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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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"It's like fire and ice. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle, like lukewarm water." - Derek Smalls, Spinal Tap

Pictures with funny captions to follow, as soon as Blogger is taking them again . . .

It was Sunday, and the in-laws are in town. We were sitting around, staring at each other. There was a palpable silence, punctuated only by the occasional blurt of The New Boy as he made his (mostly) indecipherable The New Boy Noises.

So, on a sunny, beautiful, warm day in Fairbanks we sat inside. And sat.

Finally I had enough sitting. I could go cut wood, sure, but that would leave everyone else just sitting. And, I could cut wood only in a theoretical (metaphorical?) sense, since I had finally cut up the last long pieces a week before.

Innocently, I said, “Hey, we could pile into the car and drive north, until we run out of the asphalt pavement that’s bumpy enough to knock your fillings out, and then hit the gravel roads that are bumpy enough to give you a concussion. Anyone want to do that?”

I actually did want to do that, but my proposal was as popular as a pork chop at a PETA conference. (One day PETA will come to their senses and declare that, instead of meat being “murder,” meat is actually a “vegetable,” and stuff greasy gobbets of ribeye into their deprived gullets, until they collapse into a protein and fat fueled haze.)

Dead silence.

Finally a mish-mash of suggestions started flowing, and the end result was a trip to Chena Hot Springs was voted the winner. Chena Hot Springs is a resort about 59.543 miles east of Fairbanks. It’s a nice scenic drive, if you’re the type that considers mountains and trees and wildlife scenic. I have to admit that as I drive, I just look at the trees and think of how good they’d look in my Earth Stove.

The Mrs., however, was being a stick in the mud. Last time her parents were in town, we took a trip down towards Denali. Given that there were more humans than actual padded seats, she rode in the part of the SUV usually reserved for:
  • groceries,
  • spare tires,
  • plastic bottles half full of anti-freeze,
  • assorted hand tools, socket wrenches, wires
  • cases of duct tape, and
  • the occasional John Deere part.
Being stuck in her Prima Dona roll, she insisted that she sit in an actual seat made for humans instead of being perched on the floorboard of the Wildermobile like a commodity purchased from Home Despot. She would have The Boy sit in her lap.

So, packed into the car, we started down the sixty or so miles to Chena Hot Springs.

Chena Hot Springs is a great resort. They have a geothermal well that they use to heat the buildings, and also power a refrigerator (you can do that, but it involves math and engineering and stuff) that keeps a building full of icy stuff (like ice walls, ice tables, ice plates, and other icy stuff) icy year ‘round. It was originally billed as an ice “hotel” but you couldn’t put people in there because their fire insurance didn’t like a hotel having only one entrance and exit. Besides, if the ice caught fire, oh, my, the humanity!

Oh, and they have hot springs that people soak in. We didn’t bring our swimming suits, since they don’t allow children under the age of 18 in the hot spring pool, and The Boy and The New Boy don’t do especially well on their own, since they would trade our house for a handful of “magic” beans. I did that once, and my folks never really forgave me, especially after that giant killed Dad.

So, we went up there and looked around. My father-in-law bought a bumper stick that says, “I got soaked at Chena Hot Springs, Alaska.” For the record, he did not soak.

Net result: 119.086 miles driven, 21 pictures taken, and $2.95 spent on a fraudulent bumper sticker (no taxes).



The one picture I did get to post is the ad for Cemetary Man. Yes, they're sending me a copy of this one, too. I read the reviews on Amazon, and the first few were quite positive, though the one negative review was one of the funniest I've ever read. I'll give you my take when my copy shows up.

9 Comments:

Blogger Duck Hunter said...

You can't advertise a movie to us that you haven't even seen yet. Can you?

Nice job outing your father-in-law on the bumper sticker.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Sara the NewEnglander said...

I've wanted to go to chena hot springs myself. How is it there?

10:25 PM  
Blogger DogMa said...

I worry about your choice of movies Sir...are you drinking?

11:21 PM  
Blogger Al said...

You have a nice selection of material that you carry in the Wildermobile (same style as the Batmobile, I presume). However, no mention of the blue tarps that are so popular in your great state. You do have a least one, right?

For the record, I would have voted for the bumpy ride...and would have been happy to go!

1:43 PM  
Blogger brotherbill said...

Too bad big fenders are out. Made a great place to lash the in-laws for the mandatory site-seeing ride, and a great use for extra duct tape.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

My father in law cut 10 cords of wood once while his in-laws were visiting right after my husband was born. I think there must be something theraputic for men in the cutting of firewood.

Chena Hot Springs is overrated. Pretty, but also kinda dumpy in places. But my, is that outdoor pool nice!

5:52 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Only in Alaska. It finally gets warm, and you all go see an ice house. I think you should have taken the in-laws to go visit Skinny Dick's. They'll like the bears there.

9:59 AM  
Blogger John said...

duck hunter,
Advertising, yes . . . recommending . . . no.

Yeah. He just wanted one that has "Alaska" on it. He actually did drive the Alaska Highway, and he deserves the sticker for that one.

sara,
The hot springs are nice, and fair cheap. I haven't eaten there or stayed there, but I hear it's okay, but a bit pricy. Maybe they could comp me dinner and a room, then I could tell more!

dogma,
Hmmm, wrote that on a weekend. Probably. And, (I'm coming to admit) the movie will probably not be great . . .

al,
All the blue tarps are in my garage. I actually found some very cool *black* duct tape that I used to tape them together to keep gallons and gallons of snowmelt from hitting the garage floor. Worked like a charm!

brotherbill,
Never enough duct tape! Nah, I like the in-laws.

erin,
yup. It gets us out of the house, and despite any part of the day that might be difficult, at least when we cut the wood, we're accomplishing something.

The pool is excellent, especially in November when the northern lights are out, and it's cold enough that your hair frosts from the mist and the -10 temps . . . .

woof,
They've seen the picture, and cracked up. Oh, those bears. I hear that Skinny Dicks is under new management, and is now 10% less sleazy!

9:56 AM  
Blogger A Public Defender's Life in Alaska said...

John...just wanted to tell you that, unless something goes horribly wrong, I will be joining you in Alaska in less than 100 days. Does that mean I have to change my name? Nah. I'll always hate California. "See" you soon.

6:41 PM  

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