In my 24 continuous residence in this state I've had a total of about 6 hours in Fairbanks that I would consider a good time. 2.5 hours watching the Seawolves win a game they shouldn't have and 3.5 hours getting drunk after watching the Seawolves lose a game they shouldn't have. I wouldn't classify the number of trips I've made to Fairbanks as extensive. Over the years I guess I've found actual reasons to go there about 10 times. I made two separate trips to watch the Seawovles play. One trip for work. One trip for the stupidest soccer tournament ever held in any city. And the other 6 times (or so) ranged from passing through to actually having Fairbanks as the destination.
I know there are plenty of people that live and work there who are quite fond of their little berg. Good on them. They have some hidden character trait that I don't. I'm quite sure there are plenty of people that live and work there who are simply stuck there. Poor bastards.
In summer the single defining characteristic of the place is mosquitos. Anything else is a distant second to the predominant nastiness of the bloodsucking menace. From what I could tell there really is no part of the town that could be considered as a respite from them. And everyone smells like deet (bug dope ... oh um .. insect repellent for you "outsiders"). Ever see what deet does to styrofoam? I spilled some on a coffee cup once ... it melted it minutes. I never put that crap on my skin again. It's a stretch to blame Fairbanks for deet's problems that but hey don't think for a second that I'm not capable of making such a connection. If you can manage to get far enough away from the deet-imbued populace then you're likely as not to be nasally innundated by smoke from some nearby wildfire. There is no real fall or spring in Fairbanks so lets talk about winter. -60F maximums (or would that be minimums) with below zero temperatures often lasting more than a month. Do I really need to say more. Ok then ... Ice Fog. How about vehicles running 24 hours a day to keep them from freezing up. At times you can't escape the sound of a diesel engine F350 clattering away in any part of the city. And of course there is the darkness ... lots of darkness (ok ok ... 2 hours and 42 minutes of "daylight" on the winter solstice).
Fairbanks served as a useful centralized trading post and destination through the first half of the 1900s. Once established it served as a useful destination for the Alaska-Canada highway. Over 1/3 of employment is on one government payroll or another. The city's "big-time" was during the pipeline building days when assholes like George W. Bush could be found in one or another of the many bars and/or whorehouses boozing it up and snorting cocaine (you voted for him .. not me). Nowadays the place is home to the world's largest battery backup system for the electric utility as well as one of the largest compost heaps in North America! Woohoo! Hey, don't underrate compost.
Since there really isn't much logical need for Fairbanks to exist in this modern era the University of Alaska system decided it was best to put most of it's investment in education into the area in order to keep the place a viable community. uaF has most of the really quality science programs the University system offers. Even though the place is at minimum 400 miles from ANY ocean it is home to the Ocean Studies program. They get pretty much all the Geological study money as well. Not surprisingly, uaF has the premier competive riflery program in the United States. I know if I lived there I'd want to sit in my basement and shoot things. Lastly, the absolute stupidest road in the United States runs right down the middle of Fairbanks. No matter why you go to Fairbanks you'll have to navigate it at some point. What makes it so stupid? For some unknown reason, an apparently drug-addled engineer put 8 foot chain link fences on each side of the road for nearly it's entire length. To get to Airport Way from virtually any business along it's borders requires backtracking in one direction or the other. It is unfathomable. If you wanted to walk 50 yards across the street you might have to cover a mile to get the job done. Crazyworld.
Don't go there if you don't have to. I don't have to since GCI will be televising the games. If they weren't being shown on TV, I still wouldn't go. I'd listen to mah man Kurt Haider on the radio. In fact, if I never have to go to Fairbanks again that will suit me just fine. Did I mention paying 140 dollars for a hotel room that used under-sized flatsheets instead of a regualr bottom sheet and when I questioned them they vehemently insisted that was common practice for any hotel room in the United States. I almost forgot ... state representative Jay Ramras lives there and bilks tourists out of their money; having that podunk ass in the vicinity acts as another deterent to any visit from me. A fact that no doubt makes lots of Fairbanks residents quite happy.
I'll preview Maine on Wednesday and Mercyhurst on Thursday.