Anchorage, Alaska’s Principal City

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Anchorage, the largest city in America’s 49th State, was founded in 1914 to provide the railhead for the Pacific Railway to,   Fairbanks . With a population of approximately 260,000 it houses 42% of Alaska’s population. This expansive city nestles at the base of the scenic Chugach Mountains and embraces the Pacific Ocean as it laps inshore in the Cook Inlet. It’s hard to believe that this spacious city, in the largest of all US States, covers approximately the same area as that of the smallest state, Delaware.

Anchorage is the transport hub for the state and offers air connections to the Continental US as well as Hawaii. For those airlines using the Trans polar routes it also offers a convenient stopping off point for flights linking Europe and Asia. Moreover it provides flight and other transportation links to the rest of the State of Alaska.

Some labor under the delusion that Alaska is smitten with almost perpetual darkness in winter and never ending light [http://www.escapetoanchorage.com] in the summer. This is not true. It enjoys about six hours of daylight, much of it sunny, during the winter and 13 hour of light in the warm summers. Another myth is the temperatures. Sure, Alaska is pretty far north but winter temperatures in Anchorage work out at approximately 25 F. That is 7 degrees below freezing point. The sort of temperature you would enjoy if you were spending a relaxing winter sports holiday in an Alpine resort and summer temperatures average out to something similar to northern California.

Anchorage is the point of entry into some of the world’s finest an most unspoiled scenery. If time is limited a trip to Anchorage gives you a delicious taste of life in this unique area. In winter mile upon mile of untrammeled snow offer a winter sport’s paradise. There are opportunities for Nordic skiing, sledding, trips by snow mobile and much more. The very same area redoubles as a hiker’s heaven during the summer months. Tranquil lakes abound which offer catches galore for the fisherman or an opportunity for just plain contemplation of the beautiful and unspoiled scenery. The area provides a birdwatcher’s paradise and an unparalleled opportunity to observe wildlife in a natural setting. It also boasts the clear skies and northern latitudes to provide crystal clear sightings of the northern lights.

That’s not all of course. Anchorage boasts fine restaurants offering a plethora of sea food. The king crab is a very special delicacy, which cannot be missed during a visit to this very special city. Oh, yes there is also a multi-storied Texan Bar offering a more lively evening’s entertainment for the more energetic visitor. Tempted…? Well then why not go somewhere different and awesomely beautiful and the way to get there is through the city of Anchorage?

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Crab Fishing in Alaska – Fishing for Riches

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No it isn’t Bill Gates. It isn’t the diamond merchants of South Africa or the oil barons of Saudi Arabia either. The world’s highest paid job is crab fishing in Alaska. The frigid waters off the Alaskan shoreline house a veritable fishing goldmine and crab fishing in Alaska has been aptly dubbed the last great gold rushes on earth.

Crab fishing is the most significant of the Alaskan commercial shellfish industries. The waters of Alaska, notably the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay, Dutch Harbor and the Kodiak and Aleutian Islands are home to rich bounties of crabs: tanner, Dungeness and the famed Alaskan King crab.

The different varieties of the Alaskan crabs possess immense commercial value and the Alaskan King crab in particular is a prized dish in the culinary world, valued as highly as caviar or vintage French wine. US and Japanese restaurants are the primary importers of Alaskan King crab in the world.

An idea of the valuation of crab fishing in Alaska can be garnered from the fact that a seasoned fisherman can hope to rope in US$50000 worth of catch in an eight-week period.

The commercial crab fishing industry in Alaska had its beginning way back in 1950. The returns were promising from the very start and the region quickly attracted hundreds of US fishing boats. The 1980s were the heydays of crab fishing in Alaska. During this period of king crab boom, the fishing boat captains regularly earned US$150000 in a season and the crab fishing boats boasted of saunas, music systems and microwaves.

But by 1983, the Alaskan King crab industry crashed for no apparent reason. The worst slump in fishing history, it forced fishermen to look into alternative fishing sources. Thus Alaskan commercial fishing branched out either to salmon and halibut or bairdi and opilio, two types of tanner crabs.

