Shhhh....I'm supposed to be writing, but I just remembered the weird things I had been collecting to share with non-Alaskans.
First - completely enclosed carwashes. They look like oil change places, with slide-down doors front and back. Obviously, in weather below freezing, an exposed automated car wash would become an ice-laden nightmare. But the totally enclosed concept cracks me up for some reason. They always have huge columns of steam rising from them, and I can't help but wonder how much a wash costs....
Second - the fact these car washes exist. Because nearly EVERY car here is dirty as heck. Why? The road is always dirty, but in most climates, it's regularly washed clean by rain or dew. Here, the snow collects the dirt and holds it, until the glorious days when it melts a bit, creating a dirty, dirty slush that of course coats every car in a fine layer of dirt. As the winter goes on and this plays over and over, cars become a bit unrecognizable. The thing is, if you want a shiny car, you would have to wash it pretty much once a week (or more) to keep it that way. And I can't imagine how annoying it would be to drive out of the (enclosed) car wash only to splash dirty slush all over it. So, I would say 95% of the cars on the road are in some form of dirtiness.
Fat Tire beer was named? The tires are made for riding in the snow, obviously. Before I talk about the tires, kudos to the badasses who ride bikes around here. Not only is it effing cold, the roads are icy and there aren't a lot of clear paths along the roads for bikers to ride. Anyway, the tires can be equipped with studs just like car tires, and chains. The first time I saw one, I nearly laughed myself silly at how odd the fat tires looked. Once you think about it though, it makes a lot of sense. I can't imagine that it would be easy to ride with tires that size though (as far as muscle exertion goes, not balance and such).
Hats off to you, badass Alaskan bikers. Stay out of my way, okay? You scare the poop out of me when you get too close. I don't need vehicular manslaughter on my driving record!