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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Sunday, October 09, 2005

There and Back Again, or, Frodo Does Fairbanks



Big lumpy mountains in Alaska. Mountains are funny that way, lumpy. Flat parts of Alaska aren't lumpy. I'm beginning to see a connection.

It was time. Decision time. The Mrs. was pressing. It was 6PM. Drive the great Alaskan wilderness, knowing we weren't getting home until late, or stay in soft, warm, Fairbanks until the next day.

Damn, the Broncos were playing. Not going to miss that. Plus, I'm a guy. I can drive anywhere, anytime.

We left. I was suitably caffinated from Borders, and we mounted our faithful 4x4 and headed out.

Our first stop was Wasilla. Wasilla is where they keep the, ummm, slow people in Alaska. It's okay, it's like making fun of the Amish - they can't read, so they'll never know I'm mocking them.

Actually, we stopped for gasoline and food in Wasilla. Although the clerk at Carls Jr. decided to add extra fries to our order, they got the rest of it right. So, that worked. The gasoline burned in the engine. So, Wasilla wasn't that bad.

Onward we went.

The trip from Wasilla to Fairbanks is beautiful. But, it's as lonely as an idea in Paris Hilton's head. It would die from lack of company. It's dark out there.

Let me give you an idea - no stars (cloud cover), no lights from civilization, no moon. Dark. I had to turn down the dash lights so my eyes could adjust to the dark. Dark. Very dark.

But then, the obvious happened.

Bladders and liquid intake being what they are, about two hours' out of Anchorage, The Mrs., The Boy, and I decided it was time that, well, we felt the call of nature.

But, a rest stop appeared just then! A rest stop!

The Mrs. walked down to it (remember, it's Alaska, so, it's just above freezing) and behold, it was locked. It seems that rest stops in Alaska are open between May 15 and September 15. No joy, as this was September 17. Drat.

Now, for The Boy and I, this is not a big issue. We have the external-type plumbing, and can go anywhere in most temperatures. The New Boy has external plumbing, but he has his own astronaut-grade waste disposal system (Pampers). The Mrs., though, I worried about.

I know her Grandpa had told her Grandma, "If you have to go, just throw your dress up over your face - no one will recognize you."

I, however, did not want to put The Mrs. in this position. So, we drove.

We hit Cantwell about 11pm. The store on the west side of town was open. The east side was, too, I think.

Cantwell has two sides. The store on the east, and the store on the west. We stopped at the one on the west because it was:

a. open, and,
b. the first one we got to.

We stopped, the restrooms were clean, we bought coffee and chips, and headed out. It was still dark.

Then, though, the moon rose in the east, breaching the clouds like a ship running through a dock covered with guys with fishing rods. Wonderful. The picture above are the mountains it rose over, but from about 30,000'.

We continued through the twisty, windy, road near Denali, on through Nenana, and back toward Fairbanks. The drive was lovely.

Then, the construction hit.

You might think that construction companies might want to actually do construction during the summer months, but, no. That's not the case. They decided to regrade and repave the road. The road we were driving on. But, not during the summer months, when it might make sense, but during the fall. When it was cold. Our car's thermometer indicated it was about 32F out. Not Alaska cold, but cold.

We pulled up to the flagger in pitch black night, illuminated only by the light plant near him. We stopped.

Immediately, one Boy started crying. Does it matter which one? No. Because this was going to be, my Parentsense told me, going to chain react. And it did. Soon, both boys were wailing in stereo. Sounded better than Bon Jovi, but, then again, what doesn't sound better than Bon Jovi?

After fifteen minutes, (no exaggeration) the flagger released us. During our trip, we went from 32F to 42F to 22F. In a mile. We drove.

We made it home.

Do it again? Sure.

8 Comments:

Blogger Woofwoof said...

That Grandpa-Grandma story was almost too much for me. Almost had to eat dinner all over again. Does the Mrs ever read your blog, or just us losers?

9:34 PM  
Blogger the Witch said...

"Does it matter which one?"

lol... so true.

4:23 PM  
Blogger John said...

woof,
On those occasions it's funny, she helped write it!

witch,
Heh.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Lady Luck said...

Oh, the town of Wasilla! Yes I do remember that one! We pulled over to eat at a diner that was blocked on all sides by construction. You literally had to drive over the curb to get there. The waiter had a few teeth and was truly not very smart, but she was nice none-the-less! LOL!

I know that wasn't Gwennies, but that is where I got to try some reindeer sausage!

8:01 AM  
Blogger John said...

lady luck,
So you HAVE been there . . . !

Gwennies. Mmmm. Sausage. Mmmm.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

A guy I work with is from Wasilla. He fits the description you gave. Some people call him, "doobie"

7:58 PM  
Blogger John said...

duck hunter,
what can I say? must be in the water. Or the inbreeding.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Manufactured Landscapes said...

oh my god, why do I live in Brooklyn. Your life sounds like a dream come true. I'm off to kill myself, if only to get away from all these horrible people. I just want to trap elk! Is that so much to ask?

12:29 PM  

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