Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hey, buddy, how you doin'? Pizzaland, huh? Yeah, that's lots of fun. I just called to tell you that YOU BURNED MY FRICKIN' HOUSE DOWN! - Carl, ATHF

It was time for our trip south. The Mrs. had been agitating for some time to get the heck out of Fairbanks for a while. As usual, she was right. We had originally thought to go earlier in the year, but decided better when we looked at how much a hotel cost in Anchorage. In mid-September, hotel rates drop by half or better, so, we rationalized this would be a good time to head out. Because I'm cheap.

In theory, the purpose of the trip was to get The Boy birthday presents in at a place that doesn't sell groceries as well. The reality of it is that Fairbanks is like living on an island - you drive the same roads day after day, seeing the same sites. There is a sense of isolation up here, sort of like being trapped in an elevator with Carrot Top. It must be worse in the villages that are unconnected by road to the rest of Alaska, maybe like being stuck with a smelly Carrot Top.

Anyway, we saw the above mountain on the way down south. It's called Rainbow Ridge, according to the Rand-McNally. It is worth a click to see larger. Don't worry, I'll wait. Another picture is below.

We covered this portion of the road in earlier posts, here, here, here, here, and here. Rainbow Ridge was on our way, but without the smoke and with the changing seasons, it was much prettier this time.

We drove right past Paxson (which, as far as I can see consists solely of a gas station/cafe/hotel (single building) and an airport). At this point, The Mrs. indicates that in some fashion she'd like to be part of the food chain, preferably at the top. Paxson, though, is pretty far from a place where you can get a hot meal, and rule one of traveling with John is once you've past it when you're driving, it no longer exists. We kept heading south.

We passed a blue highway sign with a plate, knife and fork. The Mrs. indicated through a weary series of near-starvation gasps that she thought that there might be food there. I slowed.

"Do you want to stop?"

No answer. I think she did. Maybe the hunger had made her weak. So, we went on. Because I'm a guy. Driving.

The Mrs. thought that this might be a good time to conserve her energy by sleeping so that her body did not consume itself. Then the chorus started from the backseat weasels:

First The Boy: Car sounds.

Then The New Boy: Crying.

But never at the same time - it was as if an invisible pendulum slowly and inevitably moved back and forth, and when it was pointing at one of The Boys, it was their turn to make The Mrs. not sleep. As we passed Dick Lake, I really wanted to stop and take the picture, because deep in my heart I'm eight, and a sign that says Dick Lake, well, it says Dick Lake. But, The Mrs. finally was sleeping, and I didn't follow the call of the pendulum above me.

I did miss one Alaska site to see due to The Mrs. catching some sleep - we drove right past where HAARP:
a. Controls the weather
b. Controls the minds of mankind
c. Conducts research

You choose.

You can HAARP-out more at a previous post.

We finally reached Glennallen. I heeded wisdom over sense, and stopped at an establishment that I believe was called the Glennallen Roadhouse. Ours was the only car, but, they were open.

It's far past tourist season, and the fifty or so tables in the restaurant were as empty as the logical portion of Susan Sarandon's brain. We picked a table and ordered. For being the only people there, the waiter exchanged no witty banter, nor was he very good at keeping my coffee full. We got some gas at the local station, and a plethora of signs indicated things we shouldn't do. Most of them were things that you wouldn't do, anyway, if you have manners. Putting up a sign just makes you look unfriendly. Don't put up a sign. If someone does something truly rude, challenge them to a duel. Anyway, the signs cemented our thought of Glennallen as an unfriendly place. But, then we found out why.

Every house that we saw in Glennallen was firmly rooted in permafrost. Which is to say, it is not rooted at all. When you put a house above permafrost, the permafrost will melt. This isn't global warming, it's local warming - houses put off heat. When the permafrost melts, your foundation will be useless. All of the new construction that we saw going on in Glennallen consisted of new houses going in on discrete pedestals. On theses pedestals were screw-jacks. So, when part of the permafrost under your house melts, you go under your house and adjust the jacks, and, ta-da, your house is level again.

All of this doesn't help if you own the house above. It is for sale. No bank will loan money on a house with such gross structural damage, but, if you did successfully purchase a house like the one above anyway, the realtor gives you a gas can and complementary five gallons of gas. For the insurance fire.

Perhaps that's why the residents of Glennallen are so angry - the price of starting an insurance fire has gone up since oil is up.

Perhaps the other thing that irritates them is that they live right next to an active volcano.

Mt. Wrangell is visible from Glennallen, and has been heating up since the 1964 earthquake. So, you live on icy muck, and there's a volcano for your backyard. We couldn't see Wrangell from the road, too cloudy that day. But there was more ahead. Things that would shock us to the very core of our existence. Okay, that's a lie. Actually just a pretty drive was next.


Blogger Monty Loree said...

Nice photos. Sounds like a great trip.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

Yeah, great pictures there.

So, the people are angry because they live next to a volcano, gas prices are high, AND their houses continue to sink into the ground because they have no sence!

One more thing... Carrot Top and SMELLY Carrot Top are really the same. He can't get the smell off.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really nice pictures! I think Alaska is wonderful!

3:13 AM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

The top two pictures are really beautiful. They look like paintings. Just the way I think Alaska is. Minus the ice and snow.

5:24 AM  
Blogger John said...

you haven't seen the half of it yet.

I think we agree. Carrot Top . . . eeeew.

Thank you so much! I've been to your site and would comment, but know no Italian . . .

yeah, last time I saw them they were minus the ice and snow. But, in the next month, our temperature in Fairbanks will drop from the mid-fifties down to twenties or so for a high. I'm expecting a foot of snow in the next month.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Right now our night temp is about same as yours, 50F, but that's where the similarity ends. I can't imagine dropping 30 deg in one month. I'd go into thermal shock.

8:13 PM  
Blogger babbling brook said...

"Do you want to stop?"

"No answer. I think she did. Maybe the hunger had made her weak. So, we went on. Because I'm a guy. Driving."

John, this is classic!...happens every five hour trek we take to the northwoods except instead of sleeping like the Mrs. I execute the silent treatment armed w/ glares til fed. I had to show my boyfriend this post and we had a good chuckle. The pictures are beautiful, you take some really amazing photos, thanks for sharing them on your blog. Cheers!

5:05 PM  
Blogger John said...

ohhh, thermal shock. Snowed today.

Thanks. The "gotta get there" must be stuck in the Y chromosome.

6:58 PM  

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