The Monitor’s guide to understanding Alaska

Only in America will you find need a “guide” to understanding one of our own states. But Alaska is weird.

In this insightful Monitor story, the reporter opens with some peculiar relics of life in the 50th state: “The Alaskan Independence Party? Sourdoughs and cheechakos? Boomers and greenies facing off in the “Mad-Zoo?” A moon at noon?”

Now that Sarah Palin is the Republican vice-presidential candidate, I bet a lot more people are googling Alaska, and in particular, Wasilla, her hometown, an exurb of Anchorage.

While much has been said about the bizarre politics and lifestyle of this state, I’ve yet to come across any great travel pieces or dispatches. In fact, I’m tempted to jet up there myself and do the gig. Where should I go though? (Yes, I’ll be the first to admit I need a guide to Alaska).