Since then the Alaskan crab fishing trade has looked up a little with the year 2001 bringing in 23.2-million pounds of fishing stock worth US$36-million. But crab fishing in Alaska still continues to command the highest pay packet in the world.

But this is only the rosy side to the job. Crab fishing in Alaska is one of the most perilous of all jobs in the world. To fish for crabs in the glacial waters of the Arctic Ocean in sub-zero temperatures, with pounding waves thrashing on the deck and tossing the fishing boat treacherously and icy winds howling continuously, needs a stout heart and an able body. Furthermore, your work will involve negotiating the enormous crab pots and coils of line along the slippery deck.

Each and every muscle and sinew of the body is stretched to the hilt and exhaustion to the point of breakdown is common. Crippled limbs, crushed fingers and ribs, broken legs are the staple fare in the grueling 20-21 hour daily schedules, while men toppling overboard are not uncommon incidents either. In fact, every year there are some casualties in these fishing trips.

However, in spite of all the hardships, there is no dearth of men seeking employment in this fishing trade. Crab fishing in Alaska remains a haloed job to land.

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Alaska – Vegetation, Wildlife and People

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Soils suitable for tillage are located in the lowlands and valley areas where they may have originated from river deposits. They contrast with the shallow soils on the steeper slopes and uplands. Permafrost is common north of the Alaska Range, thawing out only at the surface in summer creating waterlogged conditions. Roads and buildings are subject to damage in these areas.

Extensive coniferous forests adorn the slopes of the south-eastern mountains. In the interior the forest cover thins out giving way to grasslands and marsh. North of the Brooks Range are the treeless plains of the tundra, supporting mosses, lichens and grasses capable of surviving the severe climatic conditions which are present in those areas. The caribou live here as well as wild fowl and small fur-bearing mammals, which are essential to the native economy.

River fish, such as salmon and sea mammals such as the seal and the whale, are also captured. In the south the larger mammals, including the brown bear and prolific salmon streams are an attraction to sportsmen.

Alaska has the smallest population of all the American States. About a fifth is native Indian and Eskimo. Their standard of living, though improving, is lower than that of the white population. Many depend on a subsistence economy. The white population enjoys a high living standard; many come for short and profitable periods on contract, often during the summer months.

The temporary population gives the State a predominance of males and a per capita income, which is one of the highest in the USA. Alaska’s settlements are small and scattered widely with some concentration along the Gulf Coast. The three largest centres, Anchorage,   Fairbanks  and Juneau, are service centres for numerous resource-oriented communities, fishing settlements and timber camps. To the north and west of the railroad and highway system, on the coast and in the river valleys are a large number of native settlements, which depend on subsistence hunting and fishing.

Less than 10 per cent of tillable land in Alaska is used, partly due to the expense of making the land productive. The principle farming area is north of Anchorage in the Matanuska Valley. Eggs, potatoes, dairy products, lettuces and cabbages are the most important items produced for local consumption. Farming is also found around  Fairbanks . Moderate climate and large areas of grassland near the Gulf of Alaska have encouraged cattle farming.

Vast forests are located in two main areas. The coastal forests of the southeast produce 90 per cent of the State’s wood, mainly western hemlock and sitka spruce. Both are situated near tidewater, which enables transport to the pulp mills at Ketchikan and Sitka easy.

Although gold has declined since the initial goldrush in the 1890s, it still remains the most valuable mineral resource. Coal is also found throughout the State, the most important field near  Fairbanks . Other minerals found include gravel, sand, lead and mercury. There are also deposits of iron in the southeast.

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Exploring The Alaska Interior

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There are adventurous travelers and there are travelers who really enjoy being pampered more than a great adventure. I have vacationed the complete spectrum, I have pinched pennies while vacationing in Gatlinburg Tennessee and stayed in a very expensive vacation home with a private maid in Saint Jean de Luz, France. I will admit that the vacation home with a private maid was a nice way to experience France.

