While in Alaska, I logged nearly 1,300 miles on my rental car. All with the goal of discovering what welcome sign would await me around the next bend in the road.
My favorite sign of the trip was in Anderson, a city of less than 400 people. In addition to landscape features that define the Denali area, the hand-crafted, hand-painted sign features a bear that is more scared-looking than scary.
And the sign has two sides, each one painted individually! I especially like the fact that one side has the sun (summer solstice) while the other side doesn’t (winter solstice).
The Willow Area also provides a warm welcome. This is a professional sign that displays the summer and winter activities that visitors and residents alike can enjoy in the Willow Area. (Notice the wooden bear perched on the left side of the sign; slightly scarier than the bear in Anderson.)
Many signs in Alaska are designed with wood and have a rustic feel. The sign in Delta Junction followed this theme, but drew me in more than some of the others. How could I resist “Alaska’s Friendly Frontier”?
Unfortunately, this next sign overpromises. Downtown Talkeetna is not particularly beautiful. Especially when a bus full of tourists has just emptied onto its street. (And dirty shoes aren’t exactly appealing.)
Joy is a small off-the-grid homestead about 60 miles north of Fairbanks. (Joy was one of the original settlers of the land in the 1960s. It seems the sign dates from the 1960s, too.)
Last but not least is Houston, a 1,200-person suburb of Anchorage. Like some of the others, this sign tries to capture all that is Alaska – wildlife, fishing, mountains, the summer sun, forests and rivers. And it does it very well.
Much more interesting than the sign in Houston, Texas.
And that’s a wrap!