We finally broke down and got our ultimate Alaska toy: a 4-wheeler! It seems like everyone up here has multiple 4-wheelers, and we understand why: there are lots of areas that are too mucky to hike through, and the distances great, so there are many places that are only accessible by 4-wheeler or horseback. Up here these are work tools as much as recreational vehicles. The one we got is 500 cc and definately workhorse vintage, which is what Doug wanted. In Alaska, Honda has an 80% share of the market (compared to 60% of the share in the lower 48). After doing careful research, Honda came out the clear winner. They are a head above all other ATV's; they just don't have the problems that some other brands have, and they can last a long, long time if well taken care of.
This is the first time we've found anything cheaper in Homer than in Anchorage, but this machine was going for a couple thousand more in Anchorage, and we paid less than the manufacturer's recommended price. The dealer threw in a 4-wheeler cover for free since the kids he hires to clean them didn't clean them; that was a $200 benny, and the ATV wasn't all that dirty! We held off on getting a trailer just yet, since we will probably just go from our place here for the winter. Our neighbors let us borrow their trailer and helmets.
To celebrate our new acqusition Doug drove our 4-wheeler up to school with Denver on with him. He got there faster than I did in the Durango! I drove back home with Aurora, taking a few side excursions down trails, much to Aurora's delight (I guess she likes going through big mud puddles!). Don't worry, we are NOT going to let our kids drive this thing. Besides the fact that kids under the age of 16 are not supposed to drive 4-wheelers, this is a BIG 4-wheeler with a lot of power. The kids were very bummed to hear this. When I asked Aurora if she would like a 4-wheeler for Christmas, she got this glint in her eye and gave a very firm nod. Hm.