But, I am an adventurer at heart probably born from my days as a kid where I grabbed a fishing pole or net and waded creeks and ponds to see what was there. My favorite type of travel is where you see things up close and personal with exposure to the people, culture and wildlife. This might require you to hop on a rubber landing raft and land on a beach where no one lives or it might require you to reach down and pet a whale. Adventurers run between 8 and 98 years old generally.

Today’s adventure takes you to the interior of Alaska. There are three ways to explore the Alaskan interior. You can do it on your own with a tent, rent an RV and do your own thing. Or, you can take a tour which is more organized and pampered. Both of these are adventures because you will be seeing things seldom seen by anyone else on either option.

If you are seriously interested in renting an RV you should do this well in advance. RVs are already available for rental in 2008 and 2009!. Go Here. If someone has taken an RV trip we would love to get some details of your trip and include it in our adventure blog. We really don’t have any details to describe an RV trip so we are going to focus on the tours available after taking a cruise.

There are three ways to experience Alaska after a cruise other than buying a tent and hitting the road on your own.

1) You can be part of a complete and experienced Tour Package which will handle all of your arrangements and take you to the most common destinations such as Denali National Park, Dawson City, Copper River before or after your cruise. These are usually part of your cruise package so we will discuss tours done by several cruise companies this week.

2) The more adventurous tours which include white water rafting, camping and more will be discussed next week. Make no mistake though, seeing wild Alaska is an adventure no matter how you do it.

3) You can stay at a hotel in Anchorage and take day trips. Most of these available options will be discussed next week also.

If you are taking the northbound cruise these tours would occur after your cruise. If you are taking a southbound cruise these tours would occur after your cruise. There are too many tours to list them all so I will list the ones that should appeal more to the adventurous travelers. If you want more information on all of the tours available go here. For simpler comparison all of the tours listed are for a southbound cruise, you would take your tour first and then take your cruise.

Princess Cruises Great Land History & Wilderness

This description is for a southbound cruise. You would start your trip with the tour and then take a ship going south to Vancouver.

Day 1 – Anchorage Meet your fellow travelers and tour guide to begin your trip

Day 2 – Anchorage/Denali Travel by rail from Anchorage to Denali National Park’s Princess Wilderness Lodge and enjoy a music show in the evening.

Day 3 – Enjoy a morning trip deep into Denali National Park. The rest of the day is free to spend however you like, relaxing or taking an optional excursion

Day 4 – Relax or take an optional excursion in the morning. Take the train back to the   Fairbanks  Princess Riverside Lodge.

Day 5 – Take a riverboat cruise from  Fairbanks  and enjoy a trip to the El Dorado Gold Mine. Spend the evening in  Fairbanks  exploring on your own.

Day 6 – Travel from  Fairbanks  to Dawson city and relive the Klondike Gold Rush. Enjoy Diamond Tooth Gerties in the evening.

Day 7 – Enjoy the history tour of Dawson City and the Gold Rush. In the evening you are free to enjoy anything you desire.

Day 8 – Enjoy a beautiful train ride to the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge

Day 9 – Copper River. Enjoy a full day to choose from optional excursions to enjoy the Wrangell-St. Elias National park, America’s largest national park.

Day 10 – Take a motor coach sightseeing trip to Valdez. Then enjoy a catamaran crossing of Prince William Sound. Arrive in Whittier where you will board your ship and set sail.

Holland America

Day 1 – Arrive in Anchorage and check into your downtown hotel

Day 2 – Take a scenic luxury rail ride to Denali National Park and stay at a Denali lodge.

Day 3 – Enjoy a long Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour and luxury rail ride to  Fairbanks 

Day 4 – Tour the Dalton Highway and cross the Arctic Circle. Stay overnight at Coldfoot.

Day 5 – Pass through the Arctic National Park as you entire the land of the midnight sun. Stay overnight at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Circle.

Day 6 – Enjoy an Arctic Circle/Prudhoe Bay tour while looking for king eiders and phalaropes. Fly to Anchorage after your tour and spend the night at a fine hotel.

