Cool Towns Called Craig

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A Summary Of “Craigs” Across North America

My wife and I didn’t think much about it when we moved into the Craig, Montana, area (between Helena and Great Falls on I-15) and lived there for three full and definitely lively years. Never mind all the adventures, though; it was simply home, and that was it.

But today, when I drove to Craig, Colorado, to do a funeral service for a family in need, it got me to thinking: Just how many Craig-towns might really be out there? Not having any Craig-searching software as such, I did it the hard way: Typed in 52 separate searches, one for each state, and then 1 each for the several Canadian Provinces.

Well. No. I didn’t really do that. I started to do it that way, but then switched over to a big road atlas and a magnifying glass. To my surprise, the only additional Craig I found was in Alaska.

Okay. That made me curious. There are others, like Craig Beach and Craigshead and even Craik…but I began to research Craig, Alaska. The results were..ingtriguing.

For one thing, the town of fewer than 1,400 people sits on an island very close to the deepest southern tip of the entire huge state, just a hop-skip across the water from Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Back in the day, as a teenaged bronc and bull rider, my travels took me into B.C. quite a few times, although never far enough north to consider hopping over to Alaska as a tourist.

Next, a quick check of real estate sites showed some pretty amazing houses…but hardly any for sale! So if you’re planning to move in that direction, homeless people beware–you may still be, unless you’ve made a solid contact who can ferret out that sort of thing well ahead of time.

Craig, Alaska, Has Homes Like This–But Few For Sale

Don't count on finding a home like this without professional help.

Don’t count on finding a home like this without professional help.



Craig, Colorado, Is High Country Personified

Colorado’s Craig, the largest of the Craigs with a population of slightly more than 9,000 hardy Souls, perched in the high country at 6,198 feet above sea level, is one place my wife cannot safely visit. She has COPD (emphysema), and any elevation beyond 5,000 feet leaves her laboring for breath.

Even so, the run up Highway 13 from Rifle is a beautiful drive. True, once you’re north of Rifle and headed toward the Rio Blanco grade, your cell phone is pretty much useless, even on digital roaming. Likewise true, the wrong weather conditions can leave the grade highly treacherous, AND the slightest road resurfacing construction project can result in lengthy travel delays even in good weather.

During my truck driving days, towing water tankers to various drilling rigs, we often received dispatch orders to take a load or two of waste water to a recycling pit the other side of Vernal, Utah, roughly 200 miles away. Our route turned us left off of Highway 13 at Meeker to head toward Rangely. Sometimes we parked our trucks at that junction to take a quick break. During one such break, we discovered that my rig’s trailer brakes were on fire.

Oops.

Today, though, I drove my Subaru Outback, following the hearse straight on north to Craig. As we neared our destination, we passed one carcass of an elk that had been killed on the highway as well as entire herds of the critters that looked a little scruffy from weathering a high country winter, waiting for the green grass of spring.

Elk After A Rough Winter, Glad The Time Of Green Grass Has Arrived

These critters know enough to avoid becoming road kill!

These critters know enough to avoid becoming road kill!

The Town Itself Has All You Need

The usual amenities were clearly visible once we reached the actual town: A Wal-Mart on the right, Village Inn Restaurant on the left, not to mention Mac Donald’s and Taco Bell. There was plenty of snow, pushed into piles beside the streets. Those dirty-snow piles looked like some of them topped eight feet in height, but the streets themselves were relatively clear and dry.

Until later in the afternoon, when snowmelt inspired minifloods at numerous intersections.

Getting Back To Craig, Montana

Montana’s version of the Craig-towns is the smallest by far, such a tiny hamlet beside the freeway that it shows no listing in either Wikipedia or a standard Rand McNally road atlas. Even so, it was our home town for three years (July 1999 through July 2002) and has some cool things to brag about:

–Some of the best Missouri RIver trout fishing on the entire river.

–A bar/restaurant combo in which you can eat, drink, and play either darts or video poker machines to your heart’s content.

–A sharp new bridge over the Missouri that (sigh) carries with it none of the old limited-weight factors of its stylish predecessor. Oh well. Change marches on.

–Access to Missouri River Ranch Properties, where we bought a 20 acre parcel of mountain land from Jim Lane for $500 down.

In summary, for easy access to deep sea fishing, try Craig, Alaska. If you want rainbow trout, Craig, Montana will do the job. And finally, for both elk count and elevation, Craig, Colorado is the way to go.

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