Today's post is from the Cook House Restaurant in Icy Strait Point, Alaska - just a mile or so down the road from Hoonah. I am holed up here having a cheeseburger ($9.97, please) and a bottled water ($3.50, please) in order to use their "free" wifi! The bears aren't the only thing in Alaska that feast on tourists!
Gail and I took the shuttle into Hoonah earlier today ($5.00 please for a round-trip). It is a small town of 650 cold-hardy souls who make their living off of fishing and curies ships. A very nice native, Mr. Gary Brown, told me that Hoonah is extremely patriotic and nearly four hundred of its residents have served in the military. Being recently employed by the military myself, I know that the high rate of service isn't strictly a reflection of patriotism. It is also an indicator of the lack of availability of local jobs.
Besides Gary Brown, I found one other good friend in Hoonah - a large black dog who kept bringing me a stick to throw for him. Usually I could get the stick to bounce when it landed, and he would catch it in the air! (I miss my dogs!)
Hoonah is an impoverished little berg that reminded me somewhat of Lanagan, Missouri. It does have a nice harbor that is apparently inexpensive to access. Mr. Brown said that John Wayne was a regular visitor back in the day and would spend months at a time in Hoonah because nobody would bother him there. He said other celebrity visitors who came on a regular basis were Chuck Norris and Richard Pryor.
The town has a wood carving shop where a couple of native men were working on two enormous totem poles, and another shop that makes canoes out of logs. We spent some time at a little cafe drinking hot chocolate and buying $5.00 tee shirts.
I really enjoyed the small town of Hoonah - it was what I expected Alaska to be like. Gail, however, was not as impressed.
Last night while going through my pictures of Skagway, I noticed that I took one of the Morning Wood Hotel. That sounds like the type of place where you might be able to rent a roommate - by the hour!
The trip continues to go well. I plan to spend much of this evening relaxing in a hot tub among total strangers. Tomorrow we will be in Ketchikan where I understand it rains almost every day - 200 or more inches a year!
The sun has been out all day here in Icy Strait Point and Hoonah!