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

Friday, September 30, 2005

"Remember, attraction is a three-way street. Or is it a one-way tunnel?" Kelly Bundy - Married, With Children

Girdwood is a nice, pretty, cozy town. The picture that I took of the hotel (last post) was taken in the morning. I also took the picture above. There's a tram that's built into the hotel, and a restaurant at the top of the tram. The idea is that the Alyeska Prince is a place where you can almost go skiing without going outside, except for the sliding down the mountain part. One day the super wealthy will solve that problem, too. Maybe have folks ski for them.

If it hadn't been so overcast with such low clouds, I think I would have popped out the money to scoot up the mountain. As it was, I think the view would have resembled being in a bag full of cotton balls. If you're wondering how I might know what that looks like, remember, I had an older brother.

So, we headed out of the Alyeska Prince and into Girdwood. Many of the streets were named after other ski resorts, such as Aspen, Vail, and Davos. I stopped at a restaurant that appeared fully functional and staffed, and was informed that they were yet to open. Not a problem - but I'm not waiting a half an hour just to order a burger. Not with a Hungry Boy and The Mrs. also feeling a bit peckish. We headed down to the same strip-mall that has the State Patrol, a gas station, and a liquor store and hit the diner there.

Note: it sounds like The Mrs. is always bugging me about going somewhere to eat. Not the case. I pretty much starve the family when we drive. Also, restaurants are also a good place to make observations about Alaskans, when and where they herd together. It is the watering hole, where gazelle and lion both fill up before clocking in.

It was The Boy's birthday - five years, and still he refuses to learn calculus. We stopped and had perhaps the friendliest waitress we've had in years. She focused on The Boy, and treated him like royalty on his birthday. It didn't hurt that her birthday was two days before The Boy's birthday. The Boy had a cinnamon roll the size of his head.

The diner was nice - it was the kind of place that tobacco-chewing hunters were in peaceful co-existence with dredlocked euro-eco-tourist types. The graffiti in the bathroom referenced "The Family Guy," and the guy exiting the single-stall mens' room indicated, "You might want to wait a bit before you go in there - wheew-ee, dunno what I ate."

We once again assumed our positions in the chariot pulled by a train of white stallions car and headed toward Portage.

The valley that you enter as you head to Portage Lake and Portage Glacier has the steep sides that you'd expect in a land carved by glaciers periodically over geologic-type time scales. What surprised me, however, were the constant waterfalls. They were like veins of silver etching down the sides of the mountains, and they were everywhere. These are fed by the glaciers in the mountains above the valley. They made me think of restrooms.

It was nearly time to head to Whittier. Driving to Whittier, there's only one road that leads in. It leads through the Anton Anderson Tunnel, which is the longest tunnel that's a part of a road in North America. Anton Anderson was the engineer who built the tunnel during WWII, working for the army. This particular tunnel was designed for trains, and is still used by them. I believe it's owned by the Alaska Railroad, and hence not a publicly owned road. The nice thing is that I don't think you could get a real ticket that you would have to pay should you violate traffic regulations - maybe you'd just get a railroad ticket. Which you could use to see something nice.

The tunnel is one-way, and you pay to drive it, $12 for the round-trip. Cars and trucks are staged and in best railroad fashion, the road is scheduled - you go one way for this hour, one way for the next. As we entered the tunnel we had no idea what we would see on the other side. In a truly serious note, what we saw could not have been odder.

Next: Whittier
After that: The President of Taiwan and Me (I think that's how it will work out).


Blogger Woofwoof said...

Enough with the preview :)

Where is the President of Taiwan? Did he get kidnapped? Is he managing a 7-11? Did he become the head cook at Ming's Seafood Restaurant? The suspense is killing me.

7:19 AM  
Blogger John said...

Sorry . . . but, The President of Taiwan makes his debut appearance on Wednesday . . . I'm sorry for being such a tease . . .

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks!! I think Ill return in the near future

9:14 AM  

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