I grew up in the Chehalis Valley in western Washington. To the north were the black hills (no not THE black hills). My brother pointed to the hills and told me Alaska was beyond those hills. I always assumed that if I could walk over the hills, I would be in Alaska. I did not get out a lot in those days!
S, that sounds like my reaction the first time someone pointed to the other side of the river (in Philadelphia) and told me it was New Jersey. I didn't believe it. Blame it on growing up smack in the middle of a big state. ;-)