Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: Time to enjoy, not to annoy

I’m already overhearing growing concerns about whether or not the usual influx of tourists to the peninsula will be dampened due to the surging tsunami of fuel costs.

The beauty of Alaska is a magnificent gem to behold. Its majesty is unmatched and a sacred home to many. Yet, that treasure dims when compared to the unconditional love of a mother. Mine has long past but I still feel her warmth, visualize her smile and hold her tenderly in my heart sharing the wonder we live in every day of our lives. May all of you be so blessed on this Mother’s Day.

In just a few weeks the Memorial Day holiday will be upon us and I’m already overhearing growing concerns about whether or not the usual influx of tourists to the peninsula will be dampened due to the surging tsunami of fuel costs.

The doom and gloom provocateurs are in a pre, full snivel mode fearing that the price of gas will be so high that the crowds may opt to chill at camps in their backyards while churning out feasts via Ninja Foodi 5-in-1s featuring an electric cyclonic grill that comes with roasting, baking and dehydrator capabilities, plus a 4-quart air fryer and an add-on option for a half-steer enabled rotisserie.

Don’t bet on it.

We are still a long way from service stations hiring number runners to keep their sign prices updated although, if some of the government policies become anymore freewheeling, things could change so fast that we won’t be able make a round trip to town without gasoline shooting up ten cents by the time we head home.

I don’t know why but I recently received several emails asking what action I was going to take to conserve fuel and fight global warming. It was suggested that I could start by biking instead of driving. Well, I’m an avid fisherman/outdoor columnist so a souped-up Schwinn just doesn’t cut when it comes to covering the distances I roam or the gear capacity I require, plus it really sucks when it comes to towing a boat.

I sent my vet buddy, Turk, the biking suggestion and he replied that he appreciated the promo and will commence doing so as soon as he installs new spark plugs in his Harley.

I’m sure that most of angst stirred up by those prophesying that the only traveling Alaskans will be doing over the three-day weekend is to convenience stores via their kid’s trike is hyperbolic.

The Homer Spit’s campgrounds will fill up and, if the weather holds, the volcanoes to continue to snooze and the subterranean fault lines don’t decide to bring back The Floss as a dancing option, visitors will have an enjoyable holiday.

Having fun outdoors is no longer a wish but a reality nowadays and the throngs need to maintain a sense of humor when annoyances such as the latest petroleum price surges roll in.

I remember one significantly exasperated octogenarian I was visiting with many years ago who was incessantly and colorfully complaining about it how it took three thousand bucks worth of fuel to get his motorhome up here from the Lower 48 and, the way fuel cost were spiraling up, it was going to cost four thousand to get back down. I tried to comfort the profanity enabled grouch and reassured him that it shouldn’t be too bad since it would be all downhill heading back. My uncle shot me a look that suggested I should be institutionalized and went for his cane. We were never close.

Hopefully, the coming holiday will be topped off by sparkling chrome kings riding the high tides into The Fishing Hole and charters filling their holds with fresh halibut and salmon. If nothing else, the peninsula will be special place for the northern folk who flee their sequestered COVID cages to enjoy the sweet air of outdoor Alaska and share open smiles instead of somberly nodding at the sterile visages of passing masks.

Of course, the new found liberties should not include ignoring local mask and distancing requirements. There is no excuse for acting like a demented fruit bat that’s been pounding quaffs of Boones Farm Apple Wine while demeaning those trying to inform them of current restrictions.

It’s time to play, not to pout.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t busy avoiding whirling canes from everyone he has annoyed this week.

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