steve lopez goes to wasila, alaska

in search for Main Street USA

Our biggest columnist found a lot of things in the video above, including a jaywalking moose.

At the airport I’d asked for a mid-size car, and they gave me an SUV. Now it was becoming clear why: A Camry wouldn’t have a fighting chance against a moose.

Maybe it was a sign that I wasn’t welcome in Palin country and should go back home to California. But just six years after she was mayor of Wasilla, a town of fewer than 10,000 residents, Palin could become vice president of the United States. I wanted to get a better sense of her by seeing the place that launched her onto the world stage.

The scenery on the drive to Wasilla is stunning, with jagged snow-capped peaks and dense birch forests. But if you travel this way, do not make the mistake of thinking you’re about to enter a quaint mountain village.

Some towns have character. Some have a sense of place.

And then there is Wasilla, which greets visitors with Wal-mart, Target, Lowe’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s and Taco Bell.

They paved paradise, and all they’ve got to show for it is chalupas and discount tube socks.

read the whole thing, as they say.