Day 7 – Enjoy a scenic motor coach ride from Anchorage to Seward and board the ship.

Cruise West

Day 1 – Arrive in  Fairbanks  and enjoy a wine and cheese reception at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Day 2 – Enjoy breakfast and a riverboat cruise on Chena and Tanana Rivers, a tour of  Fairbanks  and admission to Alaska’s Museum of the North. You can also take an optional flight above the Arctic Circle which is about 100 miles away.

Day 3 – Enjoy your breakfast in a domed rail car on your way to Denali National Park. After you reach Denali you will take a bus to North Face Lodge for lunch and enjoy dinner and an overnight stay. You will have leisure time to view wildlife and the incredible scenery.

Day 4 & 5 – Spend two more nights exploring Denali and staying at the North Face Lodge. More time to enjoy optional activities at Denali than most tours. This is your chance to explore on your own or with a guide.

Day 6 – Enjoy dinner on board the domed rail car as you leave Denali and travel to Anchorage.

Day 7 – Enjoy a city tour of downtown Anchorage and a lunch tour of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. In the afternoon you have the choice of visiting the Alaska Native Heritage Center and dancing to a native drum presentation or see life-size replica village sites including the Aleut, Alutiq and Yup’ik/Cup’ik cultures. You have a choice of seven restaurants for dinner with the Anchorage dine around program.

Day 8 – Fly from Anchorage to Juneau where you will stay at the Goldbelt Hotel with time for exploring on your own.

Day 9 – Board the ship for your cruise.

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Alaska Vacation Packages

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Alaska is known for its historic sites, scenic grounds and wonderful national parks like the Wrangell St. Elias National Park and the Denali National Park among others. This state is also called “Seward’s Icebox”, “Land of the Midnight Sun” and “The Last Frontier”.

Alaska Vacation Packages

In this state, there’s truly something for everyone – assuring guests a memorable Alaska vacation. Hotels even offer combo packages to ensure you experience a great time. Here are some of them:

Denali Park and Kenai Fjords Combo Package – This is a 7-day Alaska vacation package that featured travel by motorcoach and train to Seward, Anchorage, South Denali and the Denali Park. The tour package starts at Anchorage because it’s the largest city in Alaska.

While in Anchorage, you’ll be staying overnight at the Inlet Tower then you’ll board the Alaska Railroad the following day for your trip to Seward. In Seward, you’ll get a self-guided tour to the Alaska Sea Life Center. Afterwards, you’ll be staying at the Seward Windsong Lodge for two nights. The following day, you’ll be cruising from Seward towards Kenai Fjords National Park. Then, you’ll travel from Seward to Talkeetnat via a motorcoach through the National Scenic Byway route. While staying in Talkeetna, you’ll see Mt. McKinley and have an overnight stay at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. After this, from Talkeetna you’ll head on to Denali Park via a motorcoach. You’ll be staying for 2 nights at the Denali Bluffs Hotel. You’ll be taking a deluxe wilderness bus tour through the Denali National Park and head down the Nenana River via a whitewater raft trip. From Denali National Park, the tour ends with your trip back to Anchorage via the Alaska Railroad.

This tour package is operational from mid-May towards mid-September. For other dates, there may be minor itinerary substitutions. During peak season, the package rate is $1,695 for each person but this is based on double occupancy and tax is not yet included. There are also significant discounts and travel specials, depending on any alteration for the hotel or services used.

Alaska Highlights Package – This is a 9-day vacation package that features travel by motorcoach or train to Anchorage,   Fairbanks , South Denali, Seward and Denali Park. The journey starts in the largest city of Alaska – Anchorage.

In Anchorage, you’ll have an overnight stay at the Comfort Inn. The next day, you’ll board the Alaska Railroad and journey to Talkeetna, South Denali. Through your journey, you’ll see Mt. McKinley and all its wonders.

In Talkeetna, you’ll be staying for another night at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Then, you’ll be heading north, to  Fairbanks , via railroad.

