nome. The mushers were a combination of Eskimo, Russian-Eskimo, Norwegian, Irish and Native American. The lead dog of the final team was Balto.
The current Iditerod commemorates that amazing feat.