A Talkeetna State Of Mind: Mellooowwwwwww ……

Posted on July 21, 2010


Take A Deep Breath: Horse Apples Are Wafting On The Breeze On Main Street: You Are In Talkeetna, Alaska, So Just Go With It, Says Rudi!

Rudi Surges Past The Flow: This May Be An Extreme Example of Cultural Adaptation

Talkeetna is a place Alaskans go on summer weekends to mellow out. Talkeetna is a Native American word that means, “return to the ethos of the 1960’s”, says Rudi. He suspects the “mellow” has some chemical basis, and he should know. He spent part of the 1960’s in Aspen, Colorado, and remembers some small portion of it with a faded gleam in a bloodshot eye.

OMG !! /The Genetic Selwyn Line May Be Threatened! Rudi Says, "It's About Time!"

But that’s Rudi’s conjecture, not known fact. The television series “Northern Exposure”, an offbeat, semi-hit in the early 1990’,s was said to be inspired by the laid back atmosphere of Talkeetna. The opening shots included a moose wandering down the main street of a small town. Guess what Talkeetna has adopted as its mascot?

Artsy Plywood Moose Pose an Ethical Delimma, But Not For Talkeetna ... Or Rudi

Talkeetna is also the “jumping off place” for everyone who wants to climb Denali, as this is where you register your expedition, get your permit, and also your “clean mountain cans” that hold your bodily waste during the time you are on the mountain. You are your own septic tank up there, my friend, and they weigh it out to make sure you didn’t cheat!

**Rudie had pictures of these canisters, but the rest of the party erased them from his camera card recognizing the danger they posed to the blog audience.

This is Talkeetna's Official Greeter: Fresh From His Firing From Walmart For Harassing Patrons With His Camera

Artists have flocked to Talkeetna for years, and the combination of climbers, artists, and tourists (this is a prime stop for the Princess Cruise Lines train) creates an interesting stew. Each group floats through in its own bubble, contacting one another in the course of  either commerce or sidewalk geometry, but not really doing more than having the slight social adheasions necessary for conducting the business at hand. Some minor condescension exists between locals and tourists, “real” locals and summer pretenders, true artists and wannabees, but it seems to work, in a funky kind of way.

Doing Business Here Since 1921: But Who Is That In The Window?

She Works At Nagley's 'Cause Rudi Bought Grog From Her Later: But Make Up A Story Line If You Are Lonely

Artists do their fine bead work during long winter nights, and bask in sidewalk kiosks in the summer selling their winter wares. Cribbage is a prime winter pastime and carvers use antlers from elk and moose to create special boards that are true works of art, and they sell them at street fairs in July.

Most everyone seems eager to talk to anyone who seems interested in listening to them. Small, isolated communities thrive on the flow of new information from outsiders, as it adds new flavors to the bland stew of well-known, well-chewed, ingredients.

This Cat Is Mayor Of Talkeetna. How Can You Not Want To Live Here? Or At least know That Such Places Still Exist On This Earth, Responsible Ones From the Sixties?

Alaskans who have been coming here for years bemoan the paved streets and camping restrictions, but return regardless. Food both great and abysmal, intriguing beer and crap in a glass, warm people and the worst souls a tour guide can conjure up, mingle endlessly during a summer weekend. Rudi loves this and would move up here in a second, not thinking of the long winter nights and freezing cold. Caribou chili, views of Denali, interesting people, and no responsibilities is a Rudi fantasy.

Early Resident: When Men Were Men And Sled Dogs Were Nervous, Says Rudi

But it is a fantasy. Talkeena thrives because it is a tourist and climber destination with some real artistic values. It is a cultural collision bull’s eye: Touristy, gritty, ephemeral, tacky, commercial, restful, and frustrating for anyone who tries to pin it down.

The Moose Is Loose, But Not In a Gastric Sense, Hopes Rudi

The artistic moose that dot the landscape are just part of the tourist net. So why does it still retain that strong feeling of mellowness that overwhelms?

Rudi's Idea Of A World Class Shopping Mall: Plus Nice People in Hiking Boots and Sweaters ... In July

Rudi Thinks This Is A Tassel Twirling Moose At A Moose Truck Stop. If You Have To Ask What This Means, Go To Pole Dancing School.

Rudi was once told that you could tell the quality of life in a town by the way they treated the town drunk. If he was usually taken to a warm jail cell to sleep it off, then it’s a good town. Talkeetna seems to be a good town.

Taleetna Alley Art: Angel Says These Are, "Leaves of Ass" In The Back Country

Rudi likes the fact that Talkeetna is an enigma. He doesn’t try to figure it out. Rudi likes puzzles that have no answers.


Environmental Fund Raising Site for Rudi G & Jesse

Please join Rudi & Jesse to help the environment by reading the message below, and taking action on it.

This trip, and this blog, are raising money for our favorite environmental non-profit, Georgia River Network. GRN advocates for, and protects, all rivers in Georgia. We produce videos for them to help raise awareness and money for their projects. If you are enjoying our trip blog, please join us in giving whatever tax deductible amount you can by going to our fund raising site at:


The site is safe and secure and the folks at Georgia River Network make sure your donation has an impact.

Thank you.

Rudi G  & Jesse