In  Fairbanks , you’ll be staying for 2 nights at the River’s Edge Resort Cottages. From here, you’ll cruise through the Tanana and Chena Rivers via a 3.30 hour trip aboard Riverboat Discovery. This experience allows you to “pan for gold” and learn more about the past as well as present mining conditions in Alaska. Then, you’ll depart from  Fairbanks  to Denali Park via rail; head through the river via a whitewater raft trip and stay for another 2 nights at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge. Through a deluxe wilderness bus tour, you’ll be able to travel deep in Denali National Park before going to Seward via motorcoach.

In Seward, you’ll be staying for 2 nights at the Windsong Lodge. Then, you’ll be cruising through Kenai Fjords National Park. Afterwards, you’ll have a self-guided tour to the Alaska Sea Life Center. The trip ends as you board the Alaska Railroad and head back to Anchorage.

Similar to other tour packages, this is operational from mid-May towards mid-September. For other dates, there may be minor itinerary substitutions. During peak season, the package rate is $2,075 for each person but this is based on double occupancy and tax is not yet included. There are also significant discounts and travel specials, depending on any alteration for the hotel or services used.

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Best Alaska Fishing Lodges

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When looking for a great site online for booking my trip to Alaska I found a great little unknown site called Alaska Fishing Charter Online. They have probably one of the most extensive listings of Alaska fishing lodges, resorts and destinations I have ever seen. What I really liked about the site was the layout, and that the information was organized in an easy to navigate manner. They also had links to other sites about Alaska and ways of getting there. This site saved me a lot of time when booking my trip and had a lot of great information to help me make the best decision. I encourage anyone thinking about Alaska or Salmon Fishing to visit this site today. Here is some information about getting to Alaska:

Vacationers have a wide variety of ways to get to Alaska.

Most trips to Alaska involve flying. The other visitors come by water — cruise lines and state ferries — or by highway.

Air travel

Alaska, at the northern edge of the Pacific Ocean, is a crossroads of the world for air travelers.

Nonstop domestic flights arrive in the summer from a list of cities that includes Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Minneapolis, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Seattle.

Domestic airlines serving Anchorage,   Fairbanks  and Juneau include Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and United.

Alaska Airlines is the only jet carrier for most of the state. From its hub in Anchorage, it serves these cities: Barrow, Cordova,  Fairbanks , Gustavus (Glacier Bay National Park), Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Kotzebue, Nome, Petersburg, Sitka, Wrangell and Yakutat.

International flights arrive from destinations including Frankfurt, Germany; Seoul, South Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Tokyo, Japan; and Vancouver, Canada.

Alaska (except for the distant reaches of the Aleutians Islands) is in the Alaska time zone. When it’s 4 p.m. in New York and 1 p.m. in California, it’s noon in Alaska.

Ferry travel

The Alaska ferries carry many passengers — with or without vehicles — between many cities and villages on the Gulf of Alaska and Inside Passage.

The ferry system, known officially as the Alaska Marine Highway System, also connects year-round with Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and Bellingham, Wash., an hour’s drive north of Seattle.

A common journey has passengers boarding in Bellingham and going as far as Haines or Skagway, where they drive off the ferry and onto highways that connect with the Alaska Highway.

Highway travel

The Alaska Highway was built in 1942 to give the military a direct, safe land route to bases in Alaska. The highway, once a muddy route famous for its difficulties, is now a two-lane paved road famous for its scenery and reliability.

The highway’s southern terminus is at Dawson Creek, in northern British Columbia, and the highway officially ends at Delta Junction, Alaska. From Dawson Creek it’s 1,700 miles to  Fairbanks  or 1,900 to Anchorage.

Services, ranging from fuel stations to restaurants and hotels, are available the length of the highway.

Dawson Creek is accessible by highways leading up from Montana and Washington.

Cruise travel

Almost a dozen cruise lines serve Alaska waters. Most cruise passengers see the Inside Passage — the route along the islands stretching north from British Columbia past Ketchikan and Juneau and on to Haines and Skagway. Cruise liners commonly call at Glacier Bay National Park and Sitka as well.

Weeklong cruises may be either round trip or one way. The round-trip cruises start and end in such ports as Vancouver or Seattle. The one-way trips start at a southern port and usually end in Southcentral Alaska at either Seward or Whittier, near Anchorage (or they make that trip in reverse). Passengers may extend their vacation by arranging rail or car trips before or after their cruise.

Railroad travel

Alaska and Canada have yet to develop an international rail connection, except for an excursion train based in Skagway.

Rail fans, however, can take the Canadian rail system to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and there board an Alaska-bound ferry.

The Alaska Railroad provides passenger service from Anchorage south to the cruise port of Seward and north to Denali National Park and  Fairbanks . The White Pass and Yukon Route railroad runs from Skagway along an old Klondike gold rush route, with day trips reaching as far as Bennett Lake, British Columbia.

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Alaska, a Rich Land

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Alaska became the 49th state on January 3, 1956. Called Seward’s Folly at the time of its purchase, most people did not understand the vast opportunity that came with the purchase.

The purchase of Alaska from Russia was finalized on July 14, 1868. William Seward was the Secretary of State under President Andrew Johnson who was primarily responsible for acquiring Alaska. Many called it Seward’s folly because some thought it was a waste of money and others just didn’t like Andrew Johnson or anything his government did. Russia needed the money and some thought Alaska would be a good investment, which it turned out to be as oil was discovered there, but what most people remember about Alaska’s natural riches is its gold.

It wasn’t until the Klondike gold strike in 1896 that people started to see Alaska as a valuable addition to the union. The 1890s were a bad time for the American people. There was an economic depression that had caused many bank and business failures and millions of people were unemployed. When gold was discovered in the unsettled regions of Alaska, many people viewed it as a prime opportunity to make a fortune. Between 1890-1900, more than 30,000 people made the trek to Alaska to find their fortune. As had happened in during the California Gold Rush, many never saw gold and the real winners were those who provided support services such as shopkeepers and hotels among others.

Alaska was hit by the Great Depression in the 1920s and 1930s just as hard as the rest of the United States. Roosevelt’s New Deal projects even made it all the way to Alaska. One of the projects involved transplanting farmers from Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, since these states supposedly had a similar climate, to the Matanuska-Susitna region in Alaska so they could make a fresh start.

Alaska was still considered by most to be a backwater until the bombing of Pearl Harbor and when the Japanese took control of a couple of a couple of islands in the Aleutians, it was decided that military installations needed to be built in Alaska due to its proximity to Japan. During this time the Alaska Highway was built, which is 1,500 miles long and starts in British Columbia and ends in   Fairbanks , Alaska. The highway was completed in 1943 and amazingly, the construction took a mere 8 months and 12 days.

After much maneuvering and deal-making in Congress, the proposal to create a 49th state was finally passed and President Eisenhower signed the official declaration on January 3, 1959. For the time being, the American flag now had 7 rows of 7 stars to represent the 49 states.

Through the years, environmentalists and residents have fought continuous battles over oil pipelines, forests and national parks. Arguments for and against any of these topics can be found all over the internet, all of them impassioned and having merit.

Overall Alaska is still a wilderness with a wild beauty all its own. During parts of the year it can be a popular tourist destination, both by land and by sea. There are cruises that travel along the coast of Alaska. Despite its many critics in the beginning, Alaska has turned out to be a valuable and integral part of the United States.

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Extremism In the Defense of Liberty

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"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Barry Goldwater

July 16, 1964

He was called Mr. Conservative when he sought the presidency 50 years ago. Sixteen years later, when Ronald Reagan accepted the Republican nomination, he was called a "voice in the wilderness." Barry Goldwater's presidential nomination in 1964 was a "precursor" to Reagan's triumph in 1980, writes the Arizona Republic.

Fifty years ago, Barry Goldwater accepted the Republican nomination to run against President Lyndon Johnson. As the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner wrote recently, "The Goldwater nomination, with its conservative revolution, pulled the GOP clearly to the right on the political spectrum. No more hanging at or near the center."



Until eight months earlier, he and everyone else expected the Democratic nominee to be President John F. Kennedy, but Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.

1964 was "the year of Goldwater," historian William Manchester wrote. "In seven consecutive national conventions of the past… Republican conservatives had suppressed their yearning for a presidential candidate from their own ranks. This time they did not suppress it… They wanted A Choice, Not An Echo, as their placards proclaimed, and on July 15 they nominated Barry Morris Goldwater, Arizona's senior senator and a denizen of deep right field."

The next night, when Goldwater was about to deliver his acceptance speech (which was ranked #62 of the Top 100 speeches of the 20th century by American Rhetoric), he was introduced by former Vice President Richard Nixon. 1964 would be the only time between 1952 and 1972 that Nixon was not on the Republican ticket. In fact, it would be the only time between 1952 and 2004 that a Nixon, Bush or Dole did not appear on the GOP ticket.

"Proclaiming himself 'a simple soldier in the ranks' of the party he had led four years before," historian Theodore White wrote, "Nixon pointed to the uplands where the Republicans must go, urged them to follow their new and great American leader, and concluded as he pointed, turning to the flag-draped catwalk that led to the speaker's rostrum, 'Down this corridor will walk a man into the pages of history.'

"For a moment, the thousands gathered in the Cow Palace held themselves in check," White wrote, "like a wave curling to surf. And then, as Barry Goldwater appeared, the surf burst."

"From this moment, united and determined, we will go forward together," Goldwater told the delegates after acknowledging the prominent guests, Nixon among them – many of them had not supported him as he sought the nomination – "dedicated to the ultimate and undeniable greatness of the whole man. Together we will win."

The Republicans did not win that election, of course. "It was over before it began," White concluded in his book about the 1964 presidential campaign. "The issue had been decided long before – perhaps within minutes of the fatal shot at Dallas."

But, as insurgents always do at conventions when they have succeeded in toppling the establishment, the delegates in San Francisco cheered wildly for Goldwater and his conservative vision.

And, on this night 50 years ago, Goldwater may have reached his rhetorical peak.

At times, Goldwater was almost evangelical. "Our people have followed false prophets," he told the delegates at one point.

At others, he was pragmatic about what he perceived as the failures of the administration and the risks of those failures. "During four futile years," he said, "the administration which we shall replace has distorted and lost that vision. It has talked and talked and talked and talked the words of freedom, but it has failed and failed and failed in the works of freedom…

"Failures proclaim lost leadership, obscure purpose, weakening will and the risk of inciting our sworn enemies to new aggressions and to new excesses," he said.

"And the speaker was leading his audience way out there into a new world, a crusader's world unexpressed in American politics for generations – the visionary prophet and the martial patriot alternating, first the prophet, then the patriot, over and over again," observed White.

"The good Lord raised this mighty Republic to be a home for the brave and to flourish as the land of the free," Goldwater said, "not to stagnate in the swampland of collectivism, not to cringe before the bullying of communism."

At the end of his speech came the "final, unforgettable thrust at the party moderates," wrote White.

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

When he had finished, the 1964 Republican convention came to its conclusion.

It did not nominate a president, but it was historic in some ways.

The name of Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was placed in nomination. It was the first time a woman's name had been placed in nomination at a major party's convention. She only received the support of 27 delegates (out of 1,308), but she has that distinction in the history books.

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Worldwide Pollution Facts

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It is no surprise that every country in the world contributes to worldwide pollution. From the most populated cities, to the Sentinelese islanders of the Andaman Islands, every living organism in some way contributes to the pollution that is exerted on the world. Today I had a discussion with a colleague of mine relating to worldwide pollution and the areas, including city, state, and material, that we believe has the most significant impact. After some going back and forth on what we thought was more accurate, I decided to do some research to prove myself right (ps. I like to think I am ALWAYS right).

In relation to materials, Artisanal Gold is the highest pollutant which primarily impacts the region of Africa. Of the top 10 list of largest polluters in the world, I also found out that lead in some form or process accounted for 40%. The most impacted continent? Asia. South Asia is hands down the most impacted continent in the world with 50% of the 10 largest pollutants in the world directly affecting S. Asia.

Now when looking the 10 most polluted cities in the world and the 10 post polluted countries in the world, there is no direct correlation between the two. What I mean is, you would assume the country that is the most polluted would have at least one of the world’s most polluted cities. However, this isn’t the case by any means. The most polluted country in the world, Mongolia, doesn’t have one city in the top 10 list of most polluted cities. In fact, the two countries that each has 2 cities in the top 10 list are Russia and China, neither of which is among the top 10 list of most polluted countries.

The final topic we discussed (bickered) about was the most air polluted cities in the United States. Now being from New Jersey and relocating to California, I am constantly plagued by this reputation that NJ has acquired. Everyone thinks New Jersey is extremely polluted and “the armpit of America”. My friend is from California so naturally he was defending his state as well. Although, I definitely consider myself a California resident now since I had decided to call this my home, it is difficult to overlook or argue against the fact that California takes the cake in that area. According to a top 10 list of the most air polluted cities in the U.S., California accounts for 70% of the cities. That is 70%!!! The only 3 other states include, Pennsylvania (Pittsburg), Hawaii (Hilo), and Alaska (  Fairbanks ).

So regardless of our disagreements, we both learned something. Google is awesome. I’m kidding. We learned to the world’s pollution isn’t the blame of one single source, but rather a collective effort of all nations.

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Alaska by Rail

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One of the best ways to see the sights of Alaska is through a railroad tour! The Alaska Railroad is a railway that runs between Anchorage and Whittier and also from Anchorage to   Fairbanks . On the southern Whittier route, the train also stops at Seward and on the northern route, it stops at Denali and Talkeetna. These tracks cover some of the most beautiful Alaskan countryside and the Alaska Railroad operates several scenic tours for tourists.

Taking an Alaska Railroad tour is one of the best ways to view some of the more remote locations in Alaska’s vast countryside. You will not have to worry about where you will stay each night, because the tours include your hotel accommodations at luxury hotels. You will stop periodically along the route to get out and enjoy some of the scenery, as well as mingle with native Alaskans. When you park yourself in the observation car, you will be gazing on some of the most beautiful views in the northern hemisphere.

One of the most popular Alaskan train tours is offered by the Alaska Railroad and is called Alaska by Rail. This tour is designed for the railway enthusiast and takes riders through some of the local culture. You will explore the Kenai Fjords National Park, as well as the shoreline of Kenai. The train will take you into some of the interior areas of the state and you will revel in the wildlife of Denali National Park. One of the stops even allows travelers to ride a sternwheeler down the  Fairbanks  River! This is a nine-day tour, with eight nights in luxury hotels. It begins and ends in Anchorage.

For those interested in a natural experience, the Visit Denali Tour offered by the Alaska Railroad takes guests on a three-day trip through the massive national park. This is a great way to experience the mountains that Alaska is so famous for. Do not be surprised if you see a herd of caribou on this trip!

For the ultimate rail experience in Alaska, consider the Alaskan Odyssey trip. This is an eleven-day tour of the entire state, starting at the Pacific and ending at the Arctic. It takes visitors to all of the most famous Alaskan destinations and includes transportation by train, plain and bus. You will experience the midnight sun over the Arctic Ocean, the thrill of the Arctic National Park and the opportunity to see some of Alaska’s wildlife in Denali National Park. This tour also takes you through the vast tundra, an experience you are sure to never forget.

The White Pass and Yukon Railroad offers tourist trips through the Alaska into the Yukon of Canada. This railway is historic, as it was built around the turn of the century during the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. This trip takes you on cars that are recreations of the original cars through train stations that are also reminiscent of a time gone by. Like the other railway, you will enjoy the most stunning views on this trip and the cars have large windows for you to use to view the passing scenery. Each car is also equipped with outside viewing platforms that you can use to get a taste of fresh